Women from the Federation of Societies for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy, 1926-1947

Francieli Lunelli Santos José Augusto Leandro About the authors

Resumo

O estudo investiga o perfil familiar de mulheres que atuaram em importantes cargos com poder decisório na Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra em diversas localidades do Brasil. Utilizando a prosopografia como técnica e método de pesquisa, buscou-se agregar informações sobre mulheres que mantiveram relações estreitas com a política de saúde para a lepra no país, de meados da década de 1920 ao final da década de 1940. A pesquisa reforça o entendimento do assistencialismo feminino pautado no controle e gerenciamento dos preventórios e sugere que a posição social/profissional dos pais e/ou maridos das mulheres que desempenharam funções na federação também concorreu para que elas agissem pela causa da doença.

Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra; prosopografia; filantropia; assistência; preventórios

Abstract

This paper studies the family profiles of women holding key decision-making positions in the Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra in different parts of Brazil. Using prosopography as a research method and technique, information was collated on women who were closely involved in Brazil’s health policy concerning leprosy from the mid-1920s to the late 1940s. The research confirms the involvement of the women in the control and management of the country’s preventoria and suggests that the social and professional standing of the fathers and/or husbands of the women who ran the federation was an element that influenced their actions towards the disease.

Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra; prosopography; philanthropy; care; preventoria

In studies of philanthropy and welfare concerning leprosy in Brazil, historians have noted the role played by certain women from the ruling classes, as of the mid-1920s, in supporting the patients through societies for the care of people with leprosy. These studies often note that these philanthropy and welfare activities were imbibed with an authoritarian nature and geared towards segregating the bodies of the poor, seen as potential foci of contamination of “healthy society” ( Gomide, 1991GOMIDE , Leila Regina Scalia . Órfãos de pais vivos : a lepra e as instituições preventoriais no Brasil: estigmas, preconceitos e segregação . Dissertação (Mestrado em História Social) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 1991 . ; Ornellas, 1997ORNELLAS , Cleusa Panisset . O paciente excluído : história e crítica das práticas médicas de confinamento . Rio de Janeiro : Revan . 1997 . ; Monteiro, 1995MONTEIRO , Yara Nogueira . Da maldição divina à exclusão social : um estudo da hanseníase em São Paulo . Tese (Doutorado em Ciências) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 1995 . , 1998MONTEIRO , Yara Nogueira . Violência e profilaxia: os preventórios paulistas para filhos de portadores de hanseníase . Saúde e Sociedade , v. 7 , n. 1 , p. 3 - 26 . 1998 . , 2003MONTEIRO , Yara Nogueira . Prophylaxis and exclusion: compulsory isolation of Hansen’s disease patients in São Paulo . História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 10 , supl.1 , p. 95 - 121 . 2003 . ; Cunha, 2005CUNHA , Vívian da Silva . O isolamento compulsório em questão : políticas de combate à lepra no Brasil, 1920-1940 . Dissertação (Mestrado em História das Ciências e da Saúde) – Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fundação Oswaldo Cruz , Rio de Janeiro . 2005 . ; Santos, 2006SANTOS , Vicente Saul Moreira dos . Entidades filantrópicas e políticas públicas no combate à lepra : Ministério Gustavo Capanema, 1934-1945 . Dissertação (Mestrado em História das Ciências e da Saúde) – Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fundação Oswaldo Cruz , Rio de Janeiro . 2006 . , 2011SANTOS , Vicente Saul Moreira dos . Filantropia, poder público e combate à lepra, 1920-1945 . História, Ciência, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 18 , supl.1 , p. 253 - 274 . 2011 . ; Mattos, 2002MATTOS , Débora Michels . “Fora do arraial” : lepra e instituições asilares em Santa Catarina, 1940-1950 . Dissertação (Mestrado em História Social) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 2002 . ; Poorman, 2006POORMAN , Elisabeth Austin . The hope of redemption : science, coercion, and the leper colonies of Brazil . Thesis (PhD in History of Science) – Harvard University , Cambridge, Massachusetts . 2006 . ; Maciel, 2007MACIEL , Laurinda Rosa . “Em proveito dos sãos, perde o lázaro a liberdade” : uma história das políticas públicas de combate à lepra no Brasil, 1941-1962 . Tese (Doutorado em História Social) – Universidade Federal Fluminense , Niterói . 2007 . ; Curi, 2010CURI , Luciano Marcos . Excluir, isolar e conviver: um estudo sobre a lepra e a hanseníase no Brasil . Tese (Doutorado em História das Ciências) – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais , Belo Horizonte . 2010 . ; Nascimento, Marques, 2011NASCIMENTO , Dilene Raimundo do ; MARQUES , Vera Regina Beltrão ( Org .) . Hanseníase : a voz dos que sofreram o isolamento compulsório . Curitiba : Editora da UFPR . 2011 . ; Carvalho, 2012CARVALHO , Keila Auxiliadora . Colônia Santa Izabel : a lepra e o isolamento em Minas Gerais, 1920-1960 . Tese (Doutorado em História Social) – Universidade Federal Fluminense , Niterói . 2012 . ; Leandro, 2013LEANDRO , José Augusto . Em prol do sacrifício do isolamento: lepra e filantropia na Argentina e no Brasil, 1930-1946 . História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos , Rio de Janeiro , v. 20 , n. 3 , p. 913 - 938 . 2013 . ; Silva, 2016SILVA , Leicy Francisca da . Filantropia e política de assistência às famílias de doentes de lepra em Goiás, 1920-1962 . História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 23 , n. 2 , p. 321 - 340 . 2016 . ). However, the historiography has not investigated the socioeconomic status of the women involved in the leprosy cause. More often than not, they are clumped together as “ladies from the elite,” but little is known of their biographical trajectories.

The study upon which this text is based was designed to sketch out a picture of the social status of the women who held leadership positions in the different entities affiliated to the Federation of Societies for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy (Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra, FSALDCL) in different states and cities in Brazil from the mid-1920s to the late 1940s. In particular, in order to apprehend their family background, the aim is to identify the social and professional standing of their fathers and husbands.1 1 The study underway into leprosy welfare in Brazil is still investigating the formal education and professional activities of the women. Also, as far as the sources allow, other elements considered relevant to the topic of philanthropy and welfare are being studied, such as the women’s involvement in other associations, societies, and entities, be they philanthropic and welfare-oriented or not.

