Home page


Mistero in archivio: la lettera divisa

Archivo Rubén Darío Ordenado y Centralizado (AR.DOC-UNTREF)
Archivo Rubén Darío Ordenado y Centralizado (AR.DOC-UNTREF)
Archivo Rubén Darío Ordenado y Centralizado (AR.DOC-UNTREF)
Islands International School
Islands International School
Amenabar 1840
Islands International School

Second-year students from Islands International School discovered that two letters sent to Rubén Darío in May 1907, thought to be separate, were actually fragments of the same correspondence. Through archival analysis –and a bit of imagination–, they pieced together the letters, showcasing their skills in handling incomplete historical documents.

Ti è piaciuto il racconto? Vota il tuo preferito.

Once upon a time, second-year students from Islands International School in Buenos Aires stumbled upon a fascinating discovery. They were delving into the extensive array of materials housed within the AR.DOC, when they realized that among the numerous letters that Rubén Darío received from his editor, Francisco Beltrán, two of them bore the same date, May 1907. Upon closer examination, the group of budding archivists discerned that not only did these letters share a date, but they also discussed the imminent publication of two of the poet's chronicle volumes, Parisiana and Opiniones. One letter is housed within a collection at a Spanish University, lacking both a definitive conclusion and a signature, while the other rests within Chile’s National Library, notable for its uncapped first letter. After careful consideration of all the details, the Islanders concluded that what initially appeared as two different letters were actually fragments of a single correspondence, separated by the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
That’s when their prowess took center stage: organized into groups of 4, the students engaged in a cadaveri eccellenti exercise, emulating the archival challenge of piecing together a whole narrative with only partial information. Herein lie the fruits of their inaugural archival endeavor, offering different explanations –some more plausible than others– for the enigma surrounding Francisco Beltrán’s letter.


When Beltrán finished writing a letter, he went to the post office to send it to Rubén. When he arrived there, he found that the office didn’t accept his letter because it was too long. His passion was uncountable for writing letters, his were as long as a book. In this one, he was telling Rubén to allow the edition of his book. When the letter arrived, Rubén was surprised because it said that Beltrán was fired from his job. He told his wife, who got angry, picked up his things and threw them out the window.
Rubén Darío went to Beltrán’s office to complain, because he wasn’t guilty! Beltrán explained: “I had a stomach ache! I was so angry that I started breaking each object I found on my way. However, when I was a little bit chiller, I started thinking about what to do with my life, so I decided to continue writing letters. I wrote as many letters as I could. Day by day my house was filled with more and more letters, and I started losing things and switching the destinations”.
He wrote loads of letters, as it was something he loved, but he forgot where they needed to go. He thought he would recognize them since he knew what he wrote, but there were so many that he lost his mind and started misplacing all of them. The only one that suffered from that was this one, which was splitted and sent to different places.


It was a really small town in the center of Spain. It was called Madrid. There was a famous writer that was called Francisco Beltrán. His passion was writing and he could not live without it. One day, he wrote a letter to his friend, another writer called Rubén Darío. In this letter, he explained the importance of writing for him and other things. It was his passion; the thing that he loved to do the most. But only the first half of this letter got to his friend. The reason was that as this letter was being shipped to his friend’s address, the papers were being sent separately, so they ended up getting mixed up and shipped to two different places. 
He tried to fix this problem but he couldn’t. The first part of the letter ended up in Madrid. The other one passed through the USA. It then ended up in the hands of a private historian in Chile. Because of this, it could be reread, put together and exposed in other parts of the world. The AR.DOC (Archivo Rubén Darío Organizado y Centralizado) was able to save it in their archives. And thanks to it, now we can have this information and the full story.


F. Beltrán was a big passionate man. His most obvious passion was literature. But this was not important for what happened with his mysterious letter. His second passion was mystery, he loved reading mystery books and predicting what would happen, although he sometimes thought it was quite an easy task. So he decided to make his own mystery. It consisted in keeping the last part of the letter and keeping it in a box that nobody knew where it was, so when somebody found it, it would have an incredible value. The hidden part of the letter contained the most important information. The box kept the letter, with nobody knowing its condition.
After many years, a famous Spanish treasure hunter who lived nearby found the box. He was from Madrid, and treasure hunting wasn’t his real job, it was just a hobby that he loved. After he found the box, he thought for a long time if he wanted to open it or not, because something dangerous might be inside. Finally, this treasure hunter opened the box and discovered the letter. When he saw it, he could not believe what was there. After reading it several times he realized what he had in his hands. It was the thing that he had desired his whole life, the biggest achievement of his life!


F. Beltrán was Rubén Darío’s editor. One day he wrote him a letter to tell him that he was resigning, but this letter was split into two and arrived at two different destinations. 
Beltrán had cheated on his wife and she thought that she could run away but wasn’t sure how: she didn’t have any money or a stable job. She wanted to go after him, get revenge, but didn’t know how. Her strongest thought was to kill him but knew that that wouldn’t achieve anything. Then she had a bright idea: to ruin his job, to ruin his career. She would start by ruining his letter. But suddenly a man appeared and stopped what she was doing: it was Beltrán, who was near and began screaming at her for ruining his letter.He shouted at her and demanded for the other half. She simply replied that she did not have it and then left before he could say anything else…


