En la prensa: Elena Cabrera escribe sobre nuestro proyecto en eldiario.es

Se buscan cuatro millones de ‘spanish-americans’ olvidados en USA

Solidaridad y discordia en la colonia española: un piquete ante la tienda de ultramarinos Casa Moneo, en el corazón de Little Spain, Calle 14. Foto cedida por la familia Cividanes.

Solidaridad y discordia en la colonia española asentada en Nueva York: un piquete ante la tienda de ultramarinos Casa Moneo, en el corazón de Little Spain, Calle 14. Foto cedida por la familia Cividanes.

En 50 años emigraron más españoles a las Américas que en los cuatro siglos anteriores. Esos 50 años de éxodo masivo no corresponden al momento álgido del imperialismo español, sino a su declive: entre 1880 y 1930.

“Poca gente lo sabe y es un dato sorprendente” explica James D. Fernández, profesor de la Universidad de Nueva York, que se ha visto absorbido por una investigación sobre la inmigración española en los Estados Unidos en la que apenas hay precedentes. Junto al asturiano Luis Argeo, dirige el proyecto en curso Ni frailes ni conquistadores, inmigración española en EEUU, del que ha brotado un primer documental audiovisual, La paella de Daniel Albert.

Tras la emancipación de Cuba en 1898, la emigración a la isla no decae, sino que se intensifica y acelera. Lo mismo suecede con otros destinos de acogida de cuatro millones de emigrantes. “Para muchos, la gran historia de la ‘obra’ de España en las Américas la constituye casi exclusivamente el relato de las hazañas de los agentes del imperio: frailes, conquistadores, exploradores, etc.

Pero hay otro relato bastante olvidado, y es la otra cara de la moneda imperial”, explica Fernández. “Podríamos decir incluso que los campesinos y obreros industriales que emigran durante este período están huyendo de las injusticias generadas por el sistema imperial y sus secuelas: la oligarquía y el caciquismo, el poder omnímodo de la Iglesia sobre sus vidas o el servicio militar obligatorio”.

Leer el resto del reportaje aquí.

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Paella, Pa’nosotros, Pa’todos: More news on Dan Albert’s Paella

Still from the film version of Steinbeck's "Tortilla Flat", directed by Victor Fleming, 1942.

Still from the film version of Steinbeck’s “Tortilla Flat”, directed by Victor Fleming, 1942.

On April 2, 2014, Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert was screened in Mexico City, as part of the eighth annual “Contra el silencio, todas las voces” Film Festival.

“Nuestros paisanos de Monterey,” our second “column” for the on-line magazine Puente Atlántico is now available here.

From the February 2014 bulletin of the “Friends of the Monterey Public Library”, we learn that our work in Monterey, California has helped spark renewed interest in the Spanish heritage of that part of California. The Library and the Friends of the Library are hosting a follow up to Dan Albert’s Paella event, “informally bringing together Monterey’s Spanish descendants with Library staff and volunteers to capture and preserve their family stories and memories. A second project will celebrate Monterey’s Chinese descendants through an evening at a local hotel modeled after the Dan Albert Paella event.”  We are delighted to have contributed our grain of sand (or rice) to such an exciting development.

Several colleges and universities have purchased DVDs of Dan Albert’s Paella for classroom use, among them:  Boston University; Clemson; Oberlin; Ohio State; Princeton; Rollins;  U Illinois Urbana-Champaign; UMass, Boston; Sam Houston State; Williams.  Our ad, promoting institutional purchases of the DVD is in the current issue of Hispania, the quarterly publication of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

High schools and colleges can purchase the DVD at a higher price, but with a license for public exhibition and classroom rights.

High schools and colleges can purchase the DVD at a higher price, but with a license for public exhibition and classroom rights.

Finally, you can support our work by purchasing a DVD of our documentary for home use ($20.00) here:



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La paella de Daniel Albert

carátulaOur first documentary –Dan Albert’s Paella/ La Paella de Daniel Albert– has been generating interest and dialogue in Spain these days.  Luis Argeo accompanied the film to its Spanish debut in the Alcances Film Festival in Cádiz in 2013; on March 9, 2014, both Argeo and co-director James D. Fernández were present at a screening and discussion at the Centro Niemeyer in Avilés, and on March 18, at the Instituto Internacional in Madrid.  Fernández will be discussing aspects of the documentary when he delivers his lecture “Memorias quebradas:  La Guerra Civil Española entre los descendientes de emigrantes españoles en EEUU” on March 27 at Madrid’s Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.

