Educating the Other

Foreign Governesses in Wallachia in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

in Aspasia
Nicoleta Roman “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History and New Europe College—Institute for Advanced Study, Bucharest, Romania

Search for other papers by Nicoleta Roman in
Current site
Google Scholar


This article explores the role of foreign governesses in the early nineteenth century in the province of Wallachia, a principality in the southeastern part of present-day Romania and a peripheral territory at the intersection of the Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman empires. It focuses on the professional integration of governesses into Romanian society, exploring their complementary routes of activity, both in private educational networks for the elite and in the emerging educational institutions for girls. Their cultural identities as transnational teachers sometimes collided with local perceptions and employers’ ambitions, and the study sheds light on the different categories of governesses and how they succeeded in keeping up with a certain model for governesses that prevailed in this period.

“Why, you must be quite mad to think of going so far away to a country of which nobody knows anything at all!”

—Maude Parkinson, Twenty Years in Roumania1

So said one of her friends to the Irish governess Maude Rea Parkinson when, in 1889, she decided to move to Romania to work in a private school. The plan seemed a “rash undertaking”2 to them, as this was still largely unknown territory among Westerners. By then, Romania had emerged from the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin (1878), a German prince of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen had recently become its king (1881), and the Orient Express connected it to the great European capitals. However, it was still finding its rightful place on the map of Europe, and as the young Irishwoman recalled later, “the glamour of the Arabian Nights was over all my thoughts and ideas about Romania.”3 Parkinson was already “an accomplished traveler” who knew Paris, Vienna, and Brussels, and was “accustomed to speaking French and German rather than English.”4 She wanted to settle in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, as a teacher of foreign languages, and for more than twenty years (1889–1911), this is what she did.

Maude Rea Parkinson was a member of a professional group with a significant impact not only on the elite in this part of Europe, but also on educational initiatives for girls: namely, governesses. The model of private education provided by governesses in aristocratic circles was launched at the French court in the seventeenth century and propagated rapidly to England, Germany, and, by the end of the eighteenth century, to Russia and its neighboring countries. Initially, aristocratic families chose governesses from among poorer relatives who had a good command of foreign languages and extensive competence in the culture of refinement (manners and conversation, dance, music, literature, history, and other disciplines). While boys were destined for the university or the military, girls were trained to be both society ladies and good wives and mothers. Cultivation, wealth, and rank were the factors that increased young women's prospects for a good marriage and social advancement. Governesses played an essential role in this process, enabling girls to acquire that “genteel education” so necessary to their families’ ambitions, and thus they had to be at least as well educated as the families that received them. In England in 1812, for instance, one manual writer considered it unimaginable that a governess should not be au fait with the works of Hume, Milton, or Gibbon.5 Knowledge of French was also required, as it was the language of the elite, both in Europe and in Wallachia.

A typology emerged within this professional category of governess, whose members, designated generically as Mademoiselle, Fräulein, or Miss, were preceded by a cluster of stereotypes associated with their places of origin: coquettish and tolerant (French), severe and efficient (German), or polite and rigid (English).6 In many ways, governesses became “intercultural educators and language instructors,”7 and might, in their own estimation, claim a civilizing status in the sense of spreading Western knowledge and culture to their pupils.8 Their employment in territories distant and culturally different than their homeland called for adaptation to local customs and demands. Indeed, governesses often discovered that the reality of the place to which they came did not conform to their preconceived hopes and expectations.9

In the West, the Industrial Revolution, demographic growth, and the emergence of women in the labor force also shaped the profile of the governess. In the first half of the nineteenth century, an ever-greater number of women were employed as governesses merely because they knew a foreign language by newly rich families aspiring to enter society and thus display their wealth. The large number of such situations in Britain led to the emergence of a new category of “incompetent and even fraudulent” governesses, prepared for work in an ad-hoc manner10 and unable to satisfy the unrealistic expectations of employers who themselves were neither aristocrats nor members of the greater bourgeoisie.

This article examines the situation of foreign governesses in the first half of the nineteenth century in the principality of Wallachia, a region in the south of present-day Romania. Drawing on legislation, archival documents, and travel accounts, the article discusses governesses’ professional mobility and their role as agents of modernization. It sets aside national or imperial paradigms and argues that foreign governesses should be seen as actors who were part of a “relational history of entities.”11 Governesses established professional relationships with other social actors (parents, children, colleagues) and institutions (foreign consulates, schools, ministers of education), mutually influencing each other throughout their activities. They left their Western space of activity and arrived in a new, culturally different territory where their skills and educational practices were recontextualized. Foreign governesses adapted to the local market, experienced conflicts with their employers, and gave up or succeeded, but nevertheless their life histories show the globalizing effects of the spread of the cultural model of the governess and its influence on local educational systems.

This text takes a nuanced look at the situation of governesses in the principality of Wallachia. In this region, there were no governesses or girls’ teachers of local origin at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The emergence of a public secondary educational system for girls in the 1830s and the numerous pensionnats run by foreign governesses point to a dual labor market (state and private). As Kathryn Hughes has demonstrated for nineteenth-century England, the primary labor market for governesses was in urban areas, with the countryside being of secondary importance. As the economy developed and the activity of the middle class increased, so the number of governesses also grew,12 with a concomitant dilution in their quality. This also applied to Wallachia, and although governesses sometimes arrived in the principality attached to or associated with a foreign consulate, they generally did not have a colonizer's agenda. They adapted to local educational policies and made use of their skills to navigate the system and to achieve professional recognition. They did not always have Maude Rea Parkinson's professional knowledge, however, and the lack of a strong Romanian bourgeoisie meant that the Western governess model was at times misinterpreted.

This article also examines the ways in which Western cultural models were adapted in a European province (Wallachia) of a multiethnic empire (the Ottoman Empire), providing an example that might have similar counterparts in other Southeastern European territories. For Wallachia, it highlights the formative role that foreign governesses played, both at an individual and institutional level, in the creation of Romanian national identity. But, more notably, this study highlights the importance of these women in the development of class identities, as they were crucial social agents in the cultural formation of the elite. Foreigners played a significant part in the modernization process in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Romanian space, and while tropes of nationalism and imperialism offer one approach to understanding foreigners’ roles, the concept of entangled, multiple modernities more fully characterizes their realities. It captures the complicated dynamics of implementing a foreign cultural model (that of a governess) in the Romanian space, making obvious how relationships were shaped by “complexities or partialities of interactions, by selective reception, by feed-back or side effects.”13 The emergence of girls’ education in the early nineteenth century, before the recognition of Romania as a state and nation, was negotiated, reflecting the interaction between the working models and aspirations of the authorities, of society, and of the social actors involved.

