Lydia Sklevicky Feminist Collection
Lydia Sklevicky's Feminist Collection at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb consists of a newspaper and periodicals collection, documentation and a library that testify to Sklevicky’s professional work and interests, primarily related to feminism and the issues of women's rights in Yugoslavia and the world. Sklevicky was one of the protagonists of the late 1970s and 1980s who put women's issues in focus and criticized the unenviable position of women in Yugoslavia, particularly by pointing out the discrepancy between their contribution in World War II and their prominent role in the post-war period on the one hand, and their re-marginalization since the mid-1950s on the other.
Zagreb Šubićeva ulica 42, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
- Lydia Sklevicky Feminist Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
Lydia Sklevicky's Feminist Collection at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb was officially formed in 1990, after the Institute inherited the materials left behind by Lydia Sklevicky after her tragic and sudden death, as well as the materials donated to the Institute's Library by her family after her death. But the actual year of the foundation of the Collection was 1976, when Sklevicky was hired and began collecting materials for her work. The collection consists of a newspaper and periodicals collection, a documentation section and a library, which testify to Sklevicky’s professional work and interests, and are primarily related to feminism and issues of women's rights in Yugoslavia and the world, while a smaller part of the collection is related to research into folkloric customs and new holidays in Croatia.
The Collection was originally located at the Institute in Zvonimirova Street in Zagreb, in Sklevicky's room on the fourth floor, which was left untouched after her death. In 2006, the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research moved to Šubićeva 42, and with it the Sklevicky Collection. After the move, the collection was no longer physically consolidated; the newspaper and periodicals collection was separated and stored in the Library's archives, while the library from the Sklevicky collection was attached to the library fund under the separate LS signature. The documentation section remains a part of the documentation of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research. The documentation and library parts of the collection are filed and processed, and are visible in the library catalogue and in the documentation database, while the newspaper and periodicals collection remains unlisted but is available to the public in the library's premises.
Lydia Sklevicky began dealing with the issues of women's rights and women's history in the mid-1970s as a feminist activist, in form of public forums and articles in newspaper publications, and as a scholar. Her first scholarly presentation on the subject of women's history was “From the struggle for rights to legal struggle” at the conference "The Social Status of Women and the Family in Self-management Socialism“ in Portorož in 1976. Sklevicky continued her scientific work on this topic in several research articles, her master's thesis and in an unfinished dissertation, and she also edited two proceedings of Anthropology of Women (1983) together with Žarana Papić and Women and Society. Sklevicky wrote a preface to Cultivating Dialogue (1987) which was officially edited by Rade Kalanj and Željka Šporer.
As an active feminist, Sklevicky worked in Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Belgrade. Her activism is reflected in the materials found in this collection, from which a poster announcing a lecture held at the ŠKUC Gallery in Ljubljana on May 17, 1986, and organized by the feminist group Lilit may be singled out. Another example consists of two photographs (photographer: Dragan Papić) of Lydia Sklevicky taken at a forum held at the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade on January 7, 1982.
The reason why Lydia Sklevicky's activity can be considered cultural opposition to the socialist regime is particularly evident in the thinking and testimony of her colleague Biljana Kašić, who feels that "socialism never accepted and recognized the feminists, to whom Lydia belonged, as heroines,˝ but quite seriously saw them as a threat to established patterns of social relations. Furthermore, Kašić believes that the feminist initiatives of the 1970s, including the "Women and Society" section of the Croatian Sociological Association, were – for the political authorities – too: “pro-Western,” “offensively emancipatory, dangerous.“ The most picturesque metaphor of this "harmless" political viewpoint is perhaps seen in the insistence on the historical invisibility of women, which Lydia opposed in her personal life and in her research. Soon Lydia's feminist history prompted a Party shift to the extent that the woman's history she was writing was labelled a mitigatory "good" and irrelevant. The regime clearly opposed anything different, and at the same time fostered the hypocrisy of its own historical constructions. To the representatives of political power and ideologically-driven historical researchers, archived women's stories were just empty declarations of support for "great" historical aspirations. "(Kašić, 1995, 36-37).
The materials from the Sklevicky Collection were used in the book Horses, Women, Wars after her death. The book was prepared by Dunja Rihtman Auguštin in 1996, and consists of published and unpublished works by Lydia Sklevicky dedicated to the “women’s question“ and women's issues in socialist Yugoslavia. Materials from the Sklevicky Collection were presented at a traveling exhibition of the European COURAGE project in the cities of Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, Warsaw and Bratislava in 2018.
