Ravignani, Emilio (1886–1954)

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Ravignani, Emilio (1886–1954)

Emilio Ravignani (b. 15 January 1886; d. 8 March 1954), the founder of modern historical studies in Argentina. He was known for his objectivity and impartiality, his minute analysis of a document, his rejection of the anecdote, and his insistence on the complete and accurate publication of a document. He was a born teacher, always ready to help native and foreign students who sought his guidance.

A native of Buenos Aires, Ravignani attended the National University of Buenos Aires, where he received a law degree in 1906 and joined its recently created but short-lived history section. At the time, interest in historical studies was reviving, and scholars like Juan Agustín García, Ernesto Quesada, and Clemente L. Frageiro were demanding that previously ignored documents on the post-Rosas period, especially those in the provinces, be located and consulted. Ravignani was a founding member and head of a second history section in 1915 and then the director of the newly organized Institute of Historical Investigations, which replaced it in 1921. Under the energetic and erudite Ravignani, the institute became a model for other Latin American countries. It collected documents found in national, provincial, foreign, and private archives on a wide variety of subjects, for Ravignani believed a historian should be deeply grounded in the documents and spirit of the period he studied. It published scholarly monographs and assumed editorial responsibility for Documentos para la historia Argentina, a rich source of documents pertaining to before 1824.

Ravignani himself wrote numerous works but is most remembered for his Historia constitucional de la República Argentina (1926; 2d ed., 1930) and Asambleas constituyentes argentina (1937–1939). He had a remarkable ability to obtain congressional funding for the institute. In 1950 he organized the Institute of Historical Investigations in Montevideo. He was the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the National University of Buenos Aires from 1927 to 1931 and 1940 to 1943. Politically, he was an influential member of the Radical Civic Union and a national deputy for the Federal Capital (1936–1942, 1946–1947, and 1952–1953).

See alsoArgentina: The Nineteenth Century; Argentina: The Twentieth Century.


Ricardo R. Caillet-Bois, "Emilio Ravignani," "Bibliografía del doctor Emilio Ravignani," and Ricardo Levene, "Homenaje a la memoria del historiador doctor Emilio Ravignani," in Boletín del Instituto de Historia "Emilio Ravignani," 2, nos. 4-6 (1957).

Additional Bibliography

Buchbinder, Pablo. "La historiografía académica ante la irrupción del primer peronismo: Una perspectiva a partir de la obra de Emilio Ravignani." Investigaciones y Ensayos 51 (January-December 2001): 139-168.

Chávez, Fermín. El pensamiento nacional: Breviario e itinerario. Buenos Aires: Nueva Generación, 1999.

Girbal de Blacha, Noemí M. "Emilio Ravignani: Entre la convivencia y compromiso; 'verdad histórica' y acción política." Investigaciones y Ensayos 46 (January-December 1996): 207-234.

                                   Joseph T. Criscenti