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Today in History

March 31, 1884

MANILA, March 31 — On March 31, 1884, Teodoro M. Kalaw, the so-called Father of Philippine Libraries, was born in Lipa, Batangas.

Kalaw was one of the country's most outstanding trilingual writers and historians who specialized in the collection of original documents which became the basis of his writings.

During his teens, he collected revolutionary leaflets and newspapers and built a small collection of papers centered on the revolution. Among those papers were those of Apolinario Mabini and the record of the Andres Bonifacio trial.

Among his important works were La Revolucion Filipina (1924) and Reformas en la Ensenanza del Derecho (1907). His book Aide de Camp to Freedom: An Autobiography on Philippine Independence won in the Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940.

Historical writings from 1900s to 1940 were so dominated by him, prompting the Philippines' leading historian, Teodoro Agoncillo, to consider that period as the "Age of Kalaw."

He was the youngest editor of El Renacimiento, an extreme nationalist paper, and became an arch-critic of the American colonial regime as well as defender of the national interest.

He served as director of the National Library twice — the first from 1916 to 1917 and the second from 1929 to 1931.

He died on December 5, 1940 at the age of 56.

Also on this same day in 1521, an Easter Sunday, the first mass in the Philippines was celebrated at Limasawa, Leyte. (PNA) scs/SDT/mec

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