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A Escola Lette-Verein


Fundada em Berlim em 1866, a Escola Lette-Verein oferecia cursos profissionalizantes para mulheres em um período no qual o processo de emancipação das mulheres estava começando.

Wilhelm Adolf Lette founded the Lette-Verein School in Berlin in 1866 as an association to promote the “acquisition of skills by the female gender”. Princess Victoria, who was married to Kaiser Frederick III, was its champion. Initially, there were courses teaching women how to be teachers, housekeepers and how to make and sell products at a bazar in the school itself.

In 1872, Anna Schepeler-Lette, Wilhelm’s daughter, took over the direction of the Lette-Verein School (a name given in 1868 following Wilhelm’s death) and implemented a pioneer model of professional training [1], with technical courses such as: Commerce, Home Economics, Photography Teaching, Telegraph Operator and the School of Typographers. Courses such as Bookbinding and Metallography were later created. The following director, Elisabet Kaselowsky, who took over in 1897, built the Viktoria-Luise Platz building – where the school stands to date – with State support and inaugurated it in 1902.

Women’s education and professionalization coursed a long way until they were fully integrated to all levels of education, and faced a lot of resistance. There was unwillingness to accept women in professions such as the telegraph operator. Subsequently, the Lette-Verein also offered courses in Pedagogy, Psychology, and German language, Youth Education, Physical Education and Nursing Care.

Women’s emancipation movement began in Europe in the mid-19th Century: paid employment, civil autonomy, right to education and participation in politics. [3] “Changes in women’s status and their social expectations became obvious during the last decades of the 19th Century, although the more visible aspects of women’s emancipation was still, to a large extent, confined to middle-class women”, wrote Eric Hobsbawm [4]. Among these visible aspects, the most notable were the campaign for suffrage in favor of women’s rights to vote and the expansion of secondary education for girls.

The increase in the number of secondary schools was most pronounced in Germany: in 1910, approximately 250 thousand girls studied in secondary school. Women began enrolling at university in 1900. In 1908, with the exception of Medicine, only 103 women had graduated from universities in Germany. In 1914, there were 4,500 to 5,000 women university students in Germany, France and Italy. Women’s education became more frequent after World War I.

Lette-Verein School and Lilly Ebstein’s stories symbolize the emancipation of women from the mid-19th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century. From 1890 to 1918, Lette-Verein changed its profile from an association maintained by the member’s voluntary support to an institution recognized by the State. The creation of jobs for women in society had become an acknowledged tradition.

[1] Im Blick: Die fotografin ...aber was noch? Frauenberufe im Lette-Verein 1866-1982, de Doris Obschernitzki e Karin Weber-Andreas, Berlin, 1991. e Obschernitzki, Doris. Der Frau ihre Arbeit!. Edition Hentrich Berlin: Berlin, 1987.

[2] Obschernitzki, Doris. Der Frau ihre Arbeit!. Berlin, Edition Hentrich Berlin, 1987 e Doris Obschernitzki, Doris e Weber-Andreas, Karin. Im Blick: Die fotografin ...aber was noch? Frauenberufe im Lette-Verein 1866-1982. Berlin, 1991.

[3] Fraisse, Geneviève e Perrot, Michelle. “Introdução: Ordens e Liberdades”. In: Perrot, Michelle e Duby, George (org.). História das Mulheres. O Século XIX. Edições Afrontamento.

[4] Hobsbawm, Eric J. A Era dos Impérios 1875-1914. São Paulo, Paz e Terra, 1988, pp. 284-287.

Lilly Ebstein Lowenstein (1897-1966) viveu entre a ciência e a arte, desenhando e realizando fotografias nos campos da medicina e da zoologia. Em seu trabalho, Lilly conjugava o conhecimento técnico da fotografia e do desenho, o estudo das ciências e um notável talento estético. Nascida na Alemanha, ela estudou na Escola Lette-Verein em Berlim entre 1911 e 1914. Em 1925 imigrou com o marido e dois filhos para São Paulo. Em 1926, tornou-se desenhista e fotomicrógrafa da Seção de Desenho e Fotografia na Faculdade de Medicina (USP, a partir de 1934), da qual seria chefe por trinta anos a partir 1932. Entre 1930 e 1935 Lilly foi colaboradora do Instituto Biológico de Defesa Agrícola e Animal, principalmente da sua Seção de Ornitopatologia. Uma vida com arte dedicada à pesquisa e difusão da ciência.