Today in Philippine History, March 3, 1894, Paz Marquez-Benitez was born in Lucena City, Quezon

Friday March 02, 2012 ()

On March 3, 1894, educator Paz Marquez-Benitez, who authored the first Filipino modern English-language short story "Dead Stars", was born in Lucena City, Quezon.

Benitez was among the first generation of Filipinos trained in the American education system which used English as the medium of instruction.

Paz Marquez-Benitez   
(Paz Marquez-Benitez)   

She taught at the University of the Philippines’ English department from 1916 to 1951, acquiring a reputation as an outstanding teacher.

She became an influential figure to many Filipino writers in the English language , among them, Loreto Paras Sulit, Paz Latorena, Bienvenido Santos, Manuel Arguilla, S.P. Lopez and National Artist Francisco Arcellana, who later emphatically declared, “She was the mother of us all!”

In 1919, she founded "Woman's Home Journal", the first women's magazine in the country. In 1928, she compiled "Filipino Love Stories," reportedly the first anthology of Philippine stories in English by Filipinos, from the works of her students.

She married UP College of Education Dean Francisco Benítez, with whom she had four children.

She died on November 10, 1983.

The annually held Paz Marquez-Benitez Lectures (Ateneo) honors her memory by focusing on the contributions of Filipino women writers to Philippine Literature in the English language.

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives


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