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News - Sandra Cisneros The Focus of New Exhibition at The Wittliff

Photo of Sandra Cisneros exhibition case

RELEASED February 20, 2017

SAN MARCOS, TX – Internationally acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros is the subject of a celebratory new exhibition at The Wittliff Collections: Sandra Cisneros: A House of Her Own, on view now through July 1.

This career-spanning presentation showcases many key artifacts from the beloved writer best known for her classic, The House on Mango Street, which has sold more than six million copies and inspired generations of readers. The exhibition was developed in concert with Ms. Cisneros, who travelled from Mexico to write messages on the display cases by hand.

The exhibition draws from the extraordinary permanent Cisneros archive at The Wittliff, which contains some 250 boxes of material. The show’s title and theme are adapted from Cisneros’s recent award-winning book, A House of My Own, which reflects on her life and career and her numerous “homes.”

Among the items on display are diaries and journals, where many of the earliest incarnations of her stories and poems can be found. Also on display are Cisneros’ vintage dresses, as well as a timeline of photographs showing the author from infancy through the present day. Rounding out the exhibition are manuscripts, selected articles, her portable typewriter, correspondence, vintage performance flyers, publicity materials, and original artwork -- including illustrations created for the first edition of The House on Mango Street that never made it into the published book.

At the heart of the exhibition is Cisneros’ butcher block kitchen table, a place of inspiration where the author wrote many of her works. Cisneros says the table “was the center of my life, and if you visited my apartment, this was where I received you.” Exhibition visitors are invited to take a seat at Cisneros’s table and use the provided paper and pencils to create their own stories and poems.

Born and raised in Chicago, Cisneros began writing in earnest as a teenager, keeping diaries, writing poems, and chronicling the real-life stories that inspired The House on Mango Street. In her early twenties, Cisneros began to explore the rest of the world, leading to a decade of wandering during which she supported herself from teaching jobs and grants. In the 1980s, she settled in San Antonio, which became her home for the next twenty-five years and coincided with her rise as a literary superstar. Her lifelong attraction to Mexico is reflected in much of her work, including her epic novel, Caramelo. Today Mexico has become one of Cisneros’ “homes”, along with Chicago and San Antonio.

Sandra Cisneros: A House of Her Own represents the first major exhibition from the extensive Cisneros archive, acquired by The Wittliff Collections in 2015. It is co-curated by Cisneros and Wittliff Collections Literary Curator Steve Davis.

“It’s important to me that my archives have found a home where I’ve felt at home and respected in my lifetime,” said Cisneros. “The Wittliff Collections reflect an admiration and appreciation for Texas’ Mexican and Tejano legacy.”

“I think it imperative scholars studying my work travel to the world I knew and called home to better understand my work. I’m grateful and thrilled to have my archives at home finally at The Wittliff.”

For the Sandra Cisneros Literary Papers, The Wittliff has become “A House of Her Own.”

In addition to this major exhibition, the Wittliff will organize and host a public reading and book signing with Sandra Cisneros on Sunday, April 30, 2017.

The Wittliff Collections are located on the seventh floor of Texas State’s Alkek Library in San Marcos, between Austin and San Antonio. Exhibition hours, directions, parking information are online. For questions, call 512.245.2313 (press 0).


The Wittliff Collections are dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing the cultural legacy of the Southwest’s literary, photographic and musical arts, and to fostering the region’s “Spirit of Place” in the wider world. The Wittliff hosts readings, artist talks, lectures, and other events; presents major exhibitions year-round from its holdings; and makes its collections available to statewide, national, and international researchers.

Visitors, tours, and classes are welcome. Admission is free.


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