F. Beltrán was writing a letter to his client, Rubén Darío. He wanted to let him know how his books Opiniones and Parisiana were going, and he also wanted to complain a little bit about his sad little life as an editor. He stopped writing this letter because he realized that he wanted to cook some chocolate chip cookies because he was hungry and depressed. So he went to the market to buy the flour, the eggs and –last but not least– the chocolate chips. Beltrán found a recipe from his grandmother so he decided he would try to replicate it. He had tried with other recipes, adding more or other ingredients, but nothing worked. One day, he started a recipe that he had already tried a million times but this time it was different because he started by adding the butter, white and brown sugar first, all thinking about the way it would become a unique and unparalleled success, then he added an egg, adding a lot of dedication to it. When he finished the dough, he cut the cookies star shaped and he put them in the oven. While he was waiting for the cookies, he felt like something was missing, but he didn't care so he continued reading a book. After waiting a long time for the cookies to be made, he took out the cookies from the oven and tried them. They were perfect. They had the right balance between sweetness and softness, and he knew he could win a fortune for selling the recipe. He was still daydreaming when he remembered about the letter, so he finished it on another paper he found lying on some desk and went directly to a famous restaurant chain and started his career as a professional chef then and there. After many years of working, his boss sent him to Chile to explore their cuisine, so he packed his bags as fast as he could, forgetting part of his letter to Rubén Darío in Madrid. And that's why the letter is divided in two.


Francisco fell in love with his friend Rubén Darío. At that time that was considered wrong, so Francisco sent him secret letters when his wife wasn't at home. He had to learn how to hide his love in his letters, so he sent them in two parts, that way he was safe from his wife. She was a despicable person, so when she found out what those two parts were about, she decided to send one of the letters to another planet. She was a fan of wormholes so she tried to send one of the letters through one and she could. When the letter went through, she felt a relief that the two of them wouldn't be together. So she decided to celebrate, went to a party and danced all night. Although the letter didn't end up where she intended it to be, it actually ended up in the neighbors' house, and something had to be done: if they read it they would know that Francisco was completely in love with Rubén. If the neighbors knew, they could tell their family, and the world would know of their secret love. Then Francisco's wife tried to kill Rubén to be the only person in Francisco’s heart. She found out where he lived and sent a wolf to kill him, but the wolf got there and instead of eating him, it invited him to have a passionate night and dance to the wolf song. they had an amazing night dancing and then the wolf ate him and then started dancing with all his heart. Francisco, who suddenly showed up at the party, saw Rubén dead but then took a look at the wolf and fell in love with him. The wolf seductively invited him to dance with him, so Francisco forgot that Ruben had sent the other letter to Chile so that no one could ever see it. The end.


Francisco Beltrán stopped writing the letter for 5 hours, he had a great passion for rock climbing. He went to the rock climbing competition in Madrid. He won, of course, since he was the best at it. His mother did not approve of his passion and told him to give it up, but he wouldn't stop so easily. He climbed everything he could climb… But until he was 29, when he suffered a terrible accident after a hawk went to the bathroom in his face. He was really terrified so he tried to grab the hawk, but it was also afraid and started scratching around his face until blood began flowing. So he threw the hawk to the sky and suddenly found that he had accidentally broken its wings. 

He decided not to worry and went for a short trip with his father, but he never realized that his father was his secret enemy and was waiting for a chance to murder him. Before his trip, Beltrán left the incomplete letter in a box along with other poems.
That trip was to France, where another rock climbing competition took place. He got 1st place, naturally. Since he met many friends in Paris, they invited him and his father to ride horses… which was a perfect time for a murder. His father pushed Beltrán from his horse, who died instantly. 
As for the letter… Beltrán had finished writing the letter during his trip in Paris, but never got to unite both parts. One half remained in Madrid, and the other got sent by mistake to Chile.


Francisco Beltrán was writing the letter while he was teaching his son how to become a warrior. In the process, his son got hurt in the leg with the sword that his grandfather had given to Beltrán. That sword was very valuable, since it was a family heirloom.
Since it was dangerous, he decided to give the sword back. He then got in a boat to Spain, where it had come from. In the trip, he continued to write his letter to Rubén Darío. However, once in Spain, he ran out of paper and had to continue his letter in another sheet of paper; when he shipped them to Rubén Darío, only this last part got mailed. Since he was famous, this letter had a lot of value; so upon hearing about it, an eccentric collectionist from Kenya decided to be the one to personally ship the letter back to Latin America. He did not realize that the letter was incomplete. And that is why one part is in Madrid and the other in Chile.


C.so V. Emanuele II 44 Torino
Tel. +39 349 2887997
CF: 97804960017

Ideato e sostenuto da
Realizzato da
Main partner
Con il contributo di
Con il sostegno di
Con il supporto di
Con il patrocinio di
In collaborazione con
Partner tecnico
Magazine partner
Media partner
In kind partner
Si ringraziano
e anche
Charity partner

Sostieni Archivissima con il tuo 5x1000!

Lavoriamo ogni giorno per creare nuove occasioni di valorizzazione, di approfondimento e di incontro dedicate agli archivi italiani e al loro pubblico. La partecipazione alle nostre iniziative è sempre gratuita, ma da oggi puoi contribuire alle attività di Archivissima con la tua dichiarazione dei redditi. Basta indicare il codice fiscale 97804960017 e apporre la tua firma nel riquadro Sostegno degli Enti del Terzo settore della sezione 5x1000. Un piccolo gesto per sostenere gli archivi e chi se ne prende cura, senza spendere nulla!


Newsletter policy