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484 SCHWIMMER, Róza (Bédy-Schwimmer, Bédi-Schwimmer, Rózsa, Rosika) (1877–1948) Leading figure of the progressive–liberal wing of the Hungarian women’s movement with a strong commitment to political and economic equality, suffrage and pacifism ; high-ranking international networker until World War I; worked for peace and world government after her exile from Hungary (1920) and life-long relocation to the USA (1921). Róza Schwimmer was born on 11 September 1877 in Budapest, into an upper middle-class Jewish family. Her mother, born Bertha Katscher (1856– 1927), and her father, agricultural trader Max Schwimmer (born between 1843 and 1845–d.1922), married in 1877. Róza, who had a younger brother Béla (1878–?) and a younger sister Franciska (1880–1955), grew up in Temesvár (today Timisoara, Romania) and Szabadka (today Subotica, Yugoslavia). After her father’s business went bankrupt , the whole family moved to Budapest in 1897 but never recovered from financial difficulties. In addition to four years of secondary schooling, Róza received substantial language training (French and German), a musical education, as well as completing, at the age of 21, an evening trade school in Temesvár in 1899. By the mid-1890s, she had worked as an office employee in Temesvár and Szabadka, and later did so in Budapest as well, although no further formal employment of this kind is reported after March 1904. Schwimmer, from that time onwards, supported herself in various ways, particularly from her writing, public speaking, journalism (at home and abroad) and, at least in the prewar period, from her income as an editor. In later life, she received additional and regular material support from her close friend Lola Maverick Lloyd (whom she had met during her first visit to the United States in 1914–1915; see for instance the agreement between them in NYPL Róza Schwimmer, June 1913, giving a suffrage speach at a public meeting of the Constitutional Party in Budapest, Bakáts square 485 SLC A478), remaining dependent on Lloyd for decades. After Schwimmer’s death in New York in 1948, this support was extended by the Lloyd family to Schwimmer ’s secretary and co-worker Edith Wynner. In 1904, Róza Schwimmer called herself Rózsa Bédy-Schwimmer for the first time. According to unconfirmed sources, her formal marriage with the journalist Bédy lasted from 1911 to 1913. She had no children. In the interwar period, Schwimmer was recorded by the Hungarian authorities as being without confession, and married or having been married to Sándor Aszódi. After the turn of the century, Schwimmer became a key figure in the Hungarian women’s movement, enlarging and reshaping the political and organizational landscape of that movement. In 1897, she was a member of the newly founded Nőtisztvisel ők Országos Egyesülete (NOE, National Association of Women Employees); in 1899, Vice-President and from 1900 or 1901 to 1908, President. Later, Schwimmer remained a member of the NOE Board. In 1902–1903, she worked, in close cooperation with social democratic women, on the foundation of a women workers’ association, formally established as the Magyarországi Munkásnők Országos Egyesülete (National Association of Woman Workers in Hungary) in 1904, with Schwimmer as the first President. From 1901–1902 onwards, Schwimmer’s activities in Budapest and Hungary became increasingly intertwined with her unfolding contacts with journals and representatives of the international women’s movement (in particular Dutch feminist Aletta Jacobs), and with endeavors by the International Council of Women (ICW) and the nascent International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) to expand their organizational base into the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1903–1904, Schwimmer worked to found what was to become the Magyarországi Nőegyesületek Szövetsége (Alliance of Women’s Associations in Hungary), a member of the ICW from 1904. In the summer of 1904, Schwimmer, together with her close co-worker Vilma Glücklich, participated in the gatherings of the ICW and the IWSA in Berlin. At the latter (the founding congress of the IWSA), she was endowed with the status of a delegate without full voting rights. “Man is happy only when in his own element; you were hap(py) ... in Berlin 1904 ... like a fish in water,” wrote Schwimmer’s uncle Leopold Katscher (who had accompanied her) to his niece (NYPL SLC K2-Katscher to Schwimmer 29.09.1906). Subsequently, Schwimmer and Glücklich initiated the establishment of the Feministák...

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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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