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Collection Overview

Ramírez, Sergio (1942)
Sergio Ramírez Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1916-2005 (mostly 1963-2002)
2 items, 107.25 linear feet, and (187 containers)
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-35; 129-141; 149-165
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 36-128; 142-148; 62a; 63a; 66a; 68a; 75a; 96a; 97a; 99a; 103a; 109a; 110a; 110b; 111a; 111b; 112a; 112b; 112c; 112d; 113a; 113b; 124a; 127a


Sergio Ramírez has been a leading Nicaraguan author and politician. In 1977 Ramírez became head of the "Group of Twelve", a group of prominent intellectuals who supported the struggle of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. With the triumph of the Revolution in 1979, he became part of the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction and in 1984 he was elected vice-president under Daniel Ortega. The collection consists of manuscripts of his writings, source materials, personal, literary and political correspondence, papers and documents related to Ramírez's political career and to Nicaraguan political history, writings of others, photographs, and graphic and printed materials.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the personal, political, and literary papers of Sergio Ramírez Mercado.

The Writings section of the collection includes both drafts and final versions in manuscript and typed manuscript format of most of Ramírez's fiction, nonfiction, and short expository works, covering the period 1954 to 2004. It also includes interviews and translations of Ramírez's works by others into at least ten languages. Some manuscripts are accompanied by related items such as publishers' proofs, correspondence, and source materials. Also included in this section are writings in printed format when this is the only format that preserves a work.

The extensive Correspondence section covers the period 1960-2004, and includes letters from family members, letters about a specific work, general chronological correspondence, and correspondence with a wide range of renowned writers and politicians, such as Claribel Alegría, Arnoldo Alemán, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, Mario Benedetti, Ernesto Cardenal, Jimmy Carter, Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Felipe González, Augusto Monterroso, Ronald Reagan, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

The Political Archive consists of two main sections. The first section follows Ramírez's political activities, from the early actions of his student days in the 1960s, to his retirement from the political field in 1997. It includes documents and materials about Ramírez's participation in the Sandinista revolution against the Somoza regime, the Junta de Gobierno de Reconstrucción Nacional, his activities as vice president and as leader of the Sandinista Party, the foundation of the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista, and his participation as candidate for president in 1996. The second section consists of documents and materials collected by Ramírez related to Nicaraguan political history, mostly related to Augusto C. Sandino, the Somoza family, and various political events of the twentieth century before the Sandinista revolution.

Of special interest is the Writings of Others section, which includes adaptations of Ramírez's works, essays and reviews about Ramírez's writings, and a small collection of writings by other authors in different formats, including Claribel Alegría, Ernesto Cardenal, Abelardo Cuadra, Carlos Fuentes, Fernando Gordillo, Ernesto Mejía Sánchez, and Octavio Paz.

This collection also includes documents and materials about awards, literary contracts, teaching activities, trips, and some cultural and social projects in which Ramírez was involved.

Free-standing photographs, and other graphic materials related to Ramírez's literary and political career, can be found in Series 7. However, some photographs and graphic materials were kept in their original context and can be found throughout the collection.

Finally, the collection includes many miscellaneous and printed materials. Of special interest are the materials about Masatepe (Ramírez's birth place) in Series 8 and the wide array of printed materials that include Ramírez's short writings. These printed materials not only show the context in which Ramírez's short writings were published, but also represent a rich collection of ephemera from Latin America, difficult to find outside the local context.

Additional materials consist of writings by Sergio Ramírez; photographs of Sergio Ramírez and family, friends, colleagues and politicians; interviews; correspondence, cards and invitations; writings by others; awards and recognitions; posters; some drawings; and materials related to foundations, symposia, conferences, fairs, presentations, festivals and other events.

Collection Creator Biography:

Ramírez, Sergio

Sergio Ramírez Mercado was born in Masatepe, Masaya (Nicaragua) on August 5, 1942. He attended Universidad Autónoma Nacional de Nicaragua – León, where he obtained a degree in law in 1964. Ramírez's activities combined an active participation in the political life of Nicaragua with a prolific output of fiction and nonfiction writings.

Ramírez literary career began in the 1950s, when he published short stories and poems in literary supplements of newspapers. In 1960 Ramírez founded the literary journal Ventana, and, together with Fernando Gordillo, led the literary movement of the same name. His first book, Cuentos, was published in 1963. Between 1973 and 1975 he participated in the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). He wrote and published without interruption from 1971 to 2008.

His writing output includes novels, short stories, poems, plays, forewords, and several essay books related to Nicaraguan political history and Central American literature. His books and stories received many awards: the Dashiell Hammett Award in 1990 ( Castigo divino), the Premio Internacional de Novela Alfagura in 1998 ( Margarita, está linda la mar), the Laure Bataillon Award in 1998 ( Un baile de máscaras), and the Premio Latinoamericano de Novela José María Arguedas Casa de las Américas in 2000 ( Margarita, está linda la mar). Ramírez was member of the Academia Nicaragüense de la Lengua and of the Real Academia Española.

A big portion of Ramírez's output consists of articles and essays about literature and politics which were regularly published in several newspapers, electronic publications, and blogs in Latin America, the United States, and Europe.

Major Published Works: De Tropeles y Tropelías (San Salvador: Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de El Salvador, 1972) El Pensamiento vivo de Sandino. Editor. (San José: EDUCA, 1975) Charles Atlas también muere (México: Joaquín Mortiz, 1976) ¿Te dio miedo la sangre? (Caracas: Monte Ávila, 1978) Castigo Divino (Madrid: Mondadori, 1988) Clave de Sol (México: Cal y Arena, 1993) Un baile de máscaras (México: Alfaguara, 1995) Cuentos Completos (México: Alfaguara, 1998) Margarita, está linda la mar (Madrid: Alfaguara, 1998) Adiós muchachos (Madrid: Aguilar, 1999) Mentiras Verdaderas (México: Alfagura, 2001) Catalina y Catalina (México: Alfaguara, 2001) Sombras nada más (México: Alfaguara, 2002) El viejo arte de mentir (México: FCE; ITESM, 2004) Mil y una muertes (México: Alfaguara, 2004) Señor de los tristes (San Juan, P.R: La Editorial Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2006) El reino animal (México: Alfaguara, 2006).

Political and Public Service Career: Sergio Ramírez started his public service career serving two terms as General Secretary of the Confederación de Universidades Centroamericanas (CSUCA) in Costa Rica in 1968 and 1976. In 1977 he was the leader of Grupo de los Doce, a group formed by intellectuals, businessmen, priests, and civic leaders supporting the activities of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) against the Anastasio Somoza regime. In 1979, with the success of the revolution, he became part of the Junta de Gobierno de Reconstrucción Nacional. In 1984 he was elected Vice President, and as part of his activities he was the chair of The Consejo Nacional de Educación. Between 1990 and 1995 Ramírez was leader of the Sandinista party in the National Assembly, and in 1995 he founded the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista (MRS). As leader of this party he ran for the presidential elections in 1996 where the MRS got 1.33% of the votes. In 1997 he retired from all political activities.

Sergio Ramírez received several awards, including honorary degrees from Universidad Central del Ecuador (1984), Universidad Blaise Pascal de Clermont-Ferrand (2000), and Universidad de Catamarca (2007); Bruno Kreisky Award in Human Rights (Vienna 1983), Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France (1993), Orden Mariano Fiallos Gil del Consejo Nacional de Universidades de Nicaragua (1994), Medalla Presidencial del Centenario de Pablo Neruda (Chile, 2004), and Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (2007).

Ramírez also had a very active career as teacher and conference lecturer. He taught in the Cátedra Julio Cortázar in the Universidad de Guadalajara (1996), in the Cátedra Alfonso Reyes of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (2002), at the Freie Universität Berlin in the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship for Literature (2001), at UCLA in the Regents' Lecturer Program (2003), and as guest teacher at the University of Maryland-College Park (1999-2000). In the United States he was guest lecturer at Princeton University, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Boston University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of California-Irvine, University of Miami, and Middelbury College. He also lectured regularly in Spain (Casa de América, El Ateneo, Universidad de Salamanca, Universidad de Alicante, and Universidad de Albacete), France (Université de Poitiers and Université Blaise Pascal-Clermont-Ferrand) and Mexico (Centro Nacional de las Artes, Colegio Nacional de México, and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).

Ramírez was also an active force in publishing in Central America. He founded the Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana (EDUCA) in 1978 and in 1981 the Editorial Nueva Nicaragua (ENN). He was a founding member of El Semanario, a newspaper that was published in Managua from 1990 to 2000. In 2004 he started the electronic journal Carátula ( dedicated to cultural and literary studies.

In 2004, the Fondo de Cultura Económica published Una vida por la palabra, a biographical interview made by Silvia Cherem, with foreword by Carlos Fuentes.

Collection History


Purchased from Sergio Ramírez in June 2006 . Additional material acquired in March 2011 .


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carolina Gamboa-Hoyos in 2007-2008. Finding aid written by Carolina Gamboa-Hoyos in May 2008.

Additional materials processed by Armando Suárez in January 2023.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The 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:

Sergio Ramírez Papers; 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:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-35; 129-141; 149-165
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 36-128; 142-148; 62a; 63a; 66a; 68a; 75a; 96a; 97a; 99a; 103a; 109a; 110a; 110b; 111a; 111b; 112a; 112b; 112c; 112d; 113a; 113b; 124a; 127a