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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives logo

Guide to the Estela and Ernesto Bravo Film and Video Collection TAM.616

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jan Hilley, with the assistance of Heather Mulliner.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 27, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Heather Mulliner to include item-level description of 225 videos Edited by Amy C. Vo to include item-level description of 42 videos Edited by Jasmine Sykes-Kunk and Amy C. Vo to include item-level description of 32 videos Edited by Rachel Mahre to reflect digitization of videos Edited by Weatherly Stephan to reflect deaccession of moldy, digitized videos Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to record digitization, decontamination, isolation, and deaccession of videos treated by a vendor.  , December 2018 , May 2020 , October 2020 , February 2021 , June 2021 , July 2022

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to materials in this collection, created by Estela and Ernesto Bravo, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Estela and Ernesto Bravo Film and Video Collection; TAM 616; box number; item number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Separated Materials

Commercial copies of Estela Bravo's documentaries have been transferred to the Avery Fisher Center in Bobst Library. Additionally, copies of the following serials were transferred to Tamiment's library collections: Bohemi,  Cine Cubano,  Cuba Magazine,  Cuba Update,  Cuba International,  Education,  Joven Cuba,  OCLAE,  Prisma,  Science Magazine,  The Sciences. Please check the library catalog for holdings.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Access to audiovisual materials in this collection is available through digitized access copies. Researchers may view an item's original container, but the media themselves are not available for playback because of preservation concerns. Materials that have already been digitized are noted in the collection's finding aid and can be requested in our reading room. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Estela and Ernesto Bravo in 2012; additional materials were donated by the Bravos in 2013, 2015, 2015, and 2017, and by Angela Carrenno in 2015.

Processing Information Note

Upon receipt of this collection, Tamiment Library discovered that many of the videos had mold damage or binder hydrolysis. Several tapes have been repaired and digitized, but many have yet to receive treatment. The digitization process remains ongoing.

To facilitate preservation treatment, all tapes were initially inventoried and assigned a persistent identifier, which is listed in the finding aid as the "ref" number. These numbers are not sequential and are not listed in a specific order. Individual tapes have been arranged intellectually by the full-length feature in which they appear. Tapes were originally received in boxes containing packing slips that roughly associated footage with specific films. Much of this contextual information was lost, however, due to the immediate separation of materials for preservation treatment. Information about footage content and associated feature film(s) has been reconstructed to the best of the archivist's ability through analysis of container annotations, research, and consultation with the donors. Footage has been added to the series that best represents the context of its use. Estela Bravo frequently reused footage in multiple documentaries, and consequently some footage may be duplicated in more than one series.

Videos were sent for preservation treatment in multiple installments, which resulted in several non-sequential box numbers. In 2016, box numbers were updated and listed in sequential order.

Titles of digitized videos have been edited or supplied by the archivist based on the content of the recording. Titles of videos that have yet to be digitized have been derived from annotations on the individual film containers and associated notes. The descriptions of video cassettes that have not yet been digitized often contain phrases in quotation marks. These phrases were copied from annotations on the cassette boxes. As digitized versions of the videos become available, descriptions are being updated.

Many of the videos in this collection were undated. The majority of the dates have been estimated by the archivist based on release date of the film or the event documented in the footage.

Two additional donations of ephemera, publications, transcripts, and promotional materials were donated in 2014 and 2015. Documents associated with specific films were incorporated the existing series, while publications and ephemera more generally associated with filmmaking and Estela Bravo's career were added as Series XXX: Collected Ephemera and Publications. Films reels documenting moments in Estela and Ernesto Bravo's personal lives were added as Series XXXI: Estela and Ernesto Bravo Family Films.

In 2016 videos stored on a hard drive and flash drive were forensically imaged and analyzed. Duplicate copies of full-length documentaries were deaccessioned and remaining videos were incorporated into series based on the documentaries with which they correspond.

In 2017, a copy of the documentary Gema de Cuba was added to the collection as Series XXXII:  Gema de Cuba.

In 2018, 225 videos were digitized and described at the item-level.

In 2020, additional recordings were described at the item-level following digitization.

In June 2021, 164 original tapes that were both digitized and contaminated with mold were photographed and deaccessioned.

In 2022, 247 moldy Betacam and U-matic tapes were returned from a vendor employed to decontaminate and transfer them. Of the returned tapes, 10 original tapes were successfully transfered; preservation staff photodocumented the carriers, and disposed of them. At the same time 75 moldy tapes were decontaminated and sent offsite without being transferred; these tapes are in boxes 27, 28, 29, and 32. Further, 124 tapes were not decontaminated but preservation staff isolated the tapes from other items by housing them in a polyethylene bag with a desiccated board and RH monitor strip and then sent offsite. If this strip indicates an RH greater than 50%, contact the Preservation Department immediately. Do not open this packaging without contacting the Preservation Department. Isolated tapes are located in boxes 1-5 and box 19. The remaining 38 tapes were decontaminated by the vendor, but their condition was too poor to be digitized. These tapes were photodocumented and discarded by preservation staff.


Twelve tapes were damaged beyond repair and removed from the collection. Duplicate recordings of completed documentaries on VHS, Betacam and digital formats were also removed from the collection. Additionally, a small number of electronic files that were not created by Estela or Ernesto Bravo were deemed out of scope and deaccessioned.

In June 2021, ten boxes containing 164 digitized tapes contaminated by mold were photographed by Media Preservation Unit staff and deaccessioned.