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Gould, Alice Bache (1868–1953) - History of Columbus

quincy documents found research

Alice Bache Gould was born on January 5, 1868, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Benjamin Apthorp Gould, a well-known astronomer, and Mary (Quincy) Gould, related to Josiah Quincy of Quincy, Massachusetts, his son, known as “the patriot,” and Alice’s great-grandfather, the third Josiah Quincy, president of Harvard for sixteen years. Alice spent her childhood between the family home in Quincy, owned by her great-aunts, and Cordoba, Argentina, where Alice’s father had been invited to establish the Argentine Observatory. The family eventually returned to Cambridge, and Alice entered Bryn Mawr, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1889. She did graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago and wrote her only book, the biography of naturalist Louis Agassiz, for the Beacon Biographies Collection . In 1903 she was sent to Puerto Rico to recover from the flu, and while perusing the archives there became interested in Barbados. In 1911 she went to Seville on her way to Italy, but as was her custom, stopped to visit the Archive of the Indies there to research the route Columbus had traveled to Barbados. She stayed the rest of her life.

Using a variety of documents, Gould identified the crew members on the Columbus voyages and disputed many errors in history. She found the name of Pedro de Lepe on one of the receipts and proved that he, whose existence had long been disputed, had sailed with Columbus on the Santa Maria . She went to municipal, parish, and private archives to research the lives and identities of each of the crew members. She entered each man’s rank, duties, psychological profile, family history, qualifications, and pay. She found a document in which Their Majesties granted Columbus and his heirs in perpetuity the titles of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy and Governor General of the lands he might discover. She also found a document outlining the payments the king and queen of Spain gave to Columbus before the first agreements were signed.

Gould became a legend for her habit of saving documents from destruction. It was said that the documents on payments had been stuffed into files containing the remnants of papers in the Simancas castle after its destruction by Napoleon’s troops; the papers had been used in place of straw in the stables. Old documents from the town archives of Mogueer were being used in the local jail for sanitary purposes; in order to go through the pile Gould was locked into the jail each day and let out for lunch. The prisoners helped her catalogue the papers, and the information was added to her research.

Alice Gould published the results of her research in the bulletins of the Spanish Royal Academy of History from 1924 to 1966. In 1924 she was awarded the Cross of Alfonso the Wise, and in 1942 she was the only woman corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. In 1952 she received the highest honors of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. On July 25, 1953, Alice Gould was found lying on the bridge to the Simancas castle. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage, and the book she hoped to write on Columbus was never published. A commemorative plaque was placed at the site of her death, and a square in Simancas bears her name.

Gould, Jay - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Jay Gould, Social and Economic Impact [next] [back] Goudsmit, Samuel Abraham

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over 4 years ago

Further insight into the horrors of Christopher Columbus and the New World available through "Man's Search For Spirituality" by E Christopher Reyes.
A FREE Internet download.