Staff News

A History of Dominican Music in the U.S. announced by Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership


Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership included in their newsletter At A Glance a note about our recently launched website  A History of Dominican Music in the United States , the first open-source digital platform narrating the history of Dominican music as it developed during the past century in the United States. 

AHODMIUS screenshotJhensen Ortiz


Donation of Dominican-Related Educational Resources to the Bronx Community College Library

Pic 1The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library donated over 500 Dominican-related materials to the Bronx Community College Library (BCC) to serve their growing Dominican and Latino student population. BCC Professor and Librarian Nelson Santana picked up the materials and stated that this donation will enrich student’s accessibility to materials on the Dominican Republic while simultaneously increasing the library’s holdings on Dominican studies.

Pic 3 Pic 4We hope this donation will help the BCC student and faculty to expand their knowledge on Dominican studies. 

Jhensen Ortiz


BuzzFeed’s Pero Like producers Julissa Calderón and Gadiel Del Orbe visit CUNY DSI

Blog Photo

After our tribute to Normandía Maldonado last week, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Archives and Library was fortunate to receive this morning Julissa Calderón and Gadiel Del Orbe from BuzzFeed's “Pero Like” producers. They came to film a video about the historical legacy of Normandía Maldonando and interviewing members of the staff Assistant Director Anthony Stevens Acevedo, Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte, and Archivist Jessy Pérez.

The Normandía Maldonado Collection was on full display with photographs, letters, flyers, and posters that illustrate her achievements throughout her life.

Julissa Calderón is Doña Normandía’s niece and came to learn about her contributions from other people outside her family. We would like to thank Julissa and Gadiel for coming to us and utilizing her collection to share Doña Normandía's story on such a large online platform. We are looking forward to seeing the finished product in the coming weeks!

Jhensen Ortiz



Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel donates her doctoral dissertation

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel for donating her doctoral dissertation Towards A theory about Spanish Women in Sixteenth Century Hispaniola to our library.As an esteemed colleague CUNY Dominican Studies Institute staff is extremely proud of her work and her journey as a promising young scholar. 


Acosta-Corniel, Lisette. Towards A theory about Spanish Women in Sixteenth Century Hispaniola. Diss. University at Albany, State University of New York, 2013. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2013. Print

    This dissertation is an inventive study about the Spanish women of Hispaniola, the first European settlement of the Americas. She analyzes the lives of Spanish women in sixteenth century Hispaniola who otherwise never have been accurately identified and in the process have been omitted from history. Furthermore, the dissertation provides a research guide about Spanish women in sixteenth century Hispaniola through informative case studies and vignettes of the lives of these women. This dissertation argues the participatory role of Spanish women in the development of a society under patriarchal control and illuminates the ways the theories of micro and macro development, women as a colony, injuries speech, discourse analysis, among many other topics that give a comprehensive stance within the confined spaces that Spanish women were made to live.
   Part of the methodological approach she used to analyze the topic was primary documents in books, microfiche, and secondary sources. Her research took her to visit Archives and Libraries in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Spain. The pursuit to find information about the Spanish women who came to the New World is certainly stimulating and pioneering. This dissertation can be of interest to students, researchers, historians and as well as the general public interested in historiography of Spanish colonialism, Spanish women of colonial Latin America, and colonial period in Dominican Republic or Hispaniola. 

    Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel also took part in developing the online Spanish Paleography Tool Project at CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (Click here to see the project).She also appears in a video on YouTube talking about the paleography tool (Click here to see the video) explaining how extremely significant it was for her while she was working on her PhD dissertation. 

Jhensen Ortiz

Una de las nuestras dona su segunda colección de poesía Viandante en Nueva York a la biblioteca dominicana

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a Osiris Mosquea por su donación y felicita su trabajo como poeta y activista en la ciudad de Nueva York. Actualmente Osiris está trabajando como asistente a la biblioteca dominicana.

Mosquea, Osiris. Viandante en Nueva York. New York, N.Y.: Artepoética Press, 2013. Print.

