Guillermo Furlong in full research work.

Some of his books; Today, they are all unavoidable reference sources for a wide variety of topics.

Guillermo Furlong Cardiff

(1889 – 1974)

A Jesuit priest descended from Irish immigrants, Furlong was born in Pueblo Aguirre (today Arroyo Seco), in the province of Buenos Aires. He studied in Rosario and Córdoba, and outside our country, in Spain and the United States, where he received his doctorate from Georgetown University. In Buenos Aires he taught at the Colegio del Salvador - there he spent a good part of his existence - and in 1939 he became a full member of the National Academy of History. In 1942 he joined the founding body of the Argentine Ecclesiastical History Board, being the director of its Archivum magazine from 1959 until his death. In 1956 he acted in the creation of the National Academy of Geography.

Furlong bequeathed us an important written work, an unavoidable reference source for topics as diverse as philosophy in the Río de la Plata, the work carried out by the Society of Jesus in colonial times and its legacy, the first printing presses in our region, cartography ancient history, crafts, architecture, mathematicians, musicians, doctors, naturalists, industries, feminine culture, indigenous peoples and many others. Alberto Caturelli will say about his work: "master of historians and author of a work that can well be described as superhuman, both for the topics he dealt with and for their extension, far superior to the joint work of several researchers." (1)

Now in his eighties, he died in Buenos Aires when he was returning on the subway after giving a lecture.

In our reference library he is the most prolific author.


1. Alberto Caturelli: History of philosophy in Argentina. 1600 – 2000. Buenos Aires, Ciudad Argentina, 2001, p. 672.


Mario Tesler

(Buenos Aires in 1941)

Historian, graduate in Library Science and Documentation; he taught at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, the Universidad del Museo Social, and Kennedy University.

He worked in the technical library and in the Training Institute of the National Telecommunications Company, in the Telecommunications Museum; he was head of references at the National Library of Teachers, and organizer and head of the historical institutional archive of the National Library.

He has publicized works on the life, works and hobbies of Argentine figures of the 19th and 20th centuries. Author of numerous books on the history of our telephony, the Malvinas Islands, the National Library, the pool and the "donkeys" (N. of the E.: games of chance and horse racing), the City of Buenos Aires, photography, the printed book in our environment and collectors, and cultural magazines.

He is also the author of dictionaries of pseudonyms and studies of their use among writers, artists, politicians, and composers. He published vocabularies on the terms and expressions that generated the consumption of alcohol and drugs.

He is the author of bibliographies referring to different topics and bibliographical studies on the production of authors.

Abroad he published in Uruguay, Mexico, Italy, Peru, England, Brazil and Colombia.

By Mario Tesler (*)

After the death of Guillermo Furlong, which occurred in the city of Buenos Aires on May 30, 1974, some bibliographies were made to publicize the different topics on which he published and facilitate their location when they were published in newspapers, magazines. dissemination and academic and university publications.

The Central Library of the Universidad del Salvador included a brief enumeration of these, in the eleventh installment of its Boletín (Bulletin) (1984).

In volume 43 of the Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu (Rome), published in 1974, between pages 485 and 511, the Jesuit historian Hugo Storni offered another bibliography, limited to Furlong's works referring to the activities of the Society of Jesus between the years 1585 and 1768, the specific ones, the cultural ones, their organization, the representative figures and some related topics.

In the month of December 1994, the National Institute of Historical Research Juan Manuel de Rosas, in its Federal Star Collection, published my book The Hidden Work of Father Furlong, with a prologue by Fermín Chávez, where I brought together his 389 works signed with different pseudonyms.

But in none of the cited bibliographies is there more than a tangential reference to the many works of this priest that remained unpublished for various reasons and those left by him at the time of his death.

During Furlong's lifetime, the first edition of the bibliography made by Geoghegan appeared, in which he collected the production up to the year 1957, with an introduction by his brother José Torre Revello.

When Geoghegan took on the task of updating the work -that is, adding the last 17 years of uninterrupted activity, and adding those omissions that the bibliographer himself had pointed out- this updating work allowed him to incorporate a section that he called The unpublished writings. To achieve this, he relied on the Jesuits Ismael Quiles and Ernesto Dann Obregón, thanks to whom he had access to the priest's archive at the Colegio del Salvador.

This second edition, corrected and expanded with the publications of his last years, and with unpublished works, was published in the Bulletin of the National Academy of History (Buenos Aires) in volume XLVIII published in 1975.

