The stories have been tucked away, veiled by dust and years, and rediscovered by researchers and archivists. More than tales, the documents of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project are newly uncovered histories. Now the project, housed and operated by Arte Público Press at the University of Houston, is the 2014 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA).
The award recognizes an individual, group or institution for outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession. It will be presented at the August Joint Meeting of the Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators in Washington, D.C.
“This recognition reflects the commitment of the project’s staff, student researchers, board members and associates all over the world who have worked to locate, preserve and make available the written culture of Latinos and Latinas in the United States,” said Carolina Villarroel, the project’s director of research. “It also acknowledges the project’s importance within the archival institution, and that the Recovery Project always has been on the forefront in the preservation and dissemination of Latino culture in the United States.”
The Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project is a comprehensive program to reconstitute the literary and historical legacy of Hispanics in the U.S. from colonial times to 1960. To date, hundreds of thousands of essays, autobiographies, historical and journalistic writings, novels, diaries and letters are being integrated into textbooks and curriculum from kindergarten to high school to college. The project has uncovered, organized and made available collections such as that of Leonor Villegas de Magnón, a Laredo activist who, in the early 20th century, recruited Anglo Texan, Mexican American and Mexican women for a nursing corps to tend the wounded and fallen on the battlefields of the Mexican Revolution. As an early feminist, she documented the role of women in her writings. The Recovery Project has also assembled the world's largest collection of microfilmed Hispanic newspapers published in the United States from 1808 to 1960.
“There is no other effort like this to do the hard work of digging into archives, rescuing perishable historical documents and making them accessible so we have a more complete understanding about how this country developed and what role Latinos played,” said Nicolás Kanellos, professor and director of Arte Público Press, which houses the Recovery Project.
The SAA also will honor Jennifer O’Neal, University of Oregon Libraries archivist and historian.
For more information on the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, visit https://artepublicopress.com/recovery-project/.