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Cadernos de História da Educação

versão On-line ISSN 1982-7806

Cad. Hist. Educ. vol.22  Uberlândia  2023  Epub 07-Ago-2023 


Nestor Lima and the institution of Teacher's Day in Brazil1

Olívia Morais de Medeiros Neta1; lattes: 7542482401254815

Lígia Silva Pessoa2; lattes: 3985385154512825

1Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Brasil). Bolsista de Produtividade em Pesquisa do CNPq.

2Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Brasil).


In this article, we seek to analyze the contributions of the Potiguar intellectual Nestor Lima for the institution of Teacher's Day in Brazil. This intellectual was Director of the Department of Education of the State of Rio Grande do Norte between 1924 and 1929. Based on the book Um século de ensino primário that registered the organization for the celebration of the centenary of the imperial law October 15th, 1827, and also through the printed materials present in the Hemeroteca Digital, in the interface with the indicative method of Ginzburg (1990) and the understanding of Sirinelli (2003) about intellectuals and sociabilities, we developed the present study. In the investigated newspapers, there are news about the initiative of the commemoration of the Teacher's Day in 1923 on October 15. We found that Nestor Lima recognizes himself as the subject responsible for the indication of the date to the celebration of Teacher's Day through the mobilization of his network of sociabilities with intellectuals from other states.

Keywords: Teacher's Day; Intellectuals; Celebration


Neste artigo, busca-se analisar as contribuições do intelectual potiguar Nestor Lima para a instituição do Dia do Professor no Brasil. Este intelectual foi Diretor do Departamento de Educação do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte entre 1924 e 1929. A partir do livro Um século de ensino primário que registrou a organização para celebração do centenário da lei imperial 15 de outubro 1827, e também por meio dos impressos presentes na Hemeroteca Digital, na interface com o método indiciário de Ginzburg (1990) e o entendimento de Sirinelli (2003) sobre intelectuais e sociabilidades, desenvolvemos o presente estudo. Nos jornais investigados, constam notícias sobre a iniciativa da comemoração do Dia do Professor ano de 1923 na data de 15 de outubro. Constatamos que Nestor Lima se reconhece como sujeito responsável pela indicação da data à celebração do Dia do Professor mediante a mobilização de sua rede de sociabilidades com intelectuais de outros estados.

Palavras-chave: Dia do professor; Intelectuais; Celebração


En este artículo, buscamos analizar las contribuciones del intelectual potiguar Nestor Lima para la institución del Día del Maestro en Brasil. Este intelectual fue Director del Departamento de Educación del Estado de Rio Grande do Norte entre 1924 y 1929. Con base en el libro Um século de ensino primário que registró la organización para la celebración del centenario de la ley imperial 15 de octubre de 1827, y también a través de los materiales impresos presentes en la Hemeroteca Digital, en la interfaz con el método indicativo de Ginzburg (1990) y la comprensión de Sirinelli (2003) sobre intelectuales y sociabilidades, desarrollamos el presente estudio. En los periódicos investigados, hay noticias sobre la iniciativa de la conmemoración del Día del Maestro en 1923, el 15 de octubre. Encontramos que Nestor Lima se reconoce como el sujeto responsable por la indicación de la fecha para la celebración del Día del Maestro a través de la movilización de su red de sociabilidades con intelectuales de otros estados.

Palabras clave: Día del maestro; Intelectuales; Celebracion


Investigating the actions of Nestor Lima (1887-1957) that indicate his participation in the institution of Teacher's Day is the objective of this work. The north-rio-grandense intellectual dedicated long years of his life to the occupation of public positions of educational scope. During his performance in these positions, he thought and reorganized the public education potiguar. Nestor Lima believed and defended the idea that quality education depends strictly on the quality of teachers. We can infer, therefore, that this would be one of the reasons for its search to honor these professionals at the national level.

The sources used in this work were the book Um século de ensino primário by Nestor Lima himself, a work that records the evolution of the primary education of the empire the republic from the establishment of the Imperial Law of October 15, 1827, also presents the organization for the celebration of the centenary of this Law. In addition, this book brings evidence of nestor lima's mobilization for teacher's day creation; this source triggered the question that guides this study: what actions indicate nestor lima's participation in the institution of Teacher's Day?

