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Collection Descriptions C

Collections are arranged alphabetically and include a brief description to assist in selecting material for research. Links to tools such as finding aids, inventories, and databases are also included to assist in locating materials within the collection.


Finding aids, which are guides to the collections, are available for processed collections. The finding aids are in PDF and/ or EAD format. For collections that have not been fully processed, inventories and/ or databases are available upon request. The archives holdings can be accessed through the CUNY+, OCLC and RLIN online catalogs.


We strongly recommend for researchers to utilize finding aids in order to assist with any information you may be looking for.

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Caballero, Diana 

Finding Aids: [PDF] - [EAD: English] - [EAD: Español]
Inclusive Dates: 1967-1999
Volume (cu. ft.): 19.72

Educator, community organizer and activist. These papers are important for the information and insight they offer on the right to equal educational opportunities in the Puerto Rican and Latino community of New York City. Advocacy for bilingual education, community efforts to get Latino representation on the Board of Education of the City of New York and district board reform are highlighted here. The collection also provides a history of the Puerto Rican/ Latino Education Roundtable and perspective on the role Diana Caballero played in civil rights organizations such as the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights. Materials include administrative files such as financial documents, minutes, news clippings, reports and press releases.

Topics: Education; Family and Community Life; Gender and Sexuality; Organizations and Leaders; Women


Cabañas, Susana 

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1970s-1980s
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.50

Poet. Collection consists of two videotapes, one about Anita Vélez Mitchell and another titled Momentos Inolvidables de la Familia San Antonio.

Topics: Literature; Poetry


Cabassa Ramírez, Gonzalo

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1953-1999
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.12

The collection consists of personal documents and correspondence belonging or relating to the Puerto Rican independence supporter and member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, including government documents, such as Cabassa Ramírez’s resignation of U.S. citizenship, police and judicial records, intelligence reports, clippings and two military photographs.

Topics: Military; Politics, Government and Law; Social Reform


Cabrera, Elba 

Finding Aid: [PDF]
Inclusive Dates: 1924-2015
Volume (cu. ft.): 15.0

Pioneering advocate for Puerto Rican and Latino arts and culture, affectionately known as "La Madrina de las Artes." Cabrera, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, is the youngest sister of activist Evelina López Antonetty and library administrator Lillian López. Her papers document her early years, family life and chronicle her career with organizations including AHA (Association of Hispanic Arts), Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Center for the Media Arts, Hostos Community College, Bronx Council on the Arts, and Girl Scouts, USA. Her collection offers rich insight into New York City's dynamic Puerto Rican and Latino art scene from the 1970s-2000s, as well as her relationships with important Puerto Rican artists and writers, including Piri Thomas, Tato Laviera, George Aguirre, Pure Belpré, Pepón Osorio and Nicholasa Mohr. Collection consists of correspondence, news clippings, publications, event programs, prints, posters, photographs, audio and video recordings.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Family and Community Life; Gender and Sexuality; Organizations and Leaders


Camacho Souza, Blase 

Finding Aids: [PDF] - [EAD: English] - [EAD: Español] - [Audio Index]
Inclusive Dates: 1899-2003
Volume (cu. ft.): 13.0

Boricua-Hawaiana activist and educator. These papers are a significant resource for Puerto Rican migration studies and shed light on the life of plantation laborers in Hawaii in the 1900s and their descendants. The papers provide an intimate portrait of family life and work, as well as the social and cultural networks created by migrants in their efforts to preserve Puerto Rican traditions. The documents include letters, photographs, manuscripts, notes, programs, flyers, newspaper clippings, publications, posters and artifacts.

