Maria de Maeztu Whitney

Last updated

María de Maeztu Whitney (18 July 1882, Vitoria - 7 January 1948, Mar del Plata, Argentina) was a Spanish educator, feminist, founder of the Residencia de Señoritas and the Lyceum Club in Madrid. She was sister of the writer, journalist and occasional diplomat, Ramiro de Maeztu and the painter Gustavo de Maeztu.

Vitoria-Gasteiz Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the seat of government and the capital city of the Basque Country and of the province of Araba/Álava in northern Spain. It holds the autonomous community's House of Parliament, the headquarters of the Government, and the Lehendakari's official residency. The municipality — which comprises not only the city but also the mainly agricultural lands of 63 villages around — is the largest in the Basque Country, with a total area of 276.81 km2, and it has a population of 242,082 people (2014). The dwellers of Vitoria-Gasteiz are called vitorianos or gasteiztarrak, while traditionally they are dubbed babazorros.

Mar del Plata City in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mar del Plata is an Argentine city in the southeast part of Buenos Aires Province located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the head of General Pueyrredón Partido. Mar del Plata is the second largest city in Buenos Aires Province. The name "Mar del Plata" has the meaning of "sea of the Plate region" or "adjoining sea to the (River) Plate region". Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina. With a population of 614,350 as per the 2010 census [INDEC], it is the 7th largest city in Argentina.

Argentina federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.


Maria de Maeztu. Maria Maeztu.JPG
María de Maeztu.

Early life

María was the fourth of five children born in Vitoria the capital of the Basque province of Álava. Her father, Manuel de Maeztu Rodriguez was a Cuban engineer and landowner from Navarre who had met her mother, Joan Whitney, the daughter of a British diplomat[ citation needed ] in Paris, when she was sixteen. Maria's parents never married. [1] In 1889 the unexpected death of her father in Cuba led to confusing administrative problems and the family was left in ruins. Her mother, a fragile but enterprising woman with a strong personality, took her three sons and two daughters to Bilbao and, in 1891, set up a residential school for girls to study French and English and improve their cultural skills. María started teaching at her mother's Anglo-French academy and then began to teach in the public schools of Bilbao. In 1903 she accepted the Ayuntamiento of Bilbao's post as director of the newly established night school for adults and also served as director of kindergarten (1902–1912). She created summer school colonies and focused on secular education which garnered her many enemies. Her fame became so widespread that, despite her youth, she was invited to share the stage with Concepción Sáiz, Miguel de Unamuno and other academicians at the Exposición escolar de Bilbao (Exhibition of Scholars) in 1905. [2]

A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman provincia, which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside Italy. The term province has since been adopted by many countries. In some countries with no actual provinces, "the provinces" is a metaphorical term meaning "outside the capital city".

Álava Province of Spain

Álava or Araba, officially Araba/Álava, is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lordship of Álava, former medieval Catholic bishopric and now Latin titular see.

Cubans or Cuban people, are the inhabitants, citizens of Cuba and people born in Cuba. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Cubans do not treat their nationality as an ethnicity but as a citizenship with various ethnicities and national origins comprising the "Cuban people." The majority of Cubans descend from Spaniards. Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture held in common by most Cubans is referred to as mainstream Cuban culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of Western European migrants, beginning with the early Spanish settlers, along with other Europeans arriving later but in much smaller numbers, such as the English, French and Italians. There is a West African cultural component which has been somewhat influential, with many Afro-Cubans also being of Jamaican or other Afro-Caribbean origin.

María was an eloquent speaker and her knowledge of languages placed her in a position to represent Spain at international congresses and to import examples of Anglo-Saxon feminist associations. Without interrupting her work in Bilbao she studied Philosophy and Literature at the University of Salamanca as an unofficial student of Miguel de Unamuno. In the summer of 1908 the Board for Advanced Studies sent her as a delegate to observe the Education Section of the Franco-British Exhibition in London. [3] Later she went on a lecture tour of the United States, Great Britain, Argentina, Cuba and other Spanish cities including University of Salamanca, where she became a disciple of Miguel de Unamuno, and the Complutense University of Madrid where she met Ortega y Gasset.

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Literature written work of art

Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.