The journals present in the collection of the Hemeroteca Digital allow us to access newspapers in which other subjects have referred to the established date and the intellectual. To deal with the sources we brought authors who discuss the use of printed sources and digitized sources in the History of Education. Thus, we highlight ragazzini's understanding (2001, p. 2) that includes a source as a testimony "to read and indicate signs and traces as signs." 2

Zicman (1985) guided us from his considerations about the methodology for using printed sources. Regarding the use of digital tools in historical research, they contributed to the brazil and birth study (2020). We highlight that the justification of the time frame from 1920 to 1929 considered the decade of commemoration of the centenary (1927), the influence of the position held by Nestor Lima in this period, Director of the Department of Education of Rio Grande do Norte (1924-1929), and due to the filter of the Portal of the Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira, which organizes the periods at intervals of ten years.

The methodological procedures of the study were based on the perspective of the indicia paradigm thought by Ginzburg (1989). When applying this procedure, the researcher should be aware of the indications, the secondary elements, the details, which guarantee the scientific rigor centered on detail, often considered imperceptible.

To understand the figure of Nestor Lima as an intellectual who develops in his various performances, it was necessary to study the concept of intellectuals thought by Sirinelli (2003). In addition, when it comes specifically to studies that bring Nestor Lima's actions as a focus, and contribute to the understanding of the trajectory of the intellectual, we are based on Menezes (2017); Ramos (2009); Amorim (2010); Azevedo (2020). 3

Paula Perin Vicentini is dedicated to studying the history of the teaching profession in Brazil, and researched the history of Teacher's Day, so that the study resulted in two important articles produced in 2003 Celebration and Visibility: Teacher's Day and the different images of the teaching profession in Brazil (1933-1963); and in 2004 Prestige and Poverty: teacher's day in the history of the teaching profession (1945-64).

The present work is structured in four sections. The first methodological procedures are presented. The second section deals with teacher day initiatives. The third section explains nestor lima's trajectory and his contributions to the celebration discussed. The final considerations make the considerations about the results of this study on nestor lima initiatives in the creation of a significant national date for professionals in the area, allowing us to contribute with historiography about the intellectual potiguar and on the history of Teacher's Day in Brazil.

Search paths

To analyze the data collected for this study, it was necessary to use a method that contributed to the development of an accurate perception of the historian in relation to the fragments present in each document. In this sense, the Paradigm of the Ginzburg Indicia (1989) understands that the roots of this method of investigation have accompanied man since his hunts: "behind this indicia or divinatory paradigm, we see the perhaps oldest gesture of the intellectual history of the human race: the hunter crouched in the mud, who listens to the prey's clues" (GINZBURG, 1989, p. 154).

In line with Carlos Ginzburg's methodological proposal, the historian must "examine the most negligible details" and/or discover "clues imperceptible to the majority" (GINZBURG, 1989, p. 145). To understand the clues we need to understand the historical sources as a human production that allows an understanding of the past. Therefore, it is necessary for the quality of the historian's work that this professional defines which questions will be asked to the source and which method is used to elaborate the answers. In this same perspective on sources, Ragazzini (2001, p. 14): "They are traces, testimonies that respond - as they can and by a limited number of facts - to the questions presented to them", to understand the source needs to be analyzed, historicized, since it does not speak for itself.

According to Ragazzini (2001, p. 20) "Sources from school practices do not represent the only possibilities for historical-educational studies, so they are not self-sufficient, even if they are important and significant." The sources studied in this work, for example, do not come from the school environment, however, the documents used enable us to understand elements essential to the construction of the history of education.

We start, therefore, from the book that brought the first elements for the construction of this study, Um século de ensino primário authored by Nestor Lima, published in 1927 in the centenary of the first law of public instruction. We look specifically at the material present in the annexes, selected by the intellectual to legitimize his mobilization to commemorate the centenary of the law October 15, 1927 and the suggestion of the date of commemoration of The Teacher's Day. In this book we identify that the intellectual potiguar communicated in the centenary year with teaching directors from other states; these indications guided us about the possibility of the existence of documents that addressed the continuity of these contacts or the mention of these communications or ideas of Nestor Lima in newspapers of origin of the states of these subjects. Since this book is the representation of Nestor Lima's personal memories and archives, so it makes us in the wake of Xavier and Robert (2021) to ask us about: what does it keep and what does it tell us?

