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Sandra Cisneros

A Guide to the Sandra Cisneros Papers, 1954-2014

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Descriptive Summary:

Creator: Sandra Cisneros

Title: The Sandra Cisneros Papers

Dates: 1954-2014

Abstract: The Sandra Cisneros Papers span 1954-2014 and are divided into twenty-seven series that document her entire life and literary career up until the archives acquisition in 2015. The bulk of the archive consists of Cisneros’ writings, correspondence, photographs, publicity, and letters from readers. Many other aspects of her career are represented through professional papers, publishing, awards, and organizational affiliations such as the Alfred Cisneros del Moral Foundation, the Macondo Foundation, and Los MacArturos. The 1997-1998 controversy over her purple house in San Antonio is also well documented.

Identification: Collection 123

Extent: 305 boxes plus artifacts and framed items; (approx. 230 linear feet)

Language: English, Spanish, French

Repository: The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University

Administrative Information:

Access Restrictions: Some letters have been separated into a “restricted” series. There will be no access to this material until 2067 unless the restriction is lifted before then. Additionally, access to computer files and some audio and video are on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the archives staff for information about access.

Preferred Citation: Sandra Cisneros Papers, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University

Acquisition Information: Purchase, 2015

Processing Information: Processed in 2017 by Katie Salzmann, with assistance from Elizabeth Moeller, Madelyn Patlan, Carol Alvarez, and Audrey Johnston

Sandra Cisneros Timeline:

1954    Born December 20 in Chicago to upholsterer Alfredo Cisneros de Moral and Elvira Cordero Anguiano. She is the third of seven children, and their only daughter. The family lives at 4006 W. Gladys and then later on W. 63rd in Chicago.

1960-1966  Attends Delano Elementary School and later Hefferon. Family moves to 2152  W. Roosevelt Rd (3rd floor). Attends 2nd grade and part of 3rd grade at St. Mel-Holy Ghost, before transferring to Sr. Calistus until mid-6th grade.

1966    Family makes a down-payment on their own home at 1525 N. Campbell St. in Humboldt Park, a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood on Chicago's West Side. Attends St. Aloysius for 6th – 8th grades.

1968-1972  Attends Josephinum Academy, a small Catholic all-girls high school where she writes poetry and is the editor for NOW, the school’s literary magazine. Graduates in 1972

1976    BA from Loyola University (English): 1972-1976 where some early poetry is published in the literary journal Cadence.

1978    MFA from University of Iowa (Creative Writing): 1976-1978. Thesis is a collection of “Rodrigo Poems” later published as My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Begins writing The House on Mango Street

1978  Returns to Chicago and continues working on Mango Street.

1978-1980  Instructor of Spanish, English, Creative Writing at Latino Youth Alternative High School, Chicago, an alternative school for dropouts who return to finish their education. Also coordinates the school newspaper; compiles Un Veranzo, a journal of student writing, and writes grant proposals for the literary arts component of the school. Serves as Interim Director, March-September, 1980.

1979-1982  Artist-in-Residence, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago. Teaches poetry workshops in schools throughout the state, from elementary to high school.

1980    Bad Boys is published (Mango Chicano Chapbook Series #8)

1981-1982  Assistant to the Director, Educational Opportunities Program, Loyola University. Recruiter and counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program, a program for disadvantaged  students.

1981  Receives the National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry

1982  Coordinates City Songs funded by the Chicago Council on the Fine Arts, 12-week community poetry workshop for adults.

1982    Associate Editor for Third Woman magazine, Indiana University, Bloomington

1982  Spends the summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts with Dennis Mathis who is helping to edit The House on Mango Street.

1982 Fall, leaves for Greece where she lives in Hydra until November 30. Finishes The House on Mango Street. Travels through Italy to Paris.

1983    Writer in Residence at Foundation Michael Karolyi in Vence, France through Spring. Heads back to Greece but it waylaid in Yugoslavia.

1983    Returns to the States. Lives in Elburn as nanny to a niece. Works at Loyola University Chicago as an administrative assistant

1984    The House on Mango Street is published (Arte Público Press)

1984    Moves to San Antonio. Lives in a garage apartment at 630 Mission Street

1984-1985   Literature director at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio. Coordinates monthly reading series with local and guest writers; teaches three creative writing workshops to children, teens, and adults; supervises a poetry-in-the-schools pilot program; interviews guest writers; wrote articles for the Center’s literary/arts journal, Tonzantzin; coordinates first annual Texas Small Press Book Fair.

