The Society of American Archivists (SAA) Foundation awarded the University of Houston’s (UH) Arte Público Press a Strategic Growth grant to support a Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) community archiving event to preserve local US Latino history. Through this activity, community members will learn how to preserve their archives, be able to scan items on site, learn how to donate their collections (post-custodial or otherwise) and browse a pop-up exhibit that showcases local collections and digital projects.
This event builds on previous public activities, such as “Nuestra Historia: Alonso S. Perales Exhibit” (2019) and Community Archiving Day (2022). The latter resulted in the preservation of 7 family collections and the start of a community map that documents the presence of historical Latino business in Houston. “During Community Archiving Day, we made valuable connections in the neighborhood, feedback was positive, our students experienced community engagement firsthand, and we put our logistics and planning to the test,” said Recovery archivist, Mikaela Selley.
The SAA award will allow Recovery to reach a larger audience and continue its mission to preserve, locate and make available the Latino culture in the United States. Previous events were supported by Arte Público Press; the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 60; and Rare Book School-The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage. “Archives have a responsibility to collaborate with their communities to preserve local history. Through these community outreach events, UH students at the US Latino Digital Humanities Center (USLDH) and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program have a unique opportunity to engage with knowledge creators and learn ways to work ethically with community members,” said Carolina Villarroel, the Brown Foundation Director of Research for Recovery.
Recovery was founded over 30 years ago by a group of leading scholars, librarians and archivists from the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain, and is dedicated to researching, locating, preserving and making available all literary-historical documents produced by Hispanics/Latinos living in the United States from the Colonial Period to 1980. Together with UH, Recovery has been at the forefront of providing opportunities for inclusion of Latino discourses in all aspects of US life (culture, literature, history, religion, gender, etc.).
The SAA Foundation is the nation’s leading source of nonprofit funding dedicated to the interests of archives and archivists. Its Strategic Growth Fund supports the Foundation’s strategic priorities, including professional and public education, publications, research, the SAA Awards Program and general operations of the SAA Foundation.