The philanthropy organized by ladies for the leprosy cause in Brazil began with the founding, in 1926, of the Society for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy (Sociedade de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra, SALDCL) by Alice Tibiriçá in São Paulo city. With its subsequent transformation into a welfare policy in the 1930s and 1940s, it exerted decisive influence on the history of health and welfare policies for people with Hansen’s disease in the country.2 2 Here, we draw a distinction: given that there is often a gray area between philanthropy and welfare, in this article, in view of the creation of societies for the care of lepers and defense against leprosy throughout the country during the 1930s, it is more appropriate to speak of welfare than philanthropy. The women’s close ties to the federal government sets the entities apart from the “traditional practices” that marked philanthropy towards patients of leprosy at the time. Vicente Saul Moreira dos Santos (2006 , s.p.) rightly states that as of the time when Eunice Weaver took over FSALDCL, its “philanthropic-welfare activities ... should be understood as a constitutive part of the government policy towards the disease.” Yolanda Eraso (2009 , p.9-10) stresses the importance of the women’s role in shaping the administration of what could be termed a “mixed economy of social welfare, a kind of third sector delineated even before and during the emergence of the welfare state.” In this case, according to Eraso (p.9-10), women’s agency was constructed through various “interactions with other social actors, namely doctors, clergymen, politicians, leaders,” going beyond what was commonly termed traditional practices (p.23). This is how we understand the work done by the women involved in leprosy in Brazil. Further, this welfare approach had a direct impact on the fate of thousands of poor healthy children born to leprous parents, admitted to asylum institutions under strong state-controlled sanitary surveillance.

To build up an idea of how significant an influence these women had on the provision of care for leprosy patients and their uninfected children, it is worth observing that they were already working in well-structured organizations ten years before the founding of the entity that is often taken as a milestone in female-led social care in different parts of the country, namely the Brazilian Welfare Legion (Legião Brasileira de Assistência, LBA), created in 1942. FSALDCL was founded ten years earlier, in 1932, and by 1938 it had 76 branches in every state of the country ( Federação…, 1938FEDERAÇÃO... Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra . Histórico da cooperação privada no combate à lepra no Brasil . Relatório apresentado ao S. Ex. O Sr. Dr. Gustavo Capanema, ministro da Educação e Saúde Pública pela primeira vice-presidente e presidente em exercício da Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra, Sra. América Xavier da Silveira . Rio de Janeiro : Papelaria Passos . 1938 . , p.10). By 1951, there were six thousand female members of the 170 societies for the care of lepers then in existence. Many of them were directly or indirectly related to the four thousand or so children who lived in the country’s preventoria at the time ( Federation…, 1951FEDERATION… Federation of Societies for the Help of Victims of Leprosy . Biographical notes (Eunice Weaver). Compiled by one of her fellow workers . Rio de Janeiro : [ s.n. ] 1951 . , p.9).

In 1933, FSALDCL was already working in partnership with the Brazilian state, forging closer public-private ties, since it coordinated, along with government representatives, the design of certain public policies for the disease – a role it had first taken at the Conference for the Standardization of the Campaign Against Leprosy. FSALDCL became increasingly engaged in the political space surrounding one aspect of the three-pronged approach the disease, which consisted of leprosaria (where patients deemed contagious were to be sent), dispensaria (institutions to be attended by the immediate family members of people with leprosy for periodic check-ups), and preventoria (for the healthy offspring of leprous parents sent to leprosaria, which also served as kindergarten asylums for the children born in the leper colonies).3 3 According to Laurinda Rosa Maciel (2007 , p.206), at the Second International Conference on Leprosy, held in Bergen, Norway, in 1909, “it was recommended that the children of lepers were separated from their parents, which in the future would give rise to the creation of preventoria as one of the cornerstones of the three-pronged model as a prophylactic ‘weapon.’” In Brazil, as in several countries where leprosy was endemic, the running of these institutions fell to women. Yara Nogueira Monteiro (1998 , p.7-8) aptly sums up the medical thinking behind the need to create institutions for the children of leprous parents in Brazil, while also pointing out some of the impacts this had on these children: “Preventoria had a preventive role, because it was believed that a child that had come into contact with a source of the disease or who was simply the offspring of a leprous parent would be more likely to develop the disease and should therefore be sent to a place created especially to receive them, where they would be examined periodically. Based on this premise, the children of adults with Hansen’s disease were barred entry to other establishments, which meant that once they had been admitted to a preventorium, they had great trouble leaving, because these institutions’ very rules and regulations, in their first article, stated that a minor could not leave until they had spent at least six years there.”

This three-pronged approach, it should be noted, was validated at international conferences on leprosy and became standard practice across Brazil as of the mid-1930s, when the Vargas government beefed up efforts to fight the disease in several states. These efforts were all rooted in medical and epidemiological concepts and parameters concerning the disease – contagious and incurable – not to mention the stigma attached to it.

For the leprosy welfare movement, 1935 was a turning point: Eunice Weaver was elected president of FSALDCL and its headquarters were transferred to the capital city, Rio de Janeiro. There, it aligned itself with the interests of the Ministry of Education and Health, under Minister Gustavo Capanema, thereby earning “considerable political and financial support” ( Santos, 2011SANTOS , Vicente Saul Moreira dos . Filantropia, poder público e combate à lepra, 1920-1945 . História, Ciência, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 18 , supl.1 , p. 253 - 274 . 2011 . , p.261).

In fact, in its dealings with the upper echelons of power, FSALDCL was able to influence and shape some specific aspects of the health and welfare policies concerning leprosy in Brazil. With a clearly defined administrative structure for the care of patients and their offspring, FSALDCL even served as blueprint for female-led institutions in other Latin American countries keen to set up preventoria/educatoria for poor children ( Obregón Torres, 2002OBREGÓN TORRES , Diana . Batallas contra la lepra : Estado, medicina y ciencia en Colombia . Medellín : Banco de la República; Fondo Editorial Universidad; Eafit . 2002 . ).