Topics: Education; Family and Community Life; Gender and Sexuality; Migration and Settlement; Organizations and Leaders


Caragol, Taína/ Latino Art Catalogs

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1980-2006
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.50

Collection includes exhibition catalogs and information on Puerto Rican artists living in New York and on the island.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Visual Arts


Cardona, Alice

Finding Aid
Inclusive Dates: 1923-2001
Volume (cu. ft.): 34.0

Long-time activist best known for her commitment to bilingual education, women’s rights and political representation. She worked and volunteered for ASPIRA, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, the Puerto Rican/ Latino Education Roundtable, the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs and the National Latinas Caucus. From 1983-1995, as the assistant director of the New York State Division for Women, she supported numerous initiatives and community-based groups. The papers document the bilingual education movement in New York City, as well as the development of organizations that served the needs of women and those oriented toward community development. The materials consist of biographical information, correspondence, news clippings, photographs, speeches, articles, and documents from various organizations, including regulations, programs, correspondence and meeting minutes. Finding Aid available as part of Ventana al Pasado collaboration between Centro and The New York State Archives.

Topics: Education; Organizations and Leaders; Politics, Government and Law; Social Reform; Women


Cardona, Luis A. (oral histories)

Finding Aid (draft): [PDF]
See Oral History Collections page for access information
Inclusive Dates: 1976-1989

The Luis A. Cardona Oral History Collection is comprised of interviews with leaders in the New York Puerto Rican community during the 1950s through 1980s. The collection documents Cardona’s interests in the Puerto Rican community of New York and the diaspora as a whole. The topics of the interviews and Cardona’s interests include: migratory history, education, culture, and the arts, among many others. The collection serves to understand Puerto Rican experiences in the United States, primarily in New York. These experiences are told through the interviews of leaders such as Antonia Pantoja, who describes her childhood in Puerto Rico, her education and her migration to the United States. In addition, the interview of Frank Bonilla serves to place New York as a center of Puerto Rican studies and delves into the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, which he was director of from 1973 to 1993.

Topics: Migration and Settlement


Caribbean Cultural Center

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1980s
Volume (cu. ft.): 2.0

The collection consists of photographs of Taíno Indians, African art and early images of Puerto Rico. Many of the photographs were taken by Hiram Maristany. These images were exhibited at the Caribbean Cultural Center gallery.

Topics: Arts and Culture; History; Photography; Visual Arts


Carro, John

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1958-1994
Volume (cu. ft.): 1.0

The collection consists of various documents on the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Leadership Forum, including newspaper articles, correspondence, writings and reports donated by Judge John Carro, a member of the Forum’s Executive Committee.

Topics: Organizations and Leaders; Politics, Government and Law


Castilla, Rudy

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1930s-1960s
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.40

This photograph collection of Puerto Rican and Hispanic entertainers, performers and celebrities were taken by the famed Castilla Photo Studio in East Harlem (El Barrio), New York. Many prints from this period were destroyed when the studio underwent changes in ownership. There are also miscellaneous items, such as postcards of Puerto Rico.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Family and Community Life; Photography


Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños

Finding Aid
Inclusive Dates: 1935-2003
Volume (cu. ft.): 135.0

The only research center devoted to the study of the Puerto Rican diaspora. The records document the founding, administration, programs and intellectual production of this pioneering and innovative institution. The collection attests to Centro's role within the Puerto Rican/ Latino community, its influence in academic circles and its ongoing commitment to chronicling and interpreting the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. An extraordinarily rich collection, highlights of the records include materials on the origins of Centro, its alternative modes of internal governance, the numerous projects and initiatives undertaken by its research task forces and units and the multiple organizations its staff helped establish and/ or actively participated in. The collection chronicles institutional efforts to document through archival initiatives, oral history interviews, publications and film, the history, culture, social, civic and political contributions of the Puerto Rican community to contemporary American life. Records include correspondence, memoranda, minutes, photographs, flyers, clippings, proposals, reports, speeches, videos, slides, financial statements and artifacts. Additions to the collection include Felix Matos Rodriguez (Centro Director), Camille Rodriguez (Administrator and Researcher for the Higher Education Task Force), Blanca Vazquez (Centro Bulletin editor), Pedro Pedraza (Language Task Force), Susan Zeig (Film and Media), the Library Vertical Files, Slide Collection, CENTRO/ LEMC audio, video and transcripts files. This collection complements the papers of Frank Bonilla.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Education; Health and Community Welfare; Organizations and Leaders; Social Reform

Centro Oral History Collections (see the Oral History Collections page for more information)

Since the early 1980s, Centro has been capturing the stories and experiences of Puerto Ricans stateside through oral history interviews. The collections and projects listed represent the work of Centro staff and collaborations between Centro and other institutions. Many of the collections are available to view or listen to through Centro’s Digital Collections portal, others are available in digital or audio cassette format for listening within the Centro Library & Archives reading room.

