The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University has acquired the literary archives of Sandra Cisneros, the noted Latina writer and author of 1984’s “The House on Mango Street.”
The archive includes 250 file boxes documenting Cisneros’s literary career, with manuscripts for all of her major works, personal diaries, travel journals, correspondence, photographs, videos, awards, publicity material, personal effects, interviews and speeches, original drawings, files on her famous “Purple House” in San Antonio, and the Canon portable typewriter she used to create many of her works.
Cisneros is scheduled to appear at the Texas Book Festival Oct. 17-18, where she’ll discuss her new memoir “A House of My Own.” In it, the novelist and poet describes “The House on Mango Street” as a collection of vignettes “to tell one big story … like beads in a necklace.”
Cisneros was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Texas in the 1980s, making San Antonio her home for many years before moving to central Mexico in 2013.
“We are delighted that Ms. Cisneros’s papers will serve as a foundational archive for the Wittliff Collections,” Texas State President Denise M. Trauth said. “Ms. Cisneros is among this country’s unique literary voices and her writings about the Mexican-American experience are not only relevant to an international audience, but treasured by individuals from all backgrounds.”
In a statement, Cisneros said, “It is important to me that my archives have found a home where I’ve felt at home and respected in my lifetime. The Wittliff Collection reflects an admiration and appreciation for Texas’ Mexican and Tejano legacy. Their support of Tejano writing projects and Tejano writers firmed my final decision.
“One more consideration: I think it imperative scholars studying my work travel to the world I knew and called home to better understand my work. I’m grateful and thrilled to have my archives at home finally at the Wittliff,” she said.
The archive’s purchase was made possible, in part, by the contributions of donors. A representative for Texas State declined to disclose the purchase price. The American-Statesman has requested that the information be made public.
The Wittliff Collections is known for authors and artists who focus on life in the Southwest and Mexico.
In addition to “The House on Mango Street,” Cisneros’s books include “Woman Hollering Creek: Stories”; the novel “Caramelo”; and two volumes of poetry, “My Wicked, Wicked Ways” and “Loose Woman.”
Cisneros has received an American Book Award, a PEN USA Award and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.
The collection will open for research once cataloging and preservation work is complete. An exhibition showcasing the papers will also be held at that time.