History for Everyone 1-2/2012


Boris Golec

Stanislav Južnič

Dragica Čeč

Andreas Golob

Marko Zajc

Simona Lešnjak

Dunja Dobaja

Miran Aplinc


A False Valvasor Unintentionally Helps Uncover the Hidden Destiny of True Valvasors

Books Like to Travel Across the Oceans, do They not ?

The Life Stories of Servants

A Youth Spent in Maribor

Sotla, the Tiny Water


An Overview of the Development of Healt h Legislation in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy between 1867 and 1918




A False Valvasor Unintentionally Helps Uncover the Hidden Destiny of True Valvasors

Two “Outcasts” from the Valvasor family in mid-17th century and the polymath’s cleansing of the family tree

The frauds that the false Jurij Sigmund Valvasor committed by sending letters to the Hanover and Polish Courts were the acts of a man of unknown name and origin, who, as a result, ended up in detention in 1714. The fraudster’s false claims of kinship with the family of Carniolan Barons of Valvasor immediately spurred an official investigation into his identity. Thus in Graz, the only local Valvasor, Gregor Ferdinand, an estates-of-the-realm gunsmith master, was interrogated. He knew nothing about the detained supposed relative; however, his brief answers to six questions unintentionally reveal precious facts about two real Carniolan Valvasors and their descendants. The first was his father Jurij Sigismund; the second his father’s cousin Janez Ditrih. The former was cousin and the latter brother of the famous polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693). Until now, very little was known about the destiny of these two men: both married women of a lower class; this was opposed by their relatives, who made them leave Carniola. As a result, Janez Vajkard Valvasor omitted their descendants from the Valvasor family tree; he only made the laconic remark that they had left the province and proclaimed them deceased. It now turns out that their fate was sealed in the same year of 1657, that neither had gone far away and that their sons met accidentally in Graz at the beginning of the 18th century. Invaluable new data from a short statement of the gunsmith master Valvasor frin 1715 have helped connect the scarce facts into a mosaic. The facts about his family that Janez Vajkard Valvasor wanted to hide came to light with the help of a false Valvasor, a fraudster, who may have chosen his family name after the very polymath Valvasor.

Stanislav JUŽNIČ

Books Like to Travel Across the Oceans, do They not ?

About the Travel of Carniolan Books to Indians, not Even to Mention Baron Zois’ Examination

For the first time in historiography this research presents the final examination thesis of Baron Karel Zois (* 1756; † 1799), a younger brother of the more famous Sigismund. The title of the document was its only known detail up to now. The description considers the age of the documents and its path to the former Ljubljana Lyceum Library. Its absence from Sigismund Zois’ catalogues and even from Joseph Kalasanc Erberg’s Carniola Literary History is striking and duly highlighted. Despite the poor references on Karel Zois’ title page, the research provided a list of his Graz professors. The mathematical-technical provenience in the contents of Karel’s final examination is striking, but in some way, it formed a useful path to his later botanical interests. K. Zois’ examination theses bound with Bion’s mathematics was one of a large group of reprints and translations, which Graz students produced under the supervision of their mathematics teacher Taupe and most of all by Biwald. Many of these texts were widely read among the Carniolans, especially in the well-equipped libraries of the Barons Zois and Erberg. For the first time, the focus falls on the most interesting among them, the anthology of doctoral dissertations defended under the famous Linnaeus, which Biwald reprinted in Graz in 1764 for the first time. Erberg bought the item for his botanical enterprises in his gardens for the Dol manor near Ljubljana, but the book eventually made its way to Berlin, and later came to rest in the University town of Norman, Oklahoma, which in Zois and Erberg’ time was just a part of the huge, mostly uninhabited prairie of western Native Americans.

Dragica ČEČ

The Life Stories of Servants

The first part of the article will examine domestic service legislation and its development in the 18th century, which was marked by a transition from the Aristotelian perception of domestic service as the foundation of early Modern Age society into the era of the absolutist state and its concept of a strong police force. The second part will feature the identities and then reconstructions of the destinies and life stories of various domestic servants from both cities and the countryside. It is particularly notable that their life stories were recorded at different stages of their lives. These stories from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century reflect both the personal as well as attributed identities of domestic servants.

