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Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Manuscripts, 1995-2012
Series III: Correspondence and Professional Files
Series V: Audiovisual Materials, circa, 1900s-2000s
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in seven series and several subseries.
Scope and Content
Rosario Ferré (1938-2016) was a Puerto Rican writer, poet, and essayist who wrote in both the Spanish and English languages. The collection includes audiovisual materials, computer files, correspondence, journals, manuscripts, memorabilia, notebooks, proofs, typescripts, photographs, professional files, and publications. While the papers span the whole of Ferré's professional career, documentation is most comprehensive for 1990-2005.
The collection contains typescripts and proofs for several of Ferré's works, particularly for The House on the Lagoon / La casa de la laguna, Eccentric Neighborhoods / Vecindarios excéntricos, Flight of the Swan / Vuelo del cisnei, and Language Duel / Duelo del lenguaje. There are also typescripts and proofs for Memoria and In the Shadow of Your Name / a la sombra de tu nombre. These materials are filed in Series I: Manuscripts. Other typescripts, particularly for articles, essays, and poetry, are mixed in with the professional files in Series III: Correspondence and Professional Files, are related materials such as correspondence, clippings, event information, publicity, and reviews. Published editions of many of Ferré's works are filed in Series II: Published Works, and Series III: Correspondence and Professional Files.
The collection is also rich in journals, notes, and notebooks. These are primarily filed in Series IV: Journals, Notes, and Notebooks. These materials include academic notebooks, background materials, class notes, journals, notes, research materials and research papers.
The collection includes some correspondence, filed in Series III: Correspondence and Professional Files. The series includes three files of general literary correspondence, and other correspondence is filed by subject with related materials. Original correspondence related to Zona de carga y descarga is in a separate collection at Princeton University, but photocopies of this correspondence is available in this collection in Subseries III.2: Classified Files.
The collection also includes audiovisual materials and memorabilia. The collection includes audiocassettes, videocassettes, and DVDs containing recordings of conferences, interviews, lectures, and programs featuring Ferré. In addition, there is a rich collection of photographs, including childhood, family, and professional photographs that cover Ferré's life and career.
There is a large amount of digital material in the collection: approximately 200 disks and one portable drive. Individual digital files were not examined during processing: information on the contents of the disks was gathered from the existing labels and is included in the container list for Series VII: Digital Materials.
The collection material is in both Spanish and English. Where existing titles are in Spanish, the Spanish titles are used in the container lists.
Ferré used an alphanumeric numbering system for filing many manuscripts, professional files, and computer disks, however, no key to the system was found with the papers. These are designated as "Classified Files" in the finding aid, and the system is described more fully for the files in Series I, III, and VII.
A complete set of nine issues of Zona de carga y descarga was separately cataloged from this collection and is available for use through the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Library does not hold the index to Zona, but there is an index available at Princeton University.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions, but digital materials are not fully processed and may not be available for research use; please contact the library in advance if you are interested in using materials in Series VII.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Rosario Ferré Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
No additional material is expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed by Catherine C. Ricciardi 2015.
Finding aid written by Catherine C. Ricciardi October 2015.
2015-10-27 File created.
2015-11-15 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2016-03-01 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2016-03-21 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Rosario Ferré was born on September 28, 1938 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the daughter of Luis A. Ferré and Lorenza Ramírez de Arellano. Her family was one of Puerto Rico's wealthiest. Her father was the founder of the New Progressive Party and the third elected Governor of Puerto Rico (1969-1972), and he also owned one of Puerto Rico's largest businesses. Ferré was prominently involved in Puerto Rican politics and culture and many of her works dealt with class struggles, politics, and the role of women in Puerto Rican society.
Ferré's early education was at Roman Catholic schools in Puerto Rico; she attended Colegio Ponceño de Varones and Colegio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. In 1951, she went to Wellesley, Massachusetts to study at Dana Hall School, and graduated in 1956. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Manhattanville College in 1960, and obtained a master's degree and a doctorate in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Puerto Rico, where she studied with Mario Margas Llosa, and the University of Maryland, respectively, in 1985 and 1987.
Ferré was married shortly after finishing college to Benigno Trigo González, and they had three children. This marriage ended in divorce after ten years. After the death of her mother in 1970, Ferré fulfilled the duties of First Lady until the end of her father's term as governor in 1972. It was also during this period that Ferré also decided to pursue graduate studies in literature.
Ferré began writing in 1970, when was studying for her master's degree at the University of Puerto Rico. With the support of one of her professors, Angel Rama, and other students, she began publishing and editing a magazine called, Zona de carga y descarga, which published the work of young Puerto Rican writers. The first issue of the journal appeared in September 1972, and the last and ninth issue was published in June 1975. From 1977 to 1980 she wrote a column of literary criticism in the Puerto Rican newspaper, El Mundo, called "Carga y Descarga."
In 1976, she published her first book of short stories, Papeles de Pandora, in 1978, a book of fables, El medio pollito, and in 1981, a book of children's stories, La mona que le pisaron la cola and Los cuentos de Juan Bobo.
Ferré's first book of poetry, Fábulas de la garza desangrada, was published in 1982. Additional works of poetry are Las dos Venecias. Poemas y cuentos (1992), which also includes short stories, and Language Duel / Duelo del lenguaje (2003).
She also published essays and literary criticism, including a book of feminist essays, Sitio a Eros (1980), El acomodador, una lectura fantástica de Felisberto Hernández (1986), a book of literary essays, El árbol y sus sombras (1990), El coloquio de las Perras (1991), a book on Julio Cortázar's short stories, El romántico en su observatorio (1991), A la sombra de tu nombre, (2001), and Las Puertas del Placer (2005).
She wrote two works of biography and memoir: Memorias de Ponce, a biography of her father, Luis A. Ferré (1992) and Memoria (2012), a memoir.
Ferré also wrote several novellas and novels. Her first was Maldito Amor (1987), translated into English as Sweet Diamond Dust, and her second, La batalla de las virgenes (The Battle of the Virgins) (1993). After her second novel, Ferré opted to write directly in English, which was viewed as controversial, and disappointing to Puerto Ricans who viewed this as a betrayal. However, the resulting novel House on the Lagoon (1995) was successful, and was nominated for a National Book Award. She also wrote other novels in English, including Eccentric Neighborhoods (Vecindarios excéntrico s) (1998), Flight of the Swan (El vuelo del cisne) (2001), and Lazos de sangre (2010).
Ferré taught at several universities including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California in Berkeley, and the University of Puerto Rico. In addition to her writing and teaching work, Ferré was involved with the Ponce Museum of Art, founded by her father in 1965, and her family's business, the Puerto Rican Cement Company.
Ferré died on February 18, 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.