The Romanian Cultural Context

When Maude Rea Parkinson's predecessors arrived in the first half of the nineteenth century, Wallachia was still an Ottoman province, but it was an autonomous province with a predominantly Orthodox Christian population and a unique culture and tradition. In the eighteenth century, Russia had imposed itself as a power in Southeastern Europe, particularly through the Treaty of Kuchiuk-Kainardji (1774), by which it acquired access to the Black Sea and the right of protection over Christians in the Ottoman Empire, including those of Wallachia. Following the Treaty of Adrianople (1829), the principality became a Russian protectorate, while at the same time the way was opened for free commercial exchange with Western countries. Subsequently, the Great Powers began to establish consulates and to encourage their citizens to settle in these territories. First was Russia (1781), followed by Austria (1783), France (1797), and finally Britain (1803),14 all of which had commercial interests in the region and appointed representatives to further them. With Ottoman agreement, the Logofeția Pricinilor Străine (Chancery of Foreign Affairs) was created in Wallachia to deal with foreigners.15 The government of Russian general Pavel Kiselyov issued the first laws serving as constitutions in the Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, the Regulamente Organice (Organic Statutes) of 1831.

In this context, foreign governesses came to Southeastern Europe and Russia as agents of cultural refinement.16 In the late eighteenth century, Russia became an “El Dorado” for impoverished nobles who had left France as a result of the French Revolution (1789),17 keen to maintain the respect due to their names and origins but obliged to support themselves by teaching. This transnational mobility18 was sometimes diverted toward the imperial peripheries, including Wallachia.19 In the early nineteenth century, most of the boyar20 families of Wallachia each had “their émigré,” who introduced them to Western and, particularly, French culture.21 For the Romanian elite, education was key to catching up with the West. It was also essential for cultural communication both within francophone Russian and Ottoman circles and with foreigners from the West. The Wallachian elite used foreign governesses and preceptors to educate their children, aiming to secure matrimonial alliances that would help their families rise socially and obtain economic advantages. In a still emerging bourgeoisie,22 nouveaux riches with no titles or positions to recommend them sought respectability and entry into the elite through their children. The best route was through education, and governesses were useful instruments to this end.

City, Education, and Women

In the early nineteenth century, Romanian cities experienced rapid and substantial demographic growth accompanied by industrial and institutional transformations. In 1831, the principality of Wallachia had a population of 1,920,590 people. By 1859, the year of its union with neighboring Moldavia, this had risen to 2,400,000,23 and new cities had been established along the Danube: Alexandria (1834) and Turnu Severin (1836).24 This growth was connected to the new political context and the constant flow of both foreign immigrants and free peasants coming to settle in cities.25

Southeastern Europe is often described as having a “geography of faith,” referring to the Orthodox religion common to Greeks, Romanians, Macedonians, Serbs, and Bulgarians, a faith that overlapped with the Western cultural models toward which these same peoples were moving.26 Wallachia and the recently independent Kingdom of Greece had common educational traditions, including the use of the Greek language in the education of the Wallachian elite,27 and neither Islam nor the Catholic and Protestant Churches had a strong presence in the territories.28 These solidarities in terms of faith and cultural identity were an impediment to missions of conversion from outside the region.29 As a result, vernacular languages and religion played a significant role in the construction of the Romanian nation. As Benedict Anderson shows, “nationalism has to be understood by aligning it not with self-consciously held political ideologies, but with the large cultural systems that preceded it, out of which—as well as against which—it came into being.”30 From the early nineteenth century, education became an instrument for the creation of a national identity in Romania.31 The state concentrated on the formation of the citizenry according to precepts based on moral-religious education, patriotism, and loyalty, with catechism manuals playing a significant role in the process.32 Wealthier segments of the elite and emerging bourgeoisie also became conscious of the importance of education in consolidating their identity and reinforcing their class status. Since the early eighteenth century, philanthropic efforts of petty boyars and merchants had been shifting from founding churches toward investments in culture and public education as a means of social advancement,33 and by the early nineteenth century these investments in education became even more visible.

Among the provisions of the Organic Statute of 1831 were measures for the development of public instruction, principally in urban areas. The statute promoted the principle of meritocracy, and its implementation required the development of a class of functionaries and a bourgeoisie associated with local and central administration. Establishing schools to educate the children of these new functionaries seemed a natural step. According to the law, resources were to be directed to teach the young “under the most healthy morality.”34 For both cultural and practical reasons, the primary language of instruction was Romanian.35 The foundation of the first college “for the education of 100 pupils from among the functionaries and the most impoverished” was also among the objectives regarding public education, with the specification that half of these pupils be girls.36

The statute also included general rules for the functioning of pensionnats (for the humanities), and a first state-subsidized pensionnat for girls appeared, albeit belatedly, in Bucharest. Besides Romanian, the curriculum included French, geography, history, drawing, arithmetic, and home economics. Disciplines involving the development of a special talent (music and dance) were optional, requiring payment of an additional fee upon enrollment.37 As the state supported the spread of literacy to as much of the population as possible, the growing interest of the emerging bourgeoisie in the education of girls seems only logical.38 Free subsidized school places were offered to a number of girls who were chosen “from families that most deserve this benefit through the servicesm rendered by their parents to the state.”39 The state's efforts stimulated an almost immediate response from the private sector in the provinces, especially in Oltenia.40 Schools of different types (primary, secondary, special) appeared throughout the principality, modeled on the example of the capital, Bucharest.

These educational developments triggered a demand in the educational labor market, creating new opportunities for and regulations on foreign educators. The process occurred in a wider context, in which even Russia sought to regulate educational activity in their own empire through legislation. In the early decades of the century, the Russian state issued a series of orders (1812, 1828, 1831) for the purpose of obtaining detailed information about the activity of foreign teachers on its territory.41 In 1834, Russia's minister of education took the further step of forbidding foreigners to teach privately without a certificate issued by a Russian higher educational institution.42 The Organic Statute of 1831, although imperfectly applied, made this socioprofessional group, with all its characteristics and ambitions, more visible in Wallachia. Romanian legislation shows similarities with its Russian equivalent, including obligatory examinations for all private teachers, regardless of gender,43 as a way of filtering out the inadequately trained. Indeed, as legislators considered the raising of children, especially girls, to be “a craft [meșteșug], founded on rules and skills,”44 teachers required government certification.45

