Jiménez Fraud, Alberto

Alberto-Jimenez-Fraud

Spanish professor and pedagogue, secretary of the Committee for the Expansion of Studies and first director of the Students’ Residence. Federico García Lorca spent several seasons there between 1919 and 1925.

He was born in 1883, in Málaga. There he completed his first studies, although he sat examinations at the University of Granada. He moved in the circle of José Moreno Villa, Manuel García Morente and the Orueta brothers. In Madrid, where he studied for his doctorate, he met Giner de los Ríos. He was secretary of the Committee for the Extension of Studies directed by Ramón y Cajal. He traveled to England and learned about the country’s educational system and in 1910 he was in charge of directing the newly created Students’ Residence.

Federico needed to be admitted to the Students’ Residence so that his father would let him move to Madrid. As Jiménez Fraud recalled years later, Lorca made a strong impression on him because of his appearance and character. He guaranteed him a place for October 1, 1919.

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His work at the Residence was extraordinary. Among the residents were Pepín Bello, Luis Buñuel, Federico García Lorca or Salvador Dalí. The first students were joined by professors and regular visitors, such as Miguel de Unamuno and Juan Ramón Jiménez. In 1919, Federico García Lorca arrived at the Residence with a letter of introduction from Fernando de los Ríos for Jiménez Fraud and another for Juan Ramón Jiménez. Federico needed to be admitted so that his father would let him move to Madrid. As Jiménez Fraud recalled years later, Lorca made a strong impression on him because of his appearance and character. He guaranteed him a place for October 1, 1919.

Alberto Jiménez Fraud with other classmates in the courtyard of the Student Residence / Photo: gibralfaro.uma.es
Alberto Jiménez Fraud with other classmates in the courtyard of the Student Residence / Photo: gibralfaro.uma.es

In 1917 Jiménez Fraud marries Natalia, daughter of Manuel Bartolomé Cossío, who then became an active part of the project, in close collaboration with José Ortega y Gasset, José Moreno Villa, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Federico de Onís, among other intellectuals.

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When the Civil War broke out, the American and British flags were raised at the Residence and some liberal intellectuals, such as Ortega, took refuge with their families. In October 1936, Alberto Jiménez Fraud left for Cambridge. In 1938, he was appointed reader at New College, Oxford, the university that welcomed Jiménez Cossío, and from where they tried to keep alive the spirit of the Residence. There he continued to teach and publish until the mid-1950s, when, coinciding with his retirement, he tried to revive the project under the pretext of commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. He publishes Words of the President, which was his spiritual testament. In addition, two commemorative issues of the Residence’s magazine are published. Among his work, a history of the Spanish University published by The College of Mexico between 1943 and 1947 stands out. The last volume contains a history of the Institution, the Board and the Residence.

In 1963, he spent time in Madrid before moving to Geneva as a UN translator. He died there in April 1964.

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