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Compilation of Teixeira de Freitas’ correspondence recalls the foundation of IBGE and reveals part of the Brazilian history (1)

Section: IBGE

May 30, 2016 10h13 AM | Last Updated: January 31, 2018 04h24 PM


In the month of its 80th anniversary, IBGE pays homage to the founder of the Institute, Mário Augusto Teixeira de Freitas (1890/1956), in the book Teixeira de Freitas e a criação do IBGE - Correspondência de um homem singular e plural (Teixeira de Freitas and the creation of IBGE – The correspondence of a singular and plural man), written by researcher Nelson Senra. The book gathers 400 letters exchanged between Teixeira de Freitas and important figures of his time, and also brings documents which show how the statistician conceived and created a national body aimed at statisticis and geography in Brazil, a continental-sized country.

This publication is an important record of the ideas and ideals of the founder of IBGE on topics such as economy and society, politics, education, health and religion. In order to produce this book, the IBGE researcher and professor Nelso Senra carefully examined more than seven thousand files from the Teixeira de Freitas Document Fund, of the Brazilian National Archives. The selected letters and texts selected have been organized into four sections: A dialogue with statisticians; A dialogue with statesmen; A dialogue with educators and The reconstruction of Brazil. The printed edition presents 100 complete letters and texts, and the entire set of letters is available on the DVD that comes enclosed with the publication.

The book will be released today at the Auditorium of the Center for Information Documentation and Dissemination (706, General Canabarro St, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro/RJ), at 2:30 pm, in an event hosted by the President of IBGE, Wasmália Bivar. The 536 page publication is available at the IBGE Virtual Shop for R$ 70,00. It will also be accessible at the IBGE Library.



Documento sem título

The letters sent by Teixeira de Freitas to politicians, public administrators and representatives of the Brazilian thought at the time, and some other documents presented provides a view of his personality, of his ideas and of the efforts made to conceive and create the IBGE. In the first part – A Dialogue with Statisticians - there are six sections focused on statistical activity, including the foundation of IBGE. The second part – A Dialogue with Statesmen – has two sections. In the first one, Teixeira de Freitas is a Census Supervisor in the state of Minas Gerais, where he organizes the 1920 Census. There he wins the support and admiration of politicians, among whom we can mention Artur Bernardes, Benedito Valadares, Juscelino Kubitschek and Hildebrando Clark.

In the second section, having left Minas Gerais, Teixeira de Freitas is invited to create and direct a statistics department in the recently created Ministry of Education and Public Health, where he discusses with chamado Gustavo Capanema and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, respectively, Minister of Oducation and office chief at the time.

In the third part – A Dialogue with Educators - four sections reproduce the dialogue between Teixeira de Freitas and figures like educators Fernando de Azevedo, Anísio Teixeira, Lourenço Filho and Sud Mennucci. The fouth and last part contains six sections, each of them presenting the ideas or ideals of Teixeira de Freitas. The main topics are the national plan, which somehow encompasses all the other issues, and was also called "The Civic Ideal of IBGE". Other topics are the territory redivision, the change of the federal capital and municipal matters, which in fact made up a single unit, although not always approached as such. Also presente are the fights for the construction of the federal planetary in the capital of the country and for the adoption of Esperanto as a common language. The final section dels with the presence of religion, an aspect of Teixeira de Feitas's life which enabled him to read and understand statistics in religious terms.

The book ends with a bioblibliography of Teixeira de Freitas, mainly of what is available in the magazines published by the IBGE – Brazilian Magazine of Statistics, Brazilian Magazine of Geography, and the extinct Brazilian Magazine of Municipalities Municípios, Statistical Bulletin , Geography Bulletin, accessible at the IBGE Library

Teixeira de Freitas conceived IBGE from a interadministrative perspective

Mário Augusto Teixeira de Freitas was born in São Francisco do Conde, Bahia, on March 31, 1890. In 1908, he joined the General Directorate of Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, Roads and Public Works, where he carried out several, so far unprecedented, statistical surveys in the country. In 1920, he was nominated General Supervisor of the Enumeration in Minas Gerais, and due to his remarkable job, the state governor of Minas Gerais invited him to reform the state statistical structure. As a result, he could test the application, in the field of statistics, of the inter-administrative cooperation system, relating federal and state spheres. As director of the General Enumeration Service of Minas Gerais, he was in charge of important tasks, such as the State Statistical Yearbook, the Demographic Yearbook and the Municipal Chorographic Atlas of Minas Gerais. In the 1930's, he was transferred to Rio de Janeiro to cooperate in the organization of the Ministry of Education and Public Health, in which he became Director of Information, Statistics and Dissemination.

His interadministrative cooperation plan for the municipal, state and federal government spheres led to the creation, in 1934 and start, in 1936, of the National Statistical Institute. In 1938, with he inclusion of a system of geographical activities aligned with the inter-administrative cooperation the Institute was turned into the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. In a letter to educator Fernando de Azevedo, on April 29, 1952, Teixeira de Freitas mentions the great effort made towards the creation of a national body for statistics and cartography: “The Institute [IBGE] is everthing that – by means of 40 years of steady work and dedication in idealism and sacrifice – represents the outcome of my poor life. It is the one significant thing I have built.” Teixeira de Feitas died in 1956, in Rio de Janeiro.