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267 KRONVALDE (born Roloff), Karolı-ne Liznete (1836–1913) Teacher; early spokeswoman for women’s rights in Latvia. Very little is known of Karolı-ne Kronvalde ’s life and work, apart from the fact that she was the wife of Atis Kronvalds (1837–1875), a prominent leader of the Latvian nationalist movement in the 1870s. Much has been published on his life and work, yet very little has been published on his wife, Karolîne Kronvalde, one of the first spokeswomen for women’s rights in Latvia. Karolı-ne Kronvalde was born Karolı-ne Roloff on 2 April 1836, in Legramzda, Kurzeme. Her father was a doctor and her mother was an educated Polish woman. Karolı-ne was largely responsible for her own education; as an external student, she obtained a teaching qualification from the Jelgava gymnasium in the spring of 1855. In 1860, she took up work as a private teacher in the small town of Durbe. There, she met her future husband, Atis Kronvalds (1837–1875), who at that time was also working as a private teacher in Durbe. Together with her future husband, Karolı-ne Roloff moved to Te -rbata. Later, in 1867, the couple moved for a second time to Vecpiebalga, where Atis Kronvalds again took up work as a private teacher. In 1868, after waiting eight years for her fiancé to finish his studies, Roloff finally married Kronvalds. After his death in 1875, Karolı-ne Kronvalde worked in Riga as a language teacher and managed the boarding school of the Riga Latvians’ Association. From 1889 until her death, she lived in Vecpiebalga with her daughter Milda Sliede, where she was an active participant in the social and cultural life of the town. Some sources say that Karolı-ne Kronvalde had a daughter and a son, others maintain that she brought up four children. Serious debate on the subject of women’s rights began to enter Latvian public discourse in the 1870s. Earlier (from the late 1860s onwards), such issues were for the most part playfully dismissed in the press; stories of North American women studying medicine and law or elsewhere working in offices and shops were treated as humorous anecdotes. In the Latvian press, the first debate on ‘the woman question’ appeared 268 somewhat incidentally in the Baltijas Ve -stnesis (Baltic herald) in 1870. It was triggered by an article entitled “Piektdienas vakara -” (On Friday evening), whose author, someone named Garrs, had mocked (particularly rural) women: “a man is and always will be smarter than a woman, and the thicker his beard, the stronger his mind” (Garrs, 1870). By way of reply, Kronvalde published a letter in the same periodical, signed Kar. K., in which she called for women’s equal rights in the spheres of education, an end to restrictions on women’s personal freedom and for a general intellectual awakening among women and the nation as a whole. Since in Kronvalde’s view it was a national responsibility to have women properly educated, the current situation, in which schools and (text)books were designed with men and not women in mind, had to change. With regards to the superior wisdom of men, Kronvalde added: “You say ‘that is what we men believe in, and will continue to believe’—so be it, we shall not forbid it. And you, being superior in mind, let us hold to our beliefs” (Kronvalde, 1870). Karolı-ne Kronvalde’s reply “To the Honorable Garrs” has since been regarded as the spark igniting women’s activism and movements in Latvia thereafter. Her ideas, unique for the time, were not enthusiastically accepted by national leaders but nevertheless managed to generate a number of essays in support of the stand she had taken: see the argument by ‘Anonymous’ in Baltijas Ve -stnesis (24 December 1870) and K. M.’s “Ve -l ka -ds va -rds par un priekš tautiete -m” (One more word for and about women) in Balss (Voice) (16, 20, 23 June 1879), as well as the various related commentaries published at the time in the popular newspaper Rı-gas Lapa (Riga news). Karolı-ne Kronvalde died on 23 October 1913 and was buried in Vidus cemetery alongside her husband. Irina Novikova University of Latvia SOURCES (B) Garrs. “Piektdienas vakara -” (On Friday evening). Baltijas Ve-stnesis (Baltic herald) (29 October 1870). (B) Brant, Lı-lija. Latviešu sieviete (Latvian woman). Riga: A/S Valters un Rapa Ěenera -lkommisija -, 1931. (B) Kronvalds, A. Kopoti raksti (Collected works). A. Goba, ed...


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