The Frank Espada Photographs Collection is generously included within the Digital Library of the Caribbean with permission from the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections. This collection contains metadata for the items and includes embedded photographs from the original collection.  Please visit the original collection at

See all Duke University Library contributions to the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

About the Frank Espada Photographs Collection

Frank Espada (b. 1930) began photographing Puerto Rican immigrants in the U.S. in the late 1950s. From 1979 to 1981, with support from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he focused his creative energies on documenting Puerto Rican communities and their struggle to survive and thrive in America. In his photographic survey of the Puerto Rican diaspora, Espada visited over thirty four communities across the United States and its territories. Photographs from this project have been exhibited across the country and eventually led to the publication of The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People in 2006. The Frank Espada Photographs digital collection provides online access to a small portion (25 photographs) of Espada's larger The Puerto Rican Diaspora project, specifically focusing on rural migration in Hawaii and Pennsylvania, and urban migration in New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. The remainder of the photographs and papers that preserve the stories of the communities he visited are available for research and study in the Frank Espada Photographs and Papers, 1946-2010, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. This archival collection of over 16,000 items joins the Library’s Archive of Documentary Arts’ growing collections of Latin American and Caribbean materials, including the work of photographers James Karales and Mel Rosenthal, both of whom documented Puerto Rican communities in New York City during the 1960s and 1980s.

Copyright and Citation

The copyright in the materials included in the Frank Espada Photographs collection are owned by the photographer. The photographs are made available by Duke University Libraries, with permission, for the purpose of research, teaching, and private study. For these purposes users may reproduce single copies of the images from this website without prior permission, on the condition that proper attribution is provided on all such copies. For all other uses, and especially for any proposed commercial uses, researchers must contact the Library to request permission.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frank Espada Photographs Collection, Archive of Documentary Arts, Duke University.