You are here: American University University Library Archives Finding Aids Felisberto Hernandez Papers

VOLUME: 2.5 linear feet

ACCESS: This collection is open to the public upon request.

COPYRIGHT: Please consult the archivist for information about duplication or publishing of any materials from this collection.

Biographical Note

Felisberto Hernández was born in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 20, 1902, the eldest child of Prudencio Hernández González and Juana Hortensia Silva. Born into poverty, Hernández was a writer and self-taught pianist who, at times, earned a living playing in movie houses of the silent picture era. Married three times – to María Isabel Guerra (1925-1935), Amalia Nieto (1937-1942), María Luisa las Heras (1949-1950) – Hernández also had extended relationships with Reina Reyes and Paula Medeiros.

Over the course of his life, Hernández was published a number of times, but he never achieved the kind of success that resulted in financial stability. Often in debt, he relied upon his skills a pianist and a stenographer to make a living. Hernández, notwithstanding his modest means, was well-received by other Latin American writers and is generally acknowledged as the forerunner to such authors as Gabriel García Márquez, Italo Calvino, and Julio Cortázar, although he never achieved broad acclaim outside of Uruguay. Felisberto Hernández died on January 13, 1964 from complications related to Leukemia.

For additional biographical information, please consult Box 3: Printed Materials: Newspaper clippings, literary criticism, biographical materials.

Scope and Content Note

The Felisberto Hernández Collection is comprised primarily of research materials gathered by Frank Graziano, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies in American University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Foreign Languages from 1991 to 1999; much of the material contained in the collection has been copied from the files of Norah Giraldi dei Cas in support of his research. During his time at American University, Dr. Graziano’s output on the topic of Felisberto Hernández and his works included articles, conference papers, and one monograph, The Lust of Seeing: Themes of the Gaze and Sexual Rituals in the Fiction of Felisberto Hernández (Bucknell University Press, 1997).

The collection is organized alphabetically, primarily according to type of materials, with some arrangement by subject matter. The bulk of the collection is photocopy and/or photographic reproductions of original and secondary source materials related to the life and work of Felisberto Hernández; this includes correspondence, family photographs, notebooks, journals, legal documents (including birth certificates and civic registration documents), literary criticism, musical compositions, published articles, and manuscript drafts. The next largest grouping in the collection Is comprised of materials gathered in preparation for and execution of a conference held at American University in April 1993; this includes conference programs; invitations, registration information; and photographs, slides, audiocassettes, and videocassettes from conference sessions.


Frank Graziano donated this collection to the American University Library in 1998. An additional set of slides was donated in 2014.

Processing Note

As this collection was assembled by reproducing materials from other collections whose order was no longer intact, the collection was rearranged and all folder titles were provided by the processing technician. Notes on previous inventories and arrangement of materials can be found in Box 4: Research notes and miscellany, though these are not comprehensive of the entire collection; additional information regarding previous inventories can be located in the collection’s accession file.

Box & Folder Listing

Box 1

  • Audiocassettes
    • Interview with Mabel Hernández Guerra 4/18/93
    • [readings of works by FH]
    • “Por los Tiempos de Felisberto Hernández” A. Cáceres, Ph.D.
    • Intermezzo, dramatized from two stories by Felisberto Hernández
    • Felisberto Hernández / 1. Cables (?) Pelados 2. Carta Abierta al Presidente
  • Book Cover: Hernández, Felisberto. Piano Stories.
  • Conference (Felisberto Hernández: An International Homage):
    • Audiocassettes
      • The Slide Presentation / Discussion—Menos Julia Part I (2 copies)
      • Discussion—Menos Julia Part II
    • Programs, Registration Information, Invitations, Amalia Nieto Exhibit
    • Photographs
    • Videocassettes
      • Thursday April 15, 1993, Homage to Felisberto
      • Thursday April 15, 1993, Discussion – Menos Julia / Friday April 16, 1993, The Fantastic and the Unfinished.
      • Friday April 16, 1993, Norah Giraldi dei Cas, Roberto Echavarren
      • Friday April 16, 1993, El Cocodrilo, Three Rereadings
      • Saturday, April 17, 1993, Lisa Block de Behar, Cristina Peri Rossi

Box 2

  • Correspondence, sent: Hernández, Felisberto 1922-1956 (bulk 1939-1950)
  • Correspondence, received
    • Hernández, Felisberto 1943-1948
    • Giraldi dei Cas, Norah; Graziano, Frank; Hernández Silva, Ismael (1964, 1977, 1993-1994)
  • Legal Documents (1924, 1969, 1973)
  • Manuscripts, handwritten
    • Journals & notebooks by Felisberto Hernández
    • “La casa inundada” variant, 1963 by Felisberto Hernández
    • [“Las hortensias”?] by Felisberto Hernández
    • Notebooks by Felisberto Hernández [2 folders]
    • Stenography by Felisberto Hernández (1948, n.d.)
  • Manuscripts, typed: Journals by Felisberto Hernández [transcribed from unknown source] (1935, 1936, 1940, 1941)
  • Maps
  • Musical Compositions (1927, n.d.)
  • Photographs
    • By Alvaro Lopez Giraldi (subjects selected by Deolinda “Ronga” Hernández) (2/1993)
    • People and Places (1915, 1924, 1961 ,1962, 1968, n.d.)
    • For Exhibit w/captions on sheet (1907, 1917, 1919, 1922, 1929, 1939, c1960, 1961, n.d.) (see also: Box 3, Photographs, mounted)

Box 3

  • Photographs, mounted: for Exhibit w/captions on sheet (1907, 1917, 1919, 1922, 1929, 1939, c1960, 1961, n.d.) (see also: Box 2, Photographs: for exhibit)

Box 4

  • Photographs
    • Negatives (1962, n.d.)
    • Slides (8/1988, 3/1993, 2/1994, 4/1994, n.d.)
  • Printed Materials
    • Books and Journals/Magazines
      • Ca?nepa, Aldo L. Felisberto Hernández. Manuales de literatura, 55. Montevideo: Editorial Te?cnica, 1979.
      • Díaz, José Pedro. El Espectáculo Imaginario. Montevideo: Arca Editorial, 1986.
      • “Felisberto Herna?ndez notas cri?ticas.” Cuadernos de Literatura, 15.  
      • [Montevideo]: Fundacio?n de Cultura Universitaria, 1970.
      • Giraldi dei Cas, Norah. Felisberto Hernández: del Creador al Hombre.
      • Montevideo: Ediciones de la Banda Oriental, 1975.
      • Hernández, Felisberto. Las Hortensas. Barcelona: Editorial Lumen, 1974.
      • Medeiros, Paulina. Felisberto Hernández y Yo. Uruguay: Libros del Astillero, n.d.
      • Medeiros, Paulina. Fronda Sumergida: Poesia. Montevideo: Biblioteca Alfar, n.d.
      • Pallares, Ricardo and Reina Reyes. ¿Otro Felisberto? Montevideo: Editorial Imago, 1983.
      • El Paseante, 10. Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, S.A., 1988
      • Newspaper clippings, journal articles, dedication, conference papers by Felisberto Hernández (1934, 1944, 1945, 1950, 1951, 1966, 1969, n.d.)
      • Newspaper clippings, literary criticism, biographical materials (published and unpublished) (1926, 1934, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1981, 1982, n.d.)
  • Programs: Concert programs, announcements, invitations (1934, 1936, 1937, 1945, 1952, 1969, 1991, n.d.)
  • Research notes and miscellany (Graziano, Giraldi dei Cas)
  • Signature Book: Homage to Felisberto Hernández, 1929
  • Superville, Jules (1945, n.d.)