Object Record

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Catalog Number 1987.01.3209
Title Old Island Days No.99 'A Fabulous Industry'
Collection Mario Sanchez
Object Name Wood Carving
Description Wood carving by Mario Sanchez depicting the Eduardo Hidalgo Gato Cigar Company with Mario's father (Pedro) as the Reader surrounded by cigar makers at the factory on Simonton Street and Virginia Street. The wood carving is two pieces of wood bolted and glued together. Sanchez wrote about his father's experience in the Gato Cigar Company, 'My father, Pedro Sanchez, was the reader in the Eduardo Hidalgo Gato cigar factory in the early 1900s until the 1920s. In the mornings, he read the news which he translated from the local papers. He read international news directly from Cuban newspapers brought daily by boat from Havana. From noon to 3 in the afternoons, he read from a novel. He was expected to interpret the characters by imitating their voices, like an actor. The workers chose novels to be read from a list prepared by the reader. Among novels offered were Emile Zola's 'I Accuse', Cervantes' 'Don Quixote', 'Legend of the Centuries' and 'The French Revolution' by Victor Hugo; Jules Verne's 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and 'A Trip to the Moon'; 'The Land of Art' by Blasco Ibanez; 'The Demise of the Century' by Max Nordau. So, many years before the advent of the submarine and the radio, long before the first landing, the cigar makers of Key West had heard Jules Verne's predictions of those scientific developments read to them in the cigar factories. Each cigar maker paid the reader 25ยข a week for their education.' Print Available 1992.20.0008.
Date 1963
Artist Sanchez, Mario