  • 100 Puerto Ricans Oral History Project, 2013-
  • El Barrio Popular Education Program, 1986-1990 (Oral Histories)
  • New York City Hispanic Labor Documentation Oral History Project, 2000-2001
  • Puerto Ricans in New York - Voices of the Migration, 1983-1985
  • Centro Oral History Project/Latino Educational Media Center, 2003-2008
  • Research Task Force General Collection, 1980-1995
  • Cultural Foundations of Puerto Rican Orlando/ Cimientos Culturales del Orlando Puertorriqueño, 2012 (Centro & University of Central Florida)

Topics: Family and Community Life; Labor and Occupation; Migration and Settlement; Arts and Culture; Education; Health and Community Welfare: Organizations and Leaders


Inventory: [Preliminary Guide]
Inclusive Dates: 1960-2008
Volume (cu. ft.): 18.0

The Real Great Society was founded in 1965 by former youth gang members. In 1971, the organization changed its name to CHARAS, an acronym for its founders Chino, Humberto, Angelo, Roy, Anthony and Sal. CHARAS was dedicated to the cultural, political and economic empowerment of disenfranchised people by organizing cultural events and providing low-cost studio space for artists and exhibitions. It pioneered the housing development concept of sweat equity and helped catalyze the artistic and economic revitalization of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The documents consist of awards, banners, clippings, correspondence, financial records, flyers, minutes, photographs, programs, reports and slides.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Family and Community Life; Organizations and Leaders; Visual Arts


Cintrón, Humberto/ Realidades

Inclusive Dates: 1971-1979
Volume (cu. ft.): 3.0

The first national Latino public affairs bilingual television series for adults funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcast produced at WNET, Channel 13, New York City (1971-1977). Topics include the Young Lords, ASPIRA and migrant women. This collection consists of papers, reports, banner, photographs, negatives and 3/4 inch video masters. Humberto Cintrón is best known for his role as host, writer and executive producer of Realidades.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Education; Organizations and Leaders; Television


Cintrón, Josefina

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1933-1971
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.12

The collection consists of various personal documents, including certificates, newspaper articles, clippings, programs and correspondence relating to cultural and literary organizations, including Instituto de Puerto Rico of New York and El Círculo de Escritores y Poetas Iberoamericanos (CEPI).

Topics: Arts and Culture; Literature; Organizations and Leaders


Claridad Bilingüe

Inclusive Dates: 1967-1980
Volume (cu. ft.): 1.0

This collection consists of thousands of photograph negatives intended for use in the bilingual edition of the leftist Puerto Rican newspaper, Claridad.

Topics: Politics, Government and Law; Social Reform


Club Puertorriqueño de San Francisco 

Inclusive Dates: 1915-1969
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.10

The oldest Puerto Rican community organization stateside originally founded with the intent to represent Puerto Rico in the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, 1915. The organization received the remaining funds of La Sociedad Puertorriquena de Beneficiencia Mutua, 1907 to 1915. The minutes are in Spanish, but as early as 1927, there is discussion of allowing members to speak English at general assemblies since some members were not born on the island. In 1932, the Club discussed offering membership to women, and in fact, they even rented out their space to Las Puerto Rican Daughters to host a dance. By 1934, there were female members who paid special (lower) membership dues. Available on Microfilm.

Topics: Family and Community Life; Migration and Settlement


Colón, Clara 

Finding Aids: [PDF] - [EAD: English] - [EAD: Español]
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1970
Volume (cu. ft.): 1.44

Political activist, feminist and writer. Resource for examining the Communist Party of the United States of America and the independence movement of Puerto Rico, as well as political persecution, feminism and trade-unionism. The collection consists of manuscripts, notes, letters, press releases, programs, flyers and newspapers clippings.

