Mariano Joaquin Lorente

Celebrating the life, art, and literature produced by our Grandfather. This archive is in development and awaits precise biographical information. Mariano Lorente lived an eventful life during an eventful time in history.

Mariano and his brother, Joaquin, were raised in Argentina by his parents, Severiano Joaquin Lorente, a famous author, poet, and Physician, and his wife Valentina (Severiano was knighted by Juan Carlos, Spain’s monarch, for developing large-scale domestic lanolin production, and served as Spanish Consul in Argentina. The fact seems to be that Great-Granddaddy’s fame was for poetry, but the  fortune was from “wool fat” – never s big brag item, so few in our family know this factoid. Severiano’s archive is in development).  Mariano matriculated from Glasgow University in Engineering, and matrimonied with a wee Scottish lass. At graduation they emigrated to the United States. He took up residence in the City of Boston, where he became Chief Civil Engineer.

Mariano & Helen lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  They raised three boys, Kenneth, Roderick, and Malcolm Alejo. Kenneth and Roderick both were older than Malcolm by some span of years, and WW2 came along. However, for the Lorente family, WW2 began earlier, with the Spanish Civil War, the Franco Rebellion.

As a Hispanic  & loyal American, Mariano actively supported the Spanish monarchy during the Franco rebellion which preceded WW2. Russia was an ally then, and Germany was the enemy, perhaps you’ll recall. The Spanish revolution was allowed to work itself out due to isolationist policies by “first world” countries as we may now embellish ourselves. Thus history rewards our collective shame with Guernica and the Nazi blitzkrieg. History shows clearly that when one person anywhere is enslaved or in need, none of us are free. As the “free world” stood by, Stalinist Russia took up the cause of Spanish freedom, then stole the Spanish treasury. The “free world” didn’t pay attention then to what we soon acknowledged, at Potsdam, in Berlin, and the ensuing cold war, about Stalin, even while the US military – as victor’s – poured over the Nazi spoils. Deeply troubled times indeed.

This was the precise, historical turning point in the development of the two great adversities of  modern politics, as if there were no others: Right wing & left wing. On the plus side, the right wing will always associate with Nazism, deservedly for a reactionary caprice, and reward for bad semantics in misusing the word conservation.  Sadly, socialism will always bear the stigma of Stalinism. Stalin was a much more refined and efficient murderer than Hitler, assuredly – but possession is still nine-tenths of demonology, and we all know demon’s are divine, even mortal ones:  legends are harder to kill than dragons. Basically, Nazi murder is overt. Stalinist murder is – and was, well, more efficient and refined (See: Solzhenitzyn). Perhaps there are more than two approaches to community and  the collective consciousness we lack. Then overlap, a gray area, might not be marginalized by short-sightedness and fear. Fear has us kicking a dead horse while we drive round pegs into square holes. Those were distinctly troubled times in which Mariano found himself, both professionally – and as a loyal American Hispanic – long before such folks were a constituency.  These forces were parcels in the baggage of fear, which is spread  now throughout our existence. And Mariano was a proud man who spoke and wrote in every major European language. In a time when facts were few and truth still simply a matter of opinion, and most folks could barely speak their own language.

During the war years Mariano was in his prime, both physically, and professionally, at the high point in a distinguished career. We tend to view WW2 as a particular date, because perspective is reduced by time, but the events leading up to the second world war developed slowly over years, while newspapers and radio were inefficient and untimely in the extreme. This was where Mariano found himself.

Mariano was Chief Civil Engineer of Boston, Massachusetts, for the better part of forty years, through WW1 & 2. During that time he designed many fine buildings throughout the Boston area, at Harvard University, and MIT, including the original John Hancock building. But he also designed many munitions dumps for the US military. At one site in Alabama, for speaking Spanish on a public telephone, he was arrested by the FBI and charged with treason for possession of the plans he’d drawn – of the munitions dumps! All his property was returned and he was released at his first hearing. Numerous correspondence from that time is being preserved digitally. This notoriety did not severely diminish Mariano’s reputation. And most graciously, at trial mention is made of letters  to the court from a Senator and the Mayor of the City of Boston. Of course the powerful people who abandoned him to stigma at the event, all were willing to pretend like nothing happened when exonerated. A rather contemporary appearing manifestation of the myrmidon relentlessness of the FBI, consumerist sensibilities, and southern hospitality toward diversity in any form.

Mariano passed away in Napa, California at a ripe old age. More details to follow.


Aranha, Graça. Canaan. Trans. Mariano J. Lorente. Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1920.

Cervantes De Saavedra, Miguel. Rinconete and Cortadillo. Trans. Mariano J. Lorente. Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1917.

Ibáñez , Vicente Blasco. The Last Lion & Other Tales. Intro. Mariano J. Lorente. International Pocket Library, Boston: 1919.

Ibáñez, Vicente Blasco. The Mob, “La horda”. Trans. Mariano J. Lorente. New York: Dutton, 1927.

Lorente, Mariano Joaquin. “Jose S. Alvarez”. Caras y Caretas, Buenos Aires. July 6, 1901.

Lorente, Mariano Joaquin. An Expert In Graphology. The Stratford Journal, Boston: The Alpine Press, 1919.

Lorente, Mariano Joaquin. Villa’s Poet Laureate (Jose Chocano). “Pearson’s Magazine”. US: November, 1918.

Mocho,Fray. Salero criollo y cuentos. Prol. Mariano J. Lorente. Buenos Aires: 1920.

2 responses to “Mariano Joaquin Lorente

  1. Thanks for posting this, Cous! I knew that Grandfather had translated several books, but I didn’t know the names of all of them. Also, from the information he had sent to us, it appeared that he had built the second John Hancock building, not the first. You do not mention hear about his father being the Consul to Argentina from Spain. Do you have any additional info
    regarding Joaquin? Reva is beginning work on our geneology.

    Hugs, Vida

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