|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
The material is arranged chronologically.
The collection contains research materials, notes, and manuscripts of several short stories and six novels written by Hijuelos between 1974 and 2003. The research materials consist of clippings and photocopies of articles, photographs, and drawings from newspapers, magazines, and books; print-outs of articles from the Internet; and musical lyrics and an album liner. Typed drafts of some of the stories and all of the novels include extensive notes and revisions from Hijuelos and his teachers (Susan Sontag and Donald Barthelme) and editors (Jonathan Galassi of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, among others); multiple galley proofs of the novels include editorial queries and corrections. The musical version of The Mambo Kings contains correspondence between Hijuelos and director Arne Glimcher. The collection also contains a small amount of personal and professional correspondence, a deposition by Hijuelos relating to a lawsuit brought against him in 1992, and a copy of an interview with Hijuelos.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Oscar Hijuelos papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Anne Diebel, GSAS 2012.
2009-09-16 File created.
2009-10-05 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Oscar Hijuelos was born to Cuban immigrants in 1951 in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. He attended public schools and then Bronx Community College; he later enrolled at The City College of New York and received a B.A. in 1975 and an M.F.A. in 1976. As a graduate student in writing, he worked with Donald Barthelme and Susan Sontag.
After completing his studies, Hijuelos earned his living by working during the day in an advertising agency. Before and after hours, he wrote short stories and started writing his first novel, Our House in the Last World. He soon gained recognition for his work: a group of his stories was included in the 1978 anthology Best of Pushcart Press III, and he won a scholarship to the prestigious Breadloaf Writers Conference in Vermont in 1980. His debut novel garnered several awards--The American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Ingram-Merrill fellowship. These grants allowed Hijuelos to leave his advertising job and devote himself to writing fiction. During his 1985 writing residency in Rome, Hijuelos started writing The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, which was published in 1989 and won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1990--the first novel by a Latino writer to win the prize. Arne Glimcher adapted the novel into the feature film The Mambo Kings in 1992 and, in collaboration with Carlos Franzetti, a stage musical in 2005.
Since the enormous success of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Hijuelos has written five novels, all of which depict the lives of Cuban-born or Cuban-descended characters living in the United States: The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien (1993), Mr. Ives' Christmas (1995), Empress of the Splendid Season (1999), A Simple Habana Melody (2002), and Dark Dude (2008). Hijuelos has also contributed to several anthologies of Latino literature. He has taught at Hofstra University and currently teaches creative writing at Duke University. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.