Women out of series: 12 women of the International Institute

125th Anniversary of the International Institute


"Women out of series: 12 women of the International Institute"

The International Institute celebrates its 125th anniversary by making known a group of remarkable women, architects of the work of the International Institute throughout its existence.

With this series of biographical portraits, the Institute will give visibility to some of the protagonists of its history, in some cases figures little known in Spain. Through its work, the different areas in which this institution has contributed to the progress of Spanish society and the development of cultural relations between Spain and the United States will be shown throughout a period of profound social transformations. both sides of the Atlantic.

All these women have in common their dedication to the International Institute, whether as directors in Madrid, active members of its Board of Directors in the US or both in some cases.

"Outstanding Women" It will present each month on the web page of the International Institute a brief biography of these protagonists in the history of the Institute. The project for disseminating the achievements of these women will be completed with their inclusion in Wikipedia in Spanish.


The series of portraits begins with the missionary Alice Gordon Gulick, who projected and founded the International Institute in 1892. In this first period of the Institute's existence, years of influence from the Congregationalist Church, the figures of Katherine Lee Bates and Alice H. Bushee stand out, two collaborators of Alice Gulick, both professors at Wellesley College. Katherine Lee Bates, Professor of English Literature at Wellesley College was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Institute and is also known for being the author of “America the Beautiful”. the hispanist Alice Huntington Bushee She was responsible, among other things, for the first catalog of the Library of the Institute (1904) and also as director of the Department of Spanish at Wellesley, for the stay of the poet Pedro Salinas in that college in 1937.

With Susan Dickinson Huntington, the International Institute after its separation from American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, began a new stage focused on supporting the Spanish movements for reform in education. Susan Huntington was the true architect of the Institute's approach to the Institución Libre de Enseñanza environment and the cornerstone of the network of connections on both sides of the Atlantic between 1910 and 1940. The contribution of the Dr. mary louise foster, Professor of Chemistry at Smith College, the scientific training of Spanish university students was recognized in 1928 by the Board for the Extension of Studies by naming the laboratory of the Residencia de Señoritas in her honour.

The International Institute knew how to respond to the new circumstances and needs of Spanish society after the bankruptcy caused by the Civil War and until the transition to democracy in the seventies. True to its mission, it continued to favor the exchange of ideas between Spain and the US and became an island of freedom in the Madrid of the dictatorship.

The decade of the forties is represented by Mary Sweney, a teacher linked to the Institute since her youth in the early twenties. She was a fundamental piece in the reopening of the International Institute after the Spanish Civil War and in the regrouping of institutional and democratic circles around her, including the establishment in 1950 of the Estudio school in the College Hall of the International Institute. In the fifties the figure of the Dr Phillis Turnbull, professor at Bryn Mawr College, creator at the Institute of the prestigious "Center for Hispanic Studies" of that college and of wide repercussion in the formation of prestigious Hispanists. Phillis Turnbull was also the benefactor of several families in the Madrid town of Soto del Real, where a street was dedicated in her name in the XNUMXs. Henrietta Martin, a librarian at the International Institute from 1929 until her retirement in 1972, she was responsible for the development and expansion of the International Institute's celebrated “Library Science Courses” that contributed to the training of hundreds of library professionals.

La Dr. Dorothy Nepper Marshall She had a distinguished career as an academic and administrator in the North American university world. She was a student at the International Institute in the XNUMXs and its president in the XNUMXs. The Dr. Carmen de Zulueta, “Hispanist with krausism etched in fire”, represents the republican exile environment that gathered around the International Institute in the US. A professor and writer in New York, she is also the author of the only monograph on the history of the Institute International. In the nineties she highlights the Dr. Willard (Billie) King, Hispanist and professor at Bryn Mawr College whose brilliant academic career focused on XNUMXth-century Spanish literature.

The XNUMXst century is inaugurated by the Dr. Margery Resnick, Hispanist and promoter of innovative initiatives at MIT thanks to which many students of that university can learn more about Spain, its language and culture. As president of the Institute since the late XNUMXs, Dr. Resnick leads the International Institute's projection into the XNUMXst century.

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