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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Span 197

Papers and photographs of Nicolás Guillén


Papers by and photographs of Cuban poet and journalist, Nicolás Guillén.


  • circa 1937-1989 and undated


Language of Materials

In Spanish.

Condition Description

Materials are in good condition, each document in a clear sleeve.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

This collection is shelved offsite. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


.1 linear feet (1 box)

26 photographs of Guillén and a few other subjects; with several compositions and a small amount of correspondence.

Biographical / Historical

Nicolás Guillén was a poet, journalist, political activist, writer, and first winner of Cuba's National Prize for Literature (1983). He was born Nicolás Guillén Batista in Camagüey, Cuba on 10 July 1902. He studied law at the University of Havana but gave it up, working as a typographer and journalist and beginning to publish poetry in the 1920s. Guillén's work was influenced by the poet Langston Hughes whom he met in 1930 and with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. Guillén drew from his mixed African and Spanish ancestry, blending traditional forms with Afro-Cuban culture. He was jailed for political reasons and joined the Communist Party; after the Cuban revolution in 1959, Guillén was welcomed back to Cuba by President Fidel Castro. He was the founder in 1961 of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba and was considered the national poet of Cuba.


Collection is arranged chronologically, as received.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Custodial History

Ownership of the collection prior to this acquisition is unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2021M-2. Purchased from Carmichael Alonso Libros, 2020 October 1.

Processing Information

Collection was minimally processed by Melanie Wisner; English translation provided by Michael Austin, 2020 December.

The titles of listed items are given first in Spanish and then in English.

Guillén, Nicolás, 1902-1989. Papers and photographs of Nicolás Guillén, circa 1937-1989 and undated (MS Span 197): Guide
Houghton Library, Harvard University
2020 December 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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