Este libro es un reflejo de la vida cotidiana y los matices culturales de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York. Mosquea muestra con vívidos detalles los aspectos esenciales del trabajo, el hogar y la comunidad que ella ha llegado experimentar. Su voz te lleva en un viaje, no como un viajero, sino un residente a través de la ciudad de Nueva York desde una perspectiva profunda, personal y emblemática. Su imaginación es el vehículo que une a la multitud de sentimientos que se expresan acerca de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Este libro es un recurso para estudiantes, investigadores y la comunidad interesada en la poesía y la experiencia de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York desde el punto de vista literario.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

New publication on the portrayal of Dominicans in the International Press by Sully Saneaux and Dr. Ramona Hernández

Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to acknowledge the donation and recent publication of Columnist Sully Saneaux and CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Director Dr. Ramona Hernandez.

Prensa extranjera001

Saneaux, Sully, and Ramona Hernández. La República Dominicana Y La Prensa Extranjera Mayo 1961- Septiembre 1963 (Desde La Desaparición De Trujillo Hasta Juan Bosch). Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Biblioteca Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 2013. Print.

The authors analyze the relationship of the Dominican Republic and principal international news organizations from May 1960 to September 1963. The authors were interested in finding what false pretenses and inaccurate information was being publicized during this time period. In addition, it was crucial for them to detect the accuracy of the news, the propaganda, and subjectivity from the reporters in the news media. They examine articles from news organizations in Portugal, Italy, and China, to name a few.

The book will definitely resonate with Dominicans who were affected by the political instability following the five years after Trujillo's death and provide readers an understanding of the perceptions in the news coverage relating to political events in the Dominican Republic during this time period.

La República Dominicana Y La Prensa Extranjera is essential reading to political science and history students as well as researchers working in the fields of Cold War studies, Media Communications, Journalism, Dominican History, Dominican Politics, Juan Bosch, and U.S. foreign policy.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern


Amaury, you will be missed! Te extrañaremos!


Please join us in wishing our esteemed colleague AMAURY RODRIGUEZ the best in his new position and future endeavors. We would like to thank him for his support, dedication and professionalism.

Le deseamos a nuestro estimado colega AMAURY RODRIGUEZ lo mejor en su nuevo cargo y proyectos futuros. Nos gustaría darle las gracias por su apoyo, dedicación y profesionalismo.

Dr. Ramona Hernández quoted in Wall Street Journal article on newcomers and small businesses in the US

The Wall Street Journal recently published a very informative piece on the role that immigrants hailing from Latin American, Asian and South East Asian countries have played in keeping small businesses alive. Among the immigrant communities under discussion are Cubans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Mexicans, Chinese, Indian and Dominicans. The WSJ article makes the assertion that immigrants “are more inclined to own small businesses than native-born Americans”. Dr. Ramona Hernández, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Dominican Studies Institute at City University of New York (CUNY DSI), is quoted on the transition of small Dominican-owned neighborhood grocery stores to big chain supermarkets.

Additionally, the article looks at census data from the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) to examine how immigrant-owned small businesses impact the US economy. In that regard, it looks at how mom and pop shops as well as small businesses that provide services have sprung up throughout the United States since the 1980s in areas beyond major urban centers where immigrant populations have traditionally settled.

To read the article click on this link:



Highlighting our Collaborators: Prof. Janey Chao

ChaoOn behalf of Professor Sarah Aponte and the rest of the staff at the Dominican Library, we would like to publicly express our most profound gratitude to Professor Chao, Head of Cataloguing at Baruch College, for her outstanding cataloging work at DSI. In 2011, Professor Janey Chao began to work in the cataloguing area of our library as a consultant. Ever since, our ability to present bibliographical material that was previously unknown to researchers and the general public in the United States and the rest of the world has been solidified. In fact, the works of several published authors from the Dominican Republic and other countries are now available in the WorldCat database. Undoubtedly this new feat has been possible due to Professor Janey Chao’s work and professional expertise. Additionally, she has spent twice as much time beyond her paid hours to help out CUNY DSI with the original cataloging project. We thank her for going out of her way to volunteer to help out improve our services.

