Centre for the Study of Hispanic Exile

Isabel Oyarzábal de Palencia [1878–1974]

Date of Birth: 1878 Malaga
Died: 1974 Mexico City (age 97)

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Journalist, writer, actress and diplomat, born Isabel Oyarzábal Smith to a Scottish mother and Spanish father.

Time Table

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1908 Founds and edits the magazine La Dama with her sister Ana and a friend, with a view to tackling illiteracy among women.
1909 Marries dramatist Ceferino Palencia, who casts her in his play 'Pepita Tudó'.
1915 Isabel is asked to join the group of women intellectuals demanding female suffrage. Due to family concerns she does not accept.
1920 Has a number of plays performed in Madrid during the 1920s, later published under the name of Diálogos del dolor in Mexico between 1940 and 1944.
1926 Joins the feminist Lyceum Club, of which she later becomes Vicepresident.
1929 Chairs the Liga Femenina Española por la Paz y la Libertad, specialising in International Law.
1930 Photographs the imprisoned Revolutionary Republican Committee, publishing the pictures in London's Daily Herald newspaper.
1931 Becomes a candidate for the Partido Socialista. Named Governmental Adviser to the XV International Labour Conference in Geneva, spokesperson for the Consejo del Patronato del Instituto de Reeducación Profesional and delegate to the League of Nations.
1935 Representative at the International Labour Conference.
1936 Joins the Comisión de Auxilio Femenino. Between October and December Isabel attends more than 40 conferences and meetings in the US to raise funds for the Republic. Sent to Stockholm by the Republican government, where she remains until 1939.
1939 Leaves Stockholm for Mexico.
1940 Publishes an autobiographical work, I Must Have Liberty, in English.
1943–1953 Contributes to a number of Mexican newspapers and in publications produced by Spaniards in exile, including España peregrina and Romance y Las Españas. Translates a number of English authors into Spanish, including Jane Austen, George Elliot and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
1945 Publishes Smouldering Freedom (The Story of the Spanish Republicans in Exile) in English.
1959 Publishes En mi hambre mando yo, in which she relates episodes from the war in Madrid and Málaga.
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