The urban press engaged in a lively discussion about the education of girls and the role that governesses and new teachers of foreign origin should play in this process. A younger generation of intellectuals who had studied in the West, together with representatives of the emerging bourgeoisie (petty boyars, officers, and merchants), were critical of the privileged regime of the boyar elite.46 But even among this younger generation there were nuances and divergent positions regarding the education of girls. One of them, Ion Heliade Rădulescu, cultural mentor, minister of education, and founder of the literary paper Curier de ambe sexe (Courier for both sexes), was against pensionnats, but also against education in the isolation of nunneries. In his view, only education in the family could help a young girl become a good wife, mother, and citizen, for “a girl, it is no wonder, may emerge from a pensionnat a virgin; but pure and innocent, never.”47 It is somewhat paradoxical that he also supported schooling for girls, but in a controlled, state-subsidized environment through a national system. In contrast, the radical liberal Constantin A. Rosetti, himself married to a British governess, advocated partnership and a dialogue of equals48—a singular position in an age when women remained veiled in a light of angelic virtue49 and were seen as profoundly linked to the morality of society, as the “foundation of social cohesion.”50 The Orthodox Church had a somewhat more ambivalent attitude toward state educational policy. Through its official paper, Predicatorul (The preacher), it criticized the inadequate way in which religion was taught, with girls learning “to make reverences with their pigtails or to cross themselves with one finger” because “Madame Tritzi-Fritzi has so taught them.”51 Such discussions in the press reveal deep fears concerning how a foreigner might teach religion and morality in a society in which the promotion of national values and culture was spreading.52 Indeed, they understood private, foreign schools as a threat to the religious and cultural conversion of young girls by foreign teachers. In a binomial of virtue and sin, the young woman who had reading material based on the moral and religious precepts of the Orthodox Church would find happiness in marriage, while she who fell prey to luxury and frivolous pleasures, missing “no ball, no club, no picnic, no soirée, no church festival,” would end up a lonely, old maid.53 Secondary education for girls thus proved to be directly connected to the construction of the nation54 and to the debates surrounding the dangers that Europeanization might pose to women, and by extension, to the family and society in Wallachia.

The Governess among the Urban Elite

Like various other specialists who arrived in the Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, governesses came through recommendations, informal networks among the elite, and with the help of diplomats. Their integration into Romanian society was shaped and even “negotiated” by their salaries, their appearance, and their behavior within the families that hired them. After the completion of her contract and according to her personal situation, prestige, and recognition as a teacher, a governess might open her own school in Wallachia, find employment in those set up with state support, or return to her country of origin.

Governesses found employment both privately, in boyar and other well-off households, and in the new state-subsidized girls’ schools. For example, Marie Grant, born in Guernsey (Channel Islands), came to Wallachia in the 1840s to work as a governess in the home of Colonel Ioan Odobescu.55 She made friends with young people of boyar and bourgeois background, and in this new circle of goodwill with affective inclinations, her professional activity was discussed. Her future husband, Constantin A. Rosetti, recorded in his diary that he had heard she was going through difficult times: “And the worst of it is that she is neglecting her duties. But I understand! I understand everything, but to stay in that house and be paid and not to fulfill her duties, that I cannot understand from her!”56 Personal problems prevented Marie Grant from fulfilling her duties as a governess. Thus, as a result of her professional behavior, along with a physical appearance that challenged local prejudices regarding Englishwomen,57 it seemed that Marie Grant failed to match the ideal of the time regarding English governesses.58 However, a former pupil's admiring recollections served to restore her professional image, suggesting that the occasion referred to was a passing lapse from the norm.59 While personal issues might affect the life of a governess, they must not alter her professional activity. In the end, Marie Grant remained in the memory of her pupils as a dedicated, well-prepared, and sensitive teacher who clearly had an impact on those who knew her as a governess.

Pensionnats, especially those established by foreign consulates for their citizens, offered another employment opportunity for governesses. These institutions were favored by Romanian parents who wanted a modern, Western education for their children. Any attempt at religious conversion through such schools was rejected by the local population and the state, as the experience of governess Teckla Trinks shows. She arrived in Bucharest in 1858 at the invitation of the Prussian consul, Baron Karl Bernhard Max von Meusebach, who was planning to open a girls’ pensionnat for the Lutheran community in the city. He and Lutheran pastor Rudolf Neumeister arranged the hiring of the entire female teaching staff, consisting of English and German governesses. Trinks was attracted by the principal's post on offer, the high salary (250 thalers), and, above all, the pioneering work to be undertaken, which the consul described in imperial terms: “Head of an educational institute for colonists from their home villages, among Greeks and Turks, what a rich and beautiful job!”60

As the German governess discovered after she had accepted the job, the real reason for the founding of the school was religious. As a Lutheran school, it was to offer a response not only to Orthodoxy but also to Catholicism, as at the time, the pensionnat of the Dames du Sacré-Cœur was the only establishment in Bucharest catering to the education of the children of foreigners. As well as disseminating knowledge, Trinks was hired to be something of a crusader. Her employers firmly communicated to her that only through religious conversion “will this evil be defeated,”61 and recommended that she wear deaconess's clothing throughout the period of her employment. The “evil” in the Prussian consul's eyes was the Catholic pensionnat, which attracted Lutherans and Orthodox alike.

The state and parents’ fear of possible religious conversion was one of the factors leading to the spread of pensionnats among all religious communities,62 and also to a diversification of the curriculum where religion was concerned. The Prussian consul's institution in Bucharest enrolled pupils of various ethnic backgrounds, from Italian and English to Greek, Turkish, and Serbian girls, but because it operated on Romanian territory and received substantial donations from Romanian elites, it had to adapt to the wishes of the Romanian state and respect the Orthodox religious faith of Romanian children. For a brief moment, its designation as a private girls’ school that did not recognize the authority of the Schools Commission (Eforia Şcoalelor) attracted the attention of the press, including the newspaper Naţionalul (The national), which stated:

We are for freedom of instruction, we are for religious tolerance; however liberty and tolerance do not exclude preservation [of local religion and language]. Just as we love liberty and tolerance for others, likewise we love them for ourselves too! If foreigners are free to teach their children in their language and religion, so let us be free, when they wish to take on the education of our children, to have them taught in the language and religion of their parents. If foreigners can open schools in the Principalities, then let them submit to the laws and the administrative and local regulations. This elementary principle is applied in all organized and civilized countries. We love liberty and tolerance, but we put our national identity above everything else. Thus, we shall fight anyone who offends or weakens this nationality. This serves as an announcement to the parents of families.63

In other words, modernization and civility must involve recognizing and respecting the character of the country and its existing customs. The discussion developed inasmuch as there was a desire for a uniform system of education, and private girls’ schools were not attended only by the relatively small Lutheran or Catholic communities but also by Orthodox pupils. Thus in 1858, Romanian language and basic notions of Orthodox religion were included in the curriculum by law in Wallachia.64

