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A Guide to the Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí

Finding aid created by Caitlin A. Logroño

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2012


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Romero family
Title: Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí
Dates: 1875-1974
Bulk dates: 1953-1960
Abstract: Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, and mementos sent to María Mantilla de Romero regarding her father José Martí.
Extent: 1.5 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 310
Language(s): Spanish

Biographical/Historical Note

José Martí (1853-1895) was a Cuban patriot, literary figure, and freedom fighter in the 1895 Cuban Revolution. His commitment to liberating Cuba from Spanish rule meant he spent many years in exile from his island home. An accomplished writer, Martí regularly contributed articles to newspapers in New York and produced both books and poetry. Among his major works, the most famous are La Edad de Oro and Versos Sencillos. He is considered the national hero of Cuba and the "Apostle of Cuban Independence" although he never lived to see it.

María Mantilla de Romero (1880-1962) was born in New York City. Although her birth certificate listed her as the daughter of Manuel Mantilla and Carmen Miyares de Mantilla, historians have speculated that her actual parents were Carmen and José Martí. Martí was living at the Mantilla's lodging house at the time of María's birth, and was her acknowledged godfather; in later life he often referred to her as his daughter. Most of the materials in this collection are items about Martí that belonged to María Mantilla. (Source: http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/funfacts/CesarRom.htm)

Other people mentioned in the collection are descendants of María Mantilla and her husband Cesar Romero, Sr. These include Cesar Romero, Jr. (1907-1994), his brother Eduardo, and his sister María Teresa. Cesar Romero, Jr. became a well-known actor, taking on roles such as the Joker in the TV version of Batman (1966-68), and as Cortes in The Captain from Castile (1947). (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0003110/bio)


Scope and Content

This collection includes correspondence, photos, and mementos relating to the legacy of José Martí in Cuba. Almost all the correspondence is between María Mantilla de Romero and officials in Cuba. Much of the correspondence concerns the Centenario de Martí celebration in 1953. Dates of material range from 1875 to 1974, almost a full century. The bulk of the collection, however dates between 1953 and 1960. The correspondence is arranged chronologically. Particular items of interest include photocopies of letters to María Mantilla from José Martí.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

Originals of the correspondence between Martí and María Mantilla are in the National Archive of Cuba.

The following books were donated by the Romero family as part of the collection. They are now stored in the Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Collection.

Martí, José. Versos sencillos. New York: Louis Weiss, 1891. Library copy inscribed: "A Carmita, para que nunca dé una pena. Su amigo calvo, José Martí. NY, Oct. 91." SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, PQ7389.M2V45 1891.

Oviedo, José Miguel. La niña de New York: una revisión de la vida erótica de José Martí. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, PQ7389.M37 Z751.

Martí, José. Cartas familiares; selección. Habana: Comisión Nacional Organizadora de los Actos y Ediciones del Centenario del Monumento de Martí, 1953. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M3647 1953.

Martí, José. Cartas a una niña. 1955. Two copies. Library copy No. 1 inscribed to María Mantilla by Nilo Hermida. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M36A4.

Zéndegui, Guillermo de. Ambito de Martí. Habana, Cuba: P. Fernández y Companía, 1954. Inscribed to María Mantilla de Romero by the author. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M38Z4

Cuba. Iconografía del apóstol José Martí. Habana: Imprenta El Siglo XX, 1925. Added title page reads: Homenaje de la República al apóstol de la independencia José Martí al inagurarse en su casa natal el Museo consagrado a perpetuar su memoria. Habana, 28 de enero de 1925, año 72 del nacimiento del prócer y 23 de la República. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M38C831.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/romero_es.htm.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Eduardo S. Romero inherited this material from his brother actor Cesar Romero Jr. He donated it to the University of Florida in 1997.


