Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Jack Agueros papers, 1914-2012, bulk 1961-2012

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection documents the life of Jack Agüeros, a Puerto Rican-American poet, community activist, translator, playwright, educator and a former director of El Museo del Barrio.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1620
Bib ID 9462077 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Agüeros, Jack, 1934-2014
Title Jack Agueros papers, 1914-2012, bulk 1961-2012
Physical Description 22 linear feet (17 record cartons and 2 document boxes)
Language(s) Material is in English, Spanish, Japanese, and French.
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.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into nine series: Series I: Personal Papers, 1947-2012 Series II: El Museo Del Barrio, 1960-2003 Subseries II.1: El Museo Del Barrio, 1960-2003 Subseries II.2: Bess Myerson, 1986-1988 Series III: Correspondence, 1978-2006 Series IV: Writing, 1961-2009 Subseries IV.1: Joaquin Ruben Agueros Poems, 1961-1967 Subseries IV.2: Non-Fiction, 1962-2004 Subseries IV.3: Poetry, 1961-2006 Subseries IV.4: Unfinished Works, Writing Exercises and Notes, 1997-2003 Subseries IV.5: Fiction, 1991-2003 Subseries IV.6: Plays and Movies, 1970-2005 Subseries IV.7: Work for Children, 1974-2002 Subseries IV.8: Press and Publishing Papers, 1967-2009 Series V: Work by Other Writers, 1985-2005 Series VI: Translation Work--Plays, 1988-1995 Series VII: Julia de Burgos, Translation Work and Research, 1914-2008 Series VIII: Jose Marti, Translation Work and Research, 1996-2005 Series IX: Tools, 1982-2002.

Description

Summary

The Jack Agueros Papers span the wide breath of Agueros's life and work. Reaching as far back as his high school yearbook this collection includes his personal and professional correspondence over fifty-one years, drafts of published and unpublished work ranging from plays and novellas to a description of Agueros's experiences riding the New York City subway's from 1987-1989. Agueros saved and documented his research (for poems translation work and lawsuits); he framed his hate mail and carefully stored his fan mail from students and fellow poets. The Jack Agueros Papers include artifacts from his collection of old tools and metal findings, detailed records of his submission rejections as well as copies of his accepted works, timelines and ephemera from his many readings, slides from gallery installations at El Museo del Barrio, and many of the articles that he wrote for New York newspapers.

  • Series I: Personal Papers

    This series includes legal documents, family genealogy, appearance, work and educational chronologies, magazine subscriptions, personal photographs, papers from Hunter College, a biography by Martin Espada, and a draft of Agüeros's "Testimony on the Creative Process."

  • Series II: El Museo Del Barrio

    This series is organized into two subseries: El Museo Del Barrio and Bess Myerson.

  • Series III: Correspondence

    This series is organized chronologically by date, excluding the first folder which contains correspondence between Jack Agüeros and his family members. Included in this series are letters, cards and printouts of emails.

  • Series IV: Writing

    This series is organized into eight subseries: Joaquin Ruben Agüeros Poems; Non-Fiction; Poetry; Unfinished Works, Writing Exercises and Notes; Fiction; Plays and Movies; Work for Children, and Press and Publishing Papers.

  • Series V: Work by Other Writers

    Included in this series are manuscripts, scripts, papers and poems by writers other than Jack Agüeros. Works are organized by writer.

  • Series VI: Translation Work-Plays

    This series contains materials related to Jack Agüeros's work as a script translator. This series includes translated and un-translated scripts, press materials, playbills and audio-visual recordings. This series is organized by project.

  • Series VII: Julia de Burgos, Translation Work and Research

    This series includes working copies, notes drafts and published copies The Song of Simple Truth, a collection of Julia de Burgos's poetry translated by Agüeros. They have been organized into binders. Research materials, photographs, government files, materials requests and correspondence related to Jack Agüeros's research of Julia de Burgos's life and work, as well as a recording of one of Julia de Burgos's readings, are also included in this series.

  • Series VIII: José Martí, Translation Work and Research

    Included in this series are books, research, correspondence, translations, drafts and notes related to Jack Agüeros's translation of José Martí's complete works entitled Come, Come-My Boiling Blood: The Complete Poems of José Martí.

  • Series IX: Tools

    Materials in this series are related to Jack Agüeros's tool collection. His collection index is organized alphabetically and issues of Fine Tool Journal are organized chronologically.

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.

This collection has no restrictions.

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Jack Agueros 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

Processing Information

Papers processed Carolyn Li-Madeo, Pratt Institute, 2014 2013.

Finding aid written Carolyn Li-Madeo February 2013.

Revision Description

2013-06-27 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

2015-01-06 xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Agüeros, Jack, 1934-2014 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American drama -- Puerto Rican authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American fiction -- Puerto Rican authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American poetry -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American poetry -- Puerto Rican authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Burgos, Julia de, 1914-1953 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's plays, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's theater Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Japanese drama -- Translations into English Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Martí, José, 1853-1895 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Myerson, Bess Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
One-act plays, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poetry, Modern Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political plays, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Spanish American poetry -- Translations into English Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Spanish poetry -- Translations into English Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Subways -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Television scripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Jack Agüeros (1934-2014) is a Puerto Rican-American poet, community activist, playwright, educator and a former director of El Museo del Barrio. He is the author of a collection of short stories and three collections of poetry. Jack Agüeros's work across all mediums celebrates and highlights the complexities and struggles of the Puerto Rican American experience and more broadly the American experience. His poems typically implement traditional forms such as psalms and sonnets through which he explores subjects such as poverty, injustice and immigration. A prolific translator, during his career he translated numerous plays from Spanish to English as well as the complete works of the influential poets Julia de Burgos and Jose Marti.

Agüeros was born in East Harlem, New York to recent Puerto Rican immigrants. His father Joaquin Agüeros was a merchant marine and his mother Carmen Diaz worked as a seamstress. Jack Agüeros graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in 1953 and then spent four years in the Air Force where he became a guided missile instructor. After leaving the Air Force, he continued his education at Brooklyn College where he graduated with a BA in English in 1964 and later pursued a MA in Urban Studies from Occidental College, graduating 1970. Agüeros was introduced to the sonnet in high school, but it was during his time at Brooklyn College that he began to receive recognition for his playwriting and poetry. In May 2012 he received The Asan World Prize for Poetry.

As a community member and activist, Jack Agüeros is celebrated for his time spent as the director of El Museo del Barrio--which collects Latin American and Caribbean art--where he helped to build the museum's permanent collection and implemented a series of gallery expansions. He was an organizer for the Henry Street Settlement, the deputy director of the Puerto Rican Community Development Project and the deputy commissioner of New York City's Community Development Agency, where in 1968 he staged a five-day hunger strike in his office to protest the lack of Puerto Ricans in New York City government. Throughout his career Agüeros was also a regular guest poet at primary and secondary schools across the United States. As dedicated father, storyteller and educator he wrote carefully crafted picture books and plays for young people that addressed complex issues such as cultural heritage and environmentalism. Agüeros is also celebrated for his broadcasting work for Sesame Street and WNBC-TV Channel 4. Agüeros's written, visual and scholastic work encourages children to be inquisitive, thoughtful and proud of their personal identities.

Jack Agüeros died in Manhattan on May 4, 2014, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.