To be a foreign and also a Western governess did not automatically guarantee success in the educational profession. Teaching staff had to adapt to local demands, as Trinks tried to do from the outset with regard to French. The attachment of the Romanian elite to French culture was well known, even to foreigners passing through. Trinks had a good knowledge of English, had worked as a private teacher for families in Germany and Ireland, and had even studied at the state seminary in Elberfeld, where she learned French. She believed she could teach in German, but she soon found out that this was impossible given that the girls only knew French.65 Indeed, their families spoke French at a high level, and this practice had been maintained and encouraged through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Phanariot Greek rulers66 and Russian occupiers.67 Although Trinks had made a language refresher trip to France before coming to Wallachia, she did not have the language proficiency desired by Romanian families, and after just a year, she returned to Germany, recognizing the learning experience that her stay had given her: “There [in Bucharest] I had done very valuable study. Moreover, through continual use, French had become almost as easy for me as German.”68 A clear difference thus emerged between those governesses who were of French origin and those who were merely Frenchified, for to know the language a little did not mean that one could claim to contribute to the cultural refinement sought by one's employer.69 To find a Frenchwoman willing to accept such a post, however, required a substantial salary increase, as they were in high demand and thus could garner higher salaries. This put pressure on pensionnat budgets—both state and privately funded.70 For these newly founded institutions, it became more economical to employ governesses of other origins, brought from the neighboring Habsburg Empire or even the Russian Empire. In the capital, French pensionnat teachers often were employed only on a yearly basis.71

The case of Trinks described above shows the negotiation of a working boundary between the institutions involved and, at the same time, the degree of adaptability of the social actors. Private pensionnats founded by foreigners and under the patronage of consuls might have aspirations toward cultural and religious “conversion,” but these were kept in check by the laws of the country. The boundary between what was and what was not permitted was not evident immediately but emerged as a reaction to attempted religious and cultural conversion. This reaction highlights the desire to preserve national identity (in language and religion) within the private education system when Romanian pupils were involved. The measure did not mean rejecting the foreign cultural model or the transmission of knowledge per se, but was an awareness-raising signal of the context in which the educational activity took place. Consequently, the dynamics surrounding foreign governesses suggest the emergence of multiple, related modernities72 throughout nineteenth-century Romanian space, and foreshadows future, late nineteenth-century Romanian debates on nation and gender in education. In the first half of the century, however, girls’ education was reshaped with reference to the imported model, tradition, and local concerns. Trinks herself left Wallachia professionally changed. She had not enjoyed wearing deaconess's clothes, but she had improved her knowledge of French and gained a multicultural experience, of which she made use later by establishing her own educational institution back home, in Germany.

Private Education and the Role of Governesses in Large Cities

In the early nineteenth century, there were no native Romanian governesses in Wallachia, and society was aware of a tacit hierarchy among foreign governesses: the boyars sought French, British, or German teachers with advanced knowledge of French, while the less wealthy looked to those coming from the neighboring empires of Austria or Russia. The opening of girls’ pensionnats broadened the education profession and facilitated an influx of governesses into Wallachia. It also expanded access to an education hitherto considered elitist and only available to certain social classes. As a result, the governess became a more prominent figure in Romanian society, perceived as an agent of order, civility, and culture,73 and necessary for the elite and even more for the emerging bourgeoisie who wanted to climb the social ladder. The interplay between public institutions and private homes is best reflected in the petitions to official authorities by governesses seeking appointment or permanent residence, and these provide a résumé of their activity. These interactions are also reflected in another phenomenon, namely, the gradual transition of governesses, who came to work in Wallachian towns and cities for less wealthy families during the early nineteenth century, to schoolteachers in the later part of the century.

Foreign teachers were constantly seeking new opportunities to develop their abilities and careers as part of their social integration in Wallachia. Some started with other disciplines but turned to language teaching as a response to the demands of the market. In Craiova, the second city in Wallachia in terms of cultural importance, Iulia Radivoevici, a Serbian woman, managed to obtain a testimonial signed by fifteen parents and authenticated by the city council attesting to “the much-displayed talents that make up her character.”74 She came to the city in 1833, “with the profession of needlework,” but families asked her to teach their daughters “to read in German.”75 Thus, she shifted from teaching needlework to teaching German, which she knew very well, and in time decided to open a girls’ pensionnat. Opening a school required that Radivoevici be certified by a school inspector. She passed the examination and for a short time ran her own school in Piteşti,76 where she gained more experience, before returning to Craiova to try the same thing.77 Such professional mobility reflects her acceptance by and integration into the population. By the 1840s, in Craiova, one private pensionnat had already been set up78 and others were supported by the townsfolk, boyars and merchants alike, despite changes in principals and temporary closures.79 In the end, parents’ patronage of Radivoevici highlights the central role of informal networks in obtaining professional recognition as a governess.

For a foreign governess it became natural to follow two complementary routes to employment in education—private and institutional—but as conditions in Wallachia were uncertain, she would often avoid a definitive preference for one or the other. Thus, a governess might instruct the children of a number of families of the boyar class or the emerging bourgeoisie and then, at the first opportunity, take a teaching post, only to return later to her previous practice. Governesses could come with their own family or marry in Romania, as Marie Grant did. Many also opened their own private establishments, which could offer greater independence and financial stability.

The impact of foreign governesses in Romanian towns is difficult to quantify, though clearly they had one on the girls they taught. Their qualitative impact is what matters. They were encouraged by the Romanian state to settle in Wallachia, and were employed to compensate for the lack of local teaching staff. The Lutheran pastor Rudolf Neumeister calculated the impact of his activity as a preceptor in Bucharest in terms of the number of pupils he educated, both privately and in the state sector as a teacher of German language and literature at the National College in Bucharest. He reckoned that his activity had an influence on almost four hundred children, some of whom he remained in contact with and recommended for further study.80 Governesses worked on a smaller scale, but those who taught in pensionnats for longer periods might influence similar numbers. Unfortunately, we have no calculation like Neumeister's for them, but reports made to the Schools Commission by governesses working as principals are a useful source. For example, Caroline Kuhn declared an enrollment of nine pupils in her school in Bucharest in 1849,81 increasing to twenty-six in 1854.82 That year, the capital had fifteen private girls’ schools, only one of which had a Romanian principal;83 the following year the number dropped to eleven.84 Such institutions were in the first place commercial ventures, starting as family businesses or associations of friends and colleagues,85 but tended to be short-lived because of the difficulty of keeping them running.

In 1864, the profession of governess was finally recognized by law in Romania—as part of the transformation of the Romanian education system. In an 1865 editorial in her magazine Mama şi copilul (Mother and child), the former governess Marie Grant argued that a woman should carry out all her motherly duties herself, from breastfeeding to supervising lessons. However, after the birth of her daughter, Grant had hired a German governess on the basis of references from the Lutheran pensionnat in Bucharest.86 At this point, seeking a definition of what it means to be a mother, Grant included the governess or institutrice, who she says is unjustly forgotten and denigrated by her former pupils. Thus, she widens the definition of motherhood to encompass not only the biological but also the “borrowed” mother. The latter might be responsible only for raising the children (nurse) or their instruction (governess), but occupied an important role in their lives. Still, there remained a wide gap between the ideal promoted by Marie Grant and the everyday reality in less well-off families, as the application of her precepts required a certain level of prosperity. Grant's extension of the maternal role to governesses corresponded to a domestic ideal87 while offering the possibility to assert professional authority. In this way, the foreign governess became a model of professional success for the young women who were taught in Wallachian pensionnats. Some of the pupils of private girls’ schools would, in turn, themselves become teachers. Together with the transmission of knowledge, this process constituted another modernizing impact of governesses in Wallachia of the later nineteenth century.

