Carolina Wilhelma Michaëlis de Vasconcelos

1851 - 1925


Nationality: German/Portuguese

Carolina Michaëlis was born in Berlin and educated at home by private tutors due to the fact that women were prevented from accessing higher education at this time. After marrying the Portuguese Joaquim António da Fonseca Vasconcelos, she assumed Portuguese nationality. She became the first woman to lecture at a Portuguese university – the University of Coimbra – after having dedicated her life to the study of literature, linguistics, ethnography and pedagogy. She also ran the magazine Lusitânia.


Throughout her life, Carolina Michaëlis met many important figures of Portuguese culture such as; Antero de Quental, Oliveira Martins and Teófilo Braga. She also promoted Portuguese culture by publishing the work of Portuguese academics in German academic journals. At the same time as this, she also had and cared for a family.



Carolina Michaëlis’ Utopian contribution can be seen in her constant search for knowledge and in her desire to distribute the information that she had access to, in particular to other women. She fought for women, proving that they were capable of having a significant as well as intellectual role in the patriarchal society of the time.

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