Collection CHC0554 - Mariana Avilés Collection

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Mariana Avilés Collection


  • 1850-1964 (Creation)


5 Boxes

Name of creator

Biographical history

María Antonia Avilés Casanova was born in Cuba in 1912. She was a daughter of José M. Avilés and Rosa Casanova, aristocratic and wealthy family of Cienfuegos, Cuba. Later, the family relocated to Havana.

Her mother, Rosa Casanova Avilés fluently spoke English, French and Spanish. She raised her family in a bilingual environment. One of her children, Marianita, as everybody used to call her, spoke English and Spanish too. She graduated from Ruston Academy, in Havana during the 40s. Marianita liked to do art work, and her brother José liked to do art work as well. They liked music and all related to the art world. they were artists. Some of their works are listed in this collection. After she graduated from Ruston Academy, Marianita started to work in some libraries in Havana and then as a hostess at the Hilton Hotel.

Marianita never got married. As well as many Cubans, she left Cuba when Fidel Castro seized the power in Cuba in 1959. She landed at Miami International Airport during the 60s as a Cuban exile and immediately she started to work at the Archdioceses of Miami. Marianita was the assistant of Monsignor Orlando Fernández at Saint Francis of Sales, Miami Beach, Florida, and later, she worked for the Youth Center. She was a deeply religious person. She was involved in several activities related with the church. She also worked with Archbishop Edward McCarthy and Monsignor Bryan Walsh, helping the children who arrived from Cuba during 1960.

Marianita lived serving and helping people. She spent her last years in Miami, Florida where she died in 1997.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The papers consist of manuscripts of musical scores, photographs of Avilés family, scrapbooks, drawings and memorabilia of Avilés family. The drawings, in particular, exhibit artistic aptitudes of John and Mariana Avilés.  Of note, is the collection of daguerreotypes and photographs from 19th and early 20th century of Avilés family.

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Conditions governing access

This collection is open for research.

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Conditions governing reproduction

Requests to publish or display materials from this collection require written permission from the rights owner. Please, contact for more information.

Languages of the material

  • English
  • Spanish

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Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of José Luis Menéndez, 1998.

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