1984    Receives an Illinois Artists Grant which allows her to finish her “Rodrigo Poems” which becomes My Wicked Wicked Ways.

1985    Creative Writing Instructor, Texas Lutheran College, Seguin, Texas [Spring]. Teaches a 3-week creative writing workshop during the winter-spring interim session

1985    Awarded the Texas Institute of Letters Dobie-Paisano Fellowship. The fellowship is a residency and she invites Loyola friend, Ted Dvoracek and then Jose Antonio Aguirre as roommates.

1985    The House on Mango Street wins the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award

1985    Antojitos (Arte Público Press) is published

1985    The Rodrigo Poems (Third Woman Press) is published

1986    Receives first and third prizes for the Second Annual Chicano Short Story Award from the University of Arizona

1986    Artist-in-the-Schools, San Antonio Independent School District. Teaches poetry to grades two through five

1986    Receives the Chicano Short Story Award from the University of Arizona

1986    Returns to Elburn, Illinois to work as a nanny

1987    My Wicked Wicked Ways (Third Woman Press) is published

1987    Returns to Austin. Boyfriend Rubén Guzman supports her for 8 months.

1987-1988   Guest professor, California State University, Chico. Moves to Chico with Rubén. Teaches two semesters including “Creative Writing.”

1988    Susan Bergholz becomes her agent.

1988    Receives her second National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships for fiction and poetry

1988    Guest professor as Roberta Holloway Lectureship at the University of California, Berkeley. Teaches “Advanced Fiction Writing,” and “Verse.”

1989    Second edition of House on Mango Street is published (Vintage Press)

1990    Guest professor at University of California, Irvine. Teaches “Chicana Writers,” and “Rediscovering the Short Story.”

1990    Guest professor at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Teaches “Gender and Literature / Ocho modo de sur / another way to be: Latina in the U.S.” and “Poor Excuses to Get Us Writing: a creative writing workshop”

1991    Woman Hollering Creek (Random House) is published

1991    Woman Hollering Creek is awarded the PEN Center West Award for Best Fiction of l99l, the Quality Paperback Book Club New Voices Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Lannan Foundation Literary Award, and was selected as a noteworthy book of the year by The New York Times and The American Library Journal, and nominated Best Book of Fiction for l99l by The Los Angeles Times.

1991    Guest professor at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Leads creative writing workshop, “Poems Tossed Under the Bed”

1993    Receives an honorary Doctor of Letters from the State University of New York at Purchase

1994    Loose Woman (Knopf) is published

1994    Hairs / Pelitos (Knopf) is published

1995    Receives the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and founds the Latino MacArthur Fellows -  Los MacArturos, into a reunion focusing on community outreach.

1996    Purchases her first home, a Victorian house at 735 Guenther Street in San Antonio’s historic King William District

1997-1998   Becomes embroiled in a legal battle with the San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission over her decision to paint her Guenther Street home purple.

1998    Founds the Macondo Foundation, an association of socially engaged writers that now makes its home at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio

2000    Founds the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation, a grant-giving institution serving Texas writers

2002    Caramelo (Knopf) is published

2002    Receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola University, Chicago

2003    Receives the Texas Medal of the Arts

2004    Vintage Cisneros is published

2005    Caramelo is awarded the Premio Napoli and is short-listed for the Dublin International IMPAC Award. It is also nominated for the Orange Prize in England

2006    The Macondo Foundation is officially incorporated

2011    Bravo Bruno! (La Nuova Frontiera) is published

2012    Have You Seen Marie? (Random House) is published

2015    A House of My Own: Stories from My Life (Knopf) is published

2015    Moves to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

2015    The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University acquires Sandra Cisneros’ archive

2015    Receives Fifth Star Award presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

2016    Receives the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.


Scope and Contents

The Sandra Cisneros Papers are divided into twenty-seven series and document her entire life and her literary career up until the archive acquisition in 2015. A description of each series begins on page 8. Below is an overview of the collection arrangement:

Series

Box(es)

 

 

I. Personal Papers

1-4

II. Family Papers

5-11

III. Diaries

12-15

IV. Notebooks and Journals

16-28

V. Professional Papers

29-36

VI. Writings – Notes

37

VII. Writings – Nonfiction

38-41

VIII. Writings – Poetry

42-44

IX. Writings – Short Stories

45-46

X. Writings – Monographs

 

