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A Guide to the Robert N. Pierce Collection

Finding aid created by Paige M. Scofield

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
December 2007

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Pierce, Robert N. (Robert Nash), 1931-2010
Title: Robert N. Pierce Collection
Dates: 1959
Abstract: Newspaper clippings, contents of an official press packet, and photographs from reporter Robert N. Pierce's trip to Cuba shortly after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
Extent: 0.2 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: MS Group 235
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert N. Pierce (1931-2010) worked as a reporter, editor, and educator throughout the South. He was employed variously by the Miami Herald, Shreveport Journal, St. Petersburg Evening Independent, San Angelo Standard-Times, and Sarasota News. Following his career as a journalist and editor, he went on to become a professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota and Louisiana State University. In 1970 he became a faculty member of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. Pierce was the author or contributor to more than twelve scholarly publications. Pierce resided in Micanopy, Florida, at the time of his death in 2010.

Scope and Content

Photographs, newspaper clippings, a draft of a speech, and a press packet containing a letter, pass, and cloth patch. The collection contains materials from Pierce's January 1959 reporting trip to Cuba, mere weeks after Fidel Castro's overthrow of the Batista regime. Representing the Sarasota News, he participated in a press visit, which the new Cuban government called Operación Verdad (Operation Truth) with the intention to highlight positive views of Cuba and its revolution to the rest of the world. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs that Pierce took in Cuba and the accompanying copies of news articles that ran as a special series in the Sarasota News. Topics include the trial of Sosa Blanco, Castro's January 21 speech and mass rally at the Presidential Palace, and the La Cabana prison. One set of photographs (noted below) was provided to visiting journalists as official government photos. The collection is arranged by subject.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert N. Pierce Collection, Robert N. Pierce Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Robert N. Pierce, 2007.

Contents List

1 Notes on the collection by Robert N. Pierce
1 Clippings from The Sarasota News regarding Pierce's visit to Cuba, Jan. 1959
1 Letter and Accompanying Press Pass, 1959
1 "Viva Cuba Libre, Viva los Heroes" Patch, 1959
1 "Operation Truth" Press Packet, 1959
1 Draft of speech Castro planned for rally at Presidential Palace, 1959
1 Scenes from La Cabana prison including guards, prisoners, and visitors (11 photos), 1959
1 War atrocities photos from a press packet provided by the Castro government (photographer unknown). Shows hangings and mutilation of peasants who collaborated with the Fidelistas (7 photos)
1 Sosa Blanco testifying at his trial at the Sports Palace (2 photos), 1959
1 Mass rally outside Presidential Palace (8 photos), Jan. 21, 1959
1 Presidential Palace mass rally; crowds waiting, first aid tent, honor guard awaiting Castro's arrival (8 photos), Jan. 21, 1959
1 Misc. Photographs. Revolutionary guard, Young Communists, journalists opening Revolución, the official newspaper of the Castro government; Robert N. Pierce with guards at Havana Riviera hotel (4 photos), 1959.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Castro, Fidel, 1926-
Cuba -- History -- Revolution, 1959 -- Pictorial works.
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-
Political prisoners -- Cuba -- Pictorial works.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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