During May 28-30, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives joined the Stanford Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) Department in presenting an exclusive, preshow exhibition of Perónist artifacts in celebration of TAPS’ production of the musical Evita in Memorial Auditorium. The display in the main lobby featured materials from Hoover’s Juan Domingo Perón Papers, which include correspondence Perón had with his supporters in Argentina during his years of exile, from 1955 to 1973.
Attendees at the show were able to view significant documents and photographs that chronicle the rise and fall of Juan and Eva Perón, and represent the ideology of a movement that today still constitutes the most powerful political party in Argentina. The exhibition also featured video documentation of Perónist Argentina and filmed interviews of Argentine citizens talking about Perónism and Evita’s legacy.
Recipient of the 1979 Tony Award for Best Musical, Evita, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, tells the story of Argentine former first lady Eva Perón and her rapid ascent from poverty to fame and wealth. Stanford TAPS' reimagined production of the rock opera draws on conflicting historical depictions of this powerful woman and her controversial reputation.
Director Sammi Cannold, an undergraduate TAPS major at Stanford, drew inspiration for the production from attending the recent “Péron in Exile Conference,” organized by Hoover research fellow and Latin America collections curator Herbert S. Klein. The conference, which highlighted the rich Perónist archive at Hoover, explored a crucial period in the legacy of this dominant figure in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Argentine political life. Cannold also conducted archival research in Buenos Aires and Junín, gathering a personal collection of Perónist artifacts that were displayed alongside the Hoover material in Memorial Auditorium’s main lobby.
The Hoover Library & Archives houses more than fifteen hundred pieces of Perón-related correspondence, as well as a rare, handwritten political manuscript by Eva Perón. In this document, believed to be the draft of a speech, Eva Perón discusses the “soul” of the Argentine people, the reputation of General Perón, the threat of political treason, and the beneficiaries of Perón's “new Argentina.” The Juan Domingo Perón Papers are open to the public and may be accessed through the reading room at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.