UON_Cuba book2

Extremely rare collection of Cuban archive opens to the public

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

A unique and fascinating historical collection of books, posters, films, newspapers and journals from Cuba has opened to the public at the University of Nottingham.

The Hennessy Collection features thousands of Cuban books, including publications in many disciplines that aren’t publicly accessible anywhere else in the world outside Cuba. It also houses Europe’s largest collection of Cuban newspapers, popular magazines and journals, including extensive runs of Noticias de Hoy, Revolución, Bohemia, Granma, Verde Olivo and Pensamiento Critico, which document key political moments in Cuban history such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis. Film posters and rare film manuscripts, featuring original handwritten notations by Directors and film makers, are also available. In addition to the print items, the collection contains documentary and feature films from 1960’s Cuba onwards, including the entire body of reporting by the late US video journalist, Lionel Martin, who moved to Cuba at the beginning of the 1960’s and got to know Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others who played key roles in the Cuban revolution.

The Hennessy Collection is unique because it’s the only publicly accessible open-shelf collection of Cuban resources in the world, available for browsing. It is also the only collection outside the Americas with holdings of many Cuban newspapers, books and journals published after 1959.

The Hennessy Collection is an invaluable resource in several ways: most crucially, it allows us to access information from Cuba about is own reality, and this is especially important at a time where stereotypical and simplistic views of Cuba persist. Indeed, the Collection is a unique space for scholars and Cuba followers to gain a complex view of Cuban and world events since 1959.
Professor Parvathi Kumaraswami, Director of the Centre for Research on Cuba

The Hennessy Collection has drawn the attention of several senior Cuban public figures. In 2004, Fidel Castro’s son, Dr Fidel Castro Balart, saw the collection in person during his visit to the University of Nottingham. More recently, the collection has been visited by the Cuban Deputy Minister of Culture, Kenelma Carvajal, and Cuban musicians Ariel Barreiros, Tania Haase and Rodrigo García. The collection is also visited each year by external international researchers from countries such as Australia, Spain, Germany, Ireland and France.

The collection was donated by Alistair Hennessy, who was a Professor in the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick and an expert in the study of Cuba. Over the years, it has grown thanks to donations from Cuban Studies scholars, artists and journalists. Since 2020, over 2000 additional items have been donated to the collection, which has now been relaunched at the university.

The Hennessy Collection continues to be a jewel for the University of Nottingham, attracting researchers at all levels who can browse and find materials that cast new light on their area of interest. We are delighted to celebrate the continuing growth of the resources thanks to a series of generous donations from Cubanists and their families.
Antoni Kapcia, Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Research on Cuba

The Hennessy Collection is located at University of Nottingham’s Centre for Research on Cuba. The centre is home to a dedicated, world-leading research group that is committed to building greater academic and public knowledge of modern and contemporary Cuba. To make the collection even more accessible, the team is in the process of digitising the collection, which continues to expand and will soon feature an oral history audio file section.

Hannah Severyn - Media Relations Manager
Phone: 0115 748 5635
Location: University Park

Notes to editors:

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