Cendrillon va au bal: le droit d'être historienne

The reconstruction of the professional career of the three most important women historians, Maria Holban, Maria-Matilda Alexandrescu Dersca-Bulgaru and Ariadna Camariano-Cioran could amount, when the commonalities of their biographies are well understood, to an intellectual history of a distinct group of the Romanian academia. Their undertakings may also point to a series of priorities that should be ascribed, against an European background, to Romanian women intellectuals that contributed significantly in the first decades of the twentieth Century to sciences, literature or were prominent in the liberal professions. Born before the Great War in well to do families, the three young women followed comparable trails. After graduating in the country and accomplishing their studies in Paris, and on the advice of their professor and mentor Nicolae Iorga, the three developed a keen interest in general and European history. Maria Holban devoted herself to the French Renaissance and became skilled in Latin paleography, Maria-Matilda Alexandrescu Dersca-Bulgaru embarked upon thorough researches of the Ottoman history, while Ariadna Camariano-Cioran became specialized in post-Byzantine and neo-Hellenic studies. After a brief teaching career, discontinued in 1948, all three will eventually join the Institute of History "Nicolae Iorga" of the Romanian Academy. They all passed through the communist regime with personal dignity sustained by an unremitting passion for research. Many a breakthrough in the field of historical studies ought to be attributed to them: they opened new directions, unveiled unexplored sources, their approach to history was an interdisciplinary one. It is no surprise that, despite the constraints and the isolation brought about by communism, their recognition went far beyond the Romanian academia. Oftentimes they were even more respected and quoted in Europe than in their home country.


Keywords: women historians, academic careers of women, twentieth century