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Wright, Irene Aloha (1879–1972) - Caribbean History

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Irene Aloha Wright, historian of the Caribbean, was born in Lake City, Colorado, on December 19, 1879, to Henri Edward and Letitia O. (Ballard) Wright. At age sixteen she decided she wanted to see the world and left Colorado for Mexico with the $300 her mother had sewn into the seams of her flannel petticoat. She worked as an English teacher for a wealthy Mexican family and studied Spanish and history. She returned to the United States and graduated from Virginia College for Young Ladies in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1898 and from Stanford University in 1904. Wright was a special writer for the Havana Post in Havana, Cuba, in 1904–1905. She was also city editor of the Havana Telegraph from 1905 to 1907 and owned and edited the Cuban Magazine from 1908 to 1914.

Wright became interested in Caribbean history and began researching in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain. (She expected to remain one year and ended up living there for twenty-two years.) She wrote Documented History of Havana in the Sixteenth Century in 1927, followed by English Voyages to the Spanish Main, 1569–1580 in 1932. She compiled original reports of the early Dutch slave trade for the Dutch government, represented the Library of Congress in Spain from 1932 to 1936, and was associate archivist of the United States National Archives from 1936 to 1938. In 1938 she became foreign affairs specialist for the Department of State, a position she held until her retirement in 1952. In 1949 she wrote English Voyages to the Caribbean, 1580–1592 . She was decorated by the Spanish and Cuban governments and received gold medals from the Havana Academy of History and the Women Geographers of Washington. (She was one of only four selected to receive the Gold Medal in 1950, for the three-volume English Voyages to the Spanish Main .) She was president of the Society of Women Geographers at age seventy-four. She was a member of the Royal Historical Societies of England and the Netherlands. Irene Wright died on April 6, 1972.

Wright, Jonathan Jasper(1840–1885) - Lawyer, judge, politician, Career as Associate Justice, Chronology [next] [back] Wright, Frank Lloyd - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Frank Lloyd Wright, Social and Economic Impact

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almost 3 years ago

Disregard my previous comment; I just found a consular registration certificate that does place Letitia Ballard Wright as Irene Wright's mother. My apologies; the records are very confusing! The 1940 Census record is incorrect - the enumerator placed her as "Sister-in-law" on the form.

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almost 3 years ago

Letitia Ballard Wright was Irene Wright's sister-in-law (as recorded on the 1940 Census). They are buried together at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo, Colorado.

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over 7 years ago

Ms. Wright also wrote "The early history of Cuba, 1492-1586".