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Collection Overview

Randall, Margaret, 1936-
Selected Correspondence of Margaret Randall
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
6 boxes, 2 items, and 2.5 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-6
English Spanish; Castilian


The Selected Correspondence of Margaret Randall consists of letters exchanged between the American Marxist, poet, editor, author Margaret Randall, and many Latin American poets, writers, journalists, editors, and friends. Also included are subject files, articles, and printed matter relating to Cuba and Nicaragua. Randall was born in New York, but spent most of her adult life in Latin America. In 1961 she moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Mexico, then to Cuba in 1969, and from there to Nicaragua in 1980, returning to Albuquerque in 1984.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of correspondence (1977-1999) that reflects a wide selection of Latin American, primarily Cuban, poets, writers, journalists, editors, and friends. The correspondents include Ruth Behar, Antonio Castro, Robert Cohen, Alex Fleites, Francisco Garzón Céspedes, Dan Georgakas, Marian McDonald, Sergio Mondragón, Michele Najlis, Victor Núñez Rodríguez, Arnaldo Orfila Reynal, Mirta Yáñez, and Daisy Zamora. Their letters discuss literary topics, gay and lesbian issues, and other social and political issues of the times. Some letters include poems, articles, photographs, and clippings. Also included are subject files, articles, and printed matter relating to Cuba and Nicaragua. This collection offers insight into the social and political issues of contemporary Latin America.

A few of the 42 correspondents are Ruth Behar, Antonio Castro, Robert Cohen, Alex Fleites, Francisco Garzón Céspedes, Dan Georgakas, Marian McDonald, Sergio Mondragón, Michele Najlis, Victor Rodríguez Núñez, Arnaldo Orfila Reynal, Mirta Yáñez, and Daisy Zamora. Also included are Randall's subject files (1977-1999) on Cuba and Nicaragua, containing miscellaneous correspondence, articles, and printed matter.


The collection has been arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject, and then chronologically within each folder. Miscellaneous correspondence is arranged alphabetically in a group folder by country name, and then chronologically. A list of correspondents by nationality is located after the box and folder inventory.

Collection Creator Biography:

Randall, Margaret, 1936-

Margaret Randall is a feminist poet, writer, photographer, and social activist.

She was born in New York City on December 6, 1936. She emigrated to Mexico in 1961 and married Mexican poet Sergio Mondragón. In 1962, Randall and Mondragón co-founded El Corno Emplumado ( The Plumed Horn), a bilingual literary journal that translated and published mainly avant-garde and "Beat Generation" works by authors from Mexico, other parts of Latin America, and the United States. The journal published works by Ernesto Cardenal, Claudio Bertonio, Alan Trachtenberg, Anselm Hollo, Homero Aridjis, Cecilia Vicuna, Nicanor Parra, Gonzalo Rojas, Enrique Lihn, Jorge Teillier, Waldo Rojas, Alejandra Pizarnik, Raquel Jodorowsky, and featured artwork from David Alfaro Siqueiros, Leonora Carrington, Juan Soriano, Rini Templeton, and Elaine de Kooning. El Corno Emplumado also published approximately 20 books of poetry. Issue #28 was released in October 1968 in the midst of the Tlatelolco Massacre, a violent military attack against university students that left hundreds dead. The editorial's defense of the student protests resulted in the loss of subsidized government funding and the journal was forced to close after the publication of issue #31 in 1969.

Randall relocated to Cuba from 1969 to 1980, and then to Nicaragua from 1980 to 1984. During this time, Randall focused her poetry and writing on feminism and women's issues in socialist and revolutionary society. She published several anthologies, collections of poetry and oral histories including Carlota: Prose & Poems from Havana (1978), Sandino's Daughters: Testimonies of Nicaraguan Women in Struggle (1981), Breaking the Silences: An Anthology of 20th-Century Poetry by Cuban Women (1982), A Poetry of Resistance: Selected Poems and Prose from Central America (1984).

In 1984, she attempted to immigrate back to the United States, but was met with deportation when the government invoked the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the act, the government claimed Randall's opinions and ideology expressed in several of her books were "against the good order and happiness of the United States." Randall's struggle to reinstate her citizenship became a five year battle. She won a Board of Immigration Appeals case in 1989 ordering the INS to grant her adjustment of status to permanent residence. In 1990 she was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression; and in 2004 she was the first recipient of PEN New Mexico's Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism.

From 1984 through 1994 she taught at a number of universities including Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the University of New Mexico, Macalester College, and the University of Delaware. She continues to publish poetry and writes extensively on the subjects of feminism, the Cuban Revolution, and the Sandinista Revolution. Among her publications include Walking to the Edge: Essays of Resistance (1991), Gathering Rage (1992), Something's Wrong with the Cornfields (2011), Che on My Mind (2013), Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary (2015), and Exporting Revolution: Cuba's Global Solidarity (2017), among others.

She married artist Barbara Byers in 2013 and currently lives in Albuquerque.

Collection History


Purchased from the author in 1999.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2003. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2003.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Selected Correspondence of Margaret Randall; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-6