Topics: Gender and Sexuality; Politics, Government and Law; Social Reform


Colón, Jesús

Finding Aids: [PDF] - [EAD: English] - [EAD: Español]
Inclusive Dates: 1901-1974
Volume (cu. ft.): 25.52

Pioneeer, community leader, labor organizer and prolific writer. The papers are a significant contribution to the study of Puerto Rican history, especially for the reconstruction of the Puerto Rican community's history in New York. They support research on topics of organizational development and political participation among Puerto Ricans in New York, employment, discrimination and the labor movement. Puerto Rican involvement in labor and leftist organizations in New York are also documented. In the collection, there are letters, notes, drafts of published and unpublished works, reports, clippings and photographs. A majority of the papers consist of organizational records such as bylaws, lists, programs and policy statements. Available on Microfilm.

Topics: Family and Community Life; Gender and Sexuality; Migration and Settlement; Organizations and Leaders; Politics, Government and Law; Social Reform


Colón, Máximo

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1960s-1980s
Volume (cu. ft.): 1.50

Photographer. Collection includes photographs, buttons, posters and clippings. The papers demonstrate Colón’s work as a photographer and activities in the Puerto Rican community, which focus on New York City.

Topics: Family and Community Life; Photography


Colón, Miriam/ Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1953-1987
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

Actor and founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in 1969. Miriam Colón was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico. She studied at the University of Puerto Rico, where she received a scholarship to study at the Dramatic Workshop and Technical Institute in New York. Miriam served as artistic director for the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. Colón became one of the first Puerto Rican actors to have great success in Hollywood, starring in many films alongside famed actors such as Marlon Brando. She also appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. The collection consists of personal and biographical information, correspondence, programs and clippings.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Theatre


Colón, Ramón

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1950s-1960s
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

Puerto Rican politician, member of the Republican Party. He was a brother-in-law to distinguished writers Jesús and Joaquín Colón. This collection includes an invitation to the inauguration of President Eisenhower, photographs of political meetings and events, an event booklet signed by Ramon Colón containing a list of members and supporters of the club and a publication entitled El Estado Puerto Rico, endorsing statehood for Puerto Rico.

Topics: Politics, Government and Law


Colón, Yarisa

Inclusive Dates: 2001-2005
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.50

Poet. Collection of several art books donated by Yarisa Colón. Included are some of her works, such as Desvestida (2001), and others created in collaboration with Tanya Torres, Imagenes femeninas (2002).

Topics: Arts and Culture; Literature; Organizations and Leaders; Poetry


Colón López, Joaquín

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1917-1947
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.50

Puerto Rican activist and writer, brother to writer Jesús Colón. He co-founded the Club Democrático de Brooklyn with J.V. Alonso. The collection consists of documents which contain biographical information, articles and a manuscript, Pioneros Puertorriqueños en Nueva York 1917-1947. This manuscript was submitted by Centro and published by Arte Público Press in 2001. The collection also contains personal and family photos, as well as political activities and events.

Topics: Family and Community Life; Migration and Settlement; Social Reform


Concepción de Gracia, Gilberto

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1936-1939
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

Collection consists of digitized documents and photographs. Founder and President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Concepción de Gracia was an outstanding figure in Puerto Rican political history. He passionately argued for Puerto Rico’s independence and social justice for Puerto Ricans. He was also a distinguished lawyer, journalist and professor. In 1936, he moved to the United States where he fought, first in New York City and later in Washington D.C., for the rights of Puerto Ricans and their communities. As a Senator (1952-1960) in the Puerto Rican parliament, he introduced key progressive legislation on social, political and cultural issues. He presided over the Puerto Rican Bar Associations’ Civil Liberties Commission and appeared before the United Nations on the question of Puerto Rico. A firm believer in democracy, Concepción de Gracia fought tirelessly until his death for the Puerto Rican Independence Party to remain as an instrument to attain national sovereignty.