We highlight the main statements of the intellectuals mentioned in the annexes, as well as crucial elements (year of the news, name of the director of teaching, state belonging) to build a relationship between these elements and the others found in the newspapers of the collection of the Digital Hemeroteca. Azevedo et al (2019) contributes about this digital repository (2019) "Given the collection it presents, the technology employed and the ease of the mechanisms of consultation and textual search in journals, Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira stands out for its relevance as a repository of sources for the History of Education" (AZEVEDO, 2019, p. 53). In addition to this understanding, Azevedo's work brings other guidance on how the search should be done on the platform.

For research in the collection of the Digital Hemeroteca, on the search homepage, a filter was defined, "by period", which considers intervals of 10 years. The justification for the choice was that this filter is more comprehensive than the other ones ("by location" and "by journal"). Time frame is the first requirement when searching more comprehensively in the portal. So we decided to resume the justifications of this clipping, we have not yet mentioned that the works elaborated on the "Teacher's Day" map sources from the year 1933 in which the initiative to commemorate the date in honor of the primary teacher to the Association of Catholic Teachers of the Federal District, despite the date being made official nationally as a school holiday by Federal Decree 52,682, only on October 14, 1963. (PESSOA, 2020).

However, as this article seeks to clarify which actions indicate Nestor Lima's initiative in the creation of the date, the investigation was carried out with another temporal demarcation, not from 1933 as published, but, between the years 1920 to 1929, since it is the decade of commemoration of the centenary of the law, being also the period of greatest activity of the intellectual highlighted in the sphere of education, it was between these years that he persevered in the creation of Teacher's Day.

Also on the search page it is necessary to list a keyword, so we chose the expressions "Master's Day" and "Teacher's Day". In order to think about the choice of the keyword for the search filter, the authors' perception of Brazil and Nascimento (2020) about a possible research problem:

The encounter of a term of interest may fragment the relationship with the historical document, because the automatic search subtracts the understanding about the context of the appearance of the word itself. [...] Moreover, the logic of research seems to be reversed, because we should already know, in a sense, what we would like to find. That is, the very choice of the term of interest or the 'keywords' implies the existence of a prior knowledge or interpretation of what is possible to be found in the document(s) (BRAZIL; NASCIMENTO, 2020, p. 203).

In fact, the information added to the search filter was previously studied and systematized to be delineated. We understand that the Website of the Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira conducts a survey of occurrences that would be humanly impossible to be carried out by a historian assuming the number of all the pages of newspapers that may have the keyword - in the case of our search 4,978,116 (four million, nine hundred and seventy-eight thousand, one hundred and sixteen). However, we agree with the considerations made by the authors about the care that should be taken with this type of digital tool so that there is no fragmentation of the content under study.

The resources available in the Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira collaborate with the researcher's work regarding access to sources. After the keyword is described, the site will route the search to a page composed of a list of newspapers that have occurrences about the searched term. By selecting a newspaper from the list, you can analyze only the news (explore only the terms in highlights and proceed to the next occurrence) or/and flip through the full newspaper. However, we need to be aware, because the occurrences we have access to correspond to the number of times the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tool identified the keyword, so it is possible that this technology does not detect the term in a news relevant to the study. In this sense, the historian's meticulous work is indispensable.

In this research, both options were used, immediately analyzing the news highlighted by the key term and leafing through the newspaper, depending on the relevance of the news for the present study. The survey of other pages of the newspaper occurred briefly in order to verify possible elements complementary to the main news highlighted by the site's feature. (PESSOA, 2020).

For Brazil and Nascimento (2020, p. 199) "Many current researches in the area of history have used digital resources without the researcher computing himself in conducting an in-depth debate on the theoretical-methodological specificities of its use". The lack of understanding about the use of digital tools in historical research can influence the quality of the study, when it is understood that by changing the materiality of the source, we also change the way we deal with it. We need to learn how to analyze aspects of a scanned copy of a source and its rematerialization.

One of the highlights of the Zicman study (1985) presents the main advantages of using printed sources in historical research: periodicity, spatial disposition of information and instant censorship. In addition, the author guides us on what not to do when treating a printed font, so that it does not place it as an auxiliary font. Thus, taking into account Zicman's assumption (1985, p. 90) about news and media "news is not a mere repetition of occurrences and record, but rather a direct cause of events, in which they denote attitudes proper to each vehicle, each newspaper organizes the information according to its filter."

