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Guillermo L. Guitarte letters

Collection BC-2002-109: Guillermo L. Guitarte letters


  • Creation: 1962 - 2000

Scope and Contents

This collection douments Guillermo Luís Guitarte's correspondence with professional colleagues primarily during his time in the United States teaching at Boston College. Many notable linguists, writers, and academics worte to Guitarte including Manuel Alvar, Gabriel G. Bés, Rodolfo A. Borello, Manuel Alvarez Nazario, Berta Elena Vidal de Battini, Nicolae Iliescu, Olga Cock Hincapié, Enrique Anderson Imbert, and Rafael Lapesa. Also includes letters from his family and legal correspondence.


Language of Materials

In Spanish

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Born on June 10, 1923, Guillermo Luís Guitarte grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received his doctorate from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1949 with the title “Profesor de enseñanza secundaria, normal y especial en Letras” (Instructor of standard secondary education, with a specialty in Language Arts). After graduating, Guitarte pursued postdoctoral studies in Spanish philology at the Universidad de Madrid for three years. From 1951 to 1961, he was a research assistant in the Universidad de Buenos Aires’ Instituto de Filología Románica. During his time there, Guitarte taught a course on Spanish Medieval Literature (1952) and was an adjunct professor of Hispanic Philology (1952-1961). He concurrently held the position of professor of Hispanic Philology at the National University of the South, Bahía Blanca (1960-1961). Following this tenure, Guitarte spent one year at the prestigious Instituto de Caro y Cuervo in Bogotá, Colombia teaching Hispanic American Philology and Linguistics.

Guitarte relocated to the United States to become a visiting lecturer at Harvard University in 1963. Guitarte joined the Romance Languages Department at Boston College as an Associate Professor of Spanish in 1964. Boston College became Guitarte’s permanent academic home. He was awarded tenure in 1966 and later appointed to full Professor in 1972.

Guitarte’s three decades of teaching at Boston College spanned a variety of courses, including Latin American literature, medieval Spanish literature, and Spanish philology. Guitarte’s specialty was in historical linguistics and his work on that and dialectology won him recognition and praise from the international linguistic community. This community included such scholars as Enrique Anderson Imbert, Roman Jakobson, Yakov Malkiel, and Erich Von Richthofen. Guitarte’s distinguished career awarded him notable honors, including the Order of Andrés Bello from Venezuela and Corresponding Membership in the Academia Argentina de Letras.

On June 30, 1989, Guitarte became Professor Emeritus at Boston College. He took advantage of his position to continue teaching and research. According to Professor of Spanish Dwayne Carpenter, “[O]nly three days before his death, he requested that several dictionaries be taken to his hospital room, since, as he energetically affirmed, ‘No se puede trabajar sin diccionarios’ [One cannot work without dictionaries]” (BC Faculty Files).

Guitarte died on April 9, 2000.

Sources: Guillermo Guitarte File. Boston College Faculty Collection. University Archives.


3.25 Linear Feet (8 containers)


The collection primarily consists of Guitarte's correspondence with other linguists, philologists, and academics during the time he taught at Boston College. Also contains letters related to his family life and legal matters.


Arranged into two series: I. Professional correspondence and II. Family and legal correspondence


Gift of Estela Josefa Guitarte de Fortunato to Boston College O'Neill Library in 2002. O'Neill Library retained Guitarte's books but transferred his letters to John J. Burns Library.

Guillermo L. Guitarte Letters
Laura E. Slezak, Summer-Fall 2004; Rachael Young
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States