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A Guide to the Public Works of Cuba Photographs

Finding aid created by Wondy Joseph

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections

January 2016

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Keystone View Company
Creator: Cuba. Secretaría de Obras Públicas
Title: Public Works of Cuba Photographs
Dates: 1898-1935
Bulk dates: 1929-1935
Abstract: This collection includes photographs and lantern slides depicting public works and landscapes from Cuba. Most of the photographs have the seal of the Gobierno de la República de Cuba, specifically the Secretaría de Obras Públicas.
Extent: 0.10 Linear feet.
Identification: MSS 0351
Language(s): Includes materials written in Spanish and English.
Note: This guide is available in Spanish at
Online ContentItems from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

General Gerardo Machado y Morales (1871-1939) was the fifth president of Cuba (1924-1933). He was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, and during the war for independence he served in the Ejército Libertador. His first term was characterized by emphasis in constructing and renovating state infrastructure as well as improving the education system. During his regime, the Secretaría de Obras Públicas (Ministry of Public Works) built Cuba's Carretera Central (central highway), the Capitolio (National Capitol Building), Paseo de Martí (Martí Promenade), the Malecón (sea boulevard), several buildings at the Universidad de La Habana, schools, and hospitals, such as the Instituto del Cáncer, as well as aqueducts and government buildings. Machado combined a genuine support for U.S. interests while defending the idea of Cuban sovereignty by taxing American capital investments. He promoted investments in tourism, industry, and mining.

His second term began in 1929 and ended in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression and a movement of political opposition that developed into a prolonged and violent period of civil war. The repression of Machado against such opposition was brutal. By early 1933, the confrontation between Machado's government (the police and the army) and the political opposition (students, organized labor, and secret societies of middle class professionals) had grown in violence and frequency. On May 8, 1933 Sumner Welles was sent to Havana by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt to oversee the Cuban situation. Not being able to influence Machado to reinstate the constitutional guarantees that he had removed in June 1931, Welles negotiated an end to Machado's presidency in July 1933 and ushered in the age of Fulgencio Batista.

Scope and Content

The collection houses thirty photographs and three lantern slides that were published between 1898 and 1935. The glass plates were published by the Keystone View Company and include scenes from Cuba's first years as a republic. Nineteen of the thirty photographs were published by the Secretaría de Obras Públicas when Machado was president, and Dr. Carlos Miguel de Céspedes, secretario (secretary) of Obras Públicas. These photographs show images of the state infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, and buildings. The collection also includes four photographs with French annotations and two pages from a scrapbook with mounted photographs.


The collection is arranged by provenance and format into four series: "Series 1: Lantern slides," "Series 2: Secretaría de Obras Públicas," "Series 3: French produced photographs," and "Series 4: Other images of Havana."

Access or Use Restrictions


This collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of items in the Public Works of Cuba Photographs are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Public Works of Cuba Photographs, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased in 2009.

Contents List

I. Lantern slides.

Box Folder
11 Farming scene in Havana. 1898
12 The Cuban republic's birth. undated
13 Santiago and the harbor. undated

II. Secretaría de Obras Públicas.

Box Folder
14 Instituto del Cáncer (2 copies). 1929 January 11
14 Carretera central. Superficie de desgaste de hormigón bituminoso en el Puente Arroyo Grande, tramo entre la Esperanza y Santa Clara. 1929 July 27
14 Centro de Dependiente. circa 1929
15 Instituto de Derecho. circa 1929
15 Escuela pública "Isla de Pino". circa 1929
15 Escuela Técnica Industrial Presidente Machado. circa 1929
15 Aula Magna at the Universidad Nacional. circa 1929
15 Escuela Kindergarden General Alemán. circa 1929
16 Parque del Aqueducto de Vento. circa 1929
16 Parque de Palatino. circa 1929
16 Estatua La Libertad at the Capitolio. circa 1929
16 Visita de los Delegados- Instituto Internacional de Derecho al Capitolio. circa 1929
16 Escultura del Capitolio. circa 1929
17 Hospital San Lázaro: Sala de Curaciones. 1930 January 24
17 Hospital San Lázaro: Vista General del Parque. 1930 January 24
17 Hospital San Lázaro: Vista General de La Entrada. 1930 January 24
17 Hospital San Lázaro: Un detalle de La Pergola. 1930 January 24
17 Vista del Proyecto de restauración y embellecimiento de la Plaza de la Catedral por J.C.N. circa 1930

III. French produced photographs.

Box Folder
18 Valle de Yumuri. Matanzas. circa 1930
18 Palais du gouvernement. Havana. circa 1930
18 Promenade du Prado. Havana. circa 1930
18 Palais d'ete du gouvernement. circa 1930

IV. Other images of Havana.

Box Folder
19 Paseo de Martí postcard. Edición Jordi. 1925 May 15
19 The President's palace from the park. circa 1935
19 Photograph album page showing images of Havana (President's palace, the city, twighlight, and the Capitol building). circa 1935
19 Photograph album page (reverse) showing images of Canadian scenery on the St. Lawrence River. circa 1935

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

lantern slides
Machado y Morales, Gerardo, 1871-1939
Revolution (Cuba: 1895-1898)

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

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