In this sense, when investigating the occurrences about Teacher's Day, we could see which newspapers first published about the cause, the ones that published the most and what was published. Therefore, we highlight the detail of our collection: 565 occurrences were verified, distributed in 74 newspapers; most of these journals, 26 units, contained only 1 occurrence in each newspaper, 11 newspapers had 20 or more occurrences and only 1 newspaper recorded the number of 9 occurrences.

To organize the news pertinent to this article, we elaborated a table in Microsoft Excel with the data of the name of the newspaper, date of publication, title of the article, number of the occurrence of the Hemeroteca Digital, and the link of the occurrence and, then, we carry out the transcripts of the news.

The newspapers with records of occurrences selected for research were: Jornal do Brasil (RJ), Correio Paulistano (SP), O Dia (PR) Correio da Manhã (RJ), O jornal (RJ), O Paiz (RJ ), A noite (RJ), O Brasil (RJ), O imparcial (RJ), Diário Nacional: Democracia em marcha (SP), Diário da Manhã: Órgão do Partido Construtor (ES), O Estado do Paraná (PR), The province (PE), The Federation: Organ of the Republican Party (RS ), Daily Afternoon (PR) and The State (SC).

The newspapers with the highest occurrence numbers were, respectively, The newspaper of Brazil, from Rio de Janeiro, with a total of 24 occurrences; the newspaper O paiz, also from Rio de Janeiro, with 11 occurrences; and Correio Paulistano, from São Paulo, with five occurrences; the other newspapers all had between four and/or one news. The three newspapers cited concentrate the largest number of news in 1924. In general, the years that appear most frequently are respectively: 1924 with 34 occurrences, 1925 with 13 occurrences, 1928 and 1929 with seven occurrences, 1923 and 1927 with three occurrences and 1926 with two occurrences.

From the 16 newspapers that had selected news, taking into account the relevance of these for the research, we traced the following categorization: Teacher's Day and Teachers League; Teacher's Day and Bill Organization; Veto to the project; Teacher's Day Celebration; Nestor Lima and Professor's Day.

Selected to make up the investigation 61 news. Of these, 57 were filtered using the term "Dia do professor", while the other 4 were searched by the term "Dia do mestre". As well, 7 of the 17 newspapers published are from the state of Rio de Janeiro, three from São Paulo, three from Paraná, while Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul were represented by only one newspaper each. The newspapers that mention Nestor Lima were the newspapers O Estado do Paraná: jornal da manhã (1 occurrence) and Diário da tarde (3 occurrence) both from Paraná, and Jornal do Brasil do Rio de Janeiro (1 occurrence), the news presents Nestor's initiative in the suggestion of October 15 in the choice of Teacher's Day.

Initiatives for teacher's day institution (1923-1929)

In the course of the analysis of the news, we noticed that the League of Teachers occupied a recurring space in some newspapers. About the League of Teachers silva points out (2020) that the first information about this organization appear in newspapers in early 1918, in news from newspapers such as O Imparcial, A Noite and A Razão. The goal of creating the League of Teachers was to strengthen the class and improve public education.

By 1932, the merger of the League of Teachers and the Association of Primary Teachers was already being discussed. The news found about the relationship of the League of Teachers with the institution of Teacher's Day, disclosed the weekly discussions and decisions of this organization. Among this news about the meetings of the League, we note the first mention of the "Teacher's Day" present in the Jornal do Brasil.

The weekly meeting of this association attended last Thursday, attended by all the members of the board ... Professor Souza Gomes referred to the reduction in the passages of the Railroad and also proposed the institution of 'Teacher's Day' that of the 'teacher's house', deeply sympathic ideas, of support to the class (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1923, p. 06).

The same minutes of the meeting were published on the third page of the newspaper Correio do Amanhã on August 28, 1908. In addition to other news published in the same newspaper O Imparcial on August 11, 1923 with the same information on the agenda of the League of Teachers and the mention of the proposal of teachers' day.

Therefore, the idea of the celebration of Teacher's Day was thought and circulated, around ten years before the first commemoration in 1933. According to Vicentini (2003, p. 18),

In 1933, the Association of Catholic Teachers of the Federal District (APC-DF) celebrated First Master's Day with a Mass and a civic session held at the Institute of Education of Rio de Janeiro, with reference to the date of the "first law on primary education in Brazil", marked by the alliance between the State and the Church in the country, 15 October 1827.