The Misinterpretation of the Governess Model

How the role of the governess was understood depended not only on individuals but on how economically developed different urban communities were. Along the Danube, in the neighboring towns of Cerneţi and Turnu Severin, bordering on the Habsburg Empire, townspeople maintained mixed-gender schools, but at the request of the Schools Commission these were divided. Without further research, we do not know how exceptional these types of mixed-gender schools were at the frontier of empires. Maybe their situation was due to new economic developments or was an alternative to the lack of state funding. A girls’ school was quickly opened (1854) in the house of a petty boyar woman in Cerneţi under the management of “Madame Tereza Netter of Belgrade.”88 In contrast, in the newer city of Turnu Severin, founded during the Russian protectorate, organizational problems delayed the creation of such a school; it was 1858 before one was opened, by the same Tereza Netter.89 In Târgu Jiu, one townsperson donated land and money for the establishment of a girls’ school, which, by 1855, had an impressive fifty-three pupils and gradually took in girls from the countryside too.90 In Wallachia, girls’ schools were often founded through private donations, state intervention, or the initiative of governesses, sometimes in association with their husbands, other family members, or colleagues. There were also cases of professional partnerships irrespective of gender or ethnicity. In Târgu Jiu in 1845, one Serbian, two Romanian, and two German governesses opened a pensionnat for “the raising of girls and their teaching.”91 Although the Serb left the town and the others did not meet all the required professional criteria—insufficient mastery of French being the problem—the state kept the school running, as it responded to the needs of the community. There was thus a degree of ethnic tolerance that extended to the profession of governess, where the criteria for acceptance for women in such educational posts were much lower. It might be argued that in territories such as the borderlands, where there was a more ethnic and religiously diverse population, in the absence of state financial resources, education was realized especially in response to the community's demand. Here, at the borderland, the rules became more permissive and even the cultural model of governess was altered.

The model of respectability through hard work and study embodied by the governess was sometimes inadequately followed, both in the West and in the places where it was imported. In contrast to the West, Southeastern Europe did not have an extensive literature about governesses. There were no manuals for governesses and their employers, nor rules for conducting interviews or examinations with them. This contrasted with the situation in England, where a vast literature on governesses had emerged by the mid-nineteenth century and warnings against incompetent governesses and unsuitable employers proliferated. Indeed, the author of an 1836 novel concluded that, if the governess were to be accorded her proper status, “the wretched race of low-born, ignorant, and vulgar governesses would be lost; they would have returned to the shop, or the farm-house, from which they ought never to have been taken in the important character of an instructress of youth.”92 The experiences of governesses in the Ottoman and Russian empires appeared in writing relatively late, and they speak of the need to adapt to one's working environment93 and be well informed in advance in order not to be “dazzled with half revealed truth.”94 In Wallachia, boyars in the capital and in large towns set the trend of having foreign governesses and servants, and those of lesser rank sometimes inadequately imitated them. Some of these lesser-rank families or nouveau riche hired unqualified governesses or governesses who did not have the high standard knowledge of language and culture required by the boyar class. This produced conflicts between employers and employees, especially when governesses did not match the advertised criteria.

The fate of Janeta Scodacek offers a glimpse into how foreign governesses were perceived by some Romanian employers, and how the governess model could be misappropriated outside of urban centers. In the autumn of 1859, Scodacek was hired as a governess by Gheorghe Gheorgheovici, a nouveau riche cattle merchant with an estate in Mehedinţi County. A 21-year-old Austrian subject with siblings in Budapest, Scodacek was not from a noble family, was not pensionnat-educated, and had no well-connected relatives. She had lost her mother at an early age, and her father, a pastor, lived on a small pension at Vrbovce (Verbovtse), a village in present-day Slovakia.95 Scodacek knew German and Hungarian and, at the time she was “recruited” by Gheorgheovici, was employed as a housemaid in Budapest. She only held a residence permit issued by the subprefect of Myjava District from her country of origin, Slovakia, which was part of the Habsburg Empire. Working for Gheorgheovici thus offered the possibility of moving up the hierarchy of domestic labor. After being hired, she was told that “she must behave well and excel in everything for she would have the care of the whole economy of the house.”96 Thus, she was warned from the beginning that her post was not limited to providing and supervising the children's education, but involved additional responsibilities. The job offer was more similar to a housekeeper (chelăreasă)—the woman charged with the general functioning of the household. This position conferred on her a higher social status among the domestic staff,97 but still placed her at the mercy of her employer's disposition.98

Scodacek obtained a “servant passport for abroad” and set out for the Gheorgheovici estate. There, her lack of knowledge of Romanian created challenges integrating into her new social and cultural setting. Over the next two months, Scodacek wrote to her sisters, telling them about her life, how she had been appointed “teacher of the girls” of the family, “to teach them German and various sorts of needlework.” The reality of her situation, however, soon proved to be far from the expectations she had in Budapest, and she later wrote that she was sorry she had left. Her disappointment and sense of despair is evident in her letter: “For my fate is too bitter; it has never been so before in my life.”99 In her last letter she asked her sisters to send her money to pay for her journey back. This letter was intercepted by her employers and never reached its destination. Scodacek eventually fled the estate and a search for her was launched; when she was found, she was beaten to death. Among her possessions were a booklet with letters of the alphabet, two reading books, an 1844 German grammar book, and a penholder.100 Although she was not a true governess but a “fraudulent” one, she clearly wanted to adjust to the main requirement of her post: teaching the German language.

The case was brought to court, but all accusations against the Gheorgheovici family were dismissed for lack of evidence. Scodacek's letters to her sister, Amalia, described a lived reality, not an imagined one. The influence of the Gheorgheovici family was significant locally, in Cerneţi. Gheorgheovici himself was a parvenu who had gotten rich from cross-border trade. His social aspirations involved making an impression at the local level, and to do this he imitated a model found among the great boyar and merchant families—within the limits of his possibilities and without preserving its cultural dimension. Nor was Scodacek the governess that he sought by way of an informal network of acquaintances, who should have matched the descriptions found in the gazettes of the time. Each fell victim to the other's pretense. He took what he could find, an Austrian maidservant. In this way, he hoped his rank and power could be further underlined, reaffirmed, and maintained in his community. Essentially, Scodacek was just another servant, even if the position for which she had been hired—governess—implied that she had a higher status. Equally, she posed as a westernized employee. Neither a trained governess nor well educated, she nevertheless knew what the role should involve and arrived with exaggerated expectations, leading to her surprise, revulsion, and despair when confronted with daily life on the Gheorgheovici estate. The case recalls a tendency in Romanian literature of the time (for example, the plays of Vasile Alecsandri) to mock the manner in which modernization (westernization) was performed, together with the use of foreign languages at the provincial level, acquired with the help of whatever teachers were available.101

A cultural background to match elitist aspirations implied a series of characteristics including social status, financial possibilities (educational and travel opportunities, etc.), and continuous contact with native speakers.102 “Fabricating” a governess, as Gheorgheovici attempted to do, was a cheap and convenient way to imitate the example of a westernized, Romanian elite. The preferred cultural model for the governess in private education was first a French, then German, and then English governess whom writers of autobiographies would recall with respect and affection, regarding her as a member of the family.103 However, one could not climb the educational ladder with inadequate instruction acquired from a “fraudulent” governess. That is why the misappropriation of the cultural model by the nouveau riche failed to establish them as a genuine part of the elite or boyar class. If one could not speak a high standard of French or any other required foreign language and had no adequate knowledge of literature, manners, or social skills to be in a dialogue with the members of the elite or from the foreign diplomatic/cultural circles, one could not integrate.


