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Vasconcellos, Karoline Michaëlis de (1851–1925)

Vasconcellos, Karoline Michaëlis de (1851–1925)

Portuguese university professor and scholar. Name variations: Carolina Michaëlis de Vasconcelos. Born Karoline Wilhelmina Michaëlis in 1851 in Germany; died in 1925; married Joaquim de Vasconcellos (a historian), in 1876.

Karoline Michaëlis de Vasconcellos was born in Germany in 1851 but became a Portuguese citizen in 1876 when she married her husband, a Portuguese historian. She was known for her broad scholarship in the philology of Romance languages, and in 1911 became the first woman appointed to a university chair in Portugal. She is best known for her two-volume work Cancioneiro da Ajuda (1904), which discusses the role of women in the creation of early Portuguese poetry. She is also known for her 1902 work A Infanta Dona Maria de Portugal e as Suas Damas (The Infanta Dona Maria of Portugal and Her Ladies).

Vasconcellos believed in the necessity for education for women and for educational reform, and wrote extensively on the subject, particularly in O Movimiento Feminista em Portugal (The Feminist Movement in Portugal, 1901). When asked about this essay at the time, however, she commented that it was too early for a feminist movement to exist in Portugal, and that in order for feminism to take root, more Portuguese women needed to be educated and economically independent.


Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Kelly Winters , freelance writer

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