Archive captures Puerto Rican experience

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

An image of the Division Street Urban Progress Center’s float in a 1970 State Street parade is among those preserved in “El Archivo.”

El Archivo,” a digital archive that will gather, preserve and exhibit photographs and oral histories documenting the Puerto Rican experience in the Midwest, was launched through a partnership between UIC and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

The Daley Library will oversee the archival processing of the materials under advisor Sonia Yaco, head of special collections and an expert in documenting the lives of underrepresented groups. UIC has hired a graduate assistant in museum and exhibition studies to process the archive.

“UIC’s role will be to share our expertise in creating a sustainable community archive,” Yaco said. “Preserving the rich history of our region takes partnerships — cultural groups like the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and UIC, which is particularly strong in collecting the social, cultural and political history of Chicago.”

The organizers hope to include materials dating from 1920 through 1990 that document the migration experience, home and family life, the labor force, professional life, military service and social and cultural life.

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, 3000 N. Elbridge Ave., plans to host a series of events and a public exhibition this year and next.

To donate materials or volunteer for the “El Archivo” project, contact the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance at or 773-342-8865, ext. 104.

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