The Hispanic Institute Between the Wars: The Making of Cultural Networks

Barnard College: Women and The Hispanic Institute > Students and The Círculo Hispano

Actividad de los estudiantes. Año 4, No. 4, (July 1938), page 381

Photograph of "Exposición Hispanoamericana" organized by Barnard students

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In 1922, two years after the Circulo Hispano was founded, it put the following write-up in Barnard yearbook The Mortarboard:

As the newest club in college, like the youngest daughter in the fairy tale, we have been endowed with all the magic gifts a fairy godmother could grant—with all the color and sunshine of Spain, all the gaiety and grace of her song and dance, all the charm and dignity of her literature,—for it is our aim to come into closer touch with Spanish life than we can hope to do in three hours a week of classroom work. The land of the hidalgo has come to us here in New York; in many a store window we see the sign, “Se habla español," and often we hear a chatter that sounds strangely familiar though alas, all too often we can distinguish no more than an occasional, “Sí, señor." So we have taken that sign for our motto. Our meetings mean not only sitting solemnly in rows, listening to learned lectures, but also playing Spanish games, singing Spanish songs, and discussing Spanish topics. We are as firm in our resolve to speak only Spanish as Don Quijote was in his determination to conquer the windmills.

As this write-up describes, Círculo Hispano brought together Barnard students interested in speaking Spanish and brought them into close contact with Hispanic life through lectures, teas, and dramatic performances. This "Exposición Hispanoamericana" organized by Barnard students in 1938 included objects, music, and photographs from Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, and Puerto Rico. There were also talks and folkloric dances, as well as songs by the choir of the Círculo Hispano.

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