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International] Samper, Soledad Acosta.

MANUSCRIPT: Historia del Istmo de Panamá


Unpublished Manuscript By An Important Latin American Feminist
Acosta de Samper, Soledad. Autograph Manuscript, Historia del Istmo de Panamá. 1902.
8vo.; 4 volumes; three-quarter cloth; annotated and cancel pages tipped-in, affixed, or otherwise present throughout; toning and occasional adhesive staining to leaves; hinges weak; front hinge of volume one cracked; mild edgewear.
Original manuscript of an unpublished historical work by a pioneer of Latin American feminism. This unpublished manuscript, Historia del Istmo de Panamá, dated 1902, must be counted a major discovery. Handwritten on ruled paper, with corrections and emendations tipped-in throughout, the manuscript stretches 762 pages over four volumes, and is divided into four parts corresponding to major epochs in Panamanian history: "Descubrimiento y Conquista;" "Colonizacion;" "La Colonia;" and "La Independencia de España." An index of chapters, as well as a general alphabetical index, appears at the end of volume four.  Chapter one of part one consists of an article Acosta de Samper previously published in El Centenario, "Descripción del Istmo de Panamá en el siglo XVI", a copy of which has been tipped-in and renumbered at the beginning of the first volume in lieu of handwritten text. Likewise, chapter six of part one consists of tipped-in pages from her Biografías de hombres ilustres o notables relativas a la época del descubrimiento, conquista y colonización (1883), representing entries on Diego de Nicuesa and Vasco Nunez de Balboa. Apart from these two chapters, the material in the manuscript has never been published. Acosta de Samper cited the manuscript in her Lecciones de historia de Colombia (1908), but otherwise it remains completely unknown.
The most important Colombian woman writer of the 19th century, Soledad Acosta de Samper's (1833-1913) role in bringing women's issues to prominence in Latin America was crucial to feminist causes in her lifetime and beyond. Beginning her career as a foreign correspondent for La Biblioteca Senorita, Acosta de Samper went on to found, edit, and publish the bi-weekly journal La Mujer, an influential publication focused on women's issues written entirely by women. A wife and mother of four daughters, Acosta de Samper wrote prolifically about family issues as well, and founded the monthly review La Familia. Her major sociological studies of women and the family include La mujer en la sociedad moderna (1895), Consejos a las mujeres (1896), and Conversaciones y lectures familiares sobre historia, biografía, critica, literatura, ciencias, y conocimientos útiles (1896). As a novelist and short story writer, Acosta de Samper portrayed the daily routines, aspirations, frustrations, and dignity of ordinary Colombian women. The theme that persists through all of her work for and about women is the importance of education as an emancipating force. The vast number of works Acosta de Samper published in her lifetime made her not only one of the most prolific Colombian writers of the 19th century, but also the writer who "contributed most to the visibility of women as artists in their own right in Latin America" (Smith, Verity, ed. Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature, by Verity Smith, ed., Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001, p. 1).
In addition to her prowess as a feminist and a fiction writer, Acosta de Samper was lauded for her skill as a biographer and historian-her Biografía del General Joaquín París (1884) won a major award.

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