Description of content
The Lydia Sklevicky Feminist Collection of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb consists of a newspaper and periodicals collection, a documentation section and a library. The newspaper and periodicals collection is located in the Institute’s library and is divided into three parts: Calendar of National/Folk Traditions, Political Rituals and Women's History, of which women's history accounts for the largest part. This collection consists of 34 files sorted either by themes or just marked with different colours. Files are divided into topics: Yu-feminists, ♀ Yu Foreign Texts, INTERNAT. SISTERHOOD, SOCIAL HIST., WOMEN AND WAR, GRANTS (AAUW), ♀ - WORK - TEXTS.
The newspaper and periodicals part of the collection consists mostly of newspaper clippings that were cut from domestic and foreign periodicals published in the period from 1978 to 1989. Some of the publications are: Politika, Studenski list, Danas, Time, Newsweek, Svijet, Književni svet, Nin, Women, Borba, Oko, Slobodna Dalmacija, Mladina and others. Sklevicky also collected materials for the organization of meetings (Women and Labour), letters and documentation for scholarships, and foreign literature in English, German and Italian. There is also a separate file of newspaper clippings in which she is mentioned.
Part of the Library is also consists of 160 books left by Sklevicky, which she mostly used to study women's history. While studying these issues, Sklevicky adopted on an interdisciplinary approach, so the library contains historical, anthropological, ethnographic, sociological and political books, and well as books on psychology.
The documentation in the collection is located in the Institute’s documentation section and consists of Lydia Sklevicky's master's thesis and unfinished doctoral thesis, collected photographs on the subject of political rituals and two television broadcasts related to political rituals.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): unknown quantity
- photos: unknown quantity
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 100-499
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 0-9
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
- Starčević Štambuk, Anamarija
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Kalanj, Rade, Šporer, Željka. 1987. Žena i društvo - kultiviranje dijaloga: zbornik radova (Women and Society - cultivating dialogue: proceedings). Zagreb: Sociološko društvo Hrvatske
Sklevicky, Lydia and Žarana Papić. 1983. Antropologija žene (Anthropology of women). Beograd: Prosveta
Sklevicky, Lydia. ˝Antifašistička fronta žena - kulturnom mijenom do žene "novog tipa"˝ (Antifascist Women’s Front – through cultural change to the ˝new type˝ of woman). Gordogan (Zagreb), vol VI, br 15-16 (1984), 73-111.
Sklevicky, Lydia. ˝Ka antropologiji žene˝ (Toward the anthropology of women). Revija za sociologiju (Zagreb), vol X, br 1-2 (1980), 29-46.
Sklevicky, Lydia. ˝Od borbe za prava do prave borbe˝ (From the struggle for rights to the real fight). Žena (Zagreb), vol XXXIV, no 3 (1976), 92-99.
Sklevicky, Lydia. ˝Odnos spolova u znanstvenom i publicističkom radu Vere Stein Erlich˝ (The Sex Relationship in Scientific and Publicity Work of Vera Stein Erlich). Žena (Zagreb), vol 42, br 5-6 (1984), 62-74.
Sklevicky, Lydia. 1996. Konji, žene, ratovi (Horses, Women, Wars). Ed. Dunja Rithman Auguštin, Zagreb: Druga.
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Bencetić, Lidija
1.Kašić, Biljana. ˝Lydia Sklevicky 1952-1990˝, Časopis za suvremenu povijest (Zagreb), vol 22, br 1-2 (1990), 257-260.
2. Rihtman-Auguštin, Dunja. ˝Lydia Sklevicky (1952-1990). In memoriam˝, Oko (Zagreb), br 3 (1990), 26.
3. Sklevicky, Lydia. 1996. Konji, žene, ratovi. Ed. Dunja Rithman Auguštin, Zagreb: Druga
4. Iveković, Rada. ˝Lydiji začinjavki˝. Kruh i ruže (Zagreb), br 3 (1995), 26-27.
5. Kašić, Biljana. ˝Ženska povijesna priča˝. Kruh i ruže (Zagreb), br 3 (1995), 36-37.
6. Rihtman Auguštin, Dunja. ˝Lydia: Potraga za spoznajama koje će uznemiriti naše znanje˝. Kruh i ruže (Zagreb), br 3 (1995), 20-22.
Starčević Štambuk, Anamarija, interview by Bencetić, Lidija , March 01, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection