Columbia Library Acquires Papers of Josefina Báez

Josefina Báez
Giovanni Savino

Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library recently acquired the archives of Dominican-born author, dramatist, and performance artist Josefina Báez. An influential figure in the New York City art scene for decades, Báez is the founder and director of the Ay Ombe Theatre, whose productions often explore issues related to race, the immigrant experience, and identity. Her archives include drafts and galleys of some of her best-known works, including Dominicanish (2000) and Comrade, Bliss Ain’t Playing (2008); video footage of rehearsals and performances; and flyers, posters, ticket stubs, and other ephemera.

“It is impossible to tell the story of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Latinos in New York, global Black thought, and performance history without Báez, an innovator in method, form, and language,” says Frances Negrón-Muntaner, a Columbia professor of English and comparative literature and the founding curator of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s Latino Arts and Activisms collection.