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The Symbolic Construction of a Paulista Urban Identity

  • Cristina Peixoto-Mehrtens

Abstract

In 1936, a delay in the work to extend the Brasil Avenue in São Paulo city, part of a public urban improvement program, prevented several Municipal Works Department (DOP) employees from doing their job. The avenue, a vital link in the highway scheme of connecting downtown to the southern and western areas of the city, ended in a cabbage patch twenty meters short of a path already opened farther ahead.1 Visiting the site, Mayor Fábio da Silva Prado took the opportunity to talk to the cabbage patch’s owner, a chacareiro (subsistence farmer), who was watering his garden. In a serious but slightly ironic way, Prado asked, “Tell me, my friend, don’t you want the municipality to build a brand new street that will improve not only the city you live in but the site where your house stands?” Pensively, the Portuguese immigrant explained to the mayor that the piece of land they were on provided his livelihood, that the prefecture offered only 7 contos (7:000$000) for it, and that he did not know when that sum would be paid. The humble man believed this part of his land was worth more than 12 contos, and he added that even if the prefecture agreed to his terms it still might not be a good deal.2 The chacareiro argued that he and his family would starve because nobody would cover the earnings he would lose until he could settle again. Besides, it was common knowledge that the prefecture took a long time to reimburse people, that his total earnings came from this land, and that nobody would cover him until he could settle the compensation.

Keywords

National Identity Urban Space Municipal Officer Tennis Court Real Estate Company 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Paulo Duarte, lawyer, writer, historian, politician, and Fábio Prado’s right-hand man, narrated this episode twice, first in his eulogy at Prado’s funeral, Fábio Prado (São Paulo: Anhambi, 1964), 40–41, and then in his memoirs, Memórias, Os mortos de Seabrook (São Paulo: Hucitec, 1976), 226.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Delcides Carvalho stated that in 1931, the city of São Paulo was surrounded by 9,310 small rural properties dedicated mainly to horticulture and fruit growing. Carvalho used a French pseudonym in his work: Antoine Rénard, São Paulo é isto! (São Paulo: Edição do Autor, 1933), 80–81.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In 1936, as São Paulo’s mayor, Fábio Prado, made 8 contos (8:000$000) monthly (Law 3528, October 1936), the highest official municipal monthly wage. A department director received 3 contos and 500 mil-réis (3:500$000), and the lowest remunerated occupation, a servant (servente), was paid 300 mil-réis (300$000) (Act 1146, April 1936). Public officials were considered well paid. In fact, of thirty-one occupations in the DOP municipal chart, twenty-five had wages greater than 1 conto (1:000$000) monthly. According to a 1936 municipal study on the costs and living conditions of workers, a family had to make at least 600 mil-réis (600$000) monthly to survive, and an average worker in private service received between 300 mil-réis (300$000) and 399 mil-réis (399$000) monthly; Samuel Lowrie, “Ascendência das criancas registradas no parque D. Pedro II,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 39 (September 1937).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    The study of the Revista do Arquivo Municipal (RAM) was the subject of Silvana Rubino, “Clubes de Pesquisadores. A Sociedade de Etnologia e Folclore e a Sociedade de Sociologia,” História das Ciencias Sociais no Brasil 2 (São Paulo: Editora Sumaré, 1995);Google Scholar
  5. And Rita de Cássia Oliveira, “A Revista do Arquivo Municipal, Colonizadores do Futuro” (Master’s thesis, PUC/SP, 1988). Both emphasize the journal as part of DC activities and goals. Rubino researched the work of RAM contributors linked to intellectual associations and learned societies formed in the 1930s, which found legitimization because of their links to the Culture Department (e.g., the short-lived Sociedade de Sociologia and the more autonomous Sociedade de Etnografia e Folclore). Oliveira examined RAM collaborators closely linked to the Culture Department. For both, the Culture Department expressed the “modern” posture of contemporary intellectuals under director Mário de Andrade’s leadership.