Cuba Materials in the Bureau of Insular Affairs Library
For the better part of the last several decades, scholars in the United States researching late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Cuba have worked under several handicaps. First and foremost, the richest collections of Cuban materials--in Cuba--are beyond easy access. The circumstances that make Cuba the subject of intense interest also place the vast corpus of sources vital to the study of the island beyond the reach of the average researcher in the United States. Researchers have had to endure a general paucity of sources and are forced to work on Cuban history from incomplete and fragmentary materials scattered in archives, libraries, and manuscript collections across the country.
The task of uncovering new depositories and adding new materials to the holdings presently available in the United States thus becomes an enterprise of considerable importance. Thus the Cuba materials in the Bureau of Insular Affairs (BIA) Library at the U.S. National Archives offer the researcher an important but little-worked collection. In comparison with other libraries noted for Cuban holdings, the BIA collection is modest.1 What it lacks in breadth, however, it makes up in depth, particularly in the materials spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially those years during the U.S. military occupation between 1898 and 1902.
The following list serves as an inventory of the BIA Cuba holdings.