In search of New York’s Dominican Legacy
NY.- Earlier this year, the CUNY Dominican StudiesInstitute (CUNY DSI) Archives was awarded a grant of $21,191 from the New YorkState Archives Documentary Heritage Program (DHP). The grant was secured toconduct an archives survey to identify, collect, preserve, and provide accessto archival materials generated by the New York Dominican population. The goalis to acquire 300 cubic feet of new archival material.
This project is directed by CUNY DSI’s Chief Archivist,Idilio Gracia Peña, and it is supervised by CUNY DSI Archivist, Jessy Pérez.The Survey Archivist is Rene Cordero, who holds a masters from the Departmentof History of the City College of New York and is currently seeking Ph.D programsin Latin American History. Mr. Cordero is very happy to work with the projectand states, “As a history student, I find that working in this project is anextraordinary opportunity for me receive hands-on experience with acquiringmaterial history of people. Working on this project at the Dominican Archiveswill strengthen my application for graduate programs.” Teresa Gómez is theAssistant Survey Archivist for the project.
The project team seeks to gather historical materials suchas correspondence, reports and minutes of meetings relating to political,social, cultural and educational activities, and immigration issues; familyhistory and community events; photographs of storefronts and street scenes,community activities, and family events such as family outings, communions,baptisms and marriages; newspaper clippings related to personal activities,organizations or business events; publications including newspapers, magazines,posters or pamphlets; and any other historical materials generated by Dominicanorganizations and individuals in connection with their lives and activities.
During the first phase of the project, the Survey Archivistand Assistant Survey Archivist concentrated their efforts in upgrading thedonors list created by the archives staff prior to the beginning of theproject. The project team collected a final survey list consisting of 141donors’ mailing addresses and 193 emails for a total of 334 prospectivecollections. After sending the initial survey letters and flyers that describedthe project and detailed the types of archival materials that the Archives isinterested in accessioning, the team contacted prospective donors by telephoneand/or email in order to visit them and survey their archival materials. TheSurvey Archivist and the Assistant Survey Archivist have already interviewedclose to two dozen donors and accessioned six new collections containingapproximately 135 cubic feet of archival materials.
The project team will continue to work aggressively tocontact all potential donors identified in the list; conduct more in-personand/or telephone interviews; seek interviewee’s assistance in locating otherarchival collections, and complete the survey within the timeframe required bythe New York State Archives DHP.