     The House on Mango Street

47-48

     My Wicked Wicked Ways

49

     Woman Hollering Creek

50-54

     Loose Woman

55

     Caramelo

56-73

     A House of My Own

74-76

     Storybooks

77-78

XI. Performance Binders

79

XII. Computer Files

80

XIII. Publications

81-85

XIV. Writings about Cisneros

86-89

XV. Writings by Others

90-97

XVI. Correspondence

98-147

XVII. Business Records

148-160

XVIII. Photographs

161-217

XIX. Publicity

218-242

XX. Reader Correspondence

243-268

XXI. Purple House Files

269-274

XXII. Subject Files

275-283

XXIII. Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation

284-288

XXIV. Macondo Foundation

288-289

XXV. MacArturos

290-303

XXVI. Travel Files

304-306

XXVII. Artifacts and Framed Items

unboxed

XXVIII. Restricted Materials

307

Series Descriptions

Series I: Personal Papers, 1954-2014

Boxes 1-4

Personal Papers includes some general items such as her 1954 birth certificate, the bible presented to her by her parents in 1966, and some material she titled “Happy File” in the 1980s that contains letters, clippings, and other ephemera. The rest of the series is divided into three subseries: education; causes; and pets. The bulk of the material in education (boxes 1-2) spans her elementary school years through graduate school (1961-1979) and includes diplomas, report cards, yearbooks, and materials from Loyola University and the University of Iowa. Material relating to honorary degrees, State University of New York, Purchase (1993) and DePaul University (2014), can also be found in this series.

The subseries causes (boxes 3-4) documented Cisneros’ interest in civic and global issues. Included are letters she wrote to the editors of carious newspapers (1995-2013); materials relating to her appearance at the 1996 Democratic National Convention; peace proposals; and files relating to the San Antonio Public Library – and specifically, the need to include more Latino and Latina voices. Also included is a number of files relating to the war in Sarajevo in 1989 – a place that Cisneros visited in 1983-1984, and where she made a lasting friendship with Jasna Karaula.

The final subseries relates to Cisneros’ pets (box 4), and includes drawings, obituaries, and medical records (2003-2012).

Series II: Family Papers, 1856, 1887, 1964-2007

Boxes 5-11

Family Papers is divided into five subseries: Elvira Cisneros (mother); Alfredo Cisneros (father); genealogy; oversized family documents; and brothers and their families. The material relating to Cisneros’ mother (boxes 5-6), spans 1964-2007 and was kept by her mother until her death in 2007. It includes correspondence with Sandra from 1977-2007; various documents and ephemera; and condolence letters that Cisneros received after her mother’s death. Oversized clippings and newspaper articles that her mother collected are located in box 8.

The Alfredo Cisneros materials (boxes 6-7), span 1941-1949 and 1962-1997. It includes correspondence, military papers, obituaries, and condolence letters that Cisneros relieved after her father’s death in 1997.

The genealogy records (box 7) include documents relating to Enrique Cisneros del Moral (great-grandfather), and research on the Coredero family. Of note in this series is correspondence between Cisneros and her father’s cousin, Enrique Arteaga, about family history. Some oversized documents are housed in box 8.

The final subseries relates to Cisneros’ brothers and their families (boxes 9-11). It includes letters and greeting cards, as well as cards from nieces and nephews.

Series III: Diaries, 1967-2007

Boxes 12-15

This series includes 23 diaries spanning forty years (1967-2007). Arranged chronologically, they provide an insight into Cisneros’ daily activities and thoughts. Many of the diaries include drafts of poems or story ideas, including the 1982 diary from France and Italy with “Martita Te Recuerdo,” and the 1989-1990 diary from San Antonio with notes for “Eyes of Zapata” and “Lorenzo, Center of the Universe.” Many of the early diaries have laid-in items that include letters, notes, postcards, and photographs, including the 1983 diary from Greece and Chicago that includes a small photograph of Margarita Lopez Peres, a student at Latino Youth who served as a model for The House on Mango Street

Many of the diaries are only partially complete. See also series IV: Notebooks and Journals. Items were considered diaries if the entries were dated and appeared to be chronological; however, many notebooks also include notes on daily activities.

