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Jorge Amado Letters


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Jorge Amado was born on August 10, 1912, on a farm called Auricídia in Ferradas, Itabuna, in southern Bahia, Brazil. He was a writer of the modernist school, and was one of the founding members of the Academia dos Rebeldes, a Modernist literary movement in Bahia. In 1945, Amado was elected to the National Constituent Assembly as a representative of the Brazilian Communist Party, and he introduced the law guaranteeing freedom of religious faith. That same year Amado married Zélia Gattai. After the Communist Party was declared illegal in Brazil, Amado and his family sought refuge in France until 1950. Upon returning to Brazil in 1955, Amado distanced himself from political militancy, left the Communist Party a year later, and dedicated himself primarily to literature. His works have earned many national and international prizes. Amado died on August 6, 2001, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Zélia Gattai Amado de Faria was born on July 2, 1916, in São Paulo, Brazil. She was a Brazilian photographer, memoirist, novelist and author of children's literature, as well as a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. Gattai has written numerous literary works, including children's books and her own personal memoirs that have been widely published. She died on May 17, 2008, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

The collection consists of 34 typewritten and handwritten letters and two handwritten postcards (circa 1976-1985) from Jorge Amado to the Portuguese journalist, essayist, translator, literary critic and teacher, Alvaro Salema. Many of those letters are addressed to both, Alvaro and Elisa Salema. Also included are two typewritten letters from Zélia Amado to Alvaro and Elisa Salema. Many of the typewritten letters include manuscript corrections and additions. Content of the letters includes topics of politics and names prominent figures in Brazil and Portugal who met with Amado during the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. One postcard describes Amado's job as a judge at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985, a few letters describe the Academia Brasileira de Letras, and others describe Amado's creative process and working time on novels. One letter of interest (Bahia, 30 January 1981), is where Amado writes about how the U.S. government has made it difficult for him to get a visa to travel because he is considered to be an "undesirable" person. Description is based on dealer's documentation.

Additional materials (AM 2020-11) consist of eleven typewritten and handwritten letters from Jorge Amado to Alvaro Salema; one typewritten document ("Boletim de Informação") with handwritten message signed by Jorge Amado, and one typewritten letter from Zélia Amado to Alvaro Salema. The letters date primarily from the early 1980s, and several of them offer an intimate look into Jorge Amado's creative process. Many of the letters also describe Zelia Amado's writing schedule, her creative output, and the success of her books of memoirs. Regarding politics, two items are of interest: Jorge Amado's speech (undated, possibly 1974), after the fall of the Portuguese dictatorship, in which he praises the work of Fernando Amora and that creative intelligence did not fall victim to fascism; and in another letter, dated June 29, 1984, Jorge Amado laments a law related to national security in Portugal that is up for a vote. Other topics include travel schedules, Jorge Amado's growing fame, and the Academia Brasileira de Letras. Description is based on dealer's documentation.

Items have been, for the most part, maintained as received by the repository, and then arranged chronologically.

Purchased from Richard C. Ramer Old and Rare Books in 2019 (AM 2019-85; AM 2020-11).

Purchased in part with funds provided by the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS).

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.

This collection was processed by Armando Suárez in March 2019. Finding aid written by Armando Suárez in March 2019.

Finding aid updated with additional materials by Armando Suárez in August 2019.

No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Armando Suárez
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Letters from Jorge Amado, circa 1965-1977. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, 1978-1979. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, 1980. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, 1981. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, 1982. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, 1983. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Jorge Amado, circa 1984-1985. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Zélia Amado, 1980, 1983. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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