Non-literary estate of José Cardoso Pires donated to Torre do Tombo

José Cardoso Pires’ relatives donated to the National Archive of the Torre do Tombo (ANTT), in Lisbon, a non-literary collection of the writer, which includes copies of the Estado Novo political police records and photographs, among other documents.

The director of ANTT, Silvestre Lacerda, said that following an exposition there last year, allusive to the 20th anniversary of the death of the author of “Ballad of the Dog Beach”, the family handed over their study files.

“The family gave us the study files because the dossiers and the literary manuscripts are in the National Library of Portugal,” Lacerda said.

Among the donated items are publications such as O Cacete or, from the Movement of Democratic Youth Unit, the statement of the death of university student José Ribeiro dos Santos, issued on October 12, 1972, which accuses PIDE agents of murder.

The collection also includes posters such as Queima das Fitas, in Coimbra, in May 1969, in an environment of academic mourning, as indicated by the black stripe, or a letter sent to the then President of the Republic, defending greater freedom of expression and against the seizure of literary works.

The letter, in the form of a petition, sent to the then head of state, Américo Thomaz, dated January 27, 1967, is signed by intellectuals such as João José Cochofel, Carlos Oliveira, Rui Grácio, Raul Rego, José Gomes Ferreira, and Augusto Abelaira, as well as José Cardoso Pires (1925-1998).

The documentation donated includes photographs, namely the arrest of the then director of PIDE, Silva Pais, and several manuals of the technical school of that police, which were offered to Cardoso Pires during a visit of writers in May 1974 to the headquarters of the PIDE, in Lisbon.

Spectacle tickets, clippings illustrating prior censorship of the press and all publications, a copy of the report of the death of the plastic artist José Dias Coelho (1923-1961), who was an employee of the PCP in the underground, and was murdered in a street of Lisbon, are part of the set delivered.

Among other documents, are also parts of the judicial process that led to the deportation of Mário Soares (1924-2017) to the island of S. Tomé.

The dossiers, duly cataloged and identified by the writer, gather documentation that Cardoso Pires could use in a literary or journalistic work, Silvestre Lacerda suggested.

“This is documentation he was collecting for eventually his creative or journalistic activity,” said Silvestre Lacerda, considering that the writer “would be preparing a great work on PIDE.”

Among the documentation, received last June, the ANTT director highlighted a “set of clippings, a press dossier, which clearly shows that he was preparing a broader work on the political police.”

The documentation provided by the Cardoso Pires family includes a dossier on the Popular Action Front (FAP), which was founded in 1964 by Francisco Martins Rodrigues (1927-2008) in Paris and includes names such as Rui d’Espinay (1942-2016) and João Pulido Valente (1926-2003).

In addition to this donation, last year, ANTT incorporated into its collection, by acquisition, a set of 340 drawings by Portuguese cartoonists and illustrators, namely Jorge Rosa, José Ruy, José Antunes, J. Godinho, Agostinho (or Vasco) Carlos or Mendes, Armando Anjos, Santal, Oliveira Pinto, Manel, J. Gomes, João Vieira, Sampaio (or Asa), Arlindo Vicente and Mário Oliveira, and also includes 97 unsigned drawings from the 1950s.

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