Vol. 5 No. 1 (2018): «Il campanile scolastico». Revisiting the local dimension in historical-educational research

City of Letters. Textbooks, memory and experiences (Rio de Janeiro, 1870-1920)

Alexandra Lima Da Silva
Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Published 2018-06-10


  • literate culture, textbooks, Brazilian history, Rio de Janeiro

How to Cite

Lima Da Silva, A. (2018). City of Letters. Textbooks, memory and experiences (Rio de Janeiro, 1870-1920) . Rivista Di Storia dell’Educazione, 5(1), 117–133. Retrieved from https://rivistadistoriadelleducazione.it/index.php/rse/article/view/8010


This piece analyzes articulations between the expansion of teaching and the publishing industry in Rio de Janeiro from 1870 to 1920, through Brazilian History textbooks. Using various sources, including the textbooks themselves, publishing houses’catalogues and almanacs, teaching programs, advertising, newspapers and memoirs, this study attempts to understand what changed and what stayed the same in the production of Brazilian History textbooks during the growth of literate culture and literate audiences in the city. It attempts to follow the actions of those involved in this process – authors, booksellers, editors and teachers – in search of their motivations and of the various meanings involved in the experiences of the vulgarization of historical knowledge through teaching manuals. The expansion of teaching must be understood as part of the discussions regarding the ideas of citizenship and civic duty in Brazil, particularly in the relation between education and citizen formation, defended by many, where subjects fought through various strategies. Literacy and access to learning was one of them. The existence and access to textbooks was one of the paths, which would be impossible if there wasn’t an expanding publishing market.