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    As opposed to RAM, Revista do Brasil, Mensário de Alta Cultura was a private initiative. It was launched in 1916 and discontinued in 1927 by the Mesquita Group, the same entrepreneurial organization that ran the O Estado de São Paulo newspaper and sponsored the USP creation. Under writer José Bento Monteiro Lobato’s editorial responsibility, it became the most prestigious national journal, “a landmark in the history of Paulista cultural hegemony,” quoted in Sérgio Miceli, Intelectuais e classe dirigente no Brasil 1920–1945 (São Paulo: Difel, 1979), 5. Its collaborators ranged from well-known writers such as Joaquim Machado de Assis and José de Alencar to young intellectuals from the modernist vanguard such as Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Gilberto Freyre, Plínio Salgado, and Mário de Andrade. The journal was known for its search for a national identity, a path also followed by RAM.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    On revisiting São Paulo state’s history and the reconstruction of workers’ recollections of the city, see Maria Lucia Caira Gitahy, “Desmemória das Metrópoles: apagando os rastros do trabalho de construir,” paper presented at the Brazilian Studies Association, Washington, DC, 1997.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    On this subject and its implications in the 1930s political game, see Elza Nadai, Ideologia do progresso e ensino superior São Paulo 1891–1934 (São Paulo: Loyola, 1987);Google Scholar
  9. Jorge Nagle, Educação e sociedade na Primeira República (São Paulo: Editora Pedagógica e Universitária EPU, 1974);Google Scholar
  10. And Lúcia Lippi Oliveira et al., Elite intelectual e debate politico nos anos 30. Uma bibliografia comentada da Revolução de 1930 (Rio de Janeiro: FGV, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    It is noteworthy that after the Paraguay War (1865–70), Campinas was known as “the capital of Brazilian democracy”; José F. da Rocha Pombo, História de São Paulo (São Paulo: Companhia Melhoramentos de São Paulo, 1918), 116. Campinas was home to the province’s political core of republican propaganda; Pombo, História de São Paulo, 115. According to chapter V, article 17 of the Republican Constitution, twenty hectares of public lands located in the paulista hinterlands were granted to all voluntários da patria;Google Scholar
  12. Gregório Gonçalves de Castro Mascarenhas, Terras devolutas e particulares no Estado São Paulo (São Paulo: Duprat & Co, 1912).Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    Marina Correa Vaz Silva, “Da Maria Fumaça das fábricas a Escola Livre de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo, 1922–1940” (PhD diss., PUC/SP, 1994). According to Marina Silva, the ELSP director in the 1980s, before coming to Brazil, Lowrie had already taught in China and at several colleges in the United States, and he had published both in the United States and in China; Silva, “Da Maria Fumaça,” 106. However, I could not find any evidence supporting this information and it seems unlikely that he had done that before finishing his PhD.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Sérgio Milliet and J.F. Moreno, Índice das constituições federal e do estado de São Paulo com o histórico dos incisos e a atividade parlamentar dos constituintes (São Paulo: Departamento de Cultura, 1936), 588.Google Scholar
  15. 21.
    Sérgio Milliet da Costa e Silva Milliet was a journalist, writer, and librarian. Milliet was the broker, the bridge between “the modernist generation” and the artists of the 1930s and 1940s, whose interactions originated the modern salons and served as the basis for the new art institutions of the coming decades; he was responsible for the idea of taste for the modern. Milliet did his preparatory studies in the Genève School of Commerce, University of Berna (1912–1920). He came back to São Paulo in time to participate in Modern Art Week in 1922 and then returned to Europe (France 1923–25). In 1926, he married Paulo Duarte’s sister, Maria de Lourdes Junqueira. Milliet’s uncle, Gustavo Milliet, was municipal chamber stenographer and an influential officer. During the 1930s, he was law school library director (1931–32), DC Division of Historical and Social Documents chief (1935), RAM secretary (1935), and São Paulo delegate in the 1937 Paris Population Congress. He was ELSP secretary (1933/35), professor (1937/44), and treasury officer (1941/46), O Estado de São Paulo editorial sector chief (1939–66), and municipal library director (1943–59), coorganized the Museum of Modern Art (1948–49) and its first Biennial (1951). Works: In the late 1930s, Milliet and others translated into Portuguese the work of foreign visitors to Brazil such as Johann Rugendas and Jean de Lery. Works: Milliet wrote Desenvolvimento da pequena propriedade em São Paulo (1939); several sociological essays, including Terminus Seco (1932), Marcha a ré (1936); Roteiro do Café (1941); and Diário Crítico (1940s to 1960s; published in the 1980s). In 1940 and 1948, Milliet’s address was Lorena Alameda in Jdim PaulistaGoogle Scholar
  16. 22.