An examination of foreign governesses in Wallachia leads to the following conclusions. Foreign languages and the Orthodox religion were incorporated into a curriculum that aimed to balance modernized and westernized education with the preservation of local identity. French became the language of culture and society not only for the boyars but also for the emerging bourgeoisie. Governesses were instrumental in this process of cultural modernization, employed both in well-off private homes and in state institutions. If their socioprofessional profile matched these two labor markets, they not only integrated into Romanian society but also transformed themselves into models for the next generation of Romanian female educators. They moved back and forth between state institutions and private education, migrating from one town to another in the principality and founding or refounding pensionnats. They showed a considerable formative and acculturative impact in the early days of education for girls. At the same time, governesses provided a route for new Romanian elites to transform their class identities, although this cultural model could be misappropriated. In a rush to display their wealth and acquire a higher social status, the nouveau riche might resort to hiring “fraudulent” governesses: uneducated servants who barely met the basic requirements of teaching in a foreign language. Governesses also served as models for women's empowerment through their transfer of cultural knowledge at an important moment in the establishment of Romanian national identity. They earned their own wages, and among nonprivileged women they had higher incomes. From this perspective, they were a successful economic model for Romanian women. Despite the cultural boundaries between foreigners and locals, the presence of foreign governesses served as a human professional resource for the emerging educational system. The dynamic interactions between old and new patterns of connectedness in girl's education constituted a link that facilitated a second modernity—an element of multiple modernities—where gender and education were discussed in terms of membership in a politically recognized nation. In this second modernity, schools for girls become more numerous, the female teachers were mainly Romanians, and in some state institutions with foreign personnel, public discussions became politicized.


The author gratefully thanks James Christian Brown for the translation of the text, and the anonymous peer reviewers and the editors of Aspasia. This study includes research conducted through the ERC project “Luxury, Fashion and Social Status in Early Modern South-Eastern Europe” (LuxFaSS), project no. 646489, hosted by the New Europe College—Institute for Advanced Study (Bucharest).


Maude Parkinson, Twenty Years in Roumania (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1921), 17.


Parkinson, Twenty Years in Roumania, 17.






R. C. Dallaway, Observations on the Most Important Subjects of Education Containing Many Useful Hints to Mothers, but Chiefly Intended for Private Governesses (London: printed for W. Richardson, 1812), 190–191.


Susan N. Bayley, “The English Miss, German Fräulein and French Mademoiselle: Foreign Governesses and National Stereotyping in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Europe,” History of Education: Journal of the History of Education Society 43, no 2 (2014): 160–186, here 162,; Irene Hardach-Pinke, “Intercultural Education by Governesses (Seventeenth to Twentieth Century),” Pedagogica Historica 46, no. 6 (2010): 715–728, here 722,


Hardach-Pinke, “Intercultural Education by Governesses,” 715.


Deborah Simonton, Women in European Culture and Society: Gender, Skill and Identity from 1700 (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2010), 253–254.


Hardach-Pinke, “Intercultural Education by Governesses,” 725.


Kathryn Hughes, The Victorian Governess (London: Hambledon Press, 1993), 41–42.


Angelika Epple, “Calling for a Practice Turn in Global History: Practices as Drivers of Globalization/s,” History and Theory 57, no. 3 (2018): 390–407, here 395.


Hughes, The Victorian Governess, 11–12.


Göran Therborn, “Entangled Modernities,” European Journal of Social Theory 6, no. 3 (2003): 293–305, here 302.


Pompiliu Eliade, Influența franceză asupra spiritului public în România [The French influence on public spirit in Romania], trans. Aurelia Dumitrașcu (Bucharest: Institutul Cultural Român, 2006); Demetrius Dvoicenko-Markov, “Russia and the First Accredited Diplomat in the Danubian Principalities, 1779–1808,” Études slaves et est-européennes / Slavic and East European Studies 8, nos. 3–4 ( 1963): 200–229; Paul Cernovodeanu, Rapoarte consulare și diplomatice engleze privind Principatele Române: 1800–1812 [British consular and diplomatic reports about the Romanian Principalities, 1800–1812] (Brăila: Istros, 2007), xiii; Keith Hitchins, The Romanians: 1774–1866 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 45–46.


Marcel Ciucă, “Logofeția Pricinilor Străine din Țara Românească” [The Chancery of Foreign Affairs of Wallachia], Revista arhivelor [Archives review] 3 (1991): 367–380; Ștefan Petrescu, Migrație și ortodoxie în Europa de Sud-Est: De la “destrămarea” societății fanariote la constituirea comunității grecești în prima jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea [Migration and orthodoxy in Southeastern Europe: From the “breakup” of Phanariot society to the establishment of the Greek community in the first half of the nineteenth century] (Bucharest: Muzeul Național al Literaturii Române, 2013), 81–105.


Catriona Kelly, Refining Russia: Advice Literature, Polite Culture, & Gender from Catherine to Yeltsin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 8–9; T. I. Staroverova, “Home Education in Russia,” Russian Education & Society 53, no. 10 (2011): 25–36, here 25, 30; Daria Parisi, “Educando le figlie di Tat'jana: Governanti vittoriane in Russia” [Educating Tatiana's daughters: Victorian governesses in Russia], Between 3, no. 6 (2013): 1–17, here 1.


Gunilla Budde, “Traveling Teachers in Europe: Gouvernanten, Governess, and Gouvernantes,” European History Online (EGO) (Mainz: Leibniz Institute of European History, 2018),


Harvey Pitcher, When Miss Emmie Was in Russia: English Governesses Before, During and After the October Revolution (London: Murray, 1977); Anthony Cross, “Early Miss Emmies: English Nannies, Governesses, and Companions in Pre-Emancipation Russia,” New Zealand Slavonic Journal 1 (1981): 222–244.