CUNY DSI goes to great lengths to make bibliographical material on the Dominican Republic and Dominicans in the United States available to the general public. In 2011, CUNY DSI took a giant step by welcoming on board Prof. Janey Chao who has been a key component of the “Original Cataloging Project at CUNY DSI Library”. A project overseen by Prof. Sarah Aponte, this represents a unique contribution to the dissemination of Dominican historiography, literature and culture in the English-speaking world.  Prof. Aponte—with the support of City College’s Chief Librarian Pamela Gillespie - in  collaboration with both Prof. Chao and Ms. Yoko Inagi (Head of Cataloging at City College) was able to convince CUNY Central to aid CUNY DSI with original cataloguing, a highly expensive task that is in many cases, out of the reach of CUNY DSI. With more than two decades of experience working in the library science field, Prof. Chao’s work at DSI has strengthened the library’s ability to offer first rate scholarship to students, researchers and the public at large. 

Our library collection has experienced a considerable growth due to two important factors. First, there is more bibliographical material written in several languages on Dominican studies and the Dominican experience in the US than ever before. Second, our library receives –on an ongoing basis— donations of new, old and rare bibliographical material too expensive for us to acquire from both public and private libraries as well as individuals in the US and abroad. Once publications arrive, our staff sorts out what needs to be incorporated into the World Catalogue or WorldCat (the world’s largest library catalogue). The cataloguing process, which might seem easy at glance, involves tenuous and difficult work especially when publications arrive without an ISBN number (International Standard Book Number). Among these publications are old, rare and out of print books from the 1800s, early 20th century as well as newer publications from the Dominican Republic –and in some cases, other countries—which have not been assigned an ISBN number due to a lack of a functional and modern library system alongside standardized publishing practices. Once again, we acknowledge Professor Janey Chao’s work and dedication to our library, researchers, students as well as the Dominican and Latino community in the United States.

More on the DSI Online Catalogue

There are two online catalogs that provide access to the bibliographical collection at the Dominican Library (CUNY DSI): CUNY+ provides access to our holdings as well as circulating material from the libraries at the City University of New York. Additionally, the DSI Online Database, our old catalogue (which is now in the process of being converted to a more user friendly platform) provides access to academic journals, journal and newspaper articles, out of print journals, books and audiovisual materials.

Amaury Rodriguez, Library Research Assistant

CUNY DSI Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte Honored at Women’s Book Fair for her Outstanding Work


The ninth annual International Dominican Women Writers’ Book Fair in the United States which took place during the month of March (23rd –25th), was dedicated to four women for their pioneering contributions to the dissemination of Dominican literature, culture and history in the Unites States and beyond. The Dominican Library at the City University of New York Dominican Studies Institute is proud to announce that Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte was among those who received various awards during the opening ceremony held at La Isabella nursing home auditorium in Washington Heights, which is home to a large and vibrant Dominican community. Among the honorees were poet and cultural activist Osiris Mosquea, educator and administrator Ana Isabel García, and renowned researcher Mary Ely Gratereaux.  Every year, since 2003, the International Dominican Women Writers’ Book Fair highlights the literary and intellectual production of Dominican and Latino women in the United States. This year’s book fair, which joins International Women’s Day celebrations throughout the US, had as its motto “Leyendo Escribimos Nuestras Vidas” [By reading we tell our lives].

In a well-organized event full of surprises, the book fair recognized the pioneering work of Chief Librarian and Assistant Professor Sarah Aponte among others. The book fair, which is rapidly becoming the premier literary gathering of Dominican women poets and writers in the US, was sponsored by Dominican Women’s Development Center, Comisionado Dominicano de Cultura, City University of New York, Cayena Publications, Hostos Community College, and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE). Approximately 300 people attended the opening ceremony which included special guests from Venezuela, Haiti, Romania and the United States. The event was accompanied by an imaginative, and rather poignant, poetry slam recital by Sussy Santana; and two lively musical performances by Smithsonian folklore and popular music researcher and musician Irka Mateo, as well as singer Cynthia Cruz who wooed the audience with her love songs and grace.

