Torres, Eliseo

Samieira (Pontevedra) 1921 – New York 1993. Exiled bookseller and editor.

He went into exile at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, to New York, where his father had emigrated in 1913. After starting a university degree in Spanish Literature (which he didn’t complete), he founded the publishing house Editorial Eliseo Torres, later called Eliseo Torres & Sons. It began with a small bookstore in in 800 E. 156 St. He bought the collections of other specialized bookstores that were closing in 14th Street, imported books from Latin America, and became the main supplier for the departments of Hispanic Studies of the city. Owing to the growth of its collection, the business first moved to 1469 St. Lawrence Avenue, and finally to the 1164 St. Garrison Avenue, where the huge collection of one million volumes was housed in a four-story building, visited by researchers such as Américo Castro, Pedro Salinas, Ángel del Río, Tomás Navarro Tomás, Emilio González López and Joaquín Casalduero.

At the same time, he created the publishing house Eliseo Torres & Sons in the 1940s, specializing in essays and critical editions of Spanish and Latin American literature, under the direction of the also Galician Emilio González López, Head of the Department of Spanish at Hunter College. The catalogue includes, for example, studies on Miguel Ángel Asturias, Juan Goytisolo, Antonio Buero Vallejo, Pío Baroja and Benito Pérez Galdós. After his passing, the collection was bought by the publishing house Renacimiento, and has been in Seville since 1995 (Sources: Lucía Cotarelo Esteban, “Semblanza de Eliseo Torres” (2017) and “Hispanismo exiliado: el mundo literario y editorial de los intelectuales españoles llegados a Nueva York” (2018); Emilio González López, Castelao, propagandista da República en Norteamérica (2000))