Córdoba hosts a meeting with Encarnación Lemus, National History Prize winner

Córdoba hosts a meeting with Encarnación Lemus, National History Prize winner
Córdoba hosts a meeting with Encarnación Lemus, National History Prize winner

The Andalusian Center of Letters (CAL), managed by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports through the Andalusian Agency of Cultural Institutions, will feature this Wednesday in Córdoba with Encarnación Lemus, recent National History Prize winner, for ‘Ellas. The students of the Ladies’ Residence. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the ‘Grupo Cántico’ Public Library, with free entry until capacity is reached.

As the Junta de Andalucía has indicated in a note, the author will talk with the professor at the University of Córdoba (UCO) Francisco Acosta about the founding of the first university teaching center for women, an institution that represented a true revolution that would mark the future of the country.

The jury of the distinction chose the work ‘Them. The students of the Residencia de Señoritas’ for “offering a renewed look at one of the key institutions in the incorporation of women into the process of social modernization of the country.” Her students broke the mold and many of them became leaders in various fields of study, until now forbidden to women.

Lemus remembers the date on which the restriction was lifted so that Spanish women could enter all levels of education. It was the 1909-1910 academic year. Twenty-one women were studying at the university in that academic year and until 1920 their presence remained anecdotal. The pedagogue María de Maeztu dedicated her life to promoting university education from the direction of the International Residence for Young Ladies. She managed to change the model of women of the time and initiated an entire social transformation in Spain.

Carmen Guerra San Martín

Among these young women was the Asturian Carmen Guerra San Martín, founder of the Córdoba Library. She arrived in Córdoba in 1931 as a librarian after having just passed the Archives and Libraries exams. In the Andalusian city she found a kind of damp warehouse without light, but she insisted on making a decent library.

Taking advantage of the policy of culture and expansion of the libraries of the Republic and with the help of the Provincial Council, he managed to install the Library of Córdoba in a modern library in the old Census Hall of the Provincial Council. The reading room was even heated. It was inaugurated in April 1935.

According to Lemus, “poets from the Cántico Group such as Juan Bernier, García Baena or Ricardo Molina repeated many times that it was she who introduced them to the world of reading.” With the war she was separated from her duties and she was unable to practice her profession for years. Guerra had a beautiful library in her house and the young poets continued to visit her.

This book is the story of success and talks about generations of women and their families who fought so that they could train and be professionally independent. And they got it. The Residence was born to make it possible for young women from the provinces to study at the Central University and the rest of the Higher Education centers in Madrid. In their letters, collected by Lemus, they write about their goals, also about their efforts and their many difficulties.

Professor of Contemporary History

Lemus is a professor of Contemporary History at the University of Huelva. She has been a professor at the Universities of Santiago and Valparaíso in Chile, at the University of Puerto Rico, at Denis-Diderot Paris 7, and at the University of Michigan, as well as a Researcher at the Institute of Present Time in Paris.

In addition, he is part of the Editorial Board of the magazine ‘Andalucía in History’ and the Permanent Seminar on Contemporary History of the Center for Andalusian Studies and is a member of the Priego Group, Scientific Committee of the Niceto Alcalá-Zamora Board of Trustees. Among her works on women’s history, the following stand out: ‘Postwar Republicans’, in ‘Las Andaluzas y la Política, 1931-2006’ and ‘Cárcel de Amor’; It is also worth highlighting her work ‘The Republican Exile in Chile’ in ‘Bread, Work and Home’.

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