According to the rules and regulations of the preventoria approved by FSALDCL, based on regulations drafted by the National Health Department in 1941, the minimum length of time that “healthy minors of parents ailing from leprosy” should remain under observation in preventoria, “under specialized medical supervision,” was six years ( Silveira, 1941SILVEIRA , América Xavier da . O preventório na defesa contra a lepra . [ s.l. ]: [ s.n. ] p. 42 . 1941 . , p.42). To quote Gomide (1991)GOMIDE , Leila Regina Scalia . Órfãos de pais vivos : a lepra e as instituições preventoriais no Brasil: estigmas, preconceitos e segregação . Dissertação (Mestrado em História Social) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 1991 . , these establishments became places for “orphans of living parents,” who often remained institutionalized until their 18 (boys) or 21 (girls) birthday. As Gomide (1991GOMIDE , Leila Regina Scalia . Órfãos de pais vivos : a lepra e as instituições preventoriais no Brasil: estigmas, preconceitos e segregação . Dissertação (Mestrado em História Social) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 1991 . , p.137) goes on, the philanthropy provided by the societies for the care of lepers involved the coordinated actions of women from the local ruling classes with nationalism and with the precepts of medical science of the day. The “strength” of women’s support for the segregation of children in preventoria can be illustrated by the data supplied by Luciano Curi (2010CURI , Luciano Marcos . Excluir, isolar e conviver: um estudo sobre a lepra e a hanseníase no Brasil . Tese (Doutorado em História das Ciências) – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais , Belo Horizonte . 2010 . , p.260): of the 36 preventoria in existence in the country, 31 were built after the 1933 Conference for the Standardization of the Campaign Against Leprosy, and thirty were built during the Vargas years (1930-1945).

By the end of the 1940s, when more concerted criticism of the segregation model for leprosy was being voiced in different places around the world – about the quarantining of patients deemed contagious and the institutions where their healthy children were sent – the women from FSALDCL engaged in the leprosy cause remained steadfast in their support and continuation of the segregation policy for poor children in preventoria.

This is illustrated by the report on the meeting of leprologists held in Rio de Janeiro in December 1949, where the criteria to be adopted in relations between the children held in preventoria and their parents – isolated in asylums or at home – were discussed. Their conclusion was in favor of the “prohibition of visits by patients to their dependents in the preventoria.” Only under specific circumstances could this prohibition be waived, because of “psychological factors.” For example, visits to parents in asylums or colonies were only allowed once or twice a year and only if the child had reached school age. In such cases, the child was only granted access to a specific part of the colony, which had to be specially prepared, and under due supervision of a healthy member of staff. When the parent was kept in isolation at home, the commission, in view of “prophylactic interests,” opined that they should not be allowed visitors. Meanwhile, for family members being treated at dispensaria, if a patient was ill “but not contagious” they could be visited by their child “under the supervision of employees of the Leprosy Service” ( Brasil, 1949BRASIL . Ministério da Educação e Saúde . Serviço Nacional da Lepra . Reunião de técnicos leprologistas realizada no Rio de Janeiro em dezembro de 1949 . Revista Brasileira de Leprologia , v. 17 , n. 4 , p. 269 - 278 . Disponível em: < http://hansen.bvs.ilsl.br/textoc/revistas/1949/PDF/v17n4/v17n4reu.pdf> . Acesso em: 15 abr. 2018 . 1949 .
http://hansen.bvs.ilsl.br/textoc/revista...
).

One attendee at this 1949 meeting was the laboratory technician in leprology Elvira Bastos Moreira. The research undertaken identified that in 1943 she was the director/president of the Bahia Society for the Fight Against Leprosy and that in 1947 she had been the director of the Eunice Weaver Preventorium, in Salvador.

Methodological considerations: research trajectory and prosopography

The first stage of the research involved finding out the names of the women engaged in the leprosy cause. This was done by consulting three documents produced by FSALDCL. One of these, from 1938, was Histórico da cooperação privada no combate à lepra no Brasil (History of private cooperation in the fight against leprosy in Brazil), a printed report written by América Xavier da Silveira and submitted to Minister Capanema. Richly illustrated with photographic images, the report sets forth the achievements of the federation in some states and territories in Brazil ( Federação…, 1938FEDERAÇÃO... Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra . Histórico da cooperação privada no combate à lepra no Brasil . Relatório apresentado ao S. Ex. O Sr. Dr. Gustavo Capanema, ministro da Educação e Saúde Pública pela primeira vice-presidente e presidente em exercício da Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra, Sra. América Xavier da Silveira . Rio de Janeiro : Papelaria Passos . 1938 . ). The second document, dated June 1943, was a typewritten report signed by Eunice Weaver and sent to the American Ambassador to Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro. It lists the names of leading doctors in the field of leprology in Brazil, as well as the names of the serving directors of the entities that funded the country’s preventoria ( Federação…, 1943FEDERAÇÃO… Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra . Relatório apresentado à embaixada americana pela presidente da Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra, Sra. Eunice Weaver . Rio de Janeiro : [ s.n. ] 1943 . , p.19 and on). The third document is a report containing many photographic images, probably written by Eunice Weaver, published in 1945 under the title Realizações de julho de 1935 a julho de 1945 (Accomplishments from July 1935 to July 1945) ( Federação…, 1945FEDERAÇÃO… Federação das Sociedades de Assistência aos Lázaros e Defesa Contra a Lepra. Realizações de julho de 1935 a julho de 1945 . Rio de Janeiro : [ s.n. ] 1945 . ). By examining these documents, the names of the women holding leading positions in FSALDCL across Brazil from the mid-1920s to at least 1945 were identified. Other names were then added from perusing the classic work História da lepra no Brasil (History of leprosy in Brazil), by Souza Araújo (1948)ARAÚJO , Heraclídes César de Souza . História da lepra no Brasil : período republicano, 1889-1946 . v. 2 . Rio de Janeiro : Departamento de Imprensa Nacional . 1948 . , the second volume of which contains a list of the directors of all the Brazilian preventoria in 1947. This resulted in the compilation of a first, simple list ( Table 1 ) of “names of holders of certain offices or titles,” bearing in mind that the creation of lists constitutes one of the “raw materials from which these prosopographical studies were and are constructed” ( Stone, 2011STONE , Lawrence . Prosopografia . Revista de Sociologia e Política , v. 19 , n. 39 , p. 115 - 137 . 2011 . , p.117).4 4 In this and other citations of texts from non-English languages, a free translation has been provided.

