Barnard College: Women and The Hispanic Institute > Carolina Marcial Dorado
Carolina Marcial Dorado, Ph.D., professor, and director of the Spanish Department at Barnard College from its founding in 1920 until her death in 1941, was a fundamental agent in the history of the teaching of Spanish and Hispanic culture in the United States. A few months after joining Barnard, she founded the Círculo Hispano, a student club whose objective was to promote Hispanic culture and language. One of her greatest contributions was the promotion of the participation of Spanish and American women in academic and cultural exchanges between Spain and the United States. Between 1922 and 1925 she organized the “College of the Pyrenées”, a school of Spanish language and culture for American ladies that was held during the summer seasons in Barcelona. In 1939, Marcial Dorado created Barnard's Latin American Program, a pioneering project in American universities whose main objective was to disseminate in this institution the contributions of South American countries in the world of art, history, music, science, and literature, in addition to hosting Latin American students in their Hispanic residence.
Since 1953, Barnard College gives the Carolina Marcial Dorado Spanish Scholarship Fund to a student from Spain, or to a Spanish major continuing graduate study in the United States or abroad, or to a student who is majoring in Spanish.
After serving as a Spanish instructor at Wellesley College and later as an assistant professor of Spanish literature at the University of Puerto Rico, Carolina Marcial Dorado returned to the United States to teach at Bryn Mawr and direct the department of Spanish at the New York press Ginn & Co. Through this press, Marcial Dorado would publish España Pintoresca. The Life and Customs of Spain in Story and Legend, her first textbook for Spanish learners. The publication, which includes illustrations, songs, and translation exercises, received both praise for its planning and criticism for its tendency to stereotype. One of these illustrations portrays a picturesque scene in Seville, the city where Marcial Dorado spent her childhood.
In this 1925 article, Carolina Marcial Dorado highlights the increasing demand for Spanish classes is due to the growing economic interest of the United States in Latin America. She also recognizes the increase in the enrollment of female students in Spanish classes (from 169 to 1200 in ten years) as a sign of the ability of women to take initiative and leadership in this field. Marcial Dorado points out that the increase in enrollment has forced the department to augment the number and variety of courses, and highlights the visits of intellectuals and artists to the department, as well as the creation of the students' Spanish club.
In this report, Marcial Dorado highlights the demand of Latin American women for access to higher education and greater participation in business and political life. According to Marcial Dorado, the increasingly numerous Latin American students at Barnard come not only to "prepare themselves for careers, but also (...) to play their own part in all progressive movements --social, industrial or educational."