Graciany Miranda Archilla Papers
Scope and Contents
The Graciany Miranda Archilla Papers are an important contribution to the study of Puerto Rican poetry, and particularly to the history and influence of Atalayismo. They also provide useful insights into the political and cultural milieu of Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 1940s and of the Puerto Rican community in New York of the 1950s and 1960s.
The Papers span the years from 1911-1991, but the bulk of the documents date from 1928-1943. They consist of correspondence, published and unpublished poetry, essays, critical reviews, clippings, and photographs.
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1928-1943
- Creation: 1911-1991
- Miranda Archilla, Graciany (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Graciany Miranda Archilla was a poet, journalist and essayist, and co-founder of an important literary movement. He was born in Morovis, Puerto Rico on June 2, 1908, the sixth of nine children of Francisco Miranda, a businessman, and his wife Celsa Archilla, a writer of poetry and fiction.
Miranda Archilla developed a talent for writing and an interest in literature as a young boy. When he was twenty years old, he moved to San Juan to be near the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, where poets and writers gathered, and to hone his craft as a poet. In 1928, he joined fellow poets Clemente Soto Vélez, Alfredo Margenat, y Fernando González Alberty to found a new poetic movement called Atalaya de los dioses. There are different opinions regarding its founding and original membership. Atalayismo, as it came to be known, became one of the most debated of the vanguard movements and also proved to be one of the most prolific.
The "Grupo Atalaya" of which Miranda Archilla formed a part were deliberately outrageous young men sporting long hair and wild clothing and adopting strange pseudonyms. Their intent was to revolutionize Puerto Rican poetry by breaking with decades of romanticism both in content and form. Theirs was to be a different kind of lyric poetry using new themes, imagery, and rhythms.
Several of the island's magazines and newspapers opened their pages to the works of the Atalayistas. The magazine, Gráfico allowed them a weekly page to publish their poetry. El Diluvio, La Linterna, and Indice also were receptive to their works. Miranda Archilla became director of the poetry section of Alma Latina where the Atalayistas gave voice to their literary theories. They quickly attracted numerous poets to their group such as Antonio Cruz y Nieves, Luis Hernández Aquino, and Pedro Carrasquillo, among others. The Atalayistas established a press called Atalaya de los dioses and published a book of poetry by Miranda Archilla titled Responso a mis poemas náufragos (1931) that is viewed as the classic Atalayista text.
The Grupo Atalaya expressed a need for a more socially conscious and politicized poetry "that would give lyrical voice to the pain of the Puerto Rican people." During the 1930s, under the influence of the charismatic leader of the Nationalist Party, Pedro Albizu Campos, the Atalayistas' writings began to manifest nationalistic tendencies and to incorporate the Nationalists' ideology. A number of them became followers of Albizu and in fact suffered imprisonment and persecution for their political convictions.
During the 1930s and through the 1940s, Miranda Archilla worked as a writer for various magazines and newspapers. He was a founder of the magazines Alma Latina, Surco, Sindicales, and a newspaper titled Juan Caliente. For numerous years he was the editor of the Sunday section of Puerto Rico's major newspaper El Mundo and worked for another important newspaper, El Imparcial. Miranda Archilla was also a founder of the Association of Puerto Rican Journalists.
In 1933 Miranda Archilla married Julia Carmen Marchand, with whom he had two sons, Graciany and Andrenio. He was divorced in 1946, and in 1951 married Estrella Laboy. As Puerto Rico's political climate became increasingly repressive, Miranda Archilla migrated to New York City with his new wife in search of better job opportunities as well as a more open political environment. Once in the city, he began working as the director of the Sunday section of el diario/La Prensa, the principal Spanish language paper in New York. He also participated in the cultural and political activities of the Puerto Rican community in New York and in organizations such as the Institute de Puerto Rico, Círculo de Autores, and Vanguardia Betances. Using the pseudonym Oscar Blanco, Miranda Archilla wrote numerous articles for Vanguardia Betances where he reaffirmed his strong support for Puerto Rican independence from the United States (Box 5, Folder 8-10).
Miranda Archilla is the author of several books of poetry as well as of essays, short stories, and novels. Among these are: Cadena de ensueños, Responso a mis poemas náufragos, Sí de mi tierra, and El oro en la espiga. A selection of his historical essays is included in Clamores antillanos. He is also an avid translator and some of his own works such as Matria & Monody with Roses in Ash November, and Hungry Dust are in English.
In addition to his creative writing and translating, he devoted time in the last twenty years to writing the history of the Atalayista movement. Researchers to develop dissertations and other works on Puerto Rican literature have used his unfinished and unpublished manuscript. He has been honored by the Asociación Puertorriqueña de Escritores de Nueva York (1983), the Puerto Rican Institute of New York (1991), La Casa de la Herencia Puertorriqueña (1989), and by the Comité de Afirmación Puertorriqueña (1991), among other organizations for his political and literary contributions. Miranda Archilla died in Puerto Rico in 1993.
Rivera de Alvarez, Josefina. Diccionario de literatura puertorriqueña. 2 ed. rev. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Institute de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1970. Tomo 2, Vol. 1, pages 140- 145.
6.30 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
Graciany Miranda Archilla was a poet, journalist and essayist, and a co-founder of Atalayismo an important literary movement. His papers provide useful insights into the political and cultural milieu of Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 1940s and of the Puerto Rican community in New York of the 1950s and 1960s. They consist of correspondence, published and unpublished poetry, essays, critical reviews, clippings, and photographs.
The collection is divided into the following series:
I. Biographical and Personal Information
IV. Subject File
Other Finding Aids
English / Spanish bilingual finding aid available (see External Documents).
Original version of this finding aid was created as part of Ventana Al Pasado: Building a Latino/Hispanic Online Research Collection. The New York State Archives and Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños received funding for this project from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection has been microfilmed and is available on 5 reels at Centro. Researchers interested in purchasing microfilm copies should contact IDC Publishers Inc.
- Puebla, Manuel de la (Person)
- González Alberty, Fernando, 1908-1995 (Person)
- Grau Archilla, Raúl (Person)
- Hernández Aquino, Luis (Person)
- Lugo, Samuel (Person)
- Margenat, Alfredo (Person)
- Soto Vélez, Clemente, 1905-1993 (Person)
- Blanco, Oscar (Person)
- Laboy, Estrella (Person)
- Archilla, Celsa (Person)
- Marchand, Julia (Person)
- Graciany Miranda Archilla Papera
- Nelly V. Cruz with the assistance of Esther González.
- March 1991
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Processed as part of the "Puerto Rican Archives of New York: Arrangement and Description Project" funded by grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and The Aaron Diamond Foundation.
- 2005: Guide reviewed and actualized by Pedro Juan Hernández and Nélida Pérez.
- June 2022: Collection rehoused and container list revised by Lindsay Wittwer