Table 1
: Women who took part in different societies for the care of lepers and defense against leprosy and in the Federation of Societies for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy, 1926-1947 5

The second stage of the research consisted of gathering information on the husbands and fathers of these women, the main sources for which were newspapers and magazines from the National Library’s historical digital database, Hemeroteca Digital. Additionally, the following works were consulted: Dicionário de mulheres do Brasil (Schumaher, Brazil, 2000), Dicionário histórico-biográfico da Primeira República, 1889-1930 , and Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro: 1930-1983 , all edited by Fundação Getulio Vargas, as well as the entries on the website “Dicionário Histórico-Biográfico Brasileiro” from the same institution (Dicionário..., s.d.). The third edition of Who’s who in Latin America , by Ronald Hilton (1948)HILTON , Ronald . Who’s who in Latin America . Part 6: Brazil . Stanford : Stanford University Press . 1948 . , published by Stanford University Press, also proved useful.

Table 2 was collated from the wealth of information obtained from these sources about many of the women.

Table 2
: Characteristics of the families of the women from FSALDCL – professions of their fathers and husbands

It is important to note that prosopography was used as an instrument, a technique, or a tool of historical investigation, enabling information on certain women to be searched and collated. In this respect, it contributed to the “analysis of the social and economic affiliations of political groupings” ( Stone, 2011STONE , Lawrence . Prosopografia . Revista de Sociologia e Política , v. 19 , n. 39 , p. 115 - 137 . 2011 . , p.115). For Carla Beatriz de Almeida (2011ALMEIDA , Carla Beatriz de . A prosopografia ou biografia coletiva: limites, desafios e possibilidades . In: Simpósio Nacional de História, 26 ., 2011 , São Paulo . Anais... . São Paulo : Anpuh . p. 1 - 9 . 2011 . , p.7), prosopography “brings forth common features of a given social group at a given period in history” and is useful for “observing social groups in their internal dynamics and in their relationships with other groups and with the space of power, and therefore helps to understand networks and configurations.”

In fact, in history as in sociology, prosopography serves particularly well for the task of investigating ruling and elite groupings. While it may be thought of as a route for piecing together collective biographies through the social sciences, prosopography “is not seen just as a research instrument, but as a method associated to a theoretical construct for apprehending the social world” ( Monteiro, 2014MONTEIRO , Lorena Madruga . Prosopografia de grupos sociais, políticos situados historicamente: método ou técnica de pesquisa? Pensamento Plural , n. 14 , p. 11 - 21 . jan-jun . 2014 . , p.12).

With respect to this observation made by Lorena Madruga Monteiro, when it comes to the women from FSALDCL, from the beginning of this investigation we bore in mind the need to observe the space of leprosy care as a setting where the power relations between the agents of interest would inevitably reinforce their interests as members of the elite. However, we wanted to go further and find out what other considerations – aside from explanations that stressed the importance of motherhood or charity, which had been a common feature of the members of the Brazilian elite for a while – could explain this intense mobilization of women in the leprosy cause. To this end, investigating the economic, social, and cultural capital of the women from FSALDCL, via prosopography, proved a fruitful route and led us to think about certain aspects that shaped the way they developed a particular habitus ; in other words,

a system of lasting, transposable dispositions which, integrating past experiences, functions at every moment as a matrix of perceptions, appreciations, and actions and makes possible the achievement of infinitely diversified tasks, thanks to analogical transfers of schemes ( Bourdieu, 1983BOURDIEU , Pierre . Esboço de uma teoria da prática . In: Ortiz , Renato ( Org .) . Pierre Bourdieu : sociologia . São Paulo : Ática . p. 46 - 81 . 1983 . , p.65).

What we put forward, then, is that the social and professional standing of the husbands and fathers of the women active in FSALDCL is also a factor that sheds light on the women’s involvement in the leprosy welfare cause.

Fathers and husbands: military men, politicians, doctors, lawyers, professors

According to Mary Del Priore (2004DEL PRIORE , Mary ( Org .) . História das mulheres no Brasil . São Paulo : Contexto; Editora Unesp . 2004 . , p.7), when analyzing the history of women their interactions with men should not be overlooked. Any historical reconstruction should be “relational” and include “everything that surrounds the human being, their aspirations and accomplishments, their partners and peers.”

The results of this part of the study reveal that the women from FSALDCL came from a very clear-cut urban socio-economic elite. Some of them had fathers and/or husbands who were engineers, journalists, or civil servants, who held leadership positions, such as the chairmanship of financial institutions, or else who were “successful” merchants, businessmen, industrialists, or capitalists. A prime example from this last group is the Guinle family. Celina Guinle de Paula Machado, who sat on the FSALDCL board as of the mid-1930s, was a daughter of Eduardo Palassin Guinle (1846-1912). Engaged in philanthropy and charitable work in the area of health, the Guinle family had interests in multiple industrial and property ventures ( Sanglard, 2007SANGLARD , Gisele . Hospitais: espaços de cura e lugares de memória da saúde . Anais do Museu Paulista , v. 15 , n. 2 , p. 257 - 289 . Disponível em: < http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-47142007000200020&lng=pt> . Acesso em: 12 dez. 2018 . 2007 .
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=s...
, 2010SANGLARD , Gisele . Laços de sociabilidade, filantropia e o Hospital do Câncer do Rio de Janeiro, 1922-1936 . História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 17 , supl.1 , p. 127 - 147 . 2010 . ). In 1927, one of Celina’s brothers, Eduardo, proposed the construction of a leper home in the capital city, to be in the “style of a hospital-asylum, like São Roque, in Paraná, which in turn was modeled on Carville, in Louisiana, USA” ( Cabral, 2013CABRAL , Dilma . Lepra, medicina e políticas de saúde no Brasil, 1894-1934 . Rio de Janeiro : Editora Fiocruz . 2013 . , p.290). The philanthropic work of another brother, Guilherme, was instrumental in the creation of the International Center for Leprology (Centro Internacional de Leprologia) in Rio de Janeiro in 1934 ( Cunha, 2011CUNHA , Vívian da Silva. Centro Internacional de Leprologia: ciência, saúde e cooperação internacional no Brasil do entre guerras, 1923-1939 . Tese (Doutorado em História das Ciências e da Saúde) – Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fundação Oswaldo Cruz , Rio de Janeiro . 2011 . ).

The most frequently occurring occupations of these women’s fathers and/or husbands were in the military, in political office (before, during, or after the Vargas Era), in medicine, in the law, or in education. For example, 11 of the women’s parents and seven of their husbands were in the military, some even having served with the National Guard, extinguished in 1922.