The following year, in 1924, we found another news that mentions the Teacher's Day, in the Jornal do Brasil, which points to the initiative of officializing the date by Souza Gomes and the suggestion of the date chosen by Luiz Palmeira.

Then Professor Alvaro de Souza Gomes proposes that it be the project already presented to the council, considering the League as a public utility and remembering once again, that the decree of Teacher's Day be considered. Falla about professor Luiz Palmeira alvitrando that it be chosen on October 15 for being the first imperial decree on primary education in Brazil. (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1924, p. 12).

It is noted that the municipal project had already been elaborated and even presented in 1924 in Rio de Janeiro. This publication was carried out on August 12, by the journal Jornal do Brasil and on August 15 by O jornal. In addition, we note that the suggestion of the commemoration date is October 15, so we infer that Nestor Lima was not the only one to choose and suggest that date.

Following the news found, Paiz also published on November 31, 1924: "The final wording of project no. 77 of the current anno was also approved, instituting 'The Teacher's Day'." This same newspaper also published the first discussion (November 9) and the second discussion of this project. Still on the project, on October 30 of the same year, 1924, The Paulistano post gives a news about the discussion in Rio de Janeiro:

RIO, 29 (A) At its session today, the Municipal Council approyou the final redaccão of the project by believing the "Teacher's Day", which will be commemorado on October 15 of each year, being a holiday for the municipal magisterium the distribution of prizes in cash to teachers, whose didatic or methodologico swork have been classified first logares (CORREIO PAULISTANO, 1924, p. 1).

The project mentioned was published in the Jornal do Brasil on November 2, 1924, Project no. 77, which institutes Teacher's Day and provides other measures, however, the final text was presented on September 22 by Dario Pinto.

City Council resolves:

art. 1°- It is instituted, in the Federal Discretion, "The teacher", which will be commemorado on October 15 of each year, holiday for all municipal public magisterio.

§ 1 - On that day will be held school festivities according to the high meaning they must have.

§ 2 - On that day there will be a solemn session in a school institution previously designated by the General Director of Municipal Published Instruction, and teachers may present their works, scientific or literal, exclusively didactic, being . then, constituted judgmental commission that in the sollenne session of the following year, will present its opinion, subject to the impregnation of those who deem harmed.

§ 3- By the General Directorate of Municipal Public Instruction will be awarded prizes for the help of publication, with the assent of the respective author, of the works classified in 1st log 2nd and 3rd. [...]

art 2 - The provisions are repealed in the contrary. (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1924, p. 12).

Despite all discussions and corrections of the project, in the same year, the newspaper Correio Paulistano (1924, p. 1) reported the veto decision to project no. 77 of teacher's day institution: "In the office, the following papers were read: officio of the mayor, remmettendo the reasons of the veto, which opoz the municipal legislative resolution that establishes the Teacher's Day [...]" and the following year (1925, p. 1) the same newspaper brought "Favorable to the veto n.45, of 1924, of the Mayor, to the resolution of the Municipal Council establishing the 'Teacher's Day'."

In addition to this, the newspaper O paiz, on different dates of the year 1925 first published, on the same date the second news about the veto of the São Paulo post (03/07/1925) "The following opinions were read and assigned: E, favorable to the mayor's veto the resolution of the Municipal Council, which proposed the institution the Teacher's Day." (The Paiz, 1925, p. 2). Six days later, O paiz, publishes another news about the veto "Passing the agenda, and there is no number for votes, were closed the discussions of the mayor's vetoes the resolutions of the Municipal Council, instituting the 'Teacher's Day' [...]" (The Paiz, 1925, p. 2).

The Jornal do Brasil brought to the publication the Minutes of the Municipal Council, in which it was possible to verify the reasons listed by the Mayor of the Federal District (Rio de Janeiro) to have vetoed Project No. 77. Read by Dario Pinto who was surprised by his vetoed project:

I cannot sanitise the law that establishes, in the Federal District, "The Teacher's Day", despite referring to a class of municipal services, of those that have already been recommended my consideration and to the almost have had the opportunity to do with satisfaction perfectly corresponding to its high merits, the references that my feelings of justice have dictado. Without breach of due respect for the laws that have instituted them, it should be remembered, the Senators who, between us, from time to time, are already exceeding the limits of reasons the number of holidays officiaes and daquelles days in which, for various reasons, do not function most public services. This circumstantial would have to be one of those listed to prove that the interests of the Federal District were not well guarded by that law. (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1924, p. 12).

