Collection CHC5269 - Herminio Portell Vilá Papers

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Herminio Portell Vilá Papers


  • 1960s-1990s (Creation)


36 Linear Feet

Name of creator

Biographical history

Herminio Portell Vilá was a prolific writer and scholar. He was born in Cárdenas, Cuba, in 1901 and died in Miami, Florida, in 1992. He earned a law degree at the University of Havana in 1927 and a degree in philosophy in 1934. He was a Guggenheim fellow from 1931–1933. He was professor of history and military history in Cuba, and during the 1930s he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; University of Florida; and at Black Mountain College. He also gave lectures at the University of Chicago, George Washington University, the National War College, the Inter-American Defense College, the U.S. Army War College, and the Foreign Service Institute in Washington D.C. Portell Vilá also served as the Latin American Radio Editor for the American Security Council (1967–1982) and writer/editor for The Voice of America and Radio Free Americas, which broadcasts information services to Latin America. As a writer, he wrote more than twenty books about Cuban history and published articles for several magazines such as Bohemia Libre. Even into his late eighties, Portell Vilá was participating in two daily radio programs on international affairs, publishing articles, and giving lectures around the country.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Herminio Portell Vilá Papers (1901-1992) include research writings, bibliographic notes, and clippings about events in Cuba and Latin America during his exile time in the United States (1960-1992) . Materials also consist of radio transcripts, audio materials of radio programs, memorabilia and correspondence of the Cuban historian and scholar Herminio Portell Vilá.  His primary research interests focused on early U.S.-Cuban relations, but his papers also include materials about those relations in the 20th century and revolutionary Cuba.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged into five series: series 1 contains radio scripts; series 2 contains pamphlets, clippings and articles; series 3 contains correspondence; series 4 contains photographs, postcards, diaries, notes, memorabilia, and series 5 contains audio materials.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open for research.

Physical access

This collection is housed off-campus and must be requested a minimum of seven calendar days in advanced for consultation in the Cuban Heritage Collection Reading Room.

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

  • English
  • Spanish

Scripts of the material

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Custodial history

On Herminio Portell-Vilá's death in 1992, his papers passed into the hands of his assistant Dania Ferguson.  She donated the materials to the Cuban Heritage Collection in 2010.

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Other Information:

Sponsor Note: Funding to ship this collection from Washington, D.C. to the University of Miami was generously provided by The Goizueta Foundation.

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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