Robinson Perez Family
At the beginning of the 20th century, in Quito, Ecuadorian Clara Pérez Uriarte and Englishman Harry Robinson formed a bi-cultural home. They had several sons and daughters, of whom Emma, Lillian, Harry (Jr.) and Minnie reached adulthood. Within Quito society, the "Robinson Residence'' was well known; it was built by Harry Robinson with a remarkable English style. This house was the stage for meetings of Quito´s intellectual circles. The legacy of family memorabilia accounts for the lifestyle of a wealthy middle-class family from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, and allows us to approach the construction of the railway in Ecuador, the search for pre-Columbian treasures, the family trips and daily life.
Robinson Perez family on board, ca. 1920.
Robinson, Harry (Padiham Lanes, 1884 - Quito, 1963)
Harry Ireland Robinson was born in Padham, England, in 1884. When he was young, he traveled to Panama to participate in the construction of the Panama Canal. His brother Lamartin Robinson worked in Ecuador, collaborating with the construction of the railway, and he was the person who invited Harry to Ecuador. In 1911, he came to work as an auditor for the company, later he became the manager and, finally, President of the Guayaquil & Quito Railway Co. He married Clara Pérez Uriarte, and they had three daughters and a son who reached adulthood. Harry was the official family photographer and took many records of the railway's rail-laying and bridge-building process. In 1956 he received the distinction of the "Great Cross of Railway Merit". He died in Quito in 1963.
Pérez Uriarte, Clara (Riobamba, 1891 - Quito, 1977)
Clara Pérez Uriarte was born in 1890 in Riobamba, Ecuador. She was an independent and adventurous woman who challenged the canons of the early 20th century. Her main interest was the search for hidden treasures in caves, old haciendas and other strange places. Unfortunately, all of her efforts were unsuccessful, but her passion for pre-Columbian treasure hunting led her to travel and establish working relationships with a wide range of people. She had great sympathy for her son-in-law Rolf Blomberg, whom she involved in several of her escapades. She passed away in Quito, in 1977.
Robinson Pérez, Emma (Quito, 1912 - Stockholm, 1952)
Emma was the eldest of the daughters of the Robinson Pérez family. She was born in Quito in 1912. She is remembered as a charming woman, with a great sense of humor and joie de vivre. She married the Dutchman Cornelis Bokhorst in Quito in 1941 and they moved to Indonesia, where they remained during the Second World War. Her first daughter, Birgitta "Chiquita" Bokhorst Robinson, was born there in 1942. They suffered the Japanese invasion and the family was interned in Japanese concentration camps, where Cornelis Bokhorst died. Emma and her daughter remained in the camp until they were released in 1945 and returned to Ecuador. She met Rolf Blomberg in Indonesia and they met again in Quito in 1948, where they got married and had two children: Anders and Marcela Blomberg. Emma left as a legacy the book "Djungeltripp", a travel chronicle about an expedition to Tsáchila territory with Oswaldo Guayasamín and other artist friends, published in Swedish in 1950 and in Spanish in 2017. Emma also left unpublished manuscripts of her experience in the Japanese concentration camp. She died in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1952.
Robinson Pérez, Lillian (Quito, 1919- 1999)
Lillian was the second daughter of the Robinson Pérez family. She was born in Quito in 1919. She was an educated and fully bilingual woman who enjoyed traveling and writing travel chronicles, poems and stories. Some of her travel accounts were published in English in international magazines. She collaborated with the chapter “Ecuador in Foreign Eyes” of the book “Andean Mosaic” edited by Rolf Blomberg and published by Hugo Gebers Forlag, in Stockholm in 1952. She left behind a collection of poems in English and Spanish. She passed away in Quito in 1999.