This cultural gathering organized by poet and educator Karina Rieke produced 20 panels and workshops beginning Saturday morning through Sunday evening. This year’s book fair paid homage to Dominican female poets including the honored poet Mosquea and researcher and film producer Gratereaux, City College alumnus Kianny Antigua and Yrene Santos. Furthermore, several male poets and literary critics were invited to participate in the event. During the closing moments of the three-day affair, Rosita Romero, Executive Director of the Dominican Women’s Development Center, acknowledged the large participation of men – both as panelists and audience members – thus proving that not only women, but men too support this important endeavor. According to Romero: “I believe that it is a wonderful thing that on a Saturday morning, when most women are at home washing clothes and doing other household chores, we all decided to unite and read poetry.” She continued, “The idea of having many people congregate in one place to see the fruit of the labor produced by many prolific women is a great feeling…we should be proud of these women who inspire us.”

Renowned pedagogues from different parts of the United States, the Dominican Republic, and other countries participated in the fair. Syracuse Professor Silvio Torres-Saillant, founding director of the Dominican Studies Institute and long-time professor at the City University of New York, presented his exclusive panel, “Notes on the Female Literature in the United States.” New books such as Lourdes Batista’s En la soledad de mi camaSolitud in My Bed, which will be launched in English on Saturday, March 31 at Columbia University – were presented at the fair. Also, Mary Ely-Gratereaux’s documentary El rostro detrás de las muñecas [The Face behind the Dolls] was premiered and became an instant hit with audience members. This particular documentary recounts the story of Dominican migrant women who have between ten and thirty years working at the Madame Alexander Doll Company crafting dolls as artists, seamstresses, and stylists, among other things.

In recent years, the field of Dominican studies in the United States has experienced some significant growth. It is important to keep in mind, however, that more than a decade ago, scholars and students in the US interested in the field faced many difficulties at a time when first rate scholarly work was available in English. Nevertheless, a clear and concise conceptualization of this area of study has come into fruition over the years. In 1994, Professor Aponte founded the Dominican Library with donations of bibliographical materials from the Council of Dominican Educators and other community members. The Dominican Library has come a long way ever since. The fact that ample bibliographical material has been catalogued and made available to the public since 1994 indicates the central role librarians play in disseminating knowledge and serving the community. In that regard, Professor Aponte’s unique work, insight and vision have been instrumental in spearheading this effort alongside others such as Dr. Ramona Hernández and Dr. Silvio Torres- Saillant. During her research visits to major archives and libraries in the US and abroad, Professor Aponte managed to uncover important bibliographical contributions that, in one way or another, are paving the way for other researchers and scholars to further advance the study of the Dominican community in the US.

Professor Aponte’s effort in disseminating knowledge about Dominicans in the US is an ongoing project: on a number of occasions, she has given lectures on librarianship while sharing her own experience as the first and only librarian specializing in the study of Dominicans in the US. She also conducts workshops at the Dominican Library attended by early childhood and secondary education public school students and teachers, and collaborates with published authors and writes articles for academic journals. Her most recent publication is “Dominican Related Dissertations in the U.S.: an Analytical Approach (1939-2009),” published in Camino Real (2011), the journal of the Instituto Franklin of the University of Alcalá, Spain. A resident of New York State since 1989, Professor Aponte is known to researchers, authors, students and staff for her kind hospitality and keen eye for detail and academic professionalism. This is one of the reasons why her doors are always open to researchers and students who attend CUNY and other universities located in the tri-state area as well as throughout the United States and other countries. Last Friday, her contribution to the preservation and dissemination of Dominican literature and social history alongside her commitment to academic objectivity received much praise when she received six awards including one from the book fair committee, three New York City Citations from Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Nelson Castro and Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, and a New York City Proclamation from Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez which reads in part as follows:

Whereas: In celebration of Women’s History Month, Ydanis Rodriguez Council Member of the 10th District, is proud to honor Sarah Aponte, the Assistant Professor and Chief Librarian at CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library, for the outstanding achievements; and  […]

Be it Known: That Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member of the 10th District, gracefully honors Sarah Aponte for her inspirational work and contribution to Dominican Studies.


Nelson Santana (Assistant Librarian) and Amaury Rodriguez (Library Research Assistant)

2012-03-23_21-01-21_436From left to right: Carlos Sánches (Comisionado Dominicano de Cultura), Karina Rieke, Mary Ely Gratereaux, Osiris Mosquea, Irka Mateo, Ana I. García Reyes, Sarah Aponte