Series IV: Notebooks and Journals, 1979-2012

Boxes 16-28

Notebooks and Journals span 1979-2012 (boxes 16-22) and often overlap with the items in series III: Diaries. They include notes, story ideas, lists, addresses, and a number of other jottings by Cisneros. Some notable entries include notes and quotes concerning what poetry is while she was working as a counselor at Loyola University in Chicago in 1981; drafts and notes for poems and for The House on Mango Street in 1982; a list of stories for Mango Street in 1983; and notes from 1987 which Cisneros titled” The year of my near death.”

In addition to bound notebooks, the series includes calendars, guest books, addresses, and appointment calendars (boxes 22-28).

Series V: Professional Papers, 1978-2011

Boxes 29-36

Professional Papers document milestones in Cisneros’ employment history. The series is divided into four sub-series: Employment Records; Professional Appointments; Fellowships; and Awards, Certificates, and Proclamations. Employment Records (box 29) span 1982-2000 and include Vitas, professional biographies, and employment correspondence. Professional Appointments (boxes 29-34) represents a bulk of the series and documents numerous teaching positions Cisneros held from 1978-1993. Positions include those at Latino Youth Alternative High School, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Texas Lutheran University, California State University-Chico, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Irvine, University of Michigan, and University of New Mexico. Of note are various syllabi and readings Cisneros used for teaching. For example, at Irvine, she taught “Chicana Writers” and “Rediscovering the Short Story,” and at the University of Michigan there is material relating to “Gender and Literature,” “Latinas in the U.S.,” and “Poor Excuses to Get Us Writing: a creating writing workshop.”

Material relating to various fellowships is found in boxes 35-36: Included are correspondence, award letters, and other materials relating to The Paisano Fellowship in Austin, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacArthur Grant. And finally, numerous awards, certificates, and proclamations that Cisneros received are arranged chronologically, 1985-2011 in box 36. Of note is her 2003 Texas Medal of Arts award. Oversized awards are located in Oversized box 1.

Series VI: Writings – Notes

Box 37

The series Notes consists of loose pages and clippings for story ideas. Of particular interest are seven folders of “buttons” – often a single phrase or line, that Cisneros filed away as inspiration for potential poems or stories.

Series VII: Writings – Nonfiction, 1984-2014

Boxes 38-41

Cisneros’ nonfiction writings are arranged alphabetically and include speeches, editorials, and essays. Many were eventually published in anthologies or magazines. In cases when the date and location of a speech is known, that information is included in the listing. This series also contains interviews Cisneros conducted with other writers while working at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (box 41).

Series VIII: Writings – Poetry, 1972, 1976-2014

Boxes 42-44

Poetry is arranged into five sub-series: early poems; Europe poems; later poems; poems translated into Spanish; and unfinished poems. Early poems (box 42), span 1971-1986 and are arranged alphabetically. Many were originally housed in two black binders. The first binder contents are in folders 1-51 and were from Cisneros’ time at The University of Iowa. The second binder is in folder 53 and contains early poems, many later published in My Wicked Wicked Ways. Additional early poems not originally housed in one of the two binders are listed alphabetically (folders 54-66) and include high school poems. Also included are titles with numerous progressive drafts such as “New Year’s Eve,” and [untitled] “Christ! Don’t act as if you don’t know.”

Europe Poems (box 43) were originally housed together in one folder and date from Cisneros’ time abroad in Greece, 1982-1983. Some were later published in My Wicked Wicked Ways and Loose Woman. The poems are arranged alphabetically, with untitled poems and fragments at the end. 

Later Poems (boxes 43-44) span 1985-2014 and did not come in any original order. They are arranged alphabetically. Most poems are single drafts, but or insight into Cisneros’ revision process, there are eight progressive drafts of the 1995 poem “Morning After Tango.” The final two subseries, poems translated into Spanish and unfinished poems, are in box 44. Included is a 2014 folder titled “Poetry in Progress.”

Series IX: Writings – Short Stories, 1982-2012

Boxes 45-46

Short Stories span 1982-2012 and are arranged alphabetically. A number of stories were originally housed in a folder title “Antojitos collection,” dating from 1982-1987. These stories were kept together in box 45, folders 1-15. The rest of the short stories follow, and are also arranged alphabetically. Many include multiple drafts, with stories such as “Machu Pichu,” “Martita te Requerdo,” and “The Snow Queen,” a poem inspired by former San Antonio mayor, Henry Cisneros, comprising several folders. Also of interest in the short stories is “Solo Tú,” early material for “You Bring Out the Mexican in Me.”

