Foundation: Between Wars, Diplomacy, and New Markets > Foundation, Principles, and Enrollment
De Onís, together with representatives of various institutions interested in Hispanic studies –the American Association of Spanish Teachers, the Institute of International Education, and the aforementioned Junta para Ampliación de Estudios of the Spanish Ministry of Public Instruction– founded the Instituto de las Españas in 1920. Its main objective was to establish a center for the studies of Hispanic culture in the United States that would also act as a coordinator of the common activities of those institutions.
Since the founding of the Instituto de las Españas, Hispanic studies at Columbia University ceased to be restricted to medieval and classical Spanish literature to incorporate both modern Iberian literature as well as that of Latin America and Brazil. In a few years, the Spanish Department of this university would have the largest number of students in the country and internationally renowned visiting professors, becoming a pioneer institution of Hispanic and Lusophone studies in the United States.
Since 1908, the New York-based National Paper & Type Company published El Arte Tipográfico y el Escritorio as a way to cement their relations with the buying trade in Latin America and promote the products and machinery that was distributed through its many branches in the region.
This article published in this magazine in 1923 situates the foundation of Instituto de las Españas in the context of the increasing demand for Spanish and Hispanic culture courses in the United States and gives an account of its aims, activities, publications, and organization of the Fiesta de la Lengua.
This chart records the enrollment of students in Spanish and Portuguese courses from 1911 to 1948. It shows how the number of registered students increased from 596 for the 1914-1915 academic year --when World War I broke out-- to 1858 for the period 1918-1919 when the conflict ended. Enrollment in Spanish and Portuguese courses continued to increase in the years after World War I, reaching a peak of 3,267 students in 1920-1921. The chart also shows how the Great Depression and the Spanish Civil War dipped the numbers during the 1930s.