Topics: Family and Community Life; Migration and Settlement; Politics, Government and Law


Conde Pérez, Helen

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1930s
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.01

Collection consists of 3 family photographs from the early 1930s.

Topics: Family and Community Life


Conzo, Joe

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1979-1981
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.05

Photographer, born and raised in the South Bronx around his grandmother, the dynamic South Bronx leader and activist Dr. Evelina López Antonetty and his father, long time confidant and historian of the late Tito Puente, Joe Conzo, Sr. Conzo's photo­graphy was deeply influenced by a strong legacy of Puerto Rican activism in the South Bronx, as well as the vibrancy of Puerto Rican music culture in New York. The collection consists of five photographs representing his scope of work as presented in The Bronx: Mi Barrio, Mi Orgullo photography by Joe Conzo exhibited in the Centro Gallery in 2010.

Topics: Photography; Visual Arts


Cordero, Félix

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1981-1986
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.05

Painter. Collection comprised of slides, exhibition catalogues, pamphlets and a postcard.

Topics: Visual Arts


Cordero Meléndez, Félix Luis

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1980s-1994
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

Photographer and painter who studied in New York City and Chicago. In 1984, he received the Artist of the Year Award from the Institute of Puerto Rico in New York. The collection consists of biographical information, photo slides, exhibit programs and photographs.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Photography; Visual Arts


Cortijo, María

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 2003
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.12

A Brooklyn resident since the 1950s, Cortijo is a Puerto Rican artist who created an art form by weaving dolls and other artifacts, such as handbags, baskets and even vests, from disposable plastic bags. The collection consists of biographical information, a photograph and a woven vest. The collection dates to 2003, when Centro exhibited Cortijo’s work in its gallery. The exhibit was curated by José Vidal.

Topics: Arts and Culture


Costa, Marithelma (oral histories)

See Oral History Collections page for access information
Inclusive Dates: 1985-1986

Dr. Costa is a Medieval Spanish & Modern Latin American Literature Professor at Hunter College, CUNY. This collection is comprised of 10 audiocassettes of interviews with the poets Clemente Soto Vélez and Carmen Valle, scholar and essayist Nilita Vientos Gastón and the visual artist and essayist Antonio Martorell.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Literature


Cruz, Pura

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1983-1992
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

Pura Cruz was an infant whe she arrived in New York and grew up in East Harlem (El Barrio), New York. She studied studio art at SUNY Stonybrook and become a visual artist, sculptor and curator. Her style is expressionist, somewhat abstract and employs mixed media. Her works often touch on themes of ethnic identity and memory. The collection consists of 40 slides of artwork, clippings and exhibit program facsimiles donated by the artist.

Topics: Arts and Culture


Cuatro Project

Inclusive Dates: 1991-1998
Volume (cu. ft.):  0.12

The Cuatro Project is a cultural organization dedicated to discovering the history of the cuatro, a traditional Puerto Rican stringed musical instrument, its relationship to Puerto Ricans and links to Puerto Rican identity.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Music


Cultural Foundations of Puerto Rican Orlando/ Ciminetos Culturales del Orlando Puertorriqueño (oral histories)

See Oral History Collections page for access information
Inclusive Dates: 2012


An oral history project conducted by a group of Puerto Rican community volunteers in Orlando, FL, with support from staff at Centro, made possible by the Centro Library and Archives Historical Preservation and Research Partnership Program. Taking place in 2012 at two cultural organizations in Orlando, Asociación Borinqueña and Casa de Puerto Rico, the interviews were conducted predominantly in Spanish and are centered around a photograph that accompanies each recording.

Topics: Migration and Settlement; Organizations and Leaders


CUNY Association of Caribbean Studies

Inventory Available
Inclusive Dates: 1985-1986
Volume (cu. ft.): 0.25

The CUNY Association of Caribbean Studies (CUNYACS) was founded in 1984 among Caribbeanists within the CUNY system to promote the field of Caribbean Studies and develop a mutual support network. The collection consists of documents, including correspondence, bulletins, newsletters, reports, meeting minutes, memoranda and conference programs.

Topics: Arts and Culture; Education


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