Bibliography of UNC Rare Book Collection’s transcript, S477 .C8 C37

Former UNC Rare Book Collection Librarian Claudia Funke taught our Spring 2016 Rare Books Librarianship course.  As part of the course, Claudia instructed us to create a bibliography for an assigned item from UNC’s Rare Book Collection.  I assessed La reforma agraria es la ley fundamental de la revolucion (call no. S477 .C8 C37).  What follows is my bibliography for that item.


Title: La reforma agraria es la ley fundamental de la revolucion

Author: Ruz, Raúl Castro, 1930-
Published: [Havana] : Seccion de impresion, Capitolio Nacional, 1959
Format: Book
Call Number: S477 .C8 C37[1]

This transcription of the speech given by Commandant Raúl Castro Ruz, Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, in Spanish before Cuba’s First National Forum on the Law of Agrarian Reform on 29 June 1959 displays the country’s new nationalism. This governmental pride includes definitions; the government pursues agrarian reform against poverty, but is ostensibly not communist, anti-communist, Catholic, or against America.[2] Since the speech took place three days after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, this self-identification justifies the government’s existence and shows support for their population, primarily non-landowning farmers.

The physical document reinforces this pride. While the sun-bleached, foxed and mimeographed front sheet—formerly blue and with rust stains from the staples holding the sheets together—presents a mundane face, the colophon proclaims the printer’s nationalism through use of the first copies of the stenciled paper “Jaguar,” which was manufactured in Cuba by Cuban workers.[3] The technical staff of the National Capital chose this paper, measuring 33×21 cm, over foreign alternatives, despite inconsistent weight. The staff produced the document quickly for circulation, as well, since they fed several off-centered sheets through the typewriter, typed corrections overtop of mistakes, and inserted missing words above slashed indicators.[4]

Louis A. Pérez, former owner, maintained the document, but for tears to the head of the last four leaves, the last tear extending to the first line of text. Though quickly produced and partially damaged, special collections would value this document, as it represents a pivotal moment in Cuban history and printed propaganda, often lost to history. UNC specifically benefits from its inclusion, since it complements RBC’s active Latin American collecting area and Spanish language collections.[5]


[1] The format for the heading I found in UNC’s library catalogue and reconfirmed through observation; “La Reforma Agraria es la Ley Fundamental de la Revolucion,” UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries Catalog.

[2] Raúl Castro Ruz, La Reforma Agraria es la Ley Fundamental de la Revolucion (Capitolio Nacional [Havana]: Seccion De Impresion, 1959), 26-7; translations my own.

[3] Ibid. 30.

[4] The correction typed overtop of words only occasionally appear to have employed whiteout before typing overtop; for examples of the types of corrections, see pages 6, 17 and 23.

[5] Rare Book Collection, “Collection Development Policy of the UNC-Chapel Hill Rare Book Collection.”

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