Andreas GOLOB

A Youth Spent in Maribor

The Diary of the Zoologist Karl Heider 1870-1873

The diary of Karl Heider about his youth in Maribor is an extensive and authentic source of information about socialization in a family of barons that had acquired the status of nobility by education. These families were scattered across the Hapsburg Monarchy in the 1870s; however, they maintained close ties. The young were introduced to the social elite by the local petit-bourgeois approximations of salon life. In addition, they could choose from an entire palette of other entertainment and educational possibilities, both at home and outside of it that helped them develop not only in a social but also in a cultural sense. The professional growth of this prospective natural sciences scholar was also stimulated by his social environment, on the one hand, and equally so by encouragement he received at school, on the other. This tendency and early political manifestations in the liberal German-national camp resulted in a conflict with the Roman Catholic cornerstone of the family (and, likewise, statehood) tradition.

Marko ZAJC

Sotla, the Tiny Water

River Sotla as a Natural, Political and Ideological Border in the 19th and the Beginning of the 20th Century

The author analyzes discourse about the river Sotla in Slovenian newspapers from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The Sotla river marked both the border between Styria and Croatia and that between the Austrian and Hungarian provinces. At the same time, it was the border between Slovenians and Croats. The first part of the article is dedicated to the problem of natural borders in history and geography. In the second part, newspaper articles are used to develop a thesis about the Sotla as a “natural border” between Slovenians and Croats. In the then-valid Slovenian value system, the Sotla was a river that connected and divided; however, it was a border that connected more than it divided. Slovenian and Yugoslav sentiments were an integral component of Slovenian national ideology; this is why Slovenian nationalists favored an alliance with Croats and an open border on the Sotla. They also emphasized the connective role of the Sotla in historical and ethnographic discourse. Despite a certain antipathy to the idea, Slovenian and Croatian patriots had to take into consideration the fact that the Sotla represented a strong state-political border within the Hapsburg Monarchy. In geopolitical discussions about the relationship between the Germanic and Slavic worlds, the Sotla represented the final frontier of direct German influence: the province of Styria was politically dominated by Germans. Although politicians often coopted it, the Sotla cared little about politics. The river flooded fields regardless of their owners’ political affinities; for this reason, the population demanded that it be regulated. However, regulation required cooperation with both the central authorities in Vienna and the Croatian authorities, resulting in long bureaucratic harmonization procedures. In the final section of the article, the author examines the Sotla river border from the point of view of everyday life: the close proximity of the neighboring province with a different legal and economic situation provided human resourcefulness with countless opportunities (trade, contraband and theft).



Entertainment and Drinking Habits of Slovenian Students in the 19th Century

The vast majority of Slovenian students (including a few women after 1897) attended universities across the former Habsburg Empire, including Vienna and Graz but rarely in the pan-Slavonic Prague. Cosmopolitan Vienna was particularly popular because it offered the best material conditions as well as various kinds of entertainment for every taste. In spite of political repression and strict censorship before Taaffe’s government, student life in the second half of the 19th century followed the university model that proclaimed the freedom of learning and teaching. Taverns and coffee shops were the centers of student social life. The students partied there in their own ways, set up their own drinking rules and cared little about other’s opinion. Even though the contemporary (petit-) bourgeoisie was extremely puritan, its conspiracy of silence rules were tolerant of double sexual standards according to which men (townsmen) were allowed to seek sexual satisfaction outside the socially acceptable ways (e.g., in the red light district or even with the housemaid at home). Similarly, it did not frown upon the extreme behavior on the part of students; instead, it roguishly approved of bohemian life.


An Overview of the Development of Health Legislation in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy between 1867 and 1918

The author presents the provisions of the Austrian sanitary code from 30th April 1870, which laid the foundation of the public health service in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and served as the basis for provincial laws about the organization of health services at the municipal level. Its organization is presented on the example of the province of Carniola. The period in question was an era of increased awareness about the need for mandatory obstetrical assistance and a time of improved organization of healthcare for the poor.



Dr. Fran Mayer in Šoštanj

Šoštanj, a small provincial town in Lower Styria, is famous for several exceptional personalities. The lawyer Dr. Fran Mayer (1866-1940) has a special place among them. He moved to Šoštanj in 1898 and settled in a newly built, singlefamily bourgeois villa near the District Court. As a lawyer, intellectual and nationally-conscious Slovenian, he presided with varying success over the Board of the Financial Institute in Šoštanj between 1900 and 1910. After the First World War, he was the municipal manager. In 1920 he initiated the establishment of a public school in Šoštanj. As a long-term mayor of the Municipality of Šoštanj, he played a decisive role in the construction of the public water-supply system in Šoštanj in 1931, which improved and modernized town life and hygienic conditions. With its openness to sports activities and art, the Mayer family’s social life introduced the bourgeois milieu to Šoštanj, the fragment and legacy of which persist, in the memory of the citizens even today.