Held at: John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center [Contact Us]1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center. 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
Dr. Rafael A. Suarez and James T. Caulfield, known as "The Philamigos," traveled throughout South America in the 1950s-1980s, operated a learning center in Philadelphia, and were prominent members of the Philadelphia LGBT community.
Cuban-born Dr. Rafael A. Suarez practiced law for several years, worked as a translator for the United Nations Telecommunications Conference, was a Professor of Languages at the University of Pennsylvania for six years, worked as a translator for the Peace Corps at the University of Vicosa, Brazil, and was a well-known writer, traveler, lecturer, and photographer. As Director of "The Philamigos Institute of Learning" in Philadelphia, he prepared people linguistically for the onrush of foreign tourists expected for the Bicentennial celebrations of 1976.
James T. Caulfield was a native Philadelphian and veteran of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. He found success as a war artist, writer, traveler, lecturer, cameraman and painter. As Assistant Director of "The Philamigos Institute of Learning," he taught art, photography, and languages.
Together, Suarez and Caulfield traveled throughout South America, representing several organizations including the Alumni Association of the University of Pennsylvania, the Pan American Association and the Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia. The United States State Department extended to them its facilitative services. The main mission of the Philamigos was spreading good will, and they gave talks on the American Way of Life. The Brazilian government commissioned Suarez and Caulfield to make a color documentary about Brazil. During six years of filming, they spent a year in the Amazon and captured footage of, among other subjects, native inhabitants of the rainforest.
"The Philamigos." Undated, document found in collection.
This is a rich collection that extensively documents the personal and professional lives of Dr. Rafael A. Suarez and James T. Caulfield, including the Philamigos Institute of Learning, their travels abroad, and Caulfield's experience as a gay soldier during World War II. The collection contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, ephemera, over a dozen 16-mm films, and stamps/correspondence regarding philately. From the Philamigos Institute of Learning, this collection contains correspondence and some ephemera. From Suarez and Caulfield's travels (together and separately), this collection contains correspondence, photographs, films, passports/legal documents, ephemera, and materials relating to the documentary on Brazil they did on commission from the Brazilian government. From Caulfield's World War II service, the collection contains some original drawings by Caulfield and many editions of Flak-Daily, published by the 97th AAA (Antiaircraft Artillery) Group. The couple maintained relationships with friends abroad in many different countries (mostly in Latin America), and they discussed issues of development, international relations, foreign aid, language learning, and other topics.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia directly for more information.
- Arts and diplomacy
- Documentary films
- Stamp collecting
- Translating and interpreting
- World War, 1939-1945
- John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.