A Life in Diaries: The María Luisa Puga Papers Now Available at the Benson Collection
By José Montelongo, Librarian for Mexican Studies
The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is pleased to announce the opening of the María Luisa Puga Papers. Puga (1944–2004) was a Mexican novelist and short-story writer, winner of prestigious literary awards, and highly esteemed by her peers. She left a voluminous diary consisting of 327 notebooks spanning from 1972 through 2004, now available for consultation at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room of the Benson Collection.
“The diaries are a truly remarkable document of struggles both personal and artistic,” said José Montelongo, Mexican Studies Librarian at the Benson Collection. “They are a record of Puga’s intellectual interests, as well as a window to the social and political spheres during her years in Europe, Africa, and Mexico.”
Written in a beautiful hand, with occasional doodle-like illustrations, the pages of the diary carry within them a very poignant emotional charge. The author was someone for whom putting pen to paper was a vital activity in her art and thought; they are an almost visceral expression of her self.
The materials in the archive are now ready for researchers to consult, thanks to Special Collections GRA Emma Whittington, who processed the collection over the summer.
The Benson Latin American Collection plans to celebrate the archive with an event in spring 2018 that will feature participation by Patricia Puga, the author’s sister, who donated the diaries, and Irma López, a scholar of Mexican literature and Latin American women’s fiction at Western Michigan University, and author of a book on Puga, Historia, escritura e identidad: La novelística de María Luisa Puga.
View the finding aid of the Maria Luisa Puga Papers, 1938–2015 at Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).
Read more about Puga’s literary archive at Portal online (article in Spanish).