A representative case is that of the two sisters Almira and Carmen Linhares Colônia, from the southern state of Santa Catarina. Their father, Lauro Marques Linhares, served as a major in the National Guard and was one of the founders of the Association of Trade and Industry of Florianópolis (the state capital of Santa Catarina). Carmen was the director of the Santa Catarina Preventorium, in Florianópolis, and was married to Archias Rômulo Colônia, an army captain ( Atos…, 15 ago. 1933ATOS… Atos religiosos . Correio da Manhã , p. 13 . 15 ago . 1933 . ), while Almira was the second vice-president of FSALDCL and married to an army general, Olímpio Mourão Filho. He took part in the military campaign to curb the 1932 constitutionalist uprising, was a member of the nationalist movement Ação Integralista Brasileira, was one of the authors of the Cohen Plan (on supposed communist infiltration in the country, which was used as justification for the coup in 1937), and was one of the members of the conspiracy against President João Goulart in the run-up to the introduction of military rule in 1964 ( Beloch, Abreu, 1984BELOCH , Israel ; ABREU , Alzira Alves de ( Coord .) . Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, 1930-1983 . Rio de Janeiro : Forense Universitária ; Finep; CPDOC/FGV . 1984 . , p.2.314-2.318).

Aura Virmond Lima, from the southern state of Paraná, was the daughter of Captain Benjamin Américo de Freitas Pessoa, who had a degree in law and was a military judge in the 7th military region under the War Ministry, and served as state deputy. Her husband was Captain Braulio Virmond Lima, of the Paraná Aviation School, who served as president of the state-owned bank Caixa Econômica in Paraná from 1933 to 1938 ( A Caixa…, 1953A CAIXA… A Caixa Econômica Federal do Paraná . A Divulgação , p. 150 . 1953 . ). Maria Luiza Barcellos and Ziná Monjardim, both from Rio, were also the daughters of military men. Barcellos’s father was Vice-Admiral Anfiloquio Reis, who served as a minister on the Military Supreme Court from 1938 to 1941 (Verbete..., s.d.-a). Monjardim’s father, Aristides Armínio Guaraná, served as an army engineer and general (Coleção..., s.d.). Another case in point is Alice Tibiriçá, founder of the first Society for the Care of Lepers (Sociedade de Assistência aos Lázaros) in São Paulo city, whose father was a general and whose grandfather was a war hero, having fought with the Triple Alliance in the Paraguay War ( Segismundo, 1980SEGISMUNDO , Fernando . Apresentação . In: Miranda , Maria Augusta Tibiriçá . Alice Tibiriçá : lutas e ideias . Rio de Janeiro : PLG Comunicação . p. 5 - 14 . 1980 . ). In the north of the country, in Rio Branco, Acre, was Semírames de Oliveira Collyer, married to Lieutenant Aloysio Sampaio Collyer. In the northeastern state of Paraíba was Alice de Azevedo, whose father was a first lieutenant in the Brazilian army, while in the central west region, Adelina Ponce de Arruda, involved in the Cuiabá Society for the Care of Lepers, was married to a colonel, probably of the National Guard.

Turning to political office, 14 cases were unearthed: seven fathers and seven spouses. One example is Antonio da Frota Gentil, married to the president of the Ceará Society for the Care of Lepers, Dagmar Gentil. A rich banker, he also served as federal deputy from 1946 to 1951 (Verbete... s.d.-b). Meanwhile, Abigail Soares de Souza, member of the FSALDCL board, was married to Belisário Augusto Soares de Souza Filho, who served on the Niterói city council, the Rio de Janeiro state legislature, and as federal deputy. An influential journalist, he was editor-in-chief of the Rio-based newspaper O País and president of the Rio de Janeiro Press Association. He also worked on the newspapers Tribuna , A Noite , and Jornal do Brasil . During the Vargas Era, he was a member of the Department of Press and Propaganda. In Minas Gerais, Noraldino Lima, husband of Djanira Lima, served as state deputy in the 1920s and was a member of the Minas Gerais Department of Education and Public Health in the early 1930s. With degrees in pharmacy and law, he also held other posts in the state government, such as director of the official press of the state of Minas Gerais. After the Vargas Era, under President Dutra, Noraldino was a member of the board of the state-owned bank Caixas Econômicas Federais. In Pernambuco state, northeastern Brazil, the father of Julieta Pereira Borges served as mayor of the state capital, Recife, from 1934 to 1937, representing the Liberal Alliance party. Meanwhile, in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso, the husband of Ricarda Neder Carrato, Mário Carrato, served as chairman of the municipal council and also interim mayor from 1952 to 1953 after the death of the elected mayor.

Before the 1930 Revolution, another husband of note is Colonel Euclides de Souza Aranha, married to Luiza de Freitas Valle Aranha. He held municipal office in Itaqui, Rio Grande do Sul, and was head of the Republican Party of Rio Grande do Sul. He and Luiza (president of the South Rio-Grande Society for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy, in Porto Alegre) were the parents of Osvaldo Aranha, a federal deputy in the same state (1927-1928). Osvaldo rose to the top political ranks during the Vargas Era, serving as Minister for Justice (1930-1931), Minister of Finance (1931-1934), Brazilian ambassador to the United States (1934-1937), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1938-1944). In 1947 he was the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations and then in 1953-1954 he again held the post of Minister of Finance ( Beloch, Abreu, 1984BELOCH , Israel ; ABREU , Alzira Alves de ( Coord .) . Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, 1930-1983 . Rio de Janeiro : Forense Universitária ; Finep; CPDOC/FGV . 1984 . , p.163). The most significant example encountered in the research of a woman with considerable political capital, albeit in the period preceding the Republic, was Olivina Carneiro da Cunha, of the Paraíba Society for the Care of Lepers, who was director of the João Pessoa Preventorium. She was the daughter of Silvino Elvídio Carneiro da Cunha, a lawyer who had an important political role when Brazil was still under imperial rule:

He was president (governor) of the provinces of Sergipe (1866 to 1867), Rio Grande do Norte (1868 to 1870), Alagoas (1871 to 1872), Maranhão (1873 to 1875), and on several occasions his own province, Paraíba (1869 to 1874). He was also provincial deputy (1855 to 1871), a public prosecutor, chief of police, general secretary of the government, director of public education, chief tax inspector, chairman of the municipal council, permanent benefactor of Santa Casa de Misericórdia, and chairman of the Conservative Party ( Silva, 2012SILVA , Viviane Freitas da . Memórias da educadora Olivina Olivia Carneiro da Cunha : práticas educativas e envolvimento político e social na Paraíba, 1886-1977 . Dissertação (Mestrado em Educação) – Universidade Federal da Paraíba , João Pessoa . 2012 . , p.55).