    Ironically, there is not a substantial reference to Lowrie in Milliet’s diaries. This person he worked with for more than six years in two different jobs is cited once as the “foreign sociologist who noticed and found strange the slowness of the Brazilian urbanization process, even in industrial São Paulo state.” Sérgio Milliet, Diário Crítico 7 (São Paulo: Martins, 1949), 318.Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    Quoted in Duarte, Contra o vandalismo e o exterminio. No jornal e na tribuna, Coleção Departamento de Cultura, vol. 9 (São Paulo: Departamento de Cultura, 1938), 51.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    Manoel Ricardo Alves Dantas, Luis Antonio Francisco de Souza, and Ieda Pimenta Bernades, Contribuições da Sub-divisão de Documentação Social e Estatisticas municipais à formação da Sociologia e ao processo de urbanização em São Paulo nos anos 30 (São Paulo: Secretaria Municipal de Cultura Departamento de Patrimônio Histórico/Arquivo Histórico Municipal, 1995), 15–50. The authors explore other DC Social Documentation Division studies by Horace Davis (1933) and Samuel Lowrie (1936–37), developed with working-class families and containing data about food, child mortality, population growth, and mobility, among other topics.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    Samuel Lowrie, “O elemento negro na população de São Paulo,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 48 (1938), 5–56.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    Samuel Lowrie, “Origem da população da cidade de São Paulo e diferenciação das classes sociais,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 43 (1938), 212.Google Scholar
  21. 30.
    Lowrie, “Origem da população da cidade de São Paulo,” 210. Lowrie quoted from Alfredo Ellis, Populações Paulistas (São Paulo: Nacional, 1934)Google Scholar
  22. and J.P. Oliveira Vianna’s Raça e Assimilação (São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1934), to support his theoretical conclusions. Revealing an active intellectual network, J.P. Oliveira Vianna had published this subject in French: Formation Ethnique du Brésil Colonial Revue d’Histoire des Colonies 5 (Paris: La Société, 1932), 433–450.Google Scholar
  23. 32.
    This approach came to influence North American historians. Richard Morse, decades later, defined folkloric expressions of “popular culture” as practices related to a vanishing community. Among those practices, Morse recognized a series of street ballads, children’s ditties (trocinhas), popular riddles (adivinhas), and the sambas of the bootblacks. Richard Morse, From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1958), 270. Morse saw these as cultural forms that shaped the character of a community and its people. On the Division of Folklore at the DC,Google Scholar
  24. see Flavia Camargo Toni, “A missão de pesquisas folclóricas do Departamento de Cultura. Pesquisa” (São Paulo: Divisão de Difusão Cultural e Centro Cultural São Paulo, 1984).Google Scholar
  25. 33.
    On the various studies that explore the formation and institutionalization of social scientific disciplines in Brazil, the series promoted by IDESP presents critical information and puts into context the importance of the work developed by foreign intellectuals in Brazil. The series focuses mainly on the development of anthropology and sociology. Sérgio Miceli “Por uma Sociologia das Ciências Sociais,” História das Ciências Sociais no Brasil 1 (São Paulo: Editora Revista dos Tribunais, 1989); and “Condicionantes do desenvolvimento das Ciências Sociais,” Historia das Ciéncias Sociais no Brasil 1 (São Paulo: Editora Revista dos Tribunais, 1989).Google Scholar
  26. 35.
    Horace Bancroft Davis was ELSP professor of Social Economy (1933–35) under a research grant from the Foreign Policy Association Research Staff. Davis worked on the first study of cost and living standards of the Paulista laboring class (Padrão de Vida dos Operarios da Cidade de São Paulo). Before coming to Brazil, Davis worked for three years in the Bureau International du Travail, where he researched on the social conditions of the laboring class. This research turned into a book, Labor and Steel (1933), the first seven chapters of which were submitted as a thesis to the faculty of political ccience at Columbia University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Davis’s PhD in 1934. Davis stayed less than two years in São Paulo, being replaced by Edgard Otto Gothsch, a London School of Economics and Political Science assistant professor nominated by the England International Relations Ministry and hired by the state government to teach history of economic doctrine at FFCL/USP; Marina Correa Vaz Silva, “Da Maria Fumaça das fábricas a Escola Livre de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo, 1922–1940” (PhD diss., PUC/SP, 1994), 106.Google Scholar
  27. The eulogy, “Horace B. Davis: 100 Historian Labor Specialist,” Boston Globe, July 14, 1999, does not mention Davis’s days in SP. The eulogy explains that he “interrupted his studies at Harvard University to volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee, when he declined military service as a conscientious objector during World War I. Following the war, he was a steel worker and a labor journalist with the Federated Press before returning to Harvard, where he graduated in 1920. He then taught at Cornell University before earning a doctorate at Columbia University in 1932, taught at Simmons College from 1937 to 1941, the University of Kansas City from 1946 to 1953, and Shaw University from 1958 to 1961. He was also employed by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), for whom he did research and edited manuscripts from 1942 to 1945.”Google Scholar
  28. 37.
