Posts about Education

513. raimundo wilmart de glymes de hollebecque

21 Oct 2013

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Raimundo Wilmart de Glymes de Hollebecque

Tucked away in the seemingly infinite rows of mausoleums in the southern corner of the cemetery, the little information online about Raimundo Wilmart is as surprising as his full name is long.

Born in 1850 in Jodoigne-Souveraine, a small town in the center of Belgium, Wilmart arrived in Argentina at the age of 22. He had a single purpose: to visit the Asociación Internacional del Trabajo (AIT). Recently formed, the industrial union followed European principles based on ideas put forth by Marx & Engels. In short, Raimundo Wilmart came to Argentina to see if scientific socialism was being put into practice in Argentina.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Raimundo Wilmart de Glymes de Hollebecque

Wilmart had previously attended the 1872 AIT conference in The Hague where he was commissed to travel to Argentina. Immediately after arrival, he scoped out the situation & wrote three letters to Marx. The Argentine AIT had 250 members at the time, but proletarian struggle failed to unite the group. Wilmart reported that the group constantly separated into national cliques, based on the immigrant’s country of origin. He even handed out free copies of Das Kapital but felt like no one ever read the book!

Disappointed, Wilmart planned to return to Europe but never did. After studying law in Córdoba, he moved up in social circles & became a judge in Mendoza. In 1899, Wilmart returned to Buenos Aires & joined the law school faculty. He even formed part of the committee which failed to approve the doctoral thesis of Socialist Alfredo Palacios… Wilmart made a 180º turn in his politics, supporting capitalism & failing to sympathize with factory workers.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Héctor de Glymes de Hollebecque

Wilmart visited his homeland in 1909, returned to Argentina & died in Buenos Aires in 1937. Letters he received from Karl Marx were lost forever, burned by his daughter in fear of tarnishing her father’s reputation.

509. otto krause

26 Aug 2013

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Otto Krause

Born in 1856, Otto Krause grew up in Chivilcoy, a town about two hours west of Buenos Aires. Both his parents arrived from Prussia & worked hard to make the small town grow. Sarmiento spoke at the opening of a local church in 1857 & impressed Krause’s father so much that newborn twins were christened with the names Domingo & Faustino!

Education—a central theme in the life of Krause—took him to Buenos Aires where he graduated from the School of Exact Sciences. Afterwards he became one of Argentina’s first civil engineers with a dissertation about railroad traction. It got him noticed & was soon hired to work on several sections of Argentina’s rapidly expanding rail network. Krause even designed the railway workshops in Tolosa for the Ferrocarril del Sud… not as grand as those in Remedios de Escalada but useful until the 1940s when engineers designed a new, modern steam engine there.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Otto Krause, stained glass

After several years of teaching at the University of Buenos Aires, Krause established a high school focused on training students for industrial careers. He saw the rapid development of German technical know-how as a model for Argentina’s future. Krause also began reformulating curriculums all over the nation, as well as traveling to Europe to investigate the newest tech schools. In 1909 he was named director of the Escuela Industrial de la Nación & inaugurated the new building in Buenos Aires:

Escuela Industrial de la Nación Otto Krause

Escuela Industrial de la Nación Otto Krause

Krause continued to work in various government capacities until his death in 1920. The school he helped found adopted his name in 1925, & many important figures have since studied there such as architect Alejandro Bustillo. The school even had Luis Perlotti as Art Director for several years in the 1940s.

365. domingo faustino sarmiento ◊

18 Dec 2009

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

As the only occupant of Recoleta Cemetery marked with signposts, Sarmiento is widely recognized as one of the most important figures in Argentine history:

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Born in 1811 while Argentina struggled for independence, Domingo Sarmiento spent his early years voraciously reading & studying. It would set the tone for his life. By the age of 15, he founded a school in his native province of San Juan… all students were naturally older than he was at the time.

Due to civil war & local caudillo Facundo Quiroga, Sarmiento fled in exile to Chile in 1831 where he continued his educational activities. That period was spent between marriage, founding the Universidad de Chile, running a newspaper, & being sent on behalf of the Chilean government to the United States to study its primary education system.

AGN, Presidente Sarmiento

Sarmiento returned to Argentina 20 years later as an authority in education. Anti-Rosas to the core, he later aligned with Bartolomé Mitre while serving as Senator. Accompanying General Wenceslao Paunero to the Cuyo region, Sarmiento governed his native province of San Juan then returned to the U.S. as Argentina’s ambassador. Unfortunately his adopted son was killed in the War of the Triple Alliance while he was away. Back home in 1868 & under no political party, Sarmiento was elected President with Adolfo Alsina as his running mate. After one term in the Casa Rosada, he continued to serve Argentina in number of governmental & educational posts.

