On June 30, 1993, the House of Representatives gave its approval to Senate Concurrent Resolution 14, whereby the office of Official Historian of Puerto Rico was to be reestablished, and Doña Pilar Rosario née Barbosa was being appointed. This appointment constituted the first time ever a female Historian was designated to hold said office. Doña Pilar held the office of Official Historian until her death in 1997. In November 1997, Prof. Luis E. González Vales was appointed to hold the office of Historian.
The Office of the Historian responds to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. For administrative purposes, it is a part of the Office of Legislative services, which provides it with administrative and fiscal
At present, the office is constituted by two persons: the Historian and one
Administrative Assistant. Its seat is temporarily located at the Museo de la Farmacia, 319 Fortaleza Street, Old San Juan. Before that, it was located at the General Archive and Library of Puerto Rico and in the Former
Dominican Convent Building.
Among the most significant projects carried out by the Historian was the holding, for the first time in the Island, of the XIII Congress of the Instituto Internacional de Historia del Derecho Indiano, which took place in San Juan in May, 2000. The Minutes of said Congress have been recently published .
The recovery of documents related to the History of Puerto Rico is another of the initiatives undertaken by the Historian. Through an agreement with the Ministry of Defense of Spain, the documents deposited in the Archivo General Militar de Madrid were converted to microfilm and digitized, and a detailed inventory of said documents has been published. Five sets of microfilms and CDs which contain the entirety of these documents have been deposited into the Puerto Rico General Archive, the Historical investigations Center, and the Puerto Rican Newspaper, Periodical and General Library of the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, the San Cristóbal Military Archive, and the General Library of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. To carry out this project, the Office received an appropriation from the House of Representatives, on the basis that it was one of the projects related to the celebration of its Centennial in the year 2000.
In September 2003, owing to an appropriation from the Legislature, an agreement was signed with the Instituto de Historia y Cultura Naval of the Defense Department of Spain, to convert to microfilm and digitize the documents of Puerto Rico that were at the Navy Archives in Viso del Marqués and in the Museo Naval of Madrid. The project has been completed, and the microfilmed and digitized documents are available in Puerto Rico. The microfilms and CDs, as well as the inventory, shall be distributed to the Archives, Centers and Libraries indicated above.
The Office of the Historian is working on the publication of the Letter Collection of Resident Commissioner Don Félix Córdova Dávila, who held said office from 1917 to 1932. A study by Dr. Loretta Phelps Córdova was published, on the matter of the office of the Resident Commissioner and the first years of Córdova Dávila in said office. At present, a first volume of the 19 political letters is being prepared, which shall include some of the letters between Córdova Dávila and the then President of the Senate, Antonio R. Barceló.
In addition, the Historian prepares the works commissioned by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, responds to queries presented by any person interested in the matter, and participates in radio and television programs and activities related to aspects of our history.
Muñoz Rivera Ave.
Corner of Rev. Gerardo Ávila Ave.
Former School of Tropical Medicine
2nd. Floor, Stop 3 1/2
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
PO. BOX 9023986
San Juan PR. 00902-3986