Eustahija Arsić (1776-1843) was the first Serbian female writer to have her books printed. She was also the first woman to work with the Matica srpska foundation and eventually become its first female member. She was a proponent of the Age of Enlightenment, and particularly vocal on the topic of women’s right to education. She promoted the endowment of Serbian and Romanian educational and religious institutions, as well as the Matica srpska foundation itself. Her writings are included in The Anthology of Olden Serbian Poetry by M. Leskovac.
Judita Horovic (1787-1857) was the first local female independent merchant in the food industry. Hers is the only female name to be found in the records of governing heads of Jewish families in Novi Sad in 1844. She was the first woman to officially submit a proposal for the opening of a women-centered organization in Novi Sad in 1848.
Marija Trandafil (1816-1883) is considered the greatest philanthropist in Serbian history. Her most famous bequest is the “Orphanage of Marija Trandafil for Serbian Orthodox-Christian Children”. The building is now the home of the Matica srpska foundation and the Library of Matica srpska. In addition to helping the needy, she supported the renovation and renewal of many churches in Novi Sad. She established the self-titled foundation for the financial support of Novi Sad’s high school students.
Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja (1828-1878), nicknamed “the fairy of Vrdnik“, was a poet, author, and translator. She was also the first female war correspondent in the region. Her 1862 piece about the bombing of Belgrade entitled “The Heart and the Barricades” was published in the Hungarian Daily Paper the same year. She worked as an associate of Vuk Karadžić, collecting folk proverbs. She published three collections of poetry and two volumes of her diary called In Fruška gora.
Savka Subotić (1834-1918) was a researcher in the field of traditions concerning the social lives of women. She fought for women’s rights to education, and financial independence and self-sustainability. After her talk “Woman on the East and the West” at the Science Club in Vienna in 1911, she became the most famous woman of the region. She was the first chairwoman of The Serbian National Women’s Council, The Circle of Serbian Sisters and The Collective of Serbian Women from Novi Sad.
Draga Dejanović (1840-1871) was the first woman in the Balkan region to offer a clearly formulated feminist theory, influenced by national ideas on the topic. She presented her theories in public lectures (“A Couple of Words about Serbian Women”, “To Serbian Mothers”) and in an essay “The Emancipation of Serbian Women” published in 1870. For her, feminism wasn’t just a theory, but a way of life. She promoted a new vision of a financially independent and modern-thinking woman.
Draga Gavrilović (1854-1917) was the first female novelist in Serbian literature. Her first published work was called “A Young Woman’s Novel”. She is considered the establisher of the category of “women’s fiction” in Serbia, as well as credited as being one of the first Serbian feminists. Alongside novels, she wrote poetry, short stories, humor columns, and opinion pieces. Her work was published in the most significant journals of her time, such as Javor, Orao, Sadašnjost, Neven, and Starmali.
Milica (1854-1881) and Anka (1855-1923) Ninković were the first Serbian feminists with an education in politics, and thus the first feminists joining the political fight. They developed their feminist views within the framework of the socialist movement. They were associates and writers for all socialist papers, as well as translators. Milica is known for translating “Serbia in the East” by Svetozar Marković (from Serbian to Russian).
Adel Nemešanji (1857-1933) was the first woman to hold the position of principal of the Novi Sad Trade School with a teaching program in Hungarian. In 1891 she founded and became chairmen of the “Maria Dorottya” collective that worked on the betterment of the education women receive as well as the organizing of female teachers.
Milica Tomić (1859-1944) writer, journalist and politician, is one of the most important Serbian feminists. From 1911 to 1914, and then again from 1918 to 1921, she was the editor and publisher of the journal called “Woman”. The journal openly discussed political rights of women, advocating an increase in women’s involvement. She was one of the seven women from Vojvodina who were chosen as representatives in the Great Assembly in 1918, after which women quickly gained the legal right to vote.
Mileva Marić Einstein (1875-1948) was educated in Ruma, Novi Sad, Sremska Mitrovica, Šabac and Zagreb – wherever they would allow women. At the age of 19, she went to Zurich, one of the few European cities where women could study. She first enrolled in medical studies, and then in 1896 she transferred to the State Polytechnic School, to study physics and mathematics. She was the only girl in a group of six students and only the fifth woman to be admitted to the physics and mathematics department at all.
LJUDMILA HURBANOVA (Stara Pazova, 1878-1969) Slovak playwright, actress, president of the Central Association of Czechoslovak Women in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. She wrote prose and drama texts, and her most significant engagement was in the theater. In the period from 1903 to 1925 she played, directed and organized numerous amateur theater plays in Stara Pazova and during which time she was running the theater chronicle of Stara Pazova amateurs (1903-1933), which was only published in Slovak language in 1993 as Kronika divadelného ochotníctva v Starej Pazove v rokoch 1903–1933. (Chronicle of theatrical amateurism in Stara Pazova in the years 1903–1933).
