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Lydia Cabrera was one of the 20th century's leading writers on Cuban folklore and an internationally known chronicler of Afro-Cuban culture and religion. Cabrera spent a lifetime documenting Afro-Cuban folklore and religions. She studied art and religion in Paris, and in 1960, she left Cuba to live in exile in the United States. Her extensive collection of papers is available for research at the Cuban Heritage Collection.

The Lydia Cabrera Papers includes correspondence, manuscripts, original drawings, field notes, interviews, photographs, illustrations, and paper laces. This collection also contains documentation about the restoration of several colonial buildings in Cuba.

A selection of materials has been digitized, including correspondence, research notes, manuscripts, and photographs. The photographs include portraits of Cabrera and her friends and family, including María Teresa de Rojas and Josefina Tarafa; photographs of locations throughout Cuba, including Havana, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, and the Camp Lazear yellow fever experimental station; and numerous photos of architectural features of buildings in Cuba, such as churches, houses, forts, and government facilities. Also included are photographs from France, Italy, and Nigeria, as well as photos from Miami, including freedom flights, stores, restaurants, schools, and theaters.