Turning to the medical profession, six physicians were found in all. Manuel Silvino Monjardim, married to Ziná Guaraná Monjardim, was a surgeon at Santa Casa in Vitória (capital of Espírito Santo). He was also a politician, serving as a state deputy, a federal deputy, and a senator, and held public office for over 40 years ( Sepultado…, 16 jul. 1966SEPULTADO… Sepultado o ex-senador Manoel Monjardim . O Jornal , p. 5 . 16 jul . 1966 . ). The husband of Yone Guimarães de Freitas, Carlos Alberto de Freitas, was a surgeon and the owner and director of the health establishment Casa de Saúde Santa Terezinha, in Goiás ( Casa…, 17 jul. 1932CASA... Casa de Saúde Santa Terezinha . Voz do Povo , p. 1 . 17 jul . 1932 . ). In the mid-1940s, he ran for deputy in that state ( O movimento…, 18 out. 1946O MOVIMENTO… O movimento político na política bandeirante . A Manhã , p. 7 . 18 out . 1946 . ). In Paraíba, Alice de Azevedo Monteiro was married to Alfredo Monteiro, head of the state’s tuberculosis service in the 1920s ( O competente…, 9 jul. 1924O COMPETENTE… O competente clínico dr. Alfredo Monteiro . O Jornal , p. 2 . 9 jul . 1924 . ). Meanwhile, in the neighboring state of Paraíba, Raimundo Theodoro de Freitas, married to Aliete Gouveia de Freitas, was a doctor and professor of forensic science at the Faculty of Medicine in the state capital, Recife. Indeed, he was one of the coroners who investigated the body of João Pessoa ( Viana, 22 jul. 1962VIANA , Paulo . Morte de João Pessoa . Última Hora . Edição do Nordeste, Segundo Caderno , p. 1 . 22 jul . 1962 . ). Mariano Teixeira, husband of Hilda Calheiros Teixeira, a member of the Maceió Society for the Care of Lepers and director of the Eunice Weaver Preventorium in 1947, was an obstetrician and professor at the Faculty of Medicine ( Canuto, 9 mar. 2018CANUTO , Mirian Gusmão . Selma Britto e a orquestra filarmônica . Gazeta de Alagoas , Opinião . Disponível em: < http://gazetaweb.globo.com/gazetadealagoas/noticia.php?c=321022> . Acesso em: 15 jun. 2018 . 9 mar . 2018 .
http://gazetaweb.globo.com/gazetadealago...
). Maria Joaquina Maia de Andrade, from Maranhão, was married to Annibal Pádua de Andrade, head of the medical and surgical service at Hospital Português, in the state capital, São Luís ( Êxito…, 24 dez. 1923ÊXITO… Êxito feliz de extraordinária operação talvez ainda não obtido no Brasil . Folha do Povo , p. 1 . 24 dez . 1923 . , p.1).

Souza Araújo’s list of preventoria in 1947 contains the names of two female doctors on the staff of these institutions, but not running them. One was Eunice Rodrigues Ribeiro, a pediatrician at the Santa Terezinha Preventorium, in Belém, and the other was Stela Budianski, also a pediatrician, working at Amparo Santa Cruz, in Porto Alegre. The research also found that the director of the Eunice Weaver Preventorium in Salvador, Elvira Bastos Moreira, was a laboratory technician in leprology. Leicy Francisca da Silva (2016SILVA , Leicy Francisca da . Filantropia e política de assistência às famílias de doentes de lepra em Goiás, 1920-1962 . História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 23 , n. 2 , p. 321 - 340 . 2016 . , p.331) states that Maria de Lourdes Morais, a medical practitioner, worked at the Afrânio de Azevedo Preventorium, in Goiás, in the mid-1940s.

A total of seven fathers/husbands working in the legal profession were identified, two of whom are highlighted here because of their significant public engagement and their relationship with the first woman to be vice-president of FSALDCL in the period under analysis, América Xavier da Silveira. América’s father, Zeferino de Faria, started his legal career when Brazil was still an empire. After Brazil became a republic, he was a leading member of several associations and entities: a board member of the Institute of Lawyers of Rio de Janeiro, a member of the Heritage Board of the National Institute of Music, and a member of the Council of Minors of the João Alves Affonso Asylum, an institution that housed poor children in the capital city, Rio de Janeiro ( Dilema…, 1937DILEMA . Dilema . Fon-Fon , p. 32 . 1937 . ). He was also involved in the running of Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital in Rio de Janeiro and took part in the discussions for a new law for minors in Brazil, Código de Menores (Brasil, 10 fev. 1931). Meanwhile, América’s husband, Ricardo Xavier da Silveira, also a lawyer, served as mayor of Nova Iguaçu for a short while in the mid-1930s, was chairman of Caixa Econômica do Rio de Janeiro bank from 1933 to 1937, and was involved with Companhia Sul Mineira de Eletricidade, electricity company, and Companhia Nacional de Seguros Atlântica, insurance company ( Hilton, 1948HILTON , Ronald . Who’s who in Latin America . Part 6: Brazil . Stanford : Stanford University Press . 1948 . , p.268). América Xavier da Silveira often appeared on the pages of the Rio newspapers in connection with a different sporting and charitable activities hosted by Fluminense Football Club. Her wealth and activism for the needy were both featured in the reports, which heaped praise on her for her practice of opening her house during Christmastime so that her friends could sew for the “unfortunate lepers.” The property stood “on the finest site on Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, overlooking a stunning view” ( Notas…, 24 nov. 1938NOTAS… Notas sociais . Jornal do Brasil , p. 10 . 24 nov . 1938 . ).

Eunice and Charles

Some women were also married to professors, not least the president of FSALDCL, Eunice Weaver. Born in 1903, Weaver’s trajectory still awaits a biography untinged by the kind of bias that tends to interfere in understandings of women whose lives are identified as being inextricably linked to the universe of benevolence. We do not know whether Eunice inherited any great economic capital from her family of origin. The writings that deal with her life state that her father, Henrique Gabbi, was a farmer/carpenter who migrated to Brazil from Italy, while her mother, of Swiss descent, was born in Brazil. Apparently, he had land in São Manuel, in the state of São Paulo. Nonetheless, it would appear that the family did not have the kind of social capital that would have automatically granted Eunice access to the network of moneyed families in São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, or Minas Gerais, where the family circulated. Eunice’s career, devoted entirely to the leprosy cause, therefore deserves further investigation to find out how she built up the social ties that enabled her to take such a position of power in the Brazilian state during three quite different periods: the Vargas Era, the period of redemocratization, and the military dictatorship.

