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A visit to The Ephemera Archive in Portugal April 24, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

A number of years ago I was contacted by Julio, one of the volunteers at the Ephemera archive in Portugal wondering if I had any Irish material that I could send them. So for the past few years I have been sending some of my spare material there and getting material in return. Mostly stickers, badges and posters. …….
So last week I spent Spent a few days visiting the incredible Ephemera Archive of José Pacheco Pereira in Portugal (they have a brief report of the visit here) . It’s a private collection which has well over a million items and is housed in a complex that currently consists of six buildings. Having arrived on Thursday night we were met at the airport brought to our hotel and then brought to an office in Lisbon housed in a bookshop . It is used as a collecting , sorting and cataloging centre for the archive volunteers . Walking in there were stickers, posters , a CPP ML Flag and much more. We spent over an hour there and were literally in shock at the quantity, quality and variety of the material there. From there it was off to a pub where at 12.30 José Pacheco Pereira joined us , fresh from his evenings TV presenting. A fascinating man.
The following morning we were met at the hotel to be taken to Marmeleira where José Pacheco Pereira resides. We were privileged to get a private tour of the complex from José Pacheco Pereira himself (the last person to get one was The Portguese Prime Minister!!)
The tour began with some paintings, and antiquarian books and then down a stairs into a room that at one stage would have stored wine caskets. We were shown posters, leaflets and odd things like candles, cups, glasses you name it , it had been used in electioneering. On then into the next room and a collection of flags, banners, umbrellas. There were leaflets , books all archived neatly and orderly. All the time learning more and more about Portuguese history and political history and the importance of material from the 48 years Portugal was under a dictatorship. Much of the material printed and distributed underground. Indeed our host lived under an assumed name during the last years of the dictatorship. There were stories galore, how the IRA got weapons from Portugal for a period after the 1974 Revolution, how the Communist party built a network of smoking rooms around the country as a way of clandestinely organising. Communism in Portugal had a Marxist Leninist tradition as opposed to the Euro Communism of other European countries. It was strange too on the journey from Lisbon to be shown “that town on the left is a Communist Stronghold” .
We also got an education on Portugal’s colonial past as material from the Independence struggles if Angola, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde was shown. (One of the pluses of exchanging material is that I now have a collection of beautiful Angolan posters).
There were the personal archives of many Portuguese political figures here too.
Having visited three of the houses , it was time for a traditional Portuguese lunch. Beautiful food eaten in the shade looking with a beautiful view.
The tour resumed with papers, cartoons and a collection of cigarette lighters which included one of Colonel Tejero!
Some more amazing items and then one of the highlights of the trip, the censorship collection. For 48 years anything in newspaper’s, books and so on had to go before the censors. There could be no mention of Suicide, anything critical of the church, the regime and so on. Like ourselves a kind of Catholic utopia had to be reported.
( Is there a censorship collection in Ireland?)
Some more objects such as an item presented to Soviet dignitaries as they visited Soviet factories. A Churchill figure that once squeezed became erect and had a swastika on his knob! There were also an amount of objects associated with Freemasonry.
The whole thing was incredible …… and then we were taken to an exhibition launch … of which more tomorrow!
Many thanks to all there for their wonderful hospitality
Some Photos

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1. Lamentreat - April 25, 2017

Thanks for writing about that, it sounds amazing. And they seem like a such a welcoming bunch.


2. sonofstan - April 25, 2017

Sounds great!
We tend to forgot how much of a colonial power Portugal was.


irishelectionliterature - April 25, 2017

Yep, a very different history to ours and the Dictatorship and anti colonialism bred an awful lot of radical Left groups. Many young people left rather than be conscripted to fight in Angola, Mozambique etc.


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