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539 STETINA, Ilona (Mrs Gyula Sebestyén) (1855–1932) Teacher; leading figure in the national movement to improve women’s vocational and teacher-training; co-founder (1885) and Vice-President (1889–1932) of the Mária Dorothea Egyesület (Mária Dorothea Association) for women teachers; editor (1890–1915) of the influential periodical Nemzeti Nőnevelés (National women’s education); director (1911–1926) of Budapest’s Állami Nőipariskola (State Women’s Trade School). Ilona Stetina was born on 27 March 1855 to a well-off Catholic family in the eastern Hungarian town of Großwardein/ Nagyvárad (today Oradea, Romania). Her father, Lipot Stetina (dates of birth and death unknown), was from landed family in western Hungary (Dunántúl). He qualified as an engineer in Vienna and returned to Hungary to serve as an army lieutenant, earning distinction for his military exploits. After the 1848/49 war, Lipot Stetina married Erzsébet Lipniczky (dates of birth and death unknown), who had been brought up by relatives in Transylvania (the Brádys of Hunyad County), and the couple had a daughter, Ilona (data regarding other children unknown). Shortly after Ilona’s birth, Lipot Stetina died and his widow moved from Nagyvárad to the smaller town of Kisjenő further south (today Chişineu-Criş). Ilona spent her youth there without receiving any systematic education. In 1868, the Magyar Gazdaasszonyok Országos Egyesülete (National Association of Hungarian Farmer Women) invited Ilona’s mother to run their orphanage in the as yet nonunified city that would become Budapest. She accepted the offer and moved to the emergent capital with her daughter. After one year of regular schooling, Ilona Stetina was admitted to the Állami Elemi Tanítónő- és Nevelőnőképző (State Institute for the Instruction of Women Primary School Teachers) in Buda (hereafter the Buda Institute). By 1874, she had not only become a qualified primary and intermediate school teacher, but had also been given a teaching post at the Buda Institute. In the mid-1870s, numbers of qualified female teachers were low in Hungary and opportunities presented themselves to Stetina, who seems to have shown initiative early on. She was taken under the wing of Janka Zirzen (1824–1904), the director of the Buda Institute and later of the separate Állami Polgári Iskolai Tanítónőképzőintézet 540 (State Institute for the Instruction of Women Secondary School Teachers) in Pest (hereafter the Pest Institute). The idea that women’s trade institutes join forces with teacher-training institutes received state support in 1876 and Stetina organized and gave courses at the Pest Institute to broaden women’s vocational skills. She spent a month in Transylvania studying local industries and obtaining teaching materials in the interest of “strengthening national trade” (Zirzen 1885, 18). Together, Stetina and Zirzen carried out surveys of successfully functioning women’s trade schools in Vienna , Munich and Stuttgart. Stetina became a member of the Pest Institute’s Examination Board and a supervisory committee member of the new Nőipariskola (Women’s Trade School), established in 1874 by the Országos Nőiparegylet (ONE, National Women’s Trade Association). In 1878, Stetina helped organize the National Exhibition of Women in Trades, held in Székesfehérvár. The aim of these initiatives was to develop domestic industry within the framework of national advancement. Strategies to achieve this were unclear and this was reflected in constant organizational change at the Pest Institute. Stetina described the instability of her working environment as the product of “underdeveloped” ideas concerning women’s education and “insufficient resources” (Kiss and Stetina 1896, 72). In 1881, Ilona Stetina became Mrs Gyula Sebestyén. Her husband had been teaching at the Pest Institute since 1877 and was the editor of Nemzeti Nőnevelés (National women’s education), a monthly periodical founded by the teaching body of the Pest Institute in 1879. Prior to the emergence of an openly feminist forum in Hungary after the turn of the century, Nemzeti Nőnevelés scrutinized the practical and theoretical implications of women’s situation in contemporary society and sought to initiate studied debates of the issues. Stetina and her husband had at least one child together, a daughter called Julia (born 8 January 1886 in Budapest), who became a teacher herself and, in 1932, secretary of the Mária Dorothea Egyesület (Mária Dorothea Association ) for women teachers (see below). Upon marriage, Stetina gave up her job to...


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