Contents List

Box Folder
1 1 Photocopies of Letters from José Martí to María Mantilla de Romero, personal nature.
1 2 Letter to Nicolas from José Martí, 22 December (or September) 1875, response to article, appears to be a transcription, not original.
1 3 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic, August 9, 1936 and March 11, 1936, about letters written by Martí in Santo Domingo.
1 4 Newspaper clipping: Teletemas, September 25, 1949, "Foto desconocida de Martí."
1 5 Letter to María Romero Mantilla from Enriqueta Fraginals y Fernández, August 3, 1952, dedication of a school in her name, handwritten note on back.
1 6 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, January 6, 1953, regarding visit to Cuba, upcoming Centenario.
1 7 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, February 3, 1953, concerning "Biblioteca Nacional 'José Martí'" and photo of the library.
1 8 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Dra. Aida Osuna de Parlá and others, February 5, 1953, on dedication, and handwritten letter to María Mantilla, February 5, 1953.
1 9 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero, Marzo 6, 1953, thank you note for letter and photos.
1 10 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Amelia Oscamendi, March 10, 1953, regarding her letter to the Perlas.
1 11 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, April 1,1953 regarding letters between herself and Martí which she sent to Cuba.
1 12 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, April 2, 1953, mentions Congreso de Escritores Martíanos, clipping in "Revista Cubana"… "los que conocieron a Martí" (included in envelope), book "Proyección humana de Martí," translated by Esther Shuler, and book "Tuya y otros versos."
1 13 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Aida Osuna de Parlá, June 18, 1953, regarding her visit to Cuba.
1 14 Letter to Mrs. Cesar J. Romero from Félix Lizaso, October 7, 1953, mentions 2nd Congreso Martíano in Uruguay, "Proyección humana de Martí" and "Biography of Martí", translated by Esther Shuler.
1 15 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Gonzalo Güell, La Orden Nacional de Mérito Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, October 10, 1953.
1 16 Letter to Mrs. Cesar J. Romero, from Félix Lizaso October 27, 1953 about movie and Ministerio de Educación Comisión del Centenario,
1 17 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Cap. Joaquín Llaverías, November 17, 1953, regarding María receiving a certificate naming her a "benefactor" for contribution of letters from Martí.
1 18 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, February 19, 1954, mentions "el Consejo de La Orden Nacional de Mérito Carlos Manuel de Céspedes."
1 19 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, March 5,1954, regarding 2 lithographic copies of oil painting of the first of Martí that he sent her, which are not included.
1 20 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso; discusses film on Martí, response to her letter with concerns. March 25, 1954; mentions Mexican director Emilio Fernández, Mexican script writer Mauricio Magdalena, and Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa.
1 21 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Raúl José Fajardo, Orden Rosacruz, May 12, 1954; wants to meet with her, mentions book La Conciencia Universal y Martí.
1 22 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Raúl José Fajardo, May 29, 1954, mentions Martí en Dos Ríos, international convention, orden rosacruz.
1 23 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Raúl José Fajardo; June 9, 1954 mentions Martí en Dos Ríos, talks about personal vs. public life of family, mentions film "La Rosa Blanca" and article in Bohemia.
1 24 Newspaper clipping, June 20, 1954, "Restoration of Birthplace of Martí," with pictures.
1 25 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, July 20, 1954; mentions book Ámbito de Martí.
1 26 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emeterio S. Santovenia, July 21, 1954, about bestowal of the Orden de Mérito Nacional Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
1 27 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Raúl José Fajardo, September 12, 1954, mentions Martí en Dos Ríos.
1 28 Copy of laws concerning monument sent by Félix Lizaso, February 1955 list of names of the officials of the Patronato del Monumento a Martí.
1 29 Letter to Mrs. Cesar J. Romero from Félix Lizaso, March 15, 1955, about the monument and library project. Newspaper clipping included, "Patronato del Monumento a Martí."
1 30 Letter from Nilo Hermida, June 29, 1955. Thank you for photo, wants to know about family.
1 31 Letter to Mrs. Cesar J. Romero from Félix Lizaso, March 1956; about projects in the works or being planned: pequeña biblioteca Martíana, Patronato del Monumento a Martí and related laws included.
1 32 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, July 17, 1957, newsclipping pasted on back, about statue in NY, picture with Peoli family.
1 33 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, July 27, 1956, concerning statue in NY and foto with Peoli family.
1 34 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Gonzalo de Quesada y Miranda, December 1958, personal nature.
1 35 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, November 27, 1959, discusses statue in New York and article "Martí vuelve a Nueva York."
1 36 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Emilio Alfonso de la Torre, May 20, 1960, handwritten letter, admiration, and commemoration on May 19 mentioned.
1 37 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Félix Lizaso, November 3, 1960, mentions Francis J. Donahue and article "Martí vuelve a Nueva York."
1 38 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Dr. Juan S. Alvarez Pujals and Gonzalo de Quesada y Miranda, November 4, 1960; birthday greeting.
1 39 Photocopy of newsclipping "Todo Fue Amor en la Vida de José Martí" by Florencio Garcia Cisneros, January 28, 1974, 2 copies, sent from Cisneros Gallery, New York, NY.
1 40 Mementos of the Centenario: booklet and stamps.
1 41 Photo of a man with a bust of Martí.
1 42 Newspaper clippings about Martí, María Mantilla, etc.
1 43 Postcards featuring Martí.
1 44 Photocopy: Instituto de Segunda Enseñanza de la Habana from National Archive.
1 45 Newspaper clipping, various articles about Martí.
1 46 Letter to María Mantilla de Romero from Jorge Manach.
1 47 28 photos of inauguration of Paseo Martí and of the parade to commemorate the American Veterans of the Maine, October 10, 1928.
1 48 Miscellaneous photos.
1 49 Fragile 8" X 10" print of the most well known photograph of José Martí.
1 50 Letter to Cesar Romero from José Miguel Oviedo, January 9, 1991, includes photocopies of newspaper articles dealing with Martí and María Mantilla.
1 51 Newspaper clipping, "Romero family has its very own hero," The Daily Independent, includes photocopies of photo of monument in Echo Park and news article.
1 52 Two copies of "María Romero: Cuba's Honored Guest."
1 53 Letter to Dr. Carlos Ripoll from Eduardo Romero, March 16, 1969. In regards to his knowledge of Martí and María Mantilla's relationship.
1 54 Two copies of "Biography of José Martí" translated from Spanish and synopsized by María T. Romero, including a foreword by María T. Romero.
1 55 Copy of José Martí: Rebel Without Hatred by J.A. del Regato.
1 56 Three photos of monument in Echo Park, Los Angeles. One photo of Cesar Romero with a monument dedicated to José Martí in Tampa, Florida.
1 57 Various newspaper clippings sent to María Mantilla de Romero, circa 1951.
1 58 Sixteen 8" X 10" glossy prints of exterior and interior of the Museo José Martí.
1 59 Program and memorabilia related to the dedication of Martí's statue in Central Park, New York City, May 1965.
1 60 Issue of Bohemia featuring Martí.
1 61 Issue of Bohemia featuring Martí.
1 62 Photocopies of inscription in books given to María Mantilla de Romero and family.
2 1 Leather-bound collection, "Cartas de Martí," that contains photos of Martí's letters to María Mantilla written during his last days. Imprinted on the cover is Obsequio del Archivo Nacional a la Señora María Mantilla y Miyares, viuda de Romero. Boxed and presented to María Mantilla after she had donated the original letters to Cuba.
2 2 Small pocketbook containing two keys noted to be to Martí's grillos now in Havana.
2 3 1 memorabilia of José Martí, framed.
2 4 1 photo of José Martí and another person, framed.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Martí, José, 1853-1895



For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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