Cuba, Present and Past

Ministry of the Interior building in Havana with giant steel image of Che Guevara, 2011

Here is a link to a short piece I recently wrote about a trip to Cuba in January sponsored by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. The piece appeared in Mass Humanities’ blog The Public Humanist. My excuse for mentioning it on this blog is the fact that 9 of the 21 people on the trip were members of AAS. That is a remarkable number given that only 287 of AAS’s 953 members are Massachusetts residents and that the state’s population is about 6.5 million.

"Holiday in Havana, Cuba," late nineteenth-century view from the AAS Stereograph Collection

The trip to Cuba also provides an opportunity to mention a part of AAS collections that is not well-known.  While AAS may not be the first place you think of when doing research on Cuba, we actually have an impressive amount of material about the island.  An earlier post on Past is Present mentioned our recent acquisition of a wonderful collection of early Cuban newspapers, but there’s more Cuban material to be found at AAS by searching our two main online resources:

  • AAS online catalog: Searching for Cuba results in almost 400 records.  Limit your search by type of item (i.e. manuscripts, serials, or graphic arts) or by date to winnow down your results.
  • AAS website: Searching here will help you locate material listed in graphic arts inventories, lists of newspapers recently acquired, and manuscript collection finding aids. These additional online resources list items not necessarily in the AAS online catalog yet (although we’re working on it!). A search of the AAS website yields a few dozen hits from other collections with Cuba material.

While not all of us can travel to present-day Cuba, AAS always provides the opportunity to travel to Cuba’s past.

A late nineteenth-century stereograph of Obispo, Havana's main shopping street from the AAS Stereograph Collection

One thought on “Cuba, Present and Past

  1. Cuba Traveler

    Thanks Tom for these resources. I never even thought to look at the Antiquarian Society for new info. I’m always searching for new facts about Cuba so this is a huge help!


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