Series X: Writings – Monographs, 1977-2014

Boxes 47-78

Monographs represent a significant portion of the archive and include material relating to each of Cisneros’ published books, as well as her children’s storybooks. The series is arranged chronologically according to publication date: The House on Mango Street (1984); My Wicked Wicked Ways (1987); Woman Hollering Creek (1991); Loose Woman (1994); Caramelo (2002); A House of My Own (2015). Storybook materials follow: Hairs/Pelitos (1994); Bravo Bruno (2011); Have You Seen Marie? (2012); Crybaby (unpublished).

The House on Mango Street (boxes 47-48) does not include any of the manuscript material from the 1984 Arte Público Press edition, but there is the original artwork for that book. And the series does include Cisneros’ original drafts from The University of Iowa. The bulk of the series relates to the 1990 Random House edition with proofs, and new introduction and “about the author” materials. Translations are also well represented, with a Spanish translation by Elena Poniatowska and Juan Ascencio, and a French translation by Claude Pouplard. Correspondence with French, Japanese and Spanish translators is also included.  The series also includes drafts of various film and theatrical adaptations.

Cisneros’ University of Iowa thesis forms the basis for My Wicked Wicked Ways (box 49), and the original near-complete thesis is at the heart of this series; however, a few pages are missing. One should see also material in Series VIII: Early Poetry (box 42). Also included are drafts of the book preface, proofs, and cover art samples.

Woman Hollering Creek (boxes 50-54) may have had the working title “The Sky Has Little Eyes,” as there are four folders so labeled in this series. That material was kept together in box 51, folders 2-8, with drafts of all of the stories arranged alphabetically beginning in box 51, folder 9. Nearly every story contains multiple drafts, some with translations, such as “Eleven,” “Eyes of Zapata,” “La Fabulosa, A Texas Operetta,” “Never Marry a Mexican,” “Tepeyac,” and “Woman Hollering Creek.” Additional translations of the entire book are in boxes 53 and 54, and adaptations of “Bien Pretty” and “Eleven” are in box 54. Of particular note is a 1986 letter from Cleao Solis, “the real inspiration for Woman Hollering Creek” (box 51, folder 1). The typewriter Cisneros used when writing this book is located in the Artifacts series.

The bulk of the material for Loose Woman (box 55) are the poems, arranged alphabetically. Many were originally housed in a folder titled “complete book.” Additional material includes proofs from Knopf, promotional displays, and Spanish translations by Paloma Zozaya and Marilar Aleixandre.

The largest subseries in Monographs is material relating to the writing and publication of Caramelo (boxes 56-73). Research, notes, chapter drafts, and book drafts document Cisneros’ writing process. Research files and notes provide evidence of the depth of research that went into the book, loosely based on her own family history. Included among the topics are immigration, Mexico, San Antonio, music, and war. Notes includes story development “road maps,” outlines, and files that Cisneros created on topics such as jealousy, Spanish syntax, and upholstery; the latter of which includes the poem “Martita,” annotated by Cisneros.

There was no discernable original order to the many loose drafts of each chapter, so they have been arranged in order of appearance in the published book. Every chapter is represented in these drafts with the exception of “Body Like a Raisinette,” “Zorro Strikes Again,” and “Becoming Invisible,” for which there were no loose drafts. Some chapters had alternate working titles, and if identified, those are housed with the later versions titled as in publication.

Partial early drafts of the Caramelo begin in box 62, and complete drafts in boxes 63-65. Setting copies, galleys, song lyric copyright clearance files, and promotional materials round out the publication materials for Caramelo.

Cisneros corresponded with and sent chapters drafts to a number of individuals. Her agent, Susan Bergholz’s Caramelo files are extensive and are in boxes 69-72. The files of Cisneros’ editor at Knopf, Robin Desser, include correspondence and drafts with Desser’s edits. And Cisneros’ good friend and personal editor, Dennis Mathis, corresponded extensively with her from 1994-2002, and sent copies of drafts with his suggested edits. Finally, there are several files relating to Liliana Valenzuela’s Spanish translation: correspondence, style sheets, and drafts.

Cisneros’ 2015 book of essays, A House of My Own (boxes 74-76), appears to have originally been titled “Writing in My Pajamas.” There are no final drafts of the book since the archive was acquired before its publication, but the material does provide evidence of her early essay selections. Many of the essays were previously published, and some overlap with series VII: Writings – Nonfiction.

