Vera Bácskai, ‘Grande Dame’ of Central European Urban History

The career and work of one of the most important representatives of urban history in Central Europe, Vera Bácskai are presented in the profile section of this issue. These are viewed in the context of the development of social history, respectively urban history in Hungary after the Second World War. If, at the beginning of her career, she started by studying market towns or oppida in the fifteenth-century Hungary, she later turned her attention to the modern era, analyzing the urban phenomenon, the criteria of urbanity, urban functions, the phenomenon of the emerging bourgeoisie in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Vera Bácskai knew how to successfully combine theory and practice, starting from a variety of sources, methods and approaching them from a solid theoretical basis. She was one of the pioneers of quantitative history in the area, being however equally interested in the people of that era hidden behind the numbers. She thus studied the first generation of modern entrepreneurs, respectively the links between an ‘old' and the ‘new bourgeoisie'. She played an important role in promoting urban history and in the institutionalization of the discipline at both national and international level as she was one of the founders and then the president of the European Association of Urban Historians and of the ‘Hajnal István' Circle for Social History.

Key Words: urban phenomenon, criteria for urbanity, urban functions, quantitative history, bourgeoisie, entrepreneurs.