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Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí

Identifier: MS Group 310

Scope and Content

This collection includes correspondence, photos, and mementos relating to the legacy of José Martí in Cuba. Almost all the correspondence is between María Mantilla de Romero and officials in Cuba. Much of the correspondence concerns the Centenario de Martí celebration in 1953. Dates of material range from 1875 to 1974, almost a full century. The bulk of the collection, however dates between 1953 and 1960. The correspondence is arranged chronologically. Particular items of interest include photocopies of letters to María Mantilla from José Martí.


  • Creation: 1875-1974
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1953-1960



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

José Martí (1853-1895) was a Cuban patriot, literary figure, and freedom fighter in the 1895 Cuban Revolution. His commitment to liberating Cuba from Spanish rule meant he spent many years in exile from his island home. An accomplished writer, Martí regularly contributed articles to newspapers in New York and produced both books and poetry. Among his major works, the most famous are La Edad de Oro and Versos Sencillos. He is considered the national hero of Cuba and the "Apostle of Cuban Independence" although he never lived to see it.

María Mantilla de Romero (1880-1962) was born in New York City. Although her birth certificate listed her as the daughter of Manuel Mantilla and Carmen Miyares de Mantilla, historians have speculated that her actual parents were Carmen and José Martí. Martí was living at the Mantilla's lodging house at the time of María's birth, and was her acknowledged godfather; in later life he often referred to her as his daughter. Most of the materials in this collection are items about Martí that belonged to María Mantilla. (Source:

Other people mentioned in the collection are descendants of María Mantilla and her husband Cesar Romero, Sr. These include César Romero, Jr. (1907-1994), his brother Eduardo, and his sister María Teresa. César Romero, Jr. became a well-known actor, taking on roles such as the Joker in the TV version of Batman (1966-68), and as Cortéz in The Captain from Castile (1947). (Source:


1.5 Linear feet (2 boxes and one oversize folder)

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian


Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, and mementos sent to María Mantilla de Romero regarding her father José Martí.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Acquisition Information

Eduardo S. Romero inherited this material from his brother actor César Romero Jr. He donated it to the University of Florida in 1997.

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of selected items in the Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

Originals of the correspondence between Martí and María Mantilla are in the National Archive of Cuba.

Separated Material

The following books were donated by the Romero family as part of the collection. They are now stored in the Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Collection.

Martí, José. Versos sencillos. New York: Louis Weiss, 1891. Library copy inscribed: "A Carmita, para que nunca dé una pena. Su amigo calvo, José Martí. NY, Oct. 91." SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, PQ7389.M2V45 1891.

Oviedo, José Miguel. La niña de New York: una revisión de la vida erótica de José Martí. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, PQ7389.M37 Z751.

Martí, José. Cartas familiares; selección. Habana: Comisión Nacional Organizadora de los Actos y Ediciones del Centenario del Monumento de Martí, 1953. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M3647 1953.

Martí, José. Cartas a una niña. 1955. Two copies. Library copy No. 1 inscribed to María Mantilla by Nilo Hermida. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M36A4.

Zéndegui, Guillermo de. Ambito de Martí. Habana, Cuba: P. Fernández y Compañía, 1954. Inscribed to María Mantilla de Romero by the author. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M38Z4

Cuba. Iconografía del apóstol José Martí. Habana: Imprenta El Siglo XX, 1925. Added title page reads: Homenaje de la República al apóstol de la independencia José Martí al inagurarse en su casa natal el Museo consagrado a perpetuar su memoria. Habana, 28 de enero de 1925, año 72 del nacimiento del prócer y 23 de la República. SMATHERS, Special Collections Rare Books, F1783.M38C831.

A Guide to the Romero Family Papers Regarding José Martí
Finding aid created by Caitlin A. Logroño
April 2012
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America