If América Xavier da Silveira, as vice-president of FSALDCL, was the epitome of an elite with economic capital and a solid footing in the social circles in the capital city, Eunice typifies the vigor of the bureaucratic relationship between FSALDCL and the Brazilian state apparatus. As the institution’s foremost representative, as of 1935 she travelled across the country, coordinating the entry and membership of the women under her authority. She ran FSALDCL for no less than 34 years and remained a steadfast defender of the preventoria – which she later termed “educatoria” – until her death in late 1969. She died in Porto Alegre, where she had gone to attend the swearing in of the new board of the Amparo Santa Cruz Preventorium ( Sepultada…, 11 dez. 1969SEPULTADA… Sepultada ontem a sra. Eunice Weaver . O Jornal , p. 5 . 11 dez . 1969 . ).

Eunice’s husband, Charles Anderson Weaver, 23 years her senior, had been her teacher at Colégio União, in Uruguaiana, where she studied from 1913 to 1918. Before this, according to Hilton (1948HILTON , Ronald . Who’s who in Latin America . Part 6: Brazil . Stanford : Stanford University Press . 1948 . , p.267), she attended Escola Americana, in Buenos Aires, which she joined in 1908. Some spiritual websites say that her mother contracted leprosy, and that this was why they moved from São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul ( Biografia..., s.d.BIOGRAFIA… Biografia . Eunice Weaver . Disponível em: < http://ceamaralornellas.blogspot.com/2012/09/biografia.html> . Acesso: 13 maio 2018 . s.d .
http://ceamaralornellas.blogspot.com/201...
). Other sites of the same religious bent do not allude to any illness suffered by her mother, merely attributing Eunice’s interest in the disease to her having witnessed, on the farm where she was born, beggars suffering from the disease, including a local girl who was “endowed with particular beauty” ( Eunice…, s.d.EUNICE... Eunice Sousa Gabbi Weaver . Federação Espírita do Paraná . Disponível em: < http://www.feparana.com.br/topico/?topico=629> . Acesso em: 30 mar. 2018 . s.d.
http://www.feparana.com.br/topico/?topic...
). Whatever the case, for the purposes of this study what matters is Charles’s role in shaping Eunice’s engagement with leprosy in Brazil.

Born in 1880 in Georgia, a confederate state from the Deep South, Charles earned a bachelor of arts from Emory College, Oxford, in the same state. Throughout his career as an educator, he worked at institutions linked to the Episcopal Methodist Church of the southern United States. He taught in Carolina do Norte and Virginia, then moved to Brazil, where he worked at two Methodist schools, Colégio União, in Uruguaiana, Rio Grande do Sul, and Colégio Granbery, in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais ( Hilton, 1948HILTON , Ronald . Who’s who in Latin America . Part 6: Brazil . Stanford : Stanford University Press . 1948 . , p.267). He also lectured on the Floating University, given on a cruise liner in 1928-1929 (p.267), on which he was accompanied by Eunice as his wife and his student.

In the literature on Eunice, she is said to have studied social services in Carolina do Norte after the floating university experience ( Santos, 2011SANTOS , Vicente Saul Moreira dos . Filantropia, poder público e combate à lepra, 1920-1945 . História, Ciência, Saúde – Manguinhos , v. 18 , supl.1 , p. 253 - 274 . 2011 . , p.258). However, the name of the establishment is not given, nor the years of her studies. If she did, indeed, pursue this course of study, her husband must have been decisive in getting her a place somewhere where it was available. Notably, at the time, the teaching of social services in the United States was often aligned with eugenics, which was being developed as a national movement in response to fears of the loss of white supremacy in several states of the federation. Indeed, some researchers note that North Carolina was particularly strict in addressing the population disparity and was one of the parts of the country with the highest sterilization numbers ( Brophy, Troutman, 2016BROPHY , Alfred ; TROUTMAN , Elizabeth . The eugenics movement in North Carolina . North Carolina Law Review , v. 94 , n. 6 , p. 1871 - 1956 . 2016 . , p.1949).

The influence of the Methodist church and other aspects of Charles’s upbringing on Eunice’s lifelong support for segregating the healthy children of leprous parents in preventoria in Brazil is surely deserving of attention. As Christine Rosen (2004)ROSEN , Christine . Preaching eugenics : religious leaders and the American Eugenics Movement . Oxford : Oxford University Press . 2004 . points out, there were close ties between Protestant churches and eugenics in the United States. Different churches, including Charles’s Methodist Episcopal Church, were drawn to eugenics in the 1920s and 1930s. Rosen notes that a substantial number of religious leaders embraced Darwinism, and that “protestants proved the most enthusiastic and numerically powerful group of religious participants in the eugenics movement.” The precepts of eugenics had advocates across the whole spectrum, from “high-ranking clerics to small-town ministers in the Methodist, Unitarian, Congregational, Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches” (p.15). Indeed, the ideas gained such traction inside the Methodist church in the United States that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church passed a resolution in 2008 in which it expressed publically its repentance at its having embraced eugenics so unequivocally ( Resolution…, 2008RESOLUTION… Resolution n.3184: repentance for support of eugenic . Disponível em: < http://calms2016.umc.org/Text.aspx?mode=Resolution&Number=3184> . Acesso em: 22 jun. 2018 . 2008 .
http://calms2016.umc.org/Text.aspx?mode=...
).

Final considerations

The “elite” label attached to the women holding key positions in FSALDCL, referring to their material fortune, is an apt description. Some of their surnames are a byword for wealth and are readily associated with families known for their great economic capital in their states of origin and even in the country, like Guinle, Tibiriçá, Gentil, Xavier da Silveira, Linhares, Calheiros, Aranha, and Carneiro da Cunha.

Many of the fathers and/or husbands of the women involved in leprosy care in Brazil were rich and endowed with considerable political capital, holding high public office. This fact should be seen in conjunction with the political strength of the preventorium project embraced by the women, which, it should be noted, survived intact for decades, well into the civil-military dictatorship, which began in 1964.