The final materials in the series Writings – Monographs, relate to Cisneros' storybooks Hairs/Pelitos, Bravo Bruno, Have You Seen Marie?, and the unpublished Crybaby (boxes 77-78). The scope of material differs among titles, but generally one can find drafts, illustrations, and correspondence.

Series XI: Performance Binders, 2006, 2011

Box 79

This series consists of five binders of loose stories or poems that Cisneros used at readings or other appearances.

Series XII: Computer Files

Box 80

The archive includes many computer disks and CD files containing drafts of Cisneros’ writings. This material still requires additional archival processing and access is on a case-by-case basis, by request to the archivists.

Series XIII: Publications, 1970-2003

Boxes 81-85

Arranged chronologically, Publications (boxes 81-85) span 1970-2003 and include magazines and journals that contain contributions by Cisneros. The earliest items are literary magazines Now and Cadence, from Josephinum Academy and Loyola University, respectively. For each publication, the date and title of the Cisneros contribution is included in the container list. Oversized publications are in box 85.

Series XIV: Writings about Cisneros, 1981-2012

Boxes 86-89

These writings about Cisneros (boxes 86-89) are arranged chronologically from 1981-2012 and include academic articles, interviews, and writer’s biographies. Undated writings about Cisneros are housed in box 89 and are arranged alphabetically by author. Newspaper articles and publicity writings about Cisneros can be found in Series XIX: Publicity.

Series XV: Writings by Others, 1985-2014

Boxes 90-97

Writings by others (boxes 90-97), span 1985-2014 and contain works by contemporaries and friends of Cisneros, as well as writings sent to her either by an author or publisher. Of note are works by: Norma Alarcón; Julia Alvarez; Daniel Arreola; Tony Beckwith; Ruth Behar; Norma Cantú; Denise Chávez; Joan Frederick; Pat LittleDog; Levi Romero; Jim Sagel; Liliana Valenzuela; and Reggie Young.

Series XVI: Correspondence, 1980-2013

Boxes 98-147

The extensive correspondence files (boxes 98-147) span 1980-2013 and are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Every correspondent is included in the container list, and when known, organizational affiliations are listed in parenthesis. Individuals with a significant quantity of letters include: Jeffrey Abrahams; Norma Alarcón; Dorothy Allison; Julia Alvarez; Beatrix Badikian; Gertrude Baker; Ruth Behar; Ronnie Burke; Norma Cantu; Ana Castillo; Denise Chávez; Carlos Cumpián; Ted Dvoracek; Gayle Elliott; Joan Frederick; Dagoberto Gilb; Bárbara Renaud González; Erasmo Guerra; Joy Harjo; Jasna Karaula (see also Series I: Personal Papers - Causes); Pat LittleDog; Dennis Mathis; Bryce Milligan; Nancy Mirabel; Pat Mora; Raul Niño (includes many letters from Cisneros); Margaret Randall; Tey Diana Rebollado; Sonia Saldívar-Hull; Gary Soto; Sara Stevenson; Carla Trujillo; Lillian Valenzuela (Cisneros’ primary Spanish translator); and Helena Marie Viramontos.

Some significant correspondents from whom there may only be a few letters include: Rudolfo Anaya; Gwendolyn Brooks; Laura Bush; Julián Castro; Henry Cisneros; Frank Conroy; Richard Daley; Sophia Healy; Sterling Houston; Cesar Martinez; M. Scott Momaday; Barack and Michelle Obama; Elena Poniatowska; Jan Reid; Robert Rivard; Jim Sagel; and Leslie Marmon Silko.

Letters to or from individuals identified with only one name are arranged alphabetically beginning in box 145, and no-name letters are arranged chronologically in box 147.

Series XVII: Business Records, 1980-2013

Boxes 148-160

Business records (boxes 148-160), span 1980-2013 and are arranged into four subseries: Susan Bergholz (agent); Publisher’s correspondence; Book contracts; and Permissions & other contracts. Cisneros’ relationship with her agent is documented in boxes 148-149 and includes contracts, correspondence between the two, and Bergholz’s correspondence with others on Cisneros’ behalf.  Additional material relating to Susan Bergholz can be found in boxes 69-72 of Caramelo.