Because of this interest, we have finally gotten around to setting up an autonomous web page for the Dan Albert Project; this wordpress page will eventually include copious background information on the subject of the film itself, as well as press clippings and teaching tools for educators who would like to use the film in their classes.  We are delighted to report that the following colleges and universities, among others, have ordered the DVD for their libraries:  Boston University; Clemson; Oberlin; Princeton; Rollins; University of California, Davis; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Sam Houston State; U Mass, Boston;

Please visit it the page and tell us what you think.



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New document: Report from Spanish Consul (San Francisco) on Labor Unrest in Vacaville, California, November 28, 1932


November 28, 1932

Situation of Spanish laborers in Vacaville

Most Excellent Sir:

On the 26th of this month I received a phone call from the Sheriff of the county to which the town of Vacaville belongs.  He told me that the Spanish field workers had gone on strike, and caused disturbances in the town.  Two people were wounded and one of the Spanish aggressors has been arrested.

The next day, I set out at dawn for Vacaville, to learn more about the situation, and to try to give reasonable advice to the Spanish colony that lives there.

Upon arriving to the town, I headed to a Spanish business where several of the strikers were meeting.  I asked them about the causes of the strike […]

Once the workers had shared with me their desires, I got in touch with the ranchers who employ them.  The ranchers conveyed to me that they are not willing to enter into negotiations with the Spanish workers if the talks are mediated by the communist organizations that had sent their delegates to Vacaville, but that they would be pleased to meet with representatives of the Unión Española de Beneficiencia de Vacaville, with whom they would discuss future work conditions.

I again convened the Spanish colony in the headquarters of that Society; roughly one hundred Spaniards attended.  I explained to them the attitude of the ranchers, and advised them to look after their own best interests.  At that point I considered my work to be done, and the Spaniards who were gathered there gave me a unanimous ovation.

Today’s news is that the laborers have still not returned to work.

Although, as I have told Your Excellence, I cannot really intervene in this matter, because it is a struggle between workers and bosses, I have grave concerns.  The entire Spanish colony of Vacaville –some 150 families—have a stake in the outcome of this matter and are affected by the strike; and because many agricultural concerns are firing workers, I fear that the bosses might take advantage of this situation to reduce the number of employees, leaving many Spaniards without any  means of survival.

In addition, the authorities here don’t fool around when it comes to the matter of communism and its campaigns; they have told me that they are not willing to tolerate excesses and disturbances like those that took place the other day.  They regret the fact that the Spanish colony has been riled up by communist elements, because until now the Spaniards have enjoyed an excellent reputation.  The authorities said that  if the Spaniards continue paying attention to the agitators, the authorities will have to undertake decisive action.

Moreover, it just so happens that the majority of Spaniards that make up the colony here have entered the US illegally. I wouldn’t be surprised, therefore, if the authorities were to deport them, thus eliminating all agitation, but at the same time harming our countrymen in a way against which we would have no recourse.

I trust, nonetheless, that the prudent elements of the colony will prevail, and that they will abandon the agitators and enter into negotiations with the ranchers to return to work.

In any event, I must tell Your Excellency that the current situation worries me, as it could precipitate decisive action from the authorities, which could both harm and discredit our colony.

Consul General [of San Francisco]

Alvaro de Aguilar


28 de noviembre de 1932

Situación de obreros españoles en Vacaville

Excelentísimo Señor,

El día 26 del corriente recibí un aviso telefónico del Chérif del Condado a que pertenece el poblado de Vacaville, manifestándome que los obreros españoles del campo se habían declarado en huelga y habían ocasionado disturbios en el poblado, ocurriendo en ellos 2 heridos y verificándose la detención de uno de los españoles agresores.

Al día siguiente de madrugada emprendí el viaje a Vacaville para enterarme de la situación y tratar de aconsejar sensatamente a la colonia española allí residente.

