Since the spring semester of 2011, I have been working with an undergraduate research team to develop a large digital project titled “Women and Charity in Spain 1786-1941.” Work on this project has been supported through a UMW’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation teaching fellowship in the fall of 2010, a UMW faculty research development grant for the summer of 2011, another UMW faculty research development grant for the fall of 2012, and UMW undergraduate research grants for student travel in May of 2011 and 2012. The project, still under development. is a digital exhibition tracing women’s charity from the late Enlightenment period through the beginnings of the Franco dictatorship. The project’s three parts–“Sentiment and Social Action: Women’s Charity in Enlightenment Spain,” “Angels and Activits: Nineteenth-Century Women’s Charity,” and “Women’s Rights, Social Service and Charity in Spain 1931-1941”–display through text and image the trajectory of women’s charitable work . Each source exhibited is introduced by a brief encyclopedia-type article researched and written by students. There is also a searchable database of information gathered by the research team.
In the spring semester of 2011, I began work with my first research team of 4 sophomores. We worked together during the semester on materials I had already collected for the section on the eighteenth century. Then in May, faculty research grant funds for myself, and with undergraduate research grants from Dean Richard Finkelstein for the students, we were able to travel to Spain to consult the journal La Voz de la Caridad by Concepción Arenal, published from 1870-1884. We went through all the holdings of the library of the journal (over 300 issues!), something I would never have been able to do by myself in 10 days. Each student and I took a volume of issues at a time, catalogued the contents (because there was no table of contents to most of them), skimmed the articles and noted the ones of interest for our study, and then went over their findings with me so we could decide what copies to order. In the Fall semester 2011 our team created a searchable data base of the article titles and authors from La Voz de la Caridad. In the spring semester of 2012, I started with a new research team of 2 sophomores and 2 freshmen, which began work that semester on the third section of our study. Using resources from the Biblioteca Nacional’s digital periodical repository, the Hemeroteca Digital, the team began researching and collecting data on period of the Second Republic and Spanish Civil War, and especially the progressive women’s journal Mundo femenino. In May we traveled again to Madrid, with funds from Dean Finkelstein for the students, to work in the Biblioteca Nacional. We read and catalogued a large portion of two women’s journals not available digitally–“Y” and “Medina,” both published by the fascist women’s group Sección Femenina de la Falange. In the fall of 2012 we worked on the material gathered in Madrid, and on the website itself, which is still in preparation. I hope to get one more small group of students to help me edit the site and tie up loose ends, as well as get permissions to display the material collected at the BN. If all goes well, the site should be public sometime later this year!