Publisher’s correspondence spans 1980-2012 and is arranged by publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Arte Público Press, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Hold, Rinehart & Winston, Random House, and Vintage Books. Letters are arranged chronologically within each publisher’s file. Additional letters from publishers may be found in Series XVI: Correspondence.

Book Contracts are separate from publisher’s correspondence and span 1985-2012. They are arranged by year in boxes 150-151, with files for each publisher listed alphabetically. Permissions & Other Contracts span 1986-2010 and are housed in boxes 152-160. These are arranged by year and are divided into permissions, royalties, and contracts for appearances.

Series XVIII: Photographs, 1894-2013; [bulk dates: 1954-2013]

Boxes 161-217

The bulk of this series spans 1954-2013, however there are some earlier family images. Photographs are arranged into the following subseries: Portraits; Family Photographs; Photo Albums, and Snapshots, and they document nearly every aspect of Cisneros’ life and career.  Portraits (boxes 161-163) are formal, posed photographs of Cisneros, and are arranged chronologically. Photographers include her brother, Henry (Kiki) Cisneros, Joan Frederick, Alexandro Galindo, Ruben Guzman, Armando Rascón, Al Rendon, and Diana Solís, among others. Also included are a number of portraits of Cisneros with others, notably with her mother in 1998, and Gertrude Baker, Ruben Guzman, Denise Chavez, Jasna Karaula, and Emma Tenayuca.

Family Photographs span 1894-2013 (boxes 164-167) and are divided into paternal and maternal family members, photographs of Cisneros’ mother and father, various family members, and pets. There are many other family photographs in the snapshots sub-series, particularly the early years beginning in box 171.

Photo Albums (Boxes 168-170) comprise nine intact albums from Hydra, Greece (1984), Yugoslavia, now Croatian Republic of Herzog-Bosnia (1985), the Dobie Paisano Ranch, Texas (1985), and various travels (1990s).

Snapshots (1968-2011) form the bulk of the photographs series in boxes 171-217 and are a rich resource for events and people in Cisneros’ life. Early snapshots overlap with family photographs and include intimate portraits of Cisneros with her family and friends. Travel photographs also overlap with some of the images found in the intact photo albums. The snapshots are arranged chronologically. Text in quotation marks represent titles or descriptions provided by Cisneros. Subjects of the photographs are listed when known. Many descriptions are based on handwriting, so the best possible transcription is presented with some names in brackets [ ] when the archivist is making a best guess.

Series XVIV: Publicity, 1978-2014

Boxes 218-242

Publicity material spans 1978-2014 and is divided into the following subseries: Cisneros Cover Stories; Magazines with Articles about Cisneros; Newspaper and Other Articles; Appearance Publicity; Oversized; and Book Publisher Catalogs. Magazines and journals featuring cover stories on Cisneros range from 1987-2009 and are arranged chronologically inboxes 218-219. Each entry in the container list includes the publication title, date, specific article title, and author, when known. Other magazines with Cisneros feature articles, reviews, and interviews are in boxes 219-221 and span 1991-2005. These are also arranged chronologically, with the magazine and article titles listed.

Newspaper and Other Articles (boxes 222-232) span 1978-2014 and include hundreds of typically shorter articles and news clippings about Cisneros. The content type includes news feature articles, reviews, announcements, interviews, and society news clippings. The series is arranged chronologically by year; however, the individual articles are not necessarily in order within year. 

Appearance Publicity, 1978-2014 (boxes 233-240) includes flyers, broadsides, posters, and other announcement of Cisneros readings and performances. Arranged chronologically, this series provides an overview of Cisneros’ public appearances and includes rare flyers and handbills from her early career in Chicago, Austin, and San Antonio. Oversized posters and publicity materials is located in the map case.

The final subseries contains catalogs from book publishers that list Cisneros titles. Spanning 1988-2008 (boxes 241-242), the catalogs are arranged chronologically.

Series XX: Reader Correspondence, 1990-2013

Boxes 243-268

Reader Correspondence, 1990-2013 (boxes 243-263) is arranged chronologically. Each year is separated into letters from individuals and letters from classes. The individual letters are typical fan letters and document the effect her writing has had on her readers. The class letters are often packets sent by teachers containing letters from students who have read her works in class, and sometimes thank-you letters from students whose class Cisneros visited. When known, the school name is included in the container list.

