San Carlos Institute – Key West

Founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles in Key West, the Instituto San Carlos was dedicated to education and the preservation of Cuban cultural values. It was from here that Cuban national hero, José Martí, addressed the divided Key West Cuban community in 1892, calling for a united front in Cuba’s independence efforts. Having already campaigned Cuban émigré communities in New York and Tampa, his success in Key West led to the establishment of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano, the party which led the War of Independence and final freedom of Cuba from Spanish rule.  

The San Carlos Institute today serves as a museum, a library, a conference center and a theater. The library, located on the second floor, holds many books on Cuba, the documents of the San Carlos School, and a collection of “Records of the Cuban Consulate – Key West, Florida – 1886-1961”. Some of the historical consulate documents found here include civil registry records of citizenship, births, marriage, and deaths; correspondence with the State Ministry; general and confidential correspondence, 1933-1959; ship and airplane dispatches 1938-1960; and cablegrams, 1946-1950.

San Carlos Institute Library
San Carlos Institute Theater

San Carlos Institute
516 Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040


Heading featured photograph of the San Carlos: Florida Keys – Public Libraries MM00033141