Mr. Dario Pinto asks "What harm would our population suffer if, for one day, our schools stopped working, as a tribute to their dedicated servants?" (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1924, p. 12). The mayor was concerned about the amount of holidays that had been instituted, lacked to consider the importance of honoring teachers through the institution of that day.

Local Teacher Day celebrations were recorded in news in some newspapers. The Jornal do Brasil published on August 17, 1924, reported "The board of Gymnasio Pio Americano, instituting, on the date of Our Lady of Glory, in its establishment, the Teacher's Day, promoted with the competition of the alumnos several tributes to its faculty" (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1924, p. 12).

Already in 1928, in São Paulo, Teacher's Day was part of the Education Week that featured a sports parade, children's day health day and Teacher's Day or Master's Day, "in the 'Education Week' is the day of today consecrated to the master". (CORREIO PAULISTANO, 1928, p. 4). The National Gazette published that the date was celebrated on October 10 as follows "children from all school groups in the capital will be given, lectures by teachers of standard schools" (DIÁRIO NACIONAL, 1928, p. 2).

Finally, we found that the main news about the commemoration and institution of Teacher's Day are concentrated in newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, especially Jornal do Brasil and in São Paulo with Correio Paulistano, however there are news from other Brazilian states about the commemoration of the date.

A newspaper of Santa Catarina, O Estado (SC), published on November 5 that "In commemoration of The Teacher's Day the League of the Magisterium of Santa Catarina, took ephemeral, in the conference hall of the Normal School a solemn session" (O Estado SC, 1925, p. 1). Paraná also honored teachers in this decade. News points out that the League of primary magisterium had esteem for the commemoration, let's see: "Presides over the League of primary magisterium, which has as one of the florets of its existence the initiative of commemoration of 'Teacher's Day'." (O ESTADO DO PARANÁ, 1926, p. 06).

There is a mention of a commemoration in the city of Camaragibe-Alagoas in the newspaper O Brasil, the news refers to the commemoration of Teacher's Day thought for November 15 "At the initiative of the teachers at the School Group Ambrosio Lyra was instituted the Teacher's Day. [...] choosing November 15, which recalls a great historical achievement of Brazilians" (BRASIL, 1925, p. 06). We know that the Proclamation of the Republic is celebrated on November 15th in Brazil.

Nestor Lima and October 15: indications of the suggestion and mobilization of an intellectual potiguar

Talking about Nestor Lima and his performances, precedes the following question, why study this subject? What is the importance of this subject for the historiography of North-Rio Grande do Sul and, by extension, Brazilian education? Sirinelli (2003, p. 235) determines, for "those who study the action of intellectuals, the problem of their role and their 'power' problem arises, which, in a prosaic way, can be summarized as follows: would these intellectuals, on a certain date, influence the event?" What influence would Nestor Lima have in the creation of Teacher's Day?

In conceptualizing intellectuals, the author brings two Definitions Sirinelli (2003, p. 242) "a broad and sociocultural, encompassing the creators and cultural mediators, and the other narrower, based on the notion of engagement [...] in the life of the city as an actor." In this sense, the trajectory of the intellectual presented is marked by his engagement, by the occupation of various public offices and by his social prestige and his networks of sociability that defines Sirinelli (2003, p. 38):

Network-structured relationships that speak of more or less formal places of learning and exchange, of ties that are tied, of contacts and fundamental articulations [...] the notion of network refers to the particular microcosm of a group, in which affective bonds are established and a sensitivity is produced that constitutes a brand of this group.

Nestor Lima has held different political and administrative positions of relevance in the scenario of education, truly acting as an engaged intellectual who creates and mediates culture, intervenes in the debate and actions of politics.

Source: Education Department Photo Album (1927)

Figure 1: Photograph by Nestor dos Santos Lima 

Nestor dos Santos Lima was the son of Galdino Apolônio dos Santos Lima and Ana Souto Lima. He was born on August 1, 1887, in Assu, a city located in the western region of the state of Rio Grande do Norte. He graduated in Legal and Social Sciences from the Faculty of Law of Recife in 1909. In the same year of his training, he initially acted as a lawyer, soon more tendered and was approved for the position of teacher at the Normal School of Natal.