Late in life, Sarmiento moved to Asunción for health reasons. He passed away on Sept 11, 1888, & that day is now commemorated as Teacher’s Day. The most accessible portrait of Sarmiento can be found on a 50 peso bill, but he was also the subject of one of the most publicized death portraits in Argentine history. Those portraits were commonly used to mark important events & released to the press. Sarmiento “posed” for this photo a few hours after his death surrounded by objects of daily use… including his chamber pot:

AGN, death portrait, Sarmiento

Sarmiento was then brought by boat to Buenos Aires & buried in Recoleta Cemetery. In a crypt designed by Italian sculptor Victor de Pol, the base of the obelisk contains two reliefs: one of Mercury (Roman god of communications) & Sarmiento with children holding books. The French phrase “on ne tue point les idées” was inscribed by Sarmiento on a stone in the Andes Mountains when he fled to Chile: “One never kills ideas”:

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Plaques once covered the obelisk itself (as seen below) but were later placed on the side wall when they outnumbered available space. The bust has also been removed. Hidden behind a potted plant is a reminder that Sarmiento once participated in the Grand Lodge of Argentina:

AGN, Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

A condor, native to the Andes Mountains & symbolic of Sarmiento’s contributions to Chile & Argentina, crowns the obelisk. At the bird’s feet is a bit of barely legible, cursive text. It reads Civilización y Barbarie, the title of Sarmiento’s definitive work against Quiroga:

Sarmiento, Recoleta Cemetery

Of course Sarmiento was no saint & displayed some negative traits of his time: racism & a bit of an addiction to power. But historians have naturally chosen to focus on the positive. This tomb was declared a National Historic Monument in 1946.

View first photo larger on Flickr.

304. arata

20 Feb 2009

Pedro Arata, Recoleta Cemetery

A little bit of Egypt in Argentina, several members of the Arata family are buried here but none as recognized as Pedro Narciso Arata. The unfinished pyramid implies the same symbolism as a truncated column: a life ended with many tasks undone. Freemason fanatics shouldn’t get too excited; Arata died the same year that Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered (1922) & Egyptian design had become fashionable.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1849 & related to the wealthy Unzué clan, Arata’s early years of school were in Paris. Naturally. He returned to Argentina for high school & university, tutoring many of his classmates in science including future President Roque Sáenz Peña. Arata quickly became part of the scientific elite & enrolled in medical school while teaching at the Faculty of Exact Sciences. Combining his knowledge chemistry & medicine in the improvement of city hygiene, Arata created the Municipal Chemical Office in 1883:

Pedro Arata, Recoleta Cemetery

On closer inspection, the left side reveals a faint image of a woman & child doing some sort of chemistry with a snake eager to participate. Crudely etched on the the bottom is a Latin phrase “Alii quidem equos am ant, alii oves, alii feros; mihi vero a puerulo mirandum acquirendi et possidendi libros insedit desiderium.” Fourth century Roman emperor Julian placed this quotation over every library he opened & obviously refers to Arata’s work to expand the University of Buenos Aires:

Arata became Dean of the School of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences (Facultad de Agronomía) in 1904. His massive library of 60,000 books eventually became part of the university’s collection & a train station named after him greets students today. The campus occupies a huge section of the city, complete with horses & llamas:

Facultad de Agronomía, Buenos Aires

For all his accomplishments, Arata’s political beliefs tended toward the conservative as evidenced by a dedicatory plaque from the Liga Patriótica Argentina… maybe there is a bit of Masonic influence in the design after all:

Pedro Arata, Recoleta Cemetery

View last photo larger on Flickr.

297. aristóbulo del valle

06 Feb 2009

Aristóbulo del Valle, Recoleta Cemetery

Born in 1845 to a rural family who had supported Rosas & later participated in the Conquista del Desierto, Aristóbulo del Valle was sent to Buenos Aires for a university education. While studying law, the devasting war with Paraguay erupted. Del Valle dropped everything to participate then returned to complete his degree.

With recognized literary & debating proficiency, it didn’t take long for del Valle to select a cause—universal male suffrage—& move into national politics. Surrounded with friends like Leandro Alem, Dardo Rocha & Carlos Pellegrini, his beliefs became increasingly radical for the time. With Alem, del Valle founded the Unión Cívica political party & participated in the 1890 Revolution against President Juárez Celman… while serving as Senator. A strong sense of duty forced him to resign since he had taken part in anti-government actions while serving as an elected official, but the public absolved any guilt by re-electing him. Two plaques commemorate his political acts of the time:

Aristóbulo del Valle, Recoleta Cemetery

Three years later under the presidency of Luis Sáenz Peña, del Valle was asked to serve as Minister of War & propose cabinet changes. From this position he tried to incorporate Alem & others into the government so they could officially institute changes denied by the earlier, failed revolution. But Alem refused & another revolution in 1893 was planned… without the participation of del Valle this time. Del Valle passed away soon after in 1896 in his office at the School of Law.

This tomb was one of the first two ever to be declared a National Historic Monument in 1945. Without many windows & tinted door glass, it appears to be yet another neglected tomb. But glancing inside reveals one of the most beautiful statues in the cemetery… preserved from the elements (although a bit dusty) & missed by almost every visitor [see comments for more info about the statue]:

Aristóbulo del Valle, Recoleta Cemetery

283. petronila rodríguez

09 Jan 2009

Petronila Rodríguez, Recoleta Cemetery

As a descendant of Nicolás Rodríguez Peña, Petronila inherited four centrally located city blocks in Buenos Aires. On her death in 1882, she willed the entire lot to the city government with very specific instructions. A church should be built as well as an attached Catholic school & a separate, 3-story school for 700 girls complete with a museum, library & other rooms decided to teaching art, music & science.

The wishes of Petronila were fulfilled & all the requested buildings constructed. The enormous girls’ school was occupied briefly by the Supreme Court until becoming the Ministry of Education in 1903. Not far from the busy intersection of Avenidas Córdoba & Callao, the Ministry became popularly known as the Palacio Pizzurno for 3 brothers who improved education in Argentina:

Palacio Pizzurno, Buenos Aires

Palacio Pizzurno, Buenos Aires

Petronila’s school eventually found a home in the distant neighborhood of Parque Chas in 1934 where it continues to function today:

Escuela Petronila Rodríguez, Parque Chas