Barnard College: Women and The Hispanic Institute > Gabriela Mistral
The relationship of the poet and educator Gabriela Mistral with the Hispanic Institute begins with the publication of Desolación, her first book. After giving a lecture on Mistral's poetry in 1921, Federico De Onís proposed that the Hispanic Institute should publish a compilation of her poetry, as a tribute to Mistral "by the Teachers of Spanish in the United States." The publication of Desolación the following year positioned Gabriela Mistral as one of the most promising Latin American writers of the first half of the 20th century, leading to a literary career that would culminate in her obtaining the Nobel Prize in 1945.
In suggesting the hiring of Gabriela Mistral as visiting professor for the academic year 1930-1931 at Barnard College, Carolina Marcial Dorado points out that "her contribution to education and towards the feminist international movement has been great and noteworthy." In her reply letter to the proposal, Mistral accepts the position and suggests teaching a literature course "specialized in Hispanic American women's literature." During that year, in which Mistral also worked as official lecturer of the Hispanic Institute, she resided in Hewitt Hall at Barnard and taught the courses Contemporary Movements in Hispanic Literature and Hispanic Civilization.
After receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945, the Spanish Department of Barnard College held a reception in her honor. During this event, Mistral met Doris Dana, who had received a Bachelor's degree in Classics from Barnard and would later become her secretary, life partner, and her executor after her death. This photograph was taken in 1954, when Mistral served as Consul of Chile in New York. That same year, Columbia University awarded her the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa. Mistral died at Hempstead Hospital in New York on January 10, 1957, at the age of 67, accompanied by Doris Dana.