He gave pedagogy, Pedology and Child Psychology in this institution. In 1911, he took over the board of directors of the institution, remaining in the position until 1923, while also holding the position of Director of the School Group Model Augusto Severo. He contributed to the foundation of the Teachers Association and established a direct relationship between the actions of the Normal School and those of this institution. According to Azevedo (2020, p. 77) "[...] It is evident that Nestor Lima also held the position of vice president of honor of the Association while he held the position of Director of the Normal School of Natal".

Nestor Lima's performance in public office was not restricted to normal school. In 1924, the professor, historian and lawyer was appointed as the first Director of the Department of Education of the State of Rio Grande do Norte, performing the function until 1929. He was Secretary General of the State in 1930; chaired the Prison Council from 1933 to 1959; served as State Attorney General in 1943. In addition, he joined the Historical and Geographical Institute of Rio Grande do Norte in 1910 as an effective partner, and in 1927 became president of the institution until the year of his death in 1959. Thus, "we found that Nestor Lima, upon joining IHGRN intensifies the construction of ties with other intellectuals belonging to the potiguar cultural elite formed by teachers by practice and training, lawyers, doctors, writers and politicians". (AZEVEDO, 2020, p. 85).

Nestor Lima published in state magazines and newspapers with A República, journal of IHGRN and Pedagogium, dealing with issues relevant to his actions and proposals aimed at education. On the mentions of his name in the journal Pedagogium says Azevedo (2020, p. 70) "The various mentions to Nestor Lima in the Pedagogium Journal reveal not only the recognition of his role and his performance in education, but the relationships he has built with other intellectuals".

The intellectual has more than 48 publications, articles from newspapers and magazines, conferences, interviews, reports and official publications, on educational issues. He represented the state of Rio Grande do Norte at some educational events throughout the country. Nestor Lima's national and international pedagogical trips significantly influenced the quality of educational proposals and considerations brought in his publications. About the trips made by Nestor Lima, Azevedo (2020, p. 154) points out:

According to the objective of his travels, the intellectual proposed to suggest improvements for teaching potiguar. Thus, we emphasize their interest, in each place visited, to know the programs and teaching methods, to know the books adopted, including even buying them.

Nestor Lima through pedagogical trips, his approaches with reformist tendencies, his dedication to the educational field and for having material conditions due to the positions occupied, reorganized, and reformed the teaching of Rio Grande do Norte.

Nestor Lima's performance reflected in the reform of Primary Education in Rio Grande do Norte, where it is possible to perceive its contribution to education, based on its ideal of modernity that allowed the revelation of a face of the educational process previously unknown. (AMORIM, 2012, p. 07).

In his effective participation in the organization of primary education in Rio Grande do Norte, Nestor Lima projected education as a means of forming national identity, thus introducing the state into a civilized and modern world, within republican ideals. The attempt to institute a date or commemorate a centenary of a law, is an example of strengthening this national identity, which for Nestor Lima should be created taking into account the valorization of education, and consequently, of teachers.

Antonio Brasilio Menezes (2017), a pioneer in research on this intellectual, points out "Reformer of primary education in Rio Grande do Norte in the twenties, co-responsible for the institution of Teacher's Day, the existence of a Nestor Lima educator, as well as a historian and jurist" (MENEZES, 2017, p. 5, grifo nosso). That is, for this historian, Nestor Lima played a fundamental role in the creation of this date, but this role is neither recognized nor disseminated.

In addition, Amorim (2010) states in his dissertation "Nestor Lima deals with a matter of national scope by suggesting the date of October 15 for the celebration of Teacher's Day. This text was presented at the VIII Brazilian Congress of Geography, which took place in the city of Vitória/ES, in 1926." (AMORIM, 2010, p. 26).

To explore what was affirmed by these scholars, in the annexes of the book Um século de ensino primário Nestor Lima granted two interviews to the newspaper A República on February 1, 1927 and another to Jornal do Commercio (PB) on January 21, 1927 in which Nestor Lima quotes Raul Gomes author of the deliteracy plan and his partner in favor of the institution of the date.4

During the interviews, the intellectual potiguar brought the report on the project "plan of desalphabetization" carried out and the opinions of those responsible for teaching the states. From the beginning of Nestor Lima's interview with A Republica he comments on the centenary celebration and communicates the important decision he made with Paraná intellectual Raul Gomes:

I was able to create a Teacher's Day, an idea that i intended to take the ephemein in Paraná and to ask those responsible for teaching in other States of Brazil to be there also effectuada. I answered him agreeing with the idea, remembering, however, the desirability of renaming it october 15 th of the current anno, in order to celebrate simultaneously the centenary of the law mentioned above. In this sense, I sent him an artiguete that he did publish in the newspapers of' Coritiba. "The Republican transcribed on September 16, 1926. It was the most frank and enthusiastic a acquiescencia daquelle illustre pedagogue of my alvitrese, on October 15, he launched them in the newspapers of his capital, in a well-heeled article (LIMA, 1927, p. 194).

