Tag Archive | "Cuban Heritage Collection"

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CHC’s Tom Pohrt Photograph Collection Available Online

Scene at Merced Street, Havana.

A collection of historic photographs taken in Cuba during the 19th and 20th centuries can now be viewed online through a University of Miami Libraries Digital Initiatives portal. The Tom Pohrt Photograph Collection includes albumen prints, including a group of images from an album dating from 1859 through the early 1860s of the lighthouses of Cuba and attributed to the studio of C.D. Fredricks; daguerreotype, ambrotype, carte de visite, and cabinet card portraits, the earliest dating from about 1845; stereographs taken by George Barnard around 1863; more than 200 glass stereographs from the late 1890s to the 1920s; and 35 color slides from the 1940s. UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection acquired the photographs last year, digitizing the images for online viewing.

Pohrt, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He is also a collector of Cuban photographs, documents, and memorabilia.


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Father Conrado’s Geremek Award finds a home at UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection


Father Conrado’s Geremek Award finds a home at UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection

Esperanza B. de Varona, left, head of the Cuban Heritage Collection, takes delivery of Father José Conrado Rodríguez’s Geremek Award from Jose de Lasa, right, and UM Trustee Carlos Saladrígas.

Unable to return to his native Cuba with the award he received, Father José Conrado Rodríguez came up with an idea: Why not give his Geremek Award, which honors outstanding achievement in promoting democracy, to the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), where it could be displayed with the many books, manuscripts, letters, and other materials that chronicle the Cuban Diaspora?

Last Thursday at UM’s Richter Library, Conrado’s idea became reality, as the CHC hosted a special ceremony at which the priest’s award was unveiled for an audience that included prominent Cuban Americans and top University administrators and deans.

“Usually, awards like this are kept in a museum. But for this, we made an exception,” said Esperanza B. de Varona, head of the CHC. “In Cuba the award would have been taken away.”

Conrado received the Geremek Award earlier this year at a ceremony in Poland attended by luminaries such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nobel laureate and former president of Poland Lech Walesa. It is named after the late Professor Bronislaw Geremek, a pivotal figure in ending Communist rule in Poland. Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, received the inaugural Geremek Award.

Conrado was not present at the ceremony where his award was showcased; he is currently in Cuba. But at the ceremony, one of his closest friends, UM Trustee Carlos A. Saladrígas, remembered the priest fondly, calling him “a man of peace.”

“He and Mandela share a lot in common,” said Saladrígas, who accompanied Conrado to Poland when he received the honor. “He argues in defense of human rights.”

Co-chair of the Cuba Study Group, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based initiative that advocates for a free and open society in Cuba, Saladrígas recalled his trip to Poland with Conrado, telling of how the priest was “at his best, always laughing,” but also how he shed tears for the people of Cuba.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, who has known Conrado for several years, also spoke, explaining that “Poland was able to make a peaceful transition from Communism to Democracy” and that Conrado’s award could serve as inspiration for Cuba to do the same.

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