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Isidro Barquero Ortiz letters to Maruya Rodriguez Espinosa


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Isidro Barquero Ortiz was a prisoner held in the Montjuïc military prison following the Spanish Civil War and the Republicans' unconditional surrender to Francisco Franco in April, 1939. He was a prisoner from at least August 20, 1939 until August 1, 1940, when he was granted provisional release. He remained in Barcelona, writing to Maruya Rodriguez Espinosa who lived in Madrid.

According to the letters, Ortiz served with the Regimento Carros de Combate No. 1, a tank regiment. He was sent to prison because he was ordered to attack the Nacionalistas, but he did not follow those orders. He begins to explain to Maruya (who asks for clarification throughout their correspondence) on the back side of a letter dated November 6, 1939, but his story ends mid-sentence. In that account, it appears that he was detained by the Communists in 1936; however, in a letter dated March 31, 1940, he states that he had been in prison about a year without seeing a judge and had made a sworn declaration on July 10, 1939.

Ortiz was the son of Benita Ortiz Romero. He appears to have been a career military man, and served in Africa in 1927. It is extremely unclear as to Ortiz's role in the Spanish Civil War--he claims to have been detained by both the Communists and the Republicans; writes that he encouraged his family to vote against Marxist propaganda; and admits that he was sent to prison because he was ordered to attack the Nationalists but did not follow the order. According to a history of Montjuïc Castle, during the Spanish Civil War, the prison held many "soldiers and civilians accused of high treason and espionage against the Republic." Ortiz's letters are confusing and the details about his past and his actions are frequently conflicting.

It is unclear why Ortiz and Maruya were not reunited after he was released from prison in 1940, as many of the letters declare his love for Maruya and his hope of their future together. They continue to write to each other, at least until March 2, 1941.

Resources: "The Castle during the Second Republic and the Civil War." (accessed February 4, 2019).

This collection consists of letters written by Isidro Barquero Ortiz to his girlfriend Maruya Rodriguez Espinosa, of Mardrid, while he was first imprisoned in the Montjuïc Castle in Barcelona, following the Spanish Civil War, and later after he had been released provisionally. Ortiz wrote, fairly regularly, on a weekly basis from August, 1939, until March, 1941.

The first letter in this collection indicates a continued correspondence, as he thanks Maruya for her letter despite not having news from him. The letters from August 1939 to February 1940 include either "Viva Franco" or "Saludo Franco" on the envelope or at the start of each letter. It is unclear as to where Ortiz's loyalties lay--he seems to have been detained by both Communists and Republicans and there are confusing details within his letters.

By and large, these letters are affectionate, telling Maruya how much he loves her and misses her. He also responds to her frequent requests to explain why he is still in prison while many others were released. His responses are confusing, which is possibly why Maruya continued to ask the question. It appears that Maruya also questioned his faithfulness and past girlfriends; considered becoming a nun; and possibly even considered taking her own life.

Isidro Barquero Ortiz requests help from Maruya Rodriguez Espinosa, asking her to contact individuals including Vicente Aguilar Vindel (who was detained with him in September 1936 by "los rojos" [the Republicans]), Captain Carlos Faurie Barrena, and other military men, who might help secure his release.

Researchers should be aware that Isidro Barquero Ortiz signed his named Isidro Barquero, dropping his mother's maiden name, which is the custom; but refers to himself as Isidro Barquero Ortiz on the envelope. Similarly, he addresses envelopes to Maruya Rodriguez Espinosa, but inside the letters, he writes to Maruya Rodriguez.

Sold by Kevin Jackson, 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Elsa Varela
Finding Aid Date
2019 February 4
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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1939 August 20-December 29.
Box 1 Folder 1
1940 January 8-February 24.
Box 1 Folder 2
1940 March 3-May 29.
Box 1 Folder 3
1940 June 3-July 31.
Box 1 Folder 4
1940 August 30-October 22.
Box 1 Folder 5
1940 October 28-December 28.
Box 1 Folder 6
1941 January 6-March 2.
Box 1 Folder 7

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