Isabel Oyarzábal Smith

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Isabel Oyarzábal Smith (12 June 1878 in Málaga, Andalusia, Spain – 1974 Mexico City) was a Spanish-born journalist, writer, actress and diplomat.

Oyarzábal's first position was of a Spanish language instructor in Sussex, England. After the death of her father, she met Ceferino Palencia, the son of actress María Tubau. Oyarzábal told Palencia of her desire of becoming an actress and Palencia cast her for the play Pepita Tudó. She kept writing and with her friend Raimunda Avecilla and her sister Ana Oyarzábal she edited the magazine La Dama y la Vida Ilustrada. She was also a reporter for the Laffan News Bureau (a minor rival to Associated Press) and the newspaper The Standard. In 1909 she married Palencia and then collaborated for the Spanish magazines Blanco y Negro, El Heraldo, Nuevo Mundo and La Esfera.

In 1926, she wrote a Spanish folklore book titled El traje regional de España (The Regional Costumes of Spain). In 1930 she became the only female in the Slavery Permanent Commission of the League of Nations. During the Spanish Civil War she was a spokesperson for the Republic and called for the repeal of the international Non-Intervention Agreement at a Labour Party meeting in October 1936 in Scotland. She was appointed Ambassador to Sweden for the Republic towards the end of 1936.[1] In 1939, she relocated with her family to Mexico where she kept writing and died in 1974.


  1. ^ Commire, Anne, ed. (2002). "Palencia, Isabel de". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Waterford, Connecticut: Yorkin Publications. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3. (Subscription required (help)). 

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