University of Salamanca Spanish university

The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the city of Salamanca, west of Madrid, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest university in the Hispanic world and the third oldest university in the entire world still in operation. The formal title of "University" was granted by King Alfonso X in 1254 and recognized by Pope Alexander IV in 1255.

Residencia de Señoritas

Maria de Maeztu, from a 1919 publication. MariadeMaeztu1919.png
María de Maeztu, from a 1919 publication.

In 1915 María backed by the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios (Board for Advanced Studies) founded the Residencia de Señoritas in Madrid. Governed by the same rules as the Residencia de Estudiantes that had opened in 1910 for men, it became the first official center in Spain whose main objective was to encourage women's participation in advanced education, by providing accommodation for female students. She was its first director and with lectures, poetry readings, musical and theatrical recitals she attracted such intellectuals as Ortega y Gasset, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Victoria Ocampo, etc. as guest speakers. There Unamuno read his play Raquel encadenada (Rachel Enchained) and on 16 March 1932 Federico García Lorca read Poet in New York, his new collection of poetry not published until 1940. Lorca found the atmosphere pleasing and later held the rehearsals for his direction of Blasco Ibáñez's La Barraca at their auditorium. Other supporters and guest lecturers included, Rafael Alberti, Luis Jimenez de Asua, Gregorio Marañon, and Ramón del Valle-Inclán.

Madrid Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), smaller than only London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris. The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Residencia de Estudiantes cultural property in Madrid, Spain

The Residencia de Estudiantes, literally the "Student Residence", is a centre of Spanish cultural life in Madrid. The Residence was founded to provide accommodation for students along the lines of classic colleges at Bologna, Salamanca, Cambridge or Oxford. It became established as a cultural institution that helped foster and create the intellectual environment of Spain's brightest young thinkers, writers, and artists. The students there included Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel and Federico García Lorca. Distinguished guests and speakers included Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Juan Ramón Jiménez or Rafael Alberti.

Juan Ramón Jiménez Spanish poet

Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón was a Spanish poet, a prolific writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956 "for his lyrical poetry, which in the Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity". One of Jiménez's most important contributions to modern poetry was his advocacy of the French concept of "pure poetry."

Lyceum Club

In April 1926, during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, she founded the Lyceum Club the first woman's club in Spain. Together with assistance from Carmen Baroja and Concha Méndez they modelled it after the Lyceum Club's that were in existence in Brussels, London, Milan, New York City, Paris and The Hague. It was intended as a meeting place where women could exchange ideas and defend their social and moral equality as well as material interests. It opened with one hundred and fifty members who represented a well-educated group of professional women, including married women who wanted a broader horizon beyond the four walls of their home. With departments devoted to social issues, literature, the arts and music, science, as well as international affairs, the group sponsored lectures, concerts, exhibitions, and a variety of literary tributes. They advocated for reformation of women's legal status and the creation of day-care centers for working women. Members included Ernestina de Champourcín, Elena Fortún, María Goyri, María Lejárraga, María Teresa León, Carmen Monne Baroja, Margarita Nelkin and Mabel Pérez de Ayala. Isabel Oyarzábal and Victoria Kent were vice-presidents and the secretary was Zenobia Camprubí. Princess Victoria Eugenie and María del Rosario de Silva, Duchess of Alba held the honorary presidency. The Lyceum proved to be very popular and by 1929 its membership had increased to 450, prompting the establishment of a branch in Barcelona in 1931. [4] Conservative opposition flared up with religious groups and publications condemning the club on its liberal political ideas, its library and what they regarded as its threat to marriage, family, and the Church. [5] One priest declared that, "Society should lock them up as mad or criminals instead of allowing them to speak up in this club against all human and divine rules. The moral atmosphere in both the streets and homes would benefit from the hospitalization and imprisonment of these eccentric and unbalanced women." [6]

Primo de Rivera is a Spanish family prominent in politics of the 19th and 20th centuries:

Carmen Baroja Nessi was a Spanish writer and ethnologist who wrote under the pseudonym Vera Alzate. She was the sister of the writers Ricardo Baroja and Pío Baroja, and mother of the anthropologist Julio Caro Baroja and film director Pío Caro Baroja.

