Our organization is the youngest of the 22 members of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language. Although the idea of its founding had been in gestation for more than 100 years, the academy did not become a reality until 1973. At that time, Tomás Navarro Tomás, a member of the Spanish Royal Academy living in exile in New York City, began to plan for the creation of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE per its Spanish acronym). Joining him in that enterprise were Carlos McHale (Chilean), Odón Betanzos Palacios (Spanish), Eugenio Chang-Rodríguez (Peruvian), Gumersindo Yépez (Ecuadoran), Juan Avilés (Puerto Rican) and Jaime Santamaría (Spanish). In 1980, during the Congress of the Association of Academies held in Lima, Perú, the North American Academy was admitted as a member of the Association with the same rights and obligations of the other 21.
From 1973 to 1978, Carlos McHale, a lexicographer, headed the academy. Upon his death, the poet and university professor Odón Betanzos Palacios was named to succeed him. Betanzos directed it until his death in 2007. Today, the director of ANLE is Gerardo Piña-Rosales, a writer and university professor.
Our academy is a nonprofit, apolitical organization with the stated purpose to promote the unity of, and defend, the Spanish language. It is headquartered in New York City, but can hold meetings in other cities in the United States. Philanthropic donations and contributions from lovers of the Spanish language help to sustain it.
Comprising the North American Academy are creative people who include linguists, lexicographers, essayists, scientific researchers, Spanish language historians, translators and a steadily growing number of scientists and technicians in various fields. The membership rolls of members of the academy have included noted figures such as Tomás Navarro Tomás, Jorge Guillén, Ramón J. Sender, José Ferrater Mora, Joan Corominas, Odón Betanzos Palacios, Ildefonso-Manuel Gil, Enrique Anderson Imbert, Eugenio Florit, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Eugenio Chang-Rodríguez, Fernando Alegría and others too numerous to mention in this brief summary.
The North American Academy of the Spanish Language holds induction ceremonies to admit new members. The Director appoints current members who respond to the work presented by new members at their induction. We have 36 full members, and they are required to live in the United States when they are admitted. We also have 150 corresponding members, and they can reside anywhere.
The directors of all the academies, in addition to Víctor García de la Concha, Director of the Royal Academy, and Humberto López Morales, Secretary of the Association of Academies, in a meeting of the Association at the Royal Academy, Madrid, Spain, 2007.
The first publication of our organization was the Boletín de la Academia Norteamericana (bulletin of the North American Academy, or BANLE), edited by Eugenio Chang-Rodríguez since its first issue was published in 1976. It features primarily linguisticand philological studies from the Hispanic world, in particular from the United States. It also includes works by members of the academy and those of sister academies, along with works from other sources. To date, we have published 10 issues, with an average of 116 pages. The 11th issue is about to be published. In addition, the Academy publishes Glosas, directed to translators and persons who work professionally in Spanish. Glosas has now published 5 volumes of 10 issues each.
The North American Academy of the Spanish Language has been collaborating closely with the Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) and with the other academies of the Americas in the editing and broadening of the the most recent RAE publications: the orthography, the RAE dictionary of 1994, the pan-Hispanic dictionary of doubts, the Academy Dictionary of Usage in the Americas, and the forthcoming edition of the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy (DRAE). Since its founding, the academy, through its members and their presentations, has also participated in all the congresses of the Spanish language.