This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the failed invasion of Cuba in mid-April, 1961 by anti-Castro exiles working with the covert support of CIA operatives in the United States. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d include a few items reflecting the more cordial U.S.-Cuba relations in the pre-Castro era, and to end with an item reflecting the Cold War chill that came to dominate relations in the early 1960s through the present.

Thanks largely to the generosity of long-time museum supporter and donor, Vicki Gold Levi, the Wolfsonian-FIU library holds an impressive array of ephemera documenting the U.S.-Cuba tourist trade of the first half of the twentieth century. The Vicki Gold Levi Collection at the Wolfsonian includes numerous brochures, guide books, advertisements, lobby cards, menus, sheet music covers, postcards, and other paper format materials.



This large collection also includes numerous issues of the most important magazines published on the island: Social, Bohemia, and Carteles.  


Many of the covers were designed by important artists, including the renowned Cuban caricaturist and illustrator, Conrado Walter Massaguer.

Once the Castro regime took power in Cuba and began to reorganize and reeducate the nation along Socialist lines, magazines like Social and Carteles quickly fell out of favor. In the new revolutionary atmosphere, periodicals catering to “elite” tastes or promoting “bourgeois” sensibilities would be closed down.

Bohemia, which had been published since 1908, was too popular to be immediately suppressed, and a “politically correct” version continues to be published on the island under state censorship and control. It is, however, as one blogger for the Huffington Post has described it: “a shadow of its former self.”  Our own library holds a single issue of Bohemia Libre, published by the son of the original publisher of Bohemia and printed from exile in Caracas, Venezuela on January 22nd, 1961. The defiant cover reflected the strong anti-communist, anti-Castro sentiment of the growing Cuban exile community. 

~ by "The Chief" on April 15, 2011.


  1. Dependencia, USA o Rusia?
    Lo mejor de cada potencia o la guerra fria?
    Gracias por este bloc por las pruebas.

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