Concepción Méndez Cuesta was a leading Spanish poet and dramatist and member of the Generation of '27 who became known in the literary world under the name Concha Mendez.

Spanish Civil War & Exile

With the start of the Spanish Civil War on 17 July 1936, activities the Lyceum Club and the Residencia de Señoritas came to an end. In September María resigned as director of the Residencia and on 29 October 1936, her brother, Ramiro, a right-wing intellectual and member of the Generation of '98, was shot by Republican soldiers near Madrid. Stunned, María left Spain for Buenos Aires where she became professor at the University of Buenos Aires. She returned to Spain just once in 1947 for the funeral of her brother, Gustavo. She died in Mar del Plata on 7 January 1948 and her body was repatriated to the family mausoleum in Estella-Lizarra near Pamplona.[ citation needed ]

Spanish Civil War War between the Republicans and the Nationalists in Spain from 1936 to 1939

The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and anarchism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Ramiro de Maeztu Spanish political theorist, journalist, and literary critic

Ramiro de Maeztu y Whitney was a prolific Spanish essayist, journalist and publicist. His early literary work adscribes him to the Generation of '98. Adept to nietzschean and social darwinist ideas in his youth, he became close to Fabian Socialism and, later, to Distributism and Social corporatism during his spell as correspondent in London, from where he chronicled the Great War. During the years of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship he served as Ambassador to Argentina. A staunch militarist, he became at the end of his ideological path as one of the most prominent Far-right theorists against the Second Republic, leading the reactionary voices calling for a military coup. Member of the cultural group Acción Española, he spread the concept of "Hispanidad". Imprisoned by Republican authorities after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he was killed by leftist militiamen during a saca in the midst of the conflict.

The Generation of '98 was a group of novelists, poets, essayists, and philosophers active in Spain at the time of the Spanish–American War (1898), committed to cultural and aesthetic renewal, and associated with modernism.

During the Civil War the building of the Residencia de Señoritas was used as a hospital, nursery and orphanage, and in March 1940 the school re-opened as the Colegio Mayor Teresa de Cepeda under a more conforming administration that was less threatening and suited the mandates of the Church. [7]

Throughout Spain, in Alicante, Avilés, Barakaldo, Elche, Estella-Lizarra, Estepona, Galapagar, Granada, Málaga, Puertollano, San Sebastián and Zaragoza, there are streets named in honor of María de Maeztu. In 2006 the Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Formento) in Spain commissioned the Maritime Safety Agency (Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima) to build seven tug boats known as the Clase María de Maeztu. In addition to towing vessels and helping boats in trouble, these tugs are used to fight fires at sea, combat marine pollution and salvage shipwrecks.[ citation needed ]

Tugboat Marta Mata (BS-14) [es
] from the Maria de Maeztu Class in Port de Mao, Menorca Remolcador Marta Mata.jpg
Tugboat Marta Mata (BS-14)  [ es ] from the María de Maeztu Class in Port de Maó, Menorca


Related Research Articles

Julián Marías Spanish philosopher

Julián Marías Aguilera was a Spanish philosopher associated with the Generation of '36 movement. He was a pupil of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset.

María Goyri de Menéndez Pidal Spanish hispanist

María Goyri de Menéndez Pidal (1873–1955) was a Spanish Hispanist, literary critic, researcher, educator and advocate for women's rights. In 1896 she became the first Spanish woman to earn a degree in Philosophy and Letters and the first to earn her doctorate, in 1909, at a Spanish university. She was the wife of Ramón Menéndez Pidal.

María Zambrano Spanish philosopher

María Zambrano Alarcón was a Spanish essayist and philosopher associated with the Generation of '36 movement. She was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award (1981) and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1988).


Hispanidad is an expression with several meanings, loosely alluding to the group of people, countries and communities sharing the Spanish language and displaying a Spanish-related culture. The term traces back to the early modern period but was redefined by Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in 1909. The term "Hispanity" is a term that regards to a multiethnic community of countries of the Spanish Empire.

Blas Cabrera Felipe Spanish physicist

Blas Cabrera y Felipe was a Spanish physicist. He worked in the domain of experimental physics with focus in the magnetic properties of matter. He is considered as one of the greatest scientist of Spain and as one of the founders of the study of physical sciences of his country.