ERŽIKA MIČATEKOVA (Kisač 1872–1951) Slovak writer, translator, activist for women’s rights and president of the Central Association of Czechoslovak Women in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. She wrote prose, journalistic texts and translated from Serbian, Slovenian and Russian language. The series of her texts, which she wrote for the newspaper Živena in the period from 1924–1927 under the title Letters from Yugoslavia, are significant for the history of the women’s movement, in which she informed about social events and the work of the association. For her work in the field of enriching folk culture, especially among women in the Slovak community in Vojvodina, she was awarded the Order of St. Sava V class, which she was decorated by King Aleksandar Karađorđević.
Jelena Kon (1883-1942) was a humanitarian who founded the charity “Crust of Bread” in 1925, as well as a Kindergarten. The organizations were open to the general public, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. Thanks to her advocacy, Queen Marija Karađorđević oversaw the building of a new institution, the “Crust of Bread Home”, which still houses a kindergarten today. Jelena Kon was murdered in 1942, during the Novi Sad Raid.
Anica Savić Rebac (1892-1953) is one of the most learned women of the mid-20th century Serbia. She left a remarkable legacy of poetry, essays and translated works. She was a member of a group of Belgrade female intellectuals who founded the Yugoslav Organization of University Educated Women in 1927. She was one of the first women to be accepted into the Yugoslav PEN Club.
Ida Sabo (1915 -2016) was a communist, anti-fascist, a partisan, member of the Yugoslav People’s Liberation Fight, the president of the Women’s Antifascist Front, and a women’s liberation fighter. She has numerous accolades and awards to her name. After World War II, she remained an active politician.
JUDITA ŠALGO (Novi Sad, 1941-1996) writer. She wrote poetry, prose and essays, and translated from Hungarian and English. She was the program editor at the Youth Forum and later the editor at the Matica Srpska Publishing Centre. The beginning of her work is connected to the Vojvodina’s neo-avant-garde wave, which shook the Novi Sad literary and artistic scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Language research, experiments in text, genre subversion, and hybrid form have remained permanently inscribed in her literary writing style. She has published three poetry collections, a collection of stories and a collection of essays, as well as two novels.
KATALIN LADIK (1942) poet, performer, actress. She appeared on the Yugoslav art scene for the first time as one of the founders of the Subotica avant-garde group Bosch + Bosch. Her multi-genre experimental work includes literature, poetry and prose, phonic poetry, interpretation of experimental sound compositions and radio games, acting, performances, happenings, actions and mail art. Katalin Ladik’s performances, as an extension of her female identity, can be classified as subversive feminist practices. She has published 20 poetry collections and one novel. She is the winner of the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and Courage Award for the Arts 2016.
ANKICA OPREŠNIK (1919–2005), painter and graphic artist. After completing her undergraduate and master’s studies in Belgrade, she transferred her life and work to Novi Sad, where she became part of the artistic milieu of the city. She integrated the influence of famous professors (Ivan Tabaković, Marko Čelebonović, Milo Milunović, Mihajlo Petrov) into the creation of authentic expression within the framework of intimism, poetic realism and lyrical expressionism. In the years of general affirmation of Yugoslav graphics, she remains an almost lone example of an artist who dedicated herself to research in the field of visual and poetic possibilities of this technique. From 1952 to 1974, Oprešnikova regularly exhibited at the May Graphics and Color Graphics festivals, and for almost four decades she was closely associated with the Graphic Collective. In 1954, she participated in the Yugoslav selection of the Venice Biennale. She is the winner of the award for graphics at the international exhibition in Lugano, as well as numerous other national and international awards. With her painting and graphic preoccupations, she made a significant contribution to the most advanced artistic aspirations of the second half of the 20th century.
NOVI SAD „SVILARA“ (OLD SILK FACTORY) The first state-owned factory in Novi Sad, but also in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, is „Svilara“ in Novi Sad, which has been active for almost 250 years, under different names and in different locations. The history of silkworm breeding and sericulture in Novi Sad and Vojvodina begins with the arrival of Serbs in The Great Migration at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century and it lasted until the 1970s. That period can be observed through four different historical phases. The first period lasted until the Bombing of 1848/49. The second part covers the time until the First World War. The third is the interwar period, and the fourth covers the period of communism. Silkworm breeding in Bačka had its golden age in the periods of the middle of the 18th century-1838, and then from 1852 until 1857. Although neither silk thread nor silk cloth is made in that building today, the building is active and silk worthy art and culture programs are produced in it.
OLD AND NEW FACE OF THE COOKWARE/KUVARICE The term „cookware/kuvarice“ („wall cloths“, „tapestry“, „wall hangings“) refers to hand-embroidered cloths located on the wall above the stove, kitchen table and sink. The construct “ cookware/kuvarica “ consists of a composite of unavoidable elements which define it: two-dimensionality, placement on the wall, canvas and thread for embroidery, embroidery and motif transfer techniques, stylized compositions, linear contours, motifs and symbols, short linguistic structures in the form of monologues. Their visual and lexical construct expresses certain social, religious, moral and aesthetic norms. The influence of “ cookware/kuvarice “ on socialization, building gender identity, integration of society, affirmation of values and transfer of cultural patterns from generation to generation, is based on the fact that the kitchen, in which they were displayed, occupied a central place for family gatherings.