Guide to the Graciela Papers
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Graciela, 1915-2010
Collection is primarily in
. Some materials in
, and
Physical Description:
10 Cubic feet
33 boxes
Collection documents the personal life and professional career of Graciela Perez-Gutierrez, a well known Afro-Cuban singer. Born in Havana, she performed for over thirty years, first with the all-female Orquesta Anacaona and El Trio Garcia and then with her brother Machito before a solo career.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Collection documents the music career of Graciela and the development of Afro Cuban jazz in the United States. It includes correspondence, music manuscripts, financial records, photographs, posters, flyers, newsclippings, and audiovisual materials. These materials primarily relate to Graciela's professional career but also include her personal papers. There is a substantial amount of material relating to other jazz artists including Machito, Mario Bauza, Celia Cruz, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and Chico O'Farrill. In addition, the career of Maria R. Torres (Mappy), head of production for the Afro-Cu-Bar Company and manager of Graciela's music career, is also documented. The richest portion of the collection lies in the photographic and performance materials which include social gatherings and many of the performance spaces where Afro Cuban jazz (Danzón or Salsa) developed, including The Palladium and Lincoln Center. Music festival programs related to jazz and Latin rhythms; tribute concerts; song and lyric notes and music manuscripts composed by Bobby Manrique, Lou Perez, and Lillian Gonzalez document the creative process of the music. Finally, researchers interested in Cuban and Caribbean history, immigration, and Latin internet forums for Afro Cuban jazz will find materials of value in this collection.
The collection is arranged into seven series. Series one contains Graciela's personal papers. Series two consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence. Series three has business records. Series four comprises the largest portion of the collection and contains photographic materials. Series five includes materials relating to performances. Series six contains publications and Series seven includes audiovisual materials.

The collection is divided into eight series:
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1934-2010, undated
Subseries 1.1: Personal Materials, 1934-2010
Subseries 1.2: Latin American Publications, undated
Series 2: Correspondence, 1944-2010, undated
Series 3: Business Records, 1937-2008, undated
Series 4: Photographic Materials, 1938-2009, undated
Subseries 4.1: Albums, 1938-2004, undated Subseries 4.2: Photographs, 1944-2009, undated
Series 5: Performance Materials, 1943-2009, undated Subseries 5.1: Music, 1943-2003, undated
Subseries 5.2: Concerts and Other Events, 1962-2009, undated
Subseries 5.3: Television and Film, 1991-2006, undated
Series 6: Publications, 1960-2009, undated
Series 7: Materials Relating to Other Artists and Friends, 1941-2008, undated
Series 8: Audiovisual Materials, 1974-2013, undated
Subseries 8.1: Interviews, 1985-2007, undated
Subseries 8.2: Performances, 1987-2013, undated Subseries 8.3: Documentaries, 1992-2005, undated Subseries 8.4: Personal, 1985-2008, undated
Subseries 8.5: Sound Discs, 1974-1989

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Recognized as Queen of Boleros, First Lady of the Afro Cuban-Jazz, Graciela Perez Gutierrez was born in La Habana, Cuba, on August 23, 1915 and died in New York, United States on April 7, 2010 at the age of 94 years. Daughter of Marta Gutierrez Izquierdo and Rogelio Perez, Graciela started her professional career in the early 1930's at the age of sixteen with the all-female group "El Septeto Anacaona" at the famous Cuban bar "Tropicana" without the permission of her father. She stayed in the group for ten years and traveled to Puerto Rico, México, Panamá, the United States, Venezuela, Colombia, and France. She performed with the "Trio Garcia" for a year mostly in the Vedado, Cuba. In 1943, she decided to join, with her stepbrother (Frank "Machito" Grillo) and brother in law (Mario Bauza) in the band called "Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra." Graciela became the "First Lady of the Afro Cuban-Jazz" in the 1940's-1950's when mambo and Latin rhythms where at their peak and became accepted by American jazzmen. They performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Mann, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Lester Young, Polito Galindo, and many others. "Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra" stayed together for almost 35 years and their biggest hits were: "! Si, si, No, no! ," "Ay Jose," and "Caso Perdido". At this time Graciela became a famous solo star but she preferred to stay with Machito and Mario and they made almost 70 albums with the orchestra. In 1970, Graciela left Machito's Orchestra and joined "Mario Bauza and the Afro-Cuban Orchestra" as a lead singer for 20 years. Graciela, Machito and Mario recorded many albums including: "¿Dónde estabas tú?" (Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, 1952), "Esta es Graciela" (Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, 1963), "Íntimo y sentimiental" (Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, 1965), "Yo soy así" (1972), "Sí sí no no" (Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Mike Young, 1999), "Cubop City" (Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Howard McGhee, Brew Moore, Flip Phillips, 2000) and "Inolvidable" (Candido & Graciela, 2004). After Mario Bauzá died (1993), she decided to retire, but she continued recording singles in a very selective way; she recorded with Chico O'Farrill, Steve Turre, and other artist. Graciela was honored by the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2007 for her pioneering career as a Latin and jazz rhythms fusionist.

Irmarie Fraticelli-Rodríguez and Edwin A. Rodriguez
This collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Lisa Sokolov, 2017.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Irmarie Fraticelli-Rodríguez and Edwin Rodriguez, interns; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, supervisory archivist, 2017.
Separated Materials
Division of Cultural and Community Life, National Museum of American History
Dress, Accession number: 2018.0078.01
Dress, Accession number: 2018.0078.02
Dress, Accession number: 2018.0078.03.01
Jacket, Accession number: 2018.0078.03.02
Dress, Accession number: 2018.0078.04
Ring, Accession number: 2018.0078.05
Ring, Accession number: 2018.0078.06
Bracelet, Accession number: 2018.0078.07
Painting of Graciela by Erich Padilla, Accession number: 2018.0078.08
Print of Ballerina, owned by Graciela, Accession number: 2018.0078.09
Print of Three Birds, owned by Graciela, Accession number: 2018.0078.10
Latin Grammy awarded to Graciela in 2006, Accession number: 2018.0078.11
50 Years of Cuban Music Plaque, Accession number: 2018.0078.12
Microphone with case, Accession number: 2018.0078.13
Bible, Accession number: 2018.0078.14
Cigar box, Accession number: 2018.0078.15
Eyeglasses, Accession number: 2018.0078.15.01
Fan, Accession number: 2018.0078.15.02
Badges, Accession number: 2018.0078.15.03
Badge from Jazz '92, Accession number: 2018.0078.15.04
Artist Badge, Heimatklange 1992 Carnevale Caribe, Accession number: 2018.0078.15.05

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audio-visual materials. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
Preferred Citation
Graciela Papers, 1934-2013, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros Papers (NMAH.AC1430)
Charismic Productions Records of Dizzy Gillespie (NMAH.AC0979)
Chico O'Farrill (NMAH.AC0892)
Tito Puente Papers (NMAH.AC0894)
Paquito D'Rivera Papers (NMAH.0891)
Mongo Santamaria Papers (NMAH.AC0893)
Leonard Gaskin Papers (NMAH.AC.0900)
W. Royal Stokes Collection of Music Photoprints and Interviews (NMAH.AC0766)

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Music -- Manuscripts Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- Performance Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Videocassettes Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
45 rpm records Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Color photoprints Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Concert programs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Phonograph records Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Singers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Compact discs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012