GRAPH BOOKS: PRINTED MATTER FROM RADICAL ART AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. FEMINIST HISTORIANS OF MATERIAL CULTURE.
Illustrated Autograph Album: El Frente de Juventudes Femenino a su Regidora Comarcal
[El Frente de Juventudes Femenino, Villanueva y Geltrú]., 1943
(Education - Girls) (Fascism) [El Frente de Juventudes Femenino, Villanueva y Geltrú]. Illustrated Autograph Album: El Frente de Juventudes Femenino a su Regidora Comarcal. June 1943. Oblong 19.5 x 31 cm, 97 manuscript leaves; including approx. 90 pages individually executed by members of the Juventudes Femenino, approx. 90 with brightly colored pencil and pen drawings accompanying various inscriptions, poems, songs, and signatures; stab bound in brown faux-leather boards with leather thread, leather broken thus loosening the album, otherwise very good. With two leaves laid in, these two a bit frayed where they extended beyond the boards.
Unique illustrated gift album for Sra. Mercedes Rodriguez, a regional commander of the Falange Party’s Girls Youth Front, commemorating a political indoctrination summer camp focusing on home economics, physical education, religion, and social hygiene. During the Civil War, El Frente de Juventudes (like its fascist counterparts Hitlerjugend [Germany] and Balilla [Italy]) became an important part of securing a fascist future. Following the Nationalist victory, Franco made voluntary and involuntary state-sponsored youth organizations a priority of his new government, providing militarized style training for both boys and girls. Loosely based on scouting troops, the girls sections (“Margaritas” for 7-10 yr olds; “Flechas” for 10-18 yr olds) wore uniforms and practiced the songs and policies of the new Homeland.
Later superseded by the Juventudes de la Sección Femenina (1945), the Margaritas and Flechas of 1943 were being prepared to be good wives and mothers to the soldiers of Spain: in addition to domestic skills (sewing, nursing, cooking, etc.), they were encouraged to be physically fit, hygienic, churchgoers capable of teaching the core Falange values (Dios, Patria, Hogar) to the next generation.
In detailed drawings and inscriptions, the album documents the language and imagery of this indoctrination and its eerie combination of idealized femininity, children’s comics, and facist propaganda. Again and again Margaritas and Flechas announce their dedication to their beloved (“cariño”) commander, obedience to the political hierarchy of the Falange (“a tus ordenes”), and submission to the collective goals of national syndicalism. ¡Arriba España!
Despite its wide integration into girls education for more than thirty years, El Frente de Juventudes Femenino and the Juventudes de la Sección Femenina are poorly documented in North American institutions.