“Filmmakers were in contact with us many times to determine interior shots for the inside of airplanes or terminals or for photographs of what the flight attendants looked like. When they filmed [Steven Spielberg’s] Catch Me If You Can, they wanted a copy of a check from Pan Am to see what it looked like,” Favretto said.
At the Richter, papers and materials from the Munroe, Merrick and Matheson families help tell the story of the Grove, Coral Gables and Key Biscayne, respectively, Favretto said.
Other acquisitions on display at Friday’s gathering: a slave register from the 1800s, a business-like document written in florid long-hand, which detailed the births and deaths of slaves. Counterculture ‘zines from ‘60s and ‘70s Miami. A manuscript from William Randolph Hearst.
“We’re preserving the past but we are also looking to the future, not only in what we collect, but we want to make sure we make things available through digitization so it’ll be there 100 years from now,” Favretto said.
One of the library’s most significant undertakings has been the expansion of its Cuban Heritage Collection, established in 1980 and overseen by archivist Esperanza de Varona. The collection now resides in the 10,000-square-foot Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, inaugurated in 2003, and remains under the direction of chairman de Varona who has worked at the Richter for 45 years, almost its entire life-span.
“It’s growing more and more. We have more than 50,000 books, almost all of the newspapers and journals of Cuba, archival material and books that are more than 400 years old in the special collection,” de Varona said.
The Cuban Heritage Collection began an oral history project in 2008 to capture digital interviews with notable Cuban figures who offer perspectives on the island nation. These interviews, 104 so far, include memories from José Basulto, founder of the Cuban exile movement, Brothers to the Rescue; Bay of Pigs veteran Enrique Ros; and Eva Vázquez, an actress in radio, theater and TV in Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s.
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