Collection CHC5176 - Héctor Santiago Papers

Open original Digital object

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Héctor Santiago Papers


  • 1958-2002 (Creation)


7 Boxes

Name of creator

Biographical history

Héctor Santiago Armenteros Ruiz is a versatile artist who was involved in theater in Cuba, before and after the Cuban Revolution, and in the United States. He worked as an actor, playwright, director, choreographer, dancer, and puppeteer.  Santiago was born in Havana, Cuba in 1944. He graduated from the Cuban National Dramatist School after studying literature at the University of Havana. In 1959, he co-founded the Children’s Theatrical Movement in Cuba. The writer Virgilio Piñera was his intimate friend and his literature professor throughout those active years.

In 1965, Santiago was accused of antisocial behavior.  Five years later he was arrested and his literary works seized by the government.  The artist was sentenced to three years service in UMAP (Military Units to Aid Production), which was a type of Cuban forced labor camp where political dissidents were made to work in inhumane conditions.  In 1979, he left Cuba for Spain.  Santiago was eventually able to move to New York, where he resides today.

Santiago has been active in promoting HIV awareness in New York City.  He has shown a strong desire to portray the social and human impacts of the disease, as it was a theme in his plays throughout the 1980s.  He once said, “As a human being, I have tried to bring light to these dark times and unflaggingly struggled so that man does not become man’s wolf.”

Many of his plays have been performed in Cuba and in the United States.  His short stories, essays, and plays have been published and translated into English, French and Catalan. His play Vida y Pasión de la Peregrina (Life and Passion of the Pilgrim) was the winner of the Golden Letters Award from the University of Florida, and the world premiere took place during the Miami International Theatre Festival in 1998.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Héctor Santiago Papers collection includes only part of his literary anthology, with future additions expected. The Papers include scripts, essays, short stories, reviews, clippings, and theater programs.  Additionally, the collection contains personal and professional correspondence, interviews, awards, and financial records. Some scripts and stories written by Santiago in 1960s were excavated from the ground beneath a tree in Cuba where they had been buried for more than 20 years.  In order to preserve these original typescripts, photocopies have been made for perusal.  Also of interest is a group of letters written by Santiago’s fellow prisoners in UMAP.

System of arrangement

The Héctor Santiago Papers are organized into two series described in the "Finding Aid/Inventory" section of this guide. A detailed container list is available in the "Container List (PDF)" field.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open for research.

Physical access

Due to the fragile condition of originals, selected manuscript playscripts and stories written by Santiago in 1960s are only available for use as photocopies.

Technical access

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

  • Spanish

Scripts of the material

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Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of Héctor Santiago, 2006. A second donation of materials was received in 2016.

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Selected materials from this collection have been digitized.

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General note

Other Information:

Sponsor Note:

This collection processed with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

Rights Statement:

The text of this webpage is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).

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107.2 KiB


May 18, 2018 6:23 PM

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