In this section I have counted 312 entries with the description of each work, grouped under the headings: General Works 9, Argentine History 83, Geography, Cartography and Vespucci 11, Education 17, Literature 14, Bibliography and Printing 9, Libraries and Library Science 4, History of Medicine 4, Ecclesiastical History 25, Society of Jesus 14, Theology and Philosophy 20, Asceticism and Mysticism 2, The Holy Gospels 1, Hagiography 1, Dictionary 1, Biographical works 25, Jesuits 28, Miscellaneous topics 27, and Bibliographic reviews 17.

The detailed analysis of each entry and its comparison with those referring to the books, pamphlets and articles published by Furlong, show that not all those included as unpublished really are. Furlong did not keep copies of his published works, but he did keep his manuscripts and typed texts in folders and boxes -in which he added everything of interest to him-; these were listed among the unpublished writings, when in fact they were not.

His bedroom room was also his workshop. In the National Academy of Sciences, Roberto Elissalde in 2014 described it as follows:

“His room had two open windows, one facing Callao Avenue and the other facing the atrium of the Salvador Church. An iron bed with a rosary hanging from its back, a somewhat high table that served as a desk with a lamp with a powerful spotlight, full of papers, four chairs, and piles of books on the floor, leaning on the wall and fruit crates with thousands of cards and more sheets, some typed, others with their very small handwriting.”

When the volume of the works and files exceeded the possibilities of being kept in his cell, or he had decided temporarily not to use them, he kept them in the library of the Colegio del Salvador. Of course Furlong did not think about the risks they ran there. In entry 154 where Geoghegan mentions a 250-page text on the Church and Convent of San Francisco in the city of Santa Fe, he says about the fate of that work: “At the end of 1955, Father Furlong told us that he had kept this manuscript in the Library of the Colegio del Salvador but, a few months later, he did not find it in the place he thought he had put it.”

A privilege

I treated Furlong for many years, which for me were few. During his lifetime I was able to consult in his cell some of his archives in which I found published works, the complete manuscript and the drafts of others; typed texts with translations from English, Latin and Greek; unfinished bibliographies; newspaper and magazine clippings; negative and few positive photocopies; works with corrections and additions; ballots with regestas (1), others with loose annotations or transcriptions of documents; files with bibliographic and typographic data; pedigree charts; lists of people and chronologies of events.

The works contained in these files, prima facie, do not have the character of unpublished works; some may have been, but most of them were earlier ones for further investigation, or refinement and expansion for reissue.

In Geoghegan's bibliography, 27 entries include the clarification that the folder or box where Furlong's work should be could not be found and, instead, references provided by him verbally or some written record that he had saved have been used. 

In many other entries, Geoghegan offers details of the content, and some substantial supplementary information, such as the sources from which the author abridged and the fate of the work.

Let's see some of them:

Retrospective American Cartography; South America and especially the Río de la Plata, 1500-1880, is a corpus of approximately 682 maps with essential descriptive data, a historical-geographical analysis and citations of similar important repertoires that have dealt with the same maps. . The documentary material of this work was consulted and photographed from 1938 by Furlong in archives in the United States, Europe and our country.

In the historiographical world it was known that Furlong, as Geoghegan says, "used to give unpublished works to his friends and colleagues", and that later, those who received the gift published it with his name and not that of the true author. In the library science classification of pseudonyms, they are called allonyms (2) and are difficult to identify.

Regarding Furlong's alonyms, the Jesuit priest Luis Ávila, in a paragraph of the conference he gave at the request of the National Commission of the Manzana de las Luces, later published in volume XIII of the magazine Archivum (Buenos Aires), tells us :

“His generosity, together with the total absence of selfish zeal for his own, is known by those who knew him intimately: he gave away research, notes, showed documents that could be useful to others and someone told me that he had strong suspicions that, even, He gave one of his works as a gift so that it would come out under the name of another, whose name both he and the person who suspected it have kept it absolutely secret, both from the work to which he was referring and from the author who, naturally, personally worked on the final draft”.

Let's see other cases:

The article Manuel Belgrano, published in volume 19 of the magazine Estudios (Buenos Aires) in 1920, although signed by R.P. Vicente Gambón S. J., this article was written by Father Furlong.

The compilation and analysis of 18 manuscripts by Monsignor Benito María de Moxó y Francolí, he gave to Jorge Bohdziewicz to be completed and published. In 1973, he gave this same historian The cult of Mary Most Holy in the Argentine Republic, a 1,440-page manuscript to be completed and published as well.

Two hundred pages entitled The Jesuits and Poetry, with studies on the poets and versifiers that the Society of Jesus has had, were received as a gift by the priest Aurelio Aulestia, who lives in Ecuador.

The bibliographical essay on the Jesuits and the indigenous languages ​​of America, of 282 pages, in addition to an introduction, includes a record of works and writings of around 163 Jesuits dedicated to the subject. This work was started around 1924 and in 1956 he gave it to a friend.