    In its original name, Free School of Sociology and Politics (ELSP), the word “free” stood for the institution’s independence from government resources “which would ideologically compromise projects and research”; in Silva, “Da Maria Fumaça,” 87. The school had the character of a foundation. According to Lowrie, the school would follow a practical orientation intended to educate young people to perform technical and administrative occupations and to master bureaucratic theory and work methodology, the discipline of social engineering; Samuel Lowrie, “Informações sobre a ELSP de São Paulo (Memorial apresentado aos senhores deputados,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 15 (1935).Google Scholar
  29. 39.
    Roberto Cardoso de Oliveira, “Tempo e tradição: interpretando a Antropologia,” Anuário Antropológico 84 (1985).Google Scholar
  30. 41.
    Paul Vanorden Shaw (b. 1898) received his PhD at Columbia University in 1930 with a thesis on Chilean politics and government in the early nineteenth century. In this very same year he published an article in the New York Times, “Forces Behind the Revolution in Brazil” (October 12, 1930). Although his published letter praised the DC as a whole, Shaw was a furious censor of “socialist” ideas. In a 1937 article for the O Estado de São Paulo, he denounced the political positions of a North American named Samuel as those of a “deluded Yankee” who commanded the “Samueland (Samuelândia)”; Paul Vanorden Shaw, “O Brasil nos Estados Unidos,” O Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo), September 12, 1937). Shaw was also an intense correspondent with Ellen Starr Brinton (1886–1954), a Quaker, feminist, and internationalist activist. Shaw was “for several years professor of American History at the University of São Paulo.”Google Scholar
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    Joseph Lee (1862–1937) wrote about philanthropy, child psychology, and the relation between education and playing (the utility of playgrounds in education). Lee contributed to several institutions, such as the National Education Association of the United States, the NRA, the Department of Hygiene (Russell Sage Foundation), and the Department of Public Recreation (American Civic Association). Lee wrote How to Start a Playground Including a Suggested Form of a Constitution of a Local Playground Association (1910); Play as an Antidote to Civilization Education Through Plays and Games (1911); The Need to Dream (1913); Play in Education (1917); and Fourth of July: Special Exercises (1918). Lee also exchanged correspondence with Eva W. White, an important American social worker and educator and director of the Americanization and Immigration Division of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Lee’s writings influenced DC procedures.Google Scholar
  33. 43.
    Howard Braucher (1881–1949) studied public recreation and its use in wartime. Braucher wrote Developments and Opportunities in the Field of Public Recreation (1910), Recreation in Wartime for All People (1942), and The Beautiful (1944).Google Scholar
  34. 44.
    Lois Williams was Samuel Lowrie’s personal friend. Williams defended her master’s thesis, The Application of a Specific Group Principle and Techniques to an Administration Problem in the Public Educational System of the Federal District of Brazil, at Northwestern University in 1940. Williams wrote The Bay of Monterey: Learning About Role-Playing for Children and Teachers (1931).Google Scholar
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    Filling into this gap is the insightful unique work by Mariza Corrêa, Antropólogas & Antropologia (Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2003).Google Scholar
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  38. 51.
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  44. 64.
    Part of the DOP Additional Tax division was engineer Álvaro Maurício Varella, who was dedicated to study the São Paulo Estate Registry. Álvaro Maurício Varella, “Em torno da publicação do trabalho Cadastro Imobiliário de São Paulo,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 34 (1937), 230–263.Google Scholar
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    SEM responsibilities “included both the defense of the sector’s interests as well as the creation of opportunities of technical improvement … and to spread to other technicians the new municipal methods and practices”; quoted in Alberto de Zagottis, “Estudo da organização dos serviços do cadastro geral, da estatistica e dum orgão coordenador,” Revista do Arquivo Municipal 40 (1937), 239.Google Scholar
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