Elena Fortún Spanish writer

María de la Encarnación Gertrudis Jacoba Aragoneses y de Urquijo was a Spanish author of children's literature who wrote under the pen name Elena Fortún. She became famous for Celia, lo que dice the first in the series of children's novels which were a collection of short stories first published in magazines in 1929. The series were both popular and successful during the time of their publications and are today considered classics of Spanish literature.

Pilar de Zubiaurre was a Basque intellectual, writer, pianist, and art dealer and manager who lived in exile in Mexico for more than thirty years as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War. Zubiaurre was born to a well-off family. Her father, Valentín María de Zubiaurre, was maestro of the Spanish royal choir, while her two brothers, Valentín and Ramón de Zubiaurre, were famous painters who held exhibitions throughout the world. Zubiaurre was married to Ricardo Gutiérrez Abascal, a famous art critic known under the pseudonym of "Juan de la Encina".

Institución Libre de Enseñanza organization

La Institución Libre de Enseñanza (ILE) or The Free Institution of Education was an educational project developed in Spain for over half a century (1876–1936). The institute was inspired by the philosophy of Krausism, first introduced to the Complutense University of Madrid by Julián Sanz del Río, and which, despite being subsequently ejected from that university, was to have a significant impact on intellectual life in Restoration Spain.

Monastery of Santa María de Mezonzo Spanish monastery

The Monastery of Santa María de Mezonzo is a Spanish religious building in Romanesque style in the parish of Santa María de Mezonzo, in the municipality of Vilasantar. Although it probably dates back to the time of the Kingdom of the Suebi, the current monastery was founded as a double convent by Abbot Reterico. According to Antonio López Ferreiro, the monastery was donated to the Asturian-Galician king Alfonso III el Magno in 870. Justo Pérez de Urbel, after comparing the names of the confirmatory of several documents related to the monastery, thinks that the correct date is the one given by Hinojosa, that is, the year 930.

María Laffitte

María Laffitte y Pérez del Pulgar, Countess of Campo Alange was a Spanish aristocrat, writer, art critic, women's rights activist, and founder of the Seminar on Women's Sociological Studies.

Matilde Huici lawyer and Spanish teacher

Matilde Huici Navaz was a Spanish educator and lawyer. In addition to her collaboration with María de Maeztu in the Residencia de Señoritas, first official center in Spain established to promote university education for women, and the Lyceum Club Femenino, association of women, she was co-founder of the Association of Spanish University Women and Spanish delegate of the Advisory Commission for Social and Humanitarian Issues of the League of Nations. Exiled in Chile since 1940, Huici founded in 1944 the School of Párvulos Educator of the University of Chile and developed an intense pedagogical activity.

Margarita de Mayo Izarra was a Spanish writer, teacher, and journalist.

José María Salaverría Spanish author

José María Salaverría e Ipenza (1873–1940) was a Spanish journalist and writer.

Lesbians in the Second Spanish Republic and Civil War period were doubly discriminated against, as a result of their gender and sexual practices. Prior to the Second Republic, lesbians in Spain were largely ignored, eclipsed by gay men. They faced discrimination as they challenged definitions around what it meant to be a woman. While homosexuality was not condemned by law, it was possible for lesbians to face more severe punishment when charged with violation of morals because of their sexual orientation.

Benita Asas Manterola educator and suffragist Spanish

Benita Asas Manterola (1873-1968) was a Spanish teacher, journalist, and suffragist.

María Luisa Pérez Herrero

María Luisa Pérez Herrero was a Spanish painter specializing in landscapes, whose artistic career was cut short by her early death at age 36.


  1. "El alma de los Maeztu". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. "MAR?A DE MAEZTU, maestra en Bilbao. - SOMORROSTRO". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  3. "protagonistas - centenario de la creación de la junta para ampliación de estudios e investigaciones científicas (1907-1939)". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. Sarah Leggott, The Workings of Memory: Life-writing by Women in Early Twentieth-Century Spain, (2008), p.39
  5. Janet Pérez & Maureen Ihrie, The Feminist Encyclopedia of Spanist Literature, 2002, p.364
  6. Lesley K. Twomey, Women in Contemporary Culture: Roles and Identities in France and Spain, (2000), p.112
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)