The sub-series Writings by Readers (boxes 264-266), is arranged chronologically and represents creative works of fiction, poetry, and essays that readers - often students, have sent to Cisneros. Many are inspired by Cisneros’ own writings. Other material found in Reader Correspondence includes artwork by readers (box 267), and photographs sent by readers (box 268). The latter often includes images of Cisneros with her fans.

Series XXI: Purple House Files, 1992-2014

Boxes 269-274

Research materials, letters, photographs, legal files, and publicity document Cisneros’ 1997-1998 legal battle with the San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission over her decision to paint her Guenther Street house purple (boxes 269-274). Of note are letters of support from community members relating to the controversy, as well as some letters in opposition. Other material in this series relates to home ownership and renovations to the house. 

Series XXII: Subject Files

Boxes 275-283

Subject files are divided into three sub-series: People (boxes 275-281); General Subject Files (boxes 281-282); and Publishing (box 283). The files include newspaper clippings, ephemera, and other articles about the subjects. The bulk of the series is People – primarily other writers and artists such as Harriet Doerr, Andre Dubus, Louse Erdrich, Allen Ginsberg, Marga Gomez, Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, Jessica Hagedorn, Sophia Healy, Oscar Hijuelos, Frida Kahlo, Pat LittleDog, César Martínez, Bryce Milligan, Naomi Shihab Nye, Diana Solis, Carmen Tafolla, and others.

General files and Publishing make up the rest of the series. The former comprises clippings and articles on topics such as women bullfighters, Chicanas at war, Mexican music, and Spain and Mexico. Publishing subject files may relate back to her time at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and her work on the small press book fair.

Series XXIII: Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation, 1997-2014

Boxes 284-288

The Alfredo Cisneros del Moral (ACDM) Foundation records span 1997-2014 and document the activities of this organization Cisneros founded in her father’s name in 1998 (incorporated in 2000). The foundation that dissolved in 2015 provided grants to writers born in, or writing about, Texas. The series is arranged into the following sub-series: Foundation of the ACDM; Correspondence; Notes and Minutes; Financial Records; Ephemera and Publicity; Lists; and Nomination and Award Packets. The last forms the bulk of the series (boxes 285-288) and is comprised of nomination binders that contain letters of support and writing samples. The container list includes a full description of the contents of these binders, arranged chronologically. The listing includes the names of the selection panel, the nominees, and the nominators. The fifteenth and final recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral grant was ire’ne lara silva, in 2014.

Series XXIV: Macondo Foundation, 2005-2012

Boxes 288-289

The Macondo Foundation records span 2005-2012 and are arranged into the following series: Administrative Documents; Correspondence; Financial Records; Fundraising (Birthday Parties); General Nonprofit Information; Schedules, Lists, Addresses; Workshop Packets; Photographs, and DVDs. Although Cisneros began Macondo in 1995 around her kitchen table, the records date from when it was officially incorporated in 2006 to “support and unite writers who view their work and talents as part of a larger task of community-building and non-violent social change.” Associated writers include Dorothy Allison, Denise Chavez, Joy Harjo, Luis Rodrigues, John Phillip Santos, and Carmen Tafolla. The organization held annual summer writing workshops and supported health-insurance coverage for writers. The Macondo Foundation transferred to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in 2013.

Series XXV: Los MacArturos, 1995-2011

Boxes 290-303

The records of Los MacArturos span 1995-2011 (boxes 290-303). In 1995, Cisneros initiated the first “Latino Genius” gathering of MacArthur Fellows from fields ranging from literature, history, politics, labor, and the visual arts. The collective’s goal is the sharing of their expertise with the broader community, primarily through reunions in varying locations where they host public programming and events. The series is arranged into the following: MacArthur Foundation, 1997 Los MacArturos Reunion; Other Reunion Materials; Latino Genius; Video Cassettes; Oversized MacArturos; and Publicity. The bulk of the series relates to the 1997 and 2007 reunions held in San Antonio. Additionally, there are many photographs of MacArturos events and participants in Series XVIII: Photographs – snapshots.

Series XXVI: Travel, 1992-2012

Boxes 304-305

This series contains itineraries, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from several of Cisneros’ travel abroad for book tours and conferences between 1992 and 2012 (boxes 304-305). Trips represented include those to Paris, Barcelona, Cuba, Seville, Italy, China, Japan, and Buenos Aires.

Click HERE for a complete box and folder inventory in PDF