Women writing and family archives

Dec 27, 2019 | Chapters, Publications

Women writing and family archives: the missing story

  • Pedro Urbano
  • Recovered voices, newfound questions: family archives and historical research
  • Maria de Lurdes Rosa, Rita Sampaio da Nóvoa, Alice Borges Gago e Maria João da Câmara (Coords.)
  • 2019
  • Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-989-26-1793-0 / 978-989-26-1794-7 (online)
  • 287-299

The history of womankind can only be properly explored by looking at the writings of women themselves. Because of this, family archives are essential to reconstruct women’s biographies historically, which frequently are unknown. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how family archives, and especially biographical writing, make it possible to learn more about the universe of women, in particular in nineteenth-century Portugal. Since most of the examples available concern the aristocracy of the time, some characteristics can be detected that define this writing and the social group it belongs to.

women’s writing; family archives; aristocracy; history of women; history of nineteenth-century Portugal

About the book (from the foreword):
At the core of this book are private archives, specifically family archives. Although it centers mainly around Portugal and its sphere, it provides insights also on the archives of France and of the Canary Islands. The book ends with a theoretical essay that intersects with other kinds of archives. Covering a long time span (from the later Middle Ages until today), these studies have a strong focus on the ancien régime family archives, understood as living archives, with changing purposes, dimension, the type of documents and information, location, ownership, custody, arrangement, classification, finding aids, uses, and value.

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