The 438-page Bibliography of the Guaranític Missions, 1585-1767, was given to a friend around 1970 to continue it, as he had recorded publications up to 1929.

For Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa's Compendium and Description of the Western Indies, he prepared 43 pages with notes and an introduction. José Antonio Leunda cooperated in said introduction, titled about Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile, but the work was published only under his name.

Having delivered his originals to editors and publishers on different dates, as well as works at the request of individuals for them to complete, without further news of them, shows that not all the unpublished ones remained as a result of his death.

Here are some of them:

In 1975 Geoghegan reported in his bibliography: 32 years ago he had been in possession of a gentleman residing in Buenos Aires, the Manual of Argentine history; text for high school, 250 pages.

At the end of 1972, he delivered to EUDEBA an approximate batch of 7,500 cards to be published under the title Concordancias de Martín Fierra de José Hernández. The work was not published and who knows where these files went.

Three introductory texts, comments and notes to Julius Caesar's works De Bello Gálico, Epistolae Ciceronis Selectae and Aesop's Fables were delivered to the priest José Llobera who, with the works of other authors, intended to publish a series of Latin and Greek classics.

The translation from the Greek, introduction and comments to El Simposium de Paciano and the Miscellaneous writings by San Ponciano, bishop of Barcelona, ​​written at the request of Luis Segalá Estalella, were delivered to him in 1923.

To the publications section of the National University of Córdoba, he sent a 110-page study on The Sacred Sciences at the University of Córdoba.

Before the library of the Colegio del Salvador was restructured -that is, emptied of all the old part of its collection- the only copy, armed with page proofs, of The New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ, translated from the Greek, with introduction and author's notes. It is dated 1955. Furlong says in this copy:

“(…) I went to Mar del Plata, in the first days of January 1952 (...) / and / in forty-five days, of twelve hours of daily work, I translated the New Testament, and during the course of 1952 , and in the holidays of 1953, I corrected, polished and annotated everything translated (...)”

And Geoghegan adds: “This work was typeset, in its entirety, in 1955 in the workshops of Editorial Difusión, and was ready to enter the press when that publishing house was raided and closed by the government. All his machines were sold at ridiculous prices and the lead of these Holy Gospels, sold as used lead.” Furlong commented in his own handwriting on what happened and the bad luck suffered by this work:

“I confess that this contrast did not affect me greatly, since I had put in, on my part, everything I could, to please such a noble friend, as Mr. Luchía Puig, and I was aware that I had worked on that version with great love and effort, but without ambition of success (...) I thought I had fulfilled a duty and that is enough for me.”

Among the voluminous works that remained in his archive labeled as ready to publish was the one dedicated to Fray Francisco de Paula Castañeda. Twenty years after Furlong's death and in tribute to him, the Castañeda publishing house published it under the title Life and work of Fray Francisco de Paula Castañeda: a witness to the nascent Argentine homeland, 1810-1830, a volume of 730 pages.

In the presentation of this work, the main speaker was Félix Luna; It was held in the cloister area of ​​a historic Buenos Aires temple. I had the double satisfaction of witnessing the tribute together with José Luis Trenti Rocamora and that we met Elsie Raquel Michel Krasting from Rivero Haedo (Virginia Carreño).

Furlong never improvised his speeches or his lectures, he prepared them in advance. Many of them were published, but others remained in his archive, perhaps due to his own decision or because he had nowhere to do it.

Whoever believes that because he was who he was he had no difficulty publishing his work, he is wrong; he suffered and had to skillfully and persuasively overcome numerous pitfalls. But there is another reason and it is the abundance of his uninterrupted production: he did not finish editing a book that already had others waiting for a publisher; the same was true of his articles, monographs, and bibliographies that he submitted to mass publications and academic and university journals.

These hardships to be able to publish his works were mitigated by the patronage of the American Francis B. O'Grady; Reginald Doublet, an English evangelical, and the Argentines José Alberto Fuselli and Federico Vogelius.

Of the 25 unpublished conferences that Geoghegan's bibliography brings, one is in my possession, that is, a photocopy. It is the one pronounced in the city of Santa Fe on the occasion of a tribute to Gustavo Martínez Zuviría, who was director of the National Library.

I hope to be able to publish said text with a preliminary study, notes and a complementary bibliography on all the publications that were made in the National Library during its management, using the rudimentary printing press of the organism acquired in 1901 by Paul Groussac.

(*) Special for Hilario. Arts Letters Crafts.


1. Editor's Note: Lists.

2. This word comes from the Greek, and means "different name". According to José Martínez de Sousa in his “Dictionary of typography and the book” (1974), it is the name of a person who is not the true author of a work, but who appears in it as such.

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