A mi llegada al poblado me dirgí a un comercio español en el que estaban reunidos varios de los huelguistas, y les pregunté la causa de la huelga […]

Habiéndome los obreros comunicado sus deseos, me puse en relación con los rancheros que los emplean y estos me comunicaron que no estaban dispuestos a entrar en negociaciones con los obreros españoles por intermedio de las organizaciones comunistas que habían enviado sus delegados a Vacaville; pero que sí lo harían gustosos si les enviaban una representación de la Unión Española de Beneficiencia de Vacaville, con quienes discutirían las futuras condiciones de trabajo.

Nuevamente convoqué a la colonia española en el local de dicha Sociedad, y les reuní en número de un centenar, explicándoles la actitud de los rancheros, aconsejándoles viesen por sus intereses, y dando por terminada mi gestión que mereció unánime ovación por parte de los congregados.

Noticias de hoy son que los obreros no han vuelto todavía al trabajo.

Aunque en este asunto no tengo intervención por tratarse como digo a Vuestra Excelencia de un pleito entre obreros y patronos, de la circunstancia de estar en ello interesada toda la colonia española de Vacaville, en número de unas 150 familias, a quienes afecta este paro; y como en todas las explotaciones agícolas están despidiendo obreros, me temo que los patronos aprovechen la coyuntura para reducir el número de empleados, y se queden numerosos españoles sin medio de vida.

Por otra parte, estas autoridades no juegan con el asunto del comunismo, y con sus campañas, y me han notificado que no están dispuestos a tolerar demasías o excesos como los pasados.  Se lamentan de que la colonia española haya sido soliviantada por elementos comunistas, ya que ella gozaba de excelente reputación, pero que si siguen prestando atención a los agitadores, se verán obligados a proceder con energía.

Además, se da la circunstancia de que la mayoría de los españoles que integran la colonia han entrado ilegalmente en los Estados, y por lo tanto no me extrañaría que las autoridades procedieran a su deportación, suprimiendo de este modo toda agitación, pero ocasionando a nuestros compatriotas un perjucio contra el cual no puedo desarrollar la menor acción.

Confío, sin embargo, en que los elementos sensatos de la colonia acabarán por imponerse y abandonando a los agitadores entrarán en negociaciones con los rancheros para reanudar sus trabajos.

De todas maneras, no he de ocultar a Vuestra Excelencia que me produce cierta inquietud la actual situación, que puede ocasionar una acción enérgica por parte de las Autoridades, y que redunda en perjuicio y descrédito de nuestra colonia.

El Cónsul General [de San Francisco]

Alvaro de Aguilar


ImageIf you’d like to support our work documenting the history of Spanish immigrants in the US, please buy a copy of our first documentary, Dan Albert’s Paella/ La paella de Daniel Albert via our friends at La Tienda: 


For private use only.  If you’d like to buy a copy with public screening rights for a school, college or library, please send us an e-mail to whitestonerige@gmail.com

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The Year in Review, 2013

villaalonsotreeAs we move into the new year, Luis and I look back with satisfaction at a very productive and enjoyable 2013, just as we look forward to what promises to be a crucial year for the development of our project. We hope you’re enjoying the results of our research, and we thank you all for your support.

Our archival project is featured as an “NYU Story”/ nuestro proyecto de investigación es destacado por New York University

New York premiere of our first documentary “Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert” in La Nacional, New York’s oldest Spanish immigrant organization/ Estreno neoyorquino de nuestro primer documental “Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert” en La Nacional, la más antigua de las organizaciones de inmigrantes españoles en la ciudad.

*Preliminary fieldwork, interviews and filming of locations for our upcoming documentary about the “Spanish Villas” in upstate New York.

*“Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert” is screened as part of Hispanic Heritage Week at Sam Houston State University in Texas.

*J. Fernandez is interviewed by film crew making a documentary about valenciano immigrants in the US.


“Dan Albert’s Paella/La Paella de Daniel Albert” is presented by Luis Argeo at the prestigious “Alcances” film-festival in Cádiz, Spain, and by J. Fernández at Hofstra University.

With support from La Tienda (tienda.com) we run our first photo contest: Marina Rios Free wins a $50 gift certificate and a DVD of “Dan Albert’s Paella”.