Barbara Petzen, “‘Matmazels’ nell'harem: Le governanti europee nell'Impero ottomano” [‘Mademoiselles’ in the harem: European governesses in the Ottoman Empire], Genesis: Rivista della Societa Italiana delle Storiche [Genesis: Journal of the Italian Historical Society] 1 (2002): 61–84.


Boyars made up a privileged social class analogous to the aristocracies of Western and Central Europe. An official register, the Arhondologie, ranked them in nine categories. Cf. Dan Cernovodeanu and Irina Gavrilă, Arhondologiile Țării Românești de la 1837 [The archondologies of Wallachia from 1837] (Brăila: Istros, 2002). The upper categories included the oldest and/or wealthiest families and those of princely status, while those recently accepted into the boyar class were at the bottom of the hierarchy.


Eliade, Influența franceză, 210–214.


Alexandru Florin Platon, Geneza burgheziei în Principatele române (a doua jumătate a secolului al XVIII-lea–prima jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea): Preliminariile unei istorii [The emergence of the bourgeoisie in the Romanian Principalities (second half of the eighteenth century–first half of the nineteenth century): The preliminaries of a history], 2nd ed. (Iași: Editura Universității “Alexandru Ioan Cuza,” 2013).


Hitchins, The Romanians, 173.


Ibid., 217.


Ibid., 218.


Paschalis M. Kitromilides, Enlightenment and Revolution: The Making of Modern Greece (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 92–96.


Ariadna Camariano-Cioran, Les Académies princières de Bucarest et de Jassy et leurs professeurs [The princely academies in Bucharest and Iași and their professors] (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974); Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under the Ottoman Rule, 1354–1804 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977), 251–258; Cornelia Papacostea-Danielopolu, Convergences culturelles gréco-roumaines (1774–1859) [Greek-Romanian cultural convergences] (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1998).


Peter Mackridge, Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766–1976 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 187.


Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu, Convertire și integrare religioasă în Moldova la începutul epocii moderne [Religious conversion and integration in early modern Moldavia] (Iași: Editura Universității Alexandru Ioan Cuza, 2004), 235–326. For the very different situation of the Bulgarians, see Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), 50–77.


Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 2006), 15.


Mirela-Luminița Murgescu, Între “bunul creștin” și “bravul român”: Rolul școlii primare în construirea identității naționale românești (1831–1878) [Between the “good Christian” and the “brave Romanian”: The role of elementary school in the construction of Romanian national identity (1831–1878)] (Iași: A92, 1999), 14, 39, 40–64.


Murgescu, Între “bunul creștin” și “bravul român,” 106; Mirela-Luminița Murgescu, “Behavior Models and Collective Identities in the Orthodox Catechism Textbooks Used in the Romanian Elementary Schools (19th century),” in Church and Society in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Maria Crăciun and Ovidiu Ghitta (Cluj-Napoca: European Foundation Publishing House, 1998), 254–265.


Gheorghe Lazăr, “Negustori mecena din Țara Românească (secolul al XVIII-lea)” [Merchant patrons of culture in Wallachia (eighteenth century)], Studii și materiale de istorie medie [Studies and materials in medieval history] 23 (2015): 159-168, here 160–162.


Regulamentul Organic: Întrupat cu legiuirile din anii 1831, 1832 și 1833, și adăogat la sfârșit cu legiuirile de la anul 1834 până acum [The Organic Statute: With all the laws issued in 1831, 1832 and 1833, and completed at the end with the laws from 1834 until now] (Bucharest: tipărit la pitarul Z. Carcaleki, tipograful Curții, 1847), cap. VIII, art. 365, 336.


Regulamentul Organic, cap. VIII, art. 366, 337.


Ibid., cap. VIII, art. 367, 337.


Ibid., 422–427.


Christina de Bellaigue, Educating Women: Schooling and Identity in England and France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 11–12.


Regulamentul Organic, art. 143, 425.


The 1848 revolution in Wallachia and the Russian occupation during the Crimean War (1853–1856) brought interruptions to school activity, and consequently there was a need for continual renewal in the field. Reorganizational decrees were issued in 1847, 1850, and after the Crimean War.


Staroverova, “Home Education,” 26; Olga Solodyankina, “Cross-Cultural Closeness: Foreign Governesses in the Russian Empire, c. 1700–1850,” in Early Professional Women in Northern Europe, c. 1650–1850, ed. Johanna Ilmakunnas, Marjatta Rahikainen, and Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017): 217–243, here 218.


Solodyankina, “Cross-Cultural Closeness,” 219.


Buletin: Foaie oficială [Bulletin: The official gazette] 14 (1846): 251.


Ibid., 366.


Ibid., 366.


Ionela Băluță, La bourgeoisie respectable: Réflexion sur la construction d'une nouvelle identité féminine dans la seconde moitie du XIXe siècle roumain [The respectable bourgeoisie: Reflections on the construction of a new female identity in the second half of the nineteenth century] (Bucharest: Editura Universității din București, 2008), 32.


Curier de ambe sexele: Jurnal literar [Courier for both sexes] 4, no. 1 (1842): 31.


C. A. Rosetti, Jurnalul meu [My journal], ed. Marin Bucur (Cluj-Napoca: Dacia, 1974), 78.


Băluță, La bourgeoisie respectable, 60–1.


Stéphane Michaud, “Femeia” [Woman], in Omul romantic [Romantic man], ed. François Furet (Iași: Polirom, 2000): 103–136, here 121.


Predicatorul [The preacher] 1 (1857): 370.


Raffaella Sarti, “La globalisation du service domestique dans une perspective historique, XVIIe-XXe siècles’’ [The globalisation of domestic service in a historical perspective, seventeenth to twentieth century], in Manuela Martini and Philippe Rygiel, eds., Genre et travail migrant: Mondes atlantiques, XIXe–XXe siècles [Gender and migrant labour: Atlantic worlds, nineteenth–twentieth centuries] (Paris: Publibook, 2009): 53–82, here 56–57.


Vestitorul Românesc [The Romanian herald] 2 (1840): 3–4. On how women were seen in various contemporary sources, see Nicoleta Roman, “Deznădăjduită muiere n-au fost ca mine”: Femei, onoare și păcat în Valahia secolului al XIX-lea [“There has never been a more wretched woman like me”: Women, honor, and sin in nineteenth-century Wallachia] (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2016), 29–79.


Krassimira Daskalova, “Nation-Building, Patriotism, and Women's Citizenship: Bulgaria in Southeastern Europe,” in Girls’ Secondary Education in the Western World: From the 18th to the 20th Century, ed. James C. Albisetti, Joyce Goodman, and Rebecca Rogers (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010): 159–164, here 149–151, further developed in Krassimira Daskalova and Susan Zimmerman, “Women's and Gender History,” in The Routledge History of East Central Europe since 1700, ed. Irina Livezeanu and Árpád von Klimó (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017), 278–322.


Angela Jianu, A Circle of Friends: Romanian Revolutionaries and Political Exile, 1840–1859 (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 18–21. Marie Grant came to Wallachia through the intervention of her brother, Effingham, secretary to the British consul general in Bucharest.


