For many years, women did not participate in intellectual life. Their role was mainly circumscribed to domestic labor and raising children. The Dominican Republic was no exception. However, writer, historian, musicologist, folklorist, musician and university professor Flérida Lamarche (García) de Nolasco was able to become one of the most important intellectuals on the Caribbean island in the late 1920s. She was also the wife of one of the most renowned Dominican writers and politicians, Socrates Nolasco, who served as general consul in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 1914 to 1924.
García de Nolasco was born in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, on February 27, 1891. Her parents were Dr. Manuel Lamarche García and Cleotilde Henríquez y Carvajal. She grew up in a well-to-do home where she learned the philosophical, artistic and scientific thinking of the era. She learned to play the piano at a very young age and was a professor and assistant director at the Liceo Musical in Santo Domingo. In 1948, having married Socrates Nolasco, she completed her doctoral degree in Philosophy at the University of Santo Domingo. She later taught folklore, Dominican literature and music history at that institution.
During the military dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo (1930-1961), Socrates Nolasco went into exile several times to Cuba and Puerto Rico, which kept him separated from his wife and their daughter, Ruth. García de Nolasco always supported her husband’s opposition to the dictatorial Trujillo regime without ceasing her own intellectual work. In a recent interview, Ruth, when talking about her mother, the renowned writer, said, “One of the things that I believe I clearly inherited from my mother was not to worry about what people would say. She always said, you don’t have to pay attention to what people say, but rather act on your judgment and your beliefs. I believe this has made me very happy and very independent.” This statement shows that Flérida García de Nolasco defined herself through a genuine interest in developing her human qualities, which was also demonstrated in her Christian faith.
Among García de Nolasco’s most significant contributions are more than 30 musical pieces and more than a dozen books on music history, literature, religion and Dominican folklore. To mention a few: Cultura Musical (1927); De música española y otros temas (1939); La música en Santo Domingo y otros ensayos (1939); La poesía folklórica en Santo Domingo (1946); Existencia y vicisitudes del Colegio Gorjón (1947); Vibraciones en el tiempo (1948); Días de la colonia (1952), Rutas de nuestra poesía (1952); and Santo Domingo en el folklore universal (1957). She also wrote Grandes momentos de la historia de la música (1957), which won the National Literature Prize; Santa Teresa de Jesús a través de sus obras (1959); El primer santuario de América (1961), Clamor de justicia en La Española, 1502-1795 (1971); and Mi testimonio (1975). The Madre y Maestra Catholic Pontifical University of the Dominican Republic awarded her a honoris causa degree in 1970 as recognition of her untiring work in the humanities.
Flérida died February 12, 1976 in Santo Domingo at age 85.
Author: Alfredo Nieves Moreno
Published: May 08, 2012.
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