Digital archive

New material from Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral on display

Thousands of previously unpublished manuscripts, photos and videos are published online in commemoration of the life and work of the Nobel Prize winner.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011  
Gabriela Mistral was a teacher for many years in northern Chile. (Photo courtesy of the Dirección de Gabriela Mistral was a teacher for many years in northern Chile. (Photo courtesy of the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos)

Chile’s National Library has published the largest, most comprehensive digital archives of the works of Gabriela Mistral in the Sala Virtual Gabriela Mistral (Spanish).

The archives include some 18,000 documents donated by the family of Mistral’s secretary and translator, Doris Dana, after Dana passed away in 2007. 

Mistral is one of Chile’s most famous and beloved poets. A native of Elqui Valley, she won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1945 after years of working as a teacher and writing poetry on the side, and was later awarded a diplomatic post, which allowed her to continue writing until her death in 1957.

The latest documents come from 168 boxes of manuscripts, first edition books, letters, records, photographs, and personal items that were sent from the United States. After being processed by a team of librarians and archivists, the documents were scanned and stored in a high-resolution format, and published online.

The multimedia Sala Virtual features some of the 2,141 images sent from the Dana estate, including prints, negatives, and even 8mm and 16 mm film, as well as video and audio recordings.

Nearly a thousand personal objects were sent to the Gabriela Mistral museum in the small Elqui Valley town of Vicuña. The collection included the Nobel Prize winner’s personal library, as well as decorations, artwork, and personal agendas.

“Once and for all we will be able to fully and totally read Gabriela Mistral. We had a fragmented version of the Nobel Prize winner. Today, we can say that we possess a significant part of her material, which means that in light of [this] new work, we have a more complete vision of her body of work...” said the project’s general coordinator, Pedro Pablo Zegers, of the Legado Gabriela Mistral organization. 

Zegers added that “this is the moment to begin a true study of Gabriela Mistral, now that the material is organized, when we can truly begin to scrutinize her literary production. We have all her correspondence, so it will be possible to largely reconstruct her  ”