Rosetti, Jurnalul meu, 105.


Marie Grant was nicknamed “Gitana” by those close to her; cf. Sabina Cantacuzino, Din viața familiei Ion C. Brătianu, 1821–1891 [From the life of Ion C. Brătianu's family, 1821–1891], 3rd ed. (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2013), 50.


Hardach-Pincke, “Intercultural Education,” 722; Bayley, “The English Miss,” 174–175.


Cantacuzino, Din viața familiei, 50.


Călători străini despre țările române în secolul al XIX-lea [Foreign travelers on the Romanian lands in the nineteenth century], ed. Daniela Bușă, vol. 7 (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 2012), 247.


Ibid., 7:248.


De Bellaigue, Educating Women, 205; Rebecca Rogers, Les bourgeoises au pensionnat: L'éducation féminine au XIXe siècle [Bourgeois girls at the pensionnat: Feminine education in the nineteenth century] (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007), 316–332.


Naționalul: Jurnal politic-comercial-literar [The national: Political-commercial-literary newspaper] 1 (1858): 223.


Ibid., 372.


Călători străini, 7:254, 255, 257.


Orthodox Greek dignitaries residing in the Phanar quarter of Istanbul who were appointed by the Porte as princes of Moldavia and Wallachia in the period 1711/1716–1821.


Eliade, Influența franceză, especially part 2.


Călători străini, 7:261.


Marcus Tomalin, The French Language and British Literature, 1756–1830 (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2016).


The Lazaro-Oteteleșanu School, cf. Nicoleta Roman, “De trebuință și cu mare căutare: Școala Lazaro-Oteteleșanu din Craiova în perioada regulamentară” [Of great need and very much looked for: The Lazaro-Oteteleșanu School in Craiova during the Organic Statute period], Revista istorică 28, nos. 3–4 (2017): 361–397, here 376.


Elena Rădulescu-Pogoneanu, Școala Centrală de Fete din București [The Central School for Girls in Bucharest] (Bucharest: Imprimeria Națională, 1935), 27–28.


Atsiuko Ichijo, Nationalism and Multiple Modernities: Europe and Beyond (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013): 123.


Françoise Mayeur, Histoire de l'enseignement et de l'éducation [History of instruction and education], vol. 3 (Paris: Perrin, 2004), 85.


Arhivele Naționale Istorice Centrale [National Archives Main Headquarters, hereafter ANIC], Ministerul Cultelor și Instrucțiunii Publice [Ministry of Culture and Public Instruction], 368/1854, f. 9.


Ibid., f. 8.


Ibid., f. 17.


Ibid., f. 17.


Roman, “De trebuință și cu mare căutare,” 361–397.


Ibid., 375–376. Between 1837 and 1864: Mrs. Grulie, Wilhelmina Dahlen, Marietta Massenza, Marie Villeneuve, Antonia Bergman.


Călători străini, vol. 5 (1847–1851), 145.


ANIC, Ministerul Cultelor și Instrucțiunii Publice, 105/1849, f. 144.


Ibid., 368/1854, f. 34.


Ibid., f. 14.


Ibid., f. 181.


De Bellaigue, Educating Women, 12–13; Rogers, Les bourgeoises au pensionnat, 149–150.


Călători străini, 7:258.


Christina de Bellaigue, “The Development of Teaching as a Profession for Women before 1870,” The Historical Journal 44, no. 4 (2001): 963–988, here 966,


Nicolae Andrei and Gheorghe Pârnuță, Istoria învățământului din Oltenia [History of education in Oltenia], vol. 2 (Craiova: Scrisul Românesc, 1981), 82.


Andrei and Pârnuță, Istoria învățământului din Oltenia, 2:83.


Ibid., 2:86–87.


Nicolae Andrei and Gheorghe Pârnuță, Istoria învățământului din Oltenia [History of education in Oltenia], vol. 1 (Craiova: Scrisul Românesc, 1977), 253.


[Anonymous], The Governess or Politics in Private Life by the Daughter of the Author of the “Balance of Comfort” (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1836), 310.


Cf. Emmeline Lott, The English Governess in Egypt: Harem Life in Egypt and Constantinople, 2 vols. (London: Richard Bentley, 1866).


E. P. Hamilton, The English Governess in Russia (London: n.p., 1861), preface.


Arhivele Naționale ale României: Judeţul Mehedinţi [National Archives of Romania: Mehedinți County, hereafter ANRJM], Tribunalul Mehedinţi [Mehedinți Court], 193/1860, ff. 15–16.


Ibid., f. 14v.


Dan Dumitru Iacob, Elitele din Principatele Române în prima jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea: Sociabilitate și divertisment [The elites of the Romanian Principalities in the first half of the nineteenth century: Sociability and leisure] (Iași: Editura Universității “Alexandru Ioan Cuza,” 2015), 87–88.


Arden Hegele, “‘So She Has Been Educated by a Vulgar, Silly, Conceited French Governess!’ Social Anxieties, Satirical Portraits, and the Eighteenth-Century French Instructor,” Gender and Education 23, no. 3 (2011): 331-343, here 337,


ANRJM, Tribunalul Mehedinți, 193/1860, f. 24.


Ibid., ff. 11–11v.


For another discussion, see Constanța Vintilă-Ghițulescu, Evgheniți, ciocoi, mojici: Despre obrazele primei modernități românești, 1750–1860 [Well-born, upstarts, peasants: On the people of the first Romanian modernity, 1750–1850] (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2013), 108–117.


Gesine Argent, Derek Offord, and Vladislav Rjeoutski, “The Functions and Value of Foreign Languages in Eighteenth-Century Russia,” The Russian Review 74, no. 1 (2015): 1–19, here 18.


Princess Anne-Marie Callimachi, Yesterday Was Mine (London: Whittlesey House, 1949), 9–10, 233–237, for her and her son; Philipp Wirtz, Depicting the Late Ottoman Empire in Turkish Autobiographies: Images of a Past World (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017), 100–101.

Contributor Notes

Nicoleta Roman is a researcher at the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History and New Europe College—Institute for Advanced Study in Bucharest, Romania. Her interests are: social and cultural history; women, family, and childhood history; and nineteenth-century history. Her main recent publications include: “Deznădăjduită muiere n-au fost ca mine”: Femei, onoare și păcat în Valahia secolului al XIX-lea [“There has never been a more wretched woman like me”: Women, honor, and sin in 19th-century Wallachia] (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2016); Orphans and Abandoned Children in European History, Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries (editor) (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2018); and Copilăria românească între familie și societate (secolele XVII-XIX) [Childhood in Romania between family and society (17th–20th centuries)] (editor) (Bucharest: Nemira, 2015).

  • Collapse
  • Expand


The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1361 219 22
PDF Downloads 855 154 25