Alongside the religious values based on compassion for those afflicted with leprosy commonly held by the elite at the time, it is likely that other factors also played a part in the engagement of the women with FSALDCL. One of these must have been their family environment, where the menfolk overwhelmingly had careers in the military, in medicine, and in politics, often holding public office. This may have inclined the women to take charitable action towards the children of people with leprosy. Furthermore, it may be inferred that Eunice Weaver’s political prowess had the effect of attracting others to her organization, precisely because they were related to men of great economic, social, and political capital on the national stage. Whatever the case, the Brazilian preventoria run by women from the ruling classes were powerful enough to last for over four decades, spanning quite diverse political periods, even when scientific discourse no longer condoned such institutions for public health.

Statements by people who spent time at the preventoria, collected by Leila Gomide (1991)GOMIDE , Leila Regina Scalia . Órfãos de pais vivos : a lepra e as instituições preventoriais no Brasil: estigmas, preconceitos e segregação . Dissertação (Mestrado em História Social) – Universidade de São Paulo , São Paulo . 1991 . , Yara Nogueira Monteiro (1998)MONTEIRO , Yara Nogueira . Violência e profilaxia: os preventórios paulistas para filhos de portadores de hanseníase . Saúde e Sociedade , v. 7 , n. 1 , p. 3 - 26 . 1998 . , Éverton Reis Quevedo (2005)QUEVEDO , Éverton Reis . Isolamento, isolamento e ainda isolamento: o Hospital Colônia Itapuã e o Amparo Santa Cruz na profilaxia da lepra no Rio Grande do Sul, 1930-1950 . Dissertação (Mestrado em História) – Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul , Porto Alegre . 2005 . , Lilian Souza (2016), Tatiana do Socorro Corrêa Pacheco (2018), and others – and also in the documentary Filhos separados (Separated children), by Paulo Morais and Andressa Gonçalves ( Filhos…, 2012FILHOS… Filhos separados . Direção: Paulo Morais, Andressa Gonçalves. Três Corações: Ponto de Cultura Museu da Oralidade. 25 min . Disponível em: < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjvpqPW4-fM> . Acesso em: 12 fev. 2018 . 2012 .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjvpqPW4...
) – indicate that the care given at these establishments came hand-in-hand with extremely strict discipline against the children kept there, and that many lives were shattered by the enforced deprivation of time spent with parents.

Today, the legal provision of financial compensation is being discussed in National Congress with the purpose of mitigating, to some extent, the traumatic experience of the great many people forced to spend their childhood and adolescence in preventoria across Brazil.

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NOTES

  • 1
    The study underway into leprosy welfare in Brazil is still investigating the formal education and professional activities of the women. Also, as far as the sources allow, other elements considered relevant to the topic of philanthropy and welfare are being studied, such as the women’s involvement in other associations, societies, and entities, be they philanthropic and welfare-oriented or not.
  • 2
    Here, we draw a distinction: given that there is often a gray area between philanthropy and welfare, in this article, in view of the creation of societies for the care of lepers and defense against leprosy throughout the country during the 1930s, it is more appropriate to speak of welfare than philanthropy. The women’s close ties to the federal government sets the entities apart from the “traditional practices” that marked philanthropy towards patients of leprosy at the time. Vicente Saul Moreira dos Santos (2006SANTOS , Vicente Saul Moreira dos . Entidades filantrópicas e políticas públicas no combate à lepra : Ministério Gustavo Capanema, 1934-1945 . Dissertação (Mestrado em História das Ciências e da Saúde) – Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fundação Oswaldo Cruz , Rio de Janeiro . 2006 . , s.p.) rightly states that as of the time when Eunice Weaver took over FSALDCL, its “philanthropic-welfare activities ... should be understood as a constitutive part of the government policy towards the disease.” Yolanda Eraso (2009ERASO , Yolanda . Mujeres y asistencia social en Latinoamérica, siglos XIX y XX : Argentina, Colombia, México, Perú y Uruguay . Córdoba : Alción . 2009 . , p.9-10) stresses the importance of the women’s role in shaping the administration of what could be termed a “mixed economy of social welfare, a kind of third sector delineated even before and during the emergence of the welfare state.” In this case, according to Eraso (p.9-10), women’s agency was constructed through various “interactions with other social actors, namely doctors, clergymen, politicians, leaders,” going beyond what was commonly termed traditional practices (p.23). This is how we understand the work done by the women involved in leprosy in Brazil.
  • 3
    According to Laurinda Rosa Maciel (2007MACIEL , Laurinda Rosa . “Em proveito dos sãos, perde o lázaro a liberdade” : uma história das políticas públicas de combate à lepra no Brasil, 1941-1962 . Tese (Doutorado em História Social) – Universidade Federal Fluminense , Niterói . 2007 . , p.206), at the Second International Conference on Leprosy, held in Bergen, Norway, in 1909, “it was recommended that the children of lepers were separated from their parents, which in the future would give rise to the creation of preventoria as one of the cornerstones of the three-pronged model as a prophylactic ‘weapon.’” In Brazil, as in several countries where leprosy was endemic, the running of these institutions fell to women. Yara Nogueira Monteiro (1998MONTEIRO , Yara Nogueira . Violência e profilaxia: os preventórios paulistas para filhos de portadores de hanseníase . Saúde e Sociedade , v. 7 , n. 1 , p. 3 - 26 . 1998 . , p.7-8) aptly sums up the medical thinking behind the need to create institutions for the children of leprous parents in Brazil, while also pointing out some of the impacts this had on these children: “Preventoria had a preventive role, because it was believed that a child that had come into contact with a source of the disease or who was simply the offspring of a leprous parent would be more likely to develop the disease and should therefore be sent to a place created especially to receive them, where they would be examined periodically. Based on this premise, the children of adults with Hansen’s disease were barred entry to other establishments, which meant that once they had been admitted to a preventorium, they had great trouble leaving, because these institutions’ very rules and regulations, in their first article, stated that a minor could not leave until they had spent at least six years there.”
  • 4
    In this and other citations of texts from non-English languages, a free translation has been provided.
  • 5
    The following records were encountered of men leading the societies: Varela Santiago (League Against Leprosy, in Belém, Pará); Mirócles Veras (Society for the Care of Lepers and Defense Against Leprosy in Parnaíba, Piauí); and Professor Antonio G. da Rocha Fagundes (director of the Oswaldo Cruz Preventorium, in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte).

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    27 Jan 2020
  • Date of issue
    2019

History

  • Received
    31 July 2018
  • Accepted
    3 Jan 2019
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