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331 MELLER, Mrs Artur, Eugénia Miskolczy (1872–1944) Leading representative of the Hungarian Feministák Egyesülete (FE, Feminist Association) in the interwar period; key figure in building and maintaining relations with the international women’s movement. Mrs Artur Meller was born Eugénia Miskolczy on 14 January 1872, into a Jewish family in Budapest, the capital (then undergoing unification) of Hungary . Her parents, who had married in 1870, were Adolf Miskolczy (Miskolci), a manufacturer (born 1839), and Laura Weisz (1849–1883), who died when her daughter Eugénia was just eleven years old. Eugénia had an older brother and a younger sister, both of whom died in early childhood, as well as another sister, born in 1879. In the early 1890s, Eugénia Miskolczy married Artur Meller (born 1859), an inspector for the Hungarian National Bank. They had four children: Vilmos (b. 1896); Laura (b. 1898); Erzsébet (b. 1899) and Rózsa (b. 1901). Information on Eugenia’s schooling is unavailable. In the interwar period she worked as a trained language teacher and held an academic position at the Társadalmi Múzeum (Museum of Society), a state institution in Budapest. Mrs Artur Meller (as she became upon marriage; in Hungarian Meller Arturné) grew active in the women’s movement in the early twentieth century. She was a founding and active member of the Feministák Egyesülete (FE, Feminist Association ) from its inception in 1904 until its dissolution (it was probably banned) in the early 1940s. The liberal–progressive FE struggled for women’s rights (including suffrage) and gender equality in all spheres of life. In the early years of the association , Meller worked for women’s suffrage but she also gave regular lectures at socalled Parent Conferences (on sex-education for children, children’s health and material values in education). These conferences were organized by the FE within the framework of its “Select a Profession” counseling system for girls and their parents. Meller also published on topics such as child protection in the FE journals: A Nő és a Társadalom (Woman and society); later A Nő. Feminista Folyóirat (Woman. A feminist journal). It was Meller who, on behalf of the FE, prepared a radical cri- 332 tique of the marriage regulations stipulated in the 1913 draft of the Hungarian Civil Code. She called for a balance to be drawn between the pursuit of gender equality and the conscious consideration of the existing inequalities and needs of women, as well as for greater choice (e.g. over family names) for both women and men. By 1906, Meller had become one of the 24 (later more) members of the FE Board. She would be re-elected several times. In 1912/1913, she was a member of the independent committee responsible for preparing the seventh international congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) that took place in Budapest in 1913. Some time earlier, she had replaced Róza Schwimmer for longer periods as head of the Political Committee of the FE (focusing on suffrage); in 1912, she filled the newly created function of Head Secretary of the Political Committee . When Schwimmer left for London in 1914, finally emigrating in 1920, Meller took over (in practice) the leadership of the Political Committee. During World War I, she was very active in pacifist work and helped organize, along with other members of the FE, what became ‘the banned 1916 Feminist Congress’: a planned public demonstration against the war that was finally forbidden by the authorities. As the national–conservative and semi-authoritarian Horthy regime of the interwar period began placing gradual limitations on suffrage, including women’s suffrage as introduced in 1919 (i.e. with some complex restrictions), Meller continued to focus on suffrage issues. Prior to the parliamentary elections in March 1920, Meller, together with Executive President of the FE Vilma Glücklich, signed and sent a letter to all members of the association in Budapest, urging them to vote and to campaign for the only female candidate, Margit Slachta. Slachta, who was standing for the Keresztény Nemzeti Egyesülés Pártja (National Christian Union Party) was promoted by the FE on the grounds that “no matter how anti-feminist in her selfrepresentation , ... natural development [would] lead [Slachta’s] deeds in the national assembly in a feminist direction” (MOL P999/file on the 1920 elections, f. 4). Meller was also involved in FE activities related to education. In 1923, for instance , the FE...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155053726
Related ISBN
9789637326394
MARC Record
OCLC
868217084
Pages
698
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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