Latin American Library Awarded CLIR Grant to Digitize Cuban-American Radionovelas

We are delighted to announce that The Latin American Library has been awarded a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to support the project Bringing Back the Soaps:  The Louis J. Boeri and Minín Bujones Boeri Collection of Cuban American Radionovelas.  The project was only one of 14 selected from a total of 125 applications nationwide.  The grant awards $229,189 over two years to digitize 36 program titles from the Radionovelas Collection of master audio recordings contained on reel to reel tapes produced between 1963 and 1970. 
 
Produced by Miami-based America’s Productions, Inc. (API), the programs were transmitted to over 200 radio stations in Latin America and Spain, to U.S. Spanish-language stations, and the U.S. government.  With scripts penned by acclaimed Cuban and Mexican writers, the broadcasts included soap operas, comedies, advice programs, biblical dramas, mysteries, spy stories, and variety shows.  In addition to audio programs, the collection also includes marketing reports, promotional brochures, catalogs, ephemera, photographs, and newspaper clippings.  This supplementary material provides background on the use of the programs as platforms for commercial advertising targeted specifically, and for the first time at a fledgling (and largely female) U.S. pan-Hispanic audience.  These popular programs have not been heard since their original release in the 1960s, and they provide important insights on the rise of the U.S. Spanish-language media, the construction of a U.S. Hispanic audience and feminist media criticism in particular, as well as the history of Spanish and Latin American radio and advertising, popular culture and performing arts in the post-1959 Cuban diaspora, among many other topics.
 
Bringing Back the Soaps will be freely available worldwide as part of the Tulane Digital Library and will afford a unique resource for the study of the political, cultural, and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba via public broadcasting during the pivotal Cold War era.  A sampling of materials from the Radionovelas Collection is available via the Tulane Digital Library at http://digitallibrary.tulane.edu/islandora/object/tulane:radionovelas
 
Congratulations to Hortensia Calvo, Chris Hernandez, and Jeff Rubin, principal investigators, and many thanks to the many others who have helped to prepare the proposal.  This was a true team effort!
 
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. To learn more, visit www.clir.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  The Digitizing Hidden Collections grant is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.