Our project is featured on the nightly news of Spanish public television, and in an in-depth article by Mercedes Gallego of El Correo (Vocento) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=214693065360361&set=a.144350349061300.32916.144041909092144&type=1&theater

We begin editing of Tampa documentary in Piedras Blancas, Castrillón, Asturias, España.

Premiere in Monterey, California of our first documentary, “Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert” at the Convention Center in Monterey. [The film is also screened during the month of June at the “Migrations” film festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ]

We stay on in California after the screening, to do preliminary fieldwork and filming in Winters, Vacaville, San Leandro and Placerville, California, for a future documentary about Spanish immigrants in that area.

Our work is featured in a spread in El País, Spain’s major daily http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2013/06/16/actualidad/1371388462_831911.html

Luis Argeo and J. Fernández assist in the making of a documentary about Basques in New York which aired in the Basque Country. The film was made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of NY’s Centro Vasco in 1913.

Documentary shoot in Tampa, Florida. Tony Carreño and Judge E.J. Salcines gave us the inside story of the history of Spanish immigrants in Tampa.

Luis Argeo and J. Fernandez present project and “Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert” in St. Augustine, Florida, at the annual meeting of the Asociación de Licenciados y Doctores Españoles en Estados Unidos (ALDEEU).


Preliminary fieldwork and location filming in Tampa, Florida, for our upcoming documentary about Spanish immigrants in what was once the “Cigar Capital of the World.”

We enjoy our first two significant viral Facebook posts; one about Judge Emilio Núñez, the other a photo belonging to Joe Mora of a 1945 dinner held in honor of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade at the Spanish Workers’ Club in Spanish Harlem. This second photo was shared over 150 times and seen by more than 10,000 people.


We launch of our Facebook page, which now has over 2,000 followers, and has quickly become an important platform for our research.

We launch the site you are currently visiting, “Ni frailes, ni conquistadores: Spanish Immigrants in the US”: http://tracesofspainintheus.org/

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Document of the Month: Centro Asturiano (NY) 1937


A beautiful 66-page program of the “Gran Festival Artístico y Bailable” organized by the Centro Asturiano de Nueva York, Inc. (Afiliado a Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas), on Sunday, October 3, 1937.

The photographs, drawings, texts and advertisements contained in this booklet offer us an invaluable snapshot of New York’s Spanish “colonia” just one year and a few months after the outbreak of the horrific Civil War.  Of particular interest are the reproductions of drawings by the great Galician artist and intellectual Castelao, with commentary by J. Castilla (pp. 53-55), and the appeal for help made on p. 63 to immigrants on behalf of the Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas.

We are pleased to make this document available, to be viewed and/or downloaded, free of charge.  The document was kindly donated by Blanche Agate.  ¡Gracias, Blanche!

Click here to view and/or download this priceless piece of our history.  And please let us see your reactions to the document by leaving comments. 


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“Ni frailes ni conquistadores” update

lanacionalestrenoNew York Premiere of “Dan Albert’s Paella/La paella de Daniel Albert”:  Friday, November 8, 7:00 pm at Centro Español/La Nacional, 239 West 14th Street.

We’re in the midst of a very busy and productive fall season.  In just the last couple of weeks we’ve scouted locations and done preliminary interviews for “Todo el mundo a las Villas,” our project on the Spanish boarding houses in the Plattekill, NY area, and we’ve made a quick trip to Tampa to tie up some loose ends on the “Legacy of Smoke:  Spanish Immigrants in Tampa” chapter.  The Tampa film will most likely be premiered in Tampa in late April or early May, 2014.

This Friday, November 8, at 7pm, our first documentary film “Dan Albert’s Paella” will have its New York premiere at Centro Español/La Nacional (239 West 14th Street).  Admission is $10, free for members of Centro Español; we’ll also screen a 6-minute short by Isabel Cadenas Cañón, the Spanish writer and poet who lends her voice to “Dan Albert’s Paella.”

The NY premiere has garnered two nice write-ups in the Spanish press:  El Comercio here, and La Nueva España here.

Please join us on Friday if you’re in the New York area.  And thanks for your interest and support.

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