And as part of what was agreed between the two, he addressed the teaching directors: Agnello Bittencourt - Amazonas, Mosenhor João Milanez - Paraíba, Dr. Adalberto Marroquim- Alagoas, Dr. Helvécio de Andrade - Sergipe, Genaro Guimaraes -Pernambuco, Drs. Pedro Voss - São Paulo, Renato Jardim - Rio de Janeiro (Federal District) and Anysio Teixeira - Bahia; getting from all these directors, according to Nestor Lima himself, applause and support the idea in this case.

It has been received with general assent and great enthusiasm the advertisement relating to the festive commemoração of the 1st centenary of the law of 15 October 1827 and the institution of the "Teacher's Day according to the initiative I had the honor to remember, in an article published on this sheet on September 16, 1926, and in circular of 17 of the same mez and anno, addressed to my illustres collegas of the various States of the Union, mainly in the northern area of Paiz. The answers aquella request were overly encouraging and honorable, fulfilling me disclosure them for better knowledge of those interested especially of the noble class of the teacher of the countryman. (LIMA, 1927, p. 203).

Also in the annexes of the book are present the messages of the representatives of each state on nestor Lima's request for collaboration in relation to the celebration. The Director of Public Instruction of Amazonas exposes his support:

It is right that the servant of the magisterium has its day, as a tribute to his work that is a director of patriotism and humanity. Solidary with the alvitres de v. exc., I use the opportunity to signify the exc. my protests of esteem and appreciation. (LIMA, 1927, p. 203).

The Director General of public instruction of the State of Paraíba, Monsignor João Baptista Milanez expressed himself as follows:

I am in a hurry to inform you that I praise and support your idea regarding the centenary feast of primary education in our father and the official institution of Teacher's Day>. I have always thought that primary school, a notably and important factor in the moral, civic and social education of our people, should deserve a more distinct and caring consideration. It is therefore clear my opinion that you will be able to make use of it for your government. (LIMA, 1927, p. 204).

The Director of Instruction of São Paulo, Pedro Voss, gave prestige to the initiative through dialogue with Nestor Lima, in person, as the intellectual potiguar describes in the interview with the Journal the Republic:

Taking advantage of my recent trip to the south, I personally dealt with the assumpto with the directors geraes, drs. Pedro Voss, from São Paulo, Renato Jardim, from the Federal District, - Anysio Teixeira, from Bahia, and Genaro Guimaraes, from Pernambuco, obtaining in all these understandings the most complete success. (LIMA, 1927, p. 194).

Also part of the annexes of the book are the records about the opinion of those responsible for public education in Santa Catarina and Minas Gerais who addressed their writings to Raul Gomes about his effort in mobilization. Nestor Lima reinforced with comments the effects of the articulation that aims to approve the commemoration of the date throughout the country. The intellectual from Paraná succeeded, that Senators Dr. Affonso Camargo and Dr. Carlos Cavalcanti, presented to the Upper House the project that his first article intended to legitimize: “Art. 1° The first law of primary education in independent Brazil was decreed on October 15, 1927. (LIMA, 1927, p. 198)”.

Nestor Lima outlined comments on the project and explained the essential points of the celebration to be held in Paraná. To exemplify what might be appropriate for each region, however there was a harmony. In addition, Nestor Lima cites the determination to create the Teachers' Association, in this case, Rio Grande do Norte already had. Resuming the organization of the Nestor Lima commemoration adds the importance of the category's support:

We must, however, agree that it is not up to us that the comemmoraçao that has been projected, and for each interested party it is up to the ideas to be based on the 15th of October. Come in with us. the Department of Education that I have the honor of directing, will take charge of the celebration of the magna date of the law of October 15, 1827, depending on the programma that is being studied properly. For this, he had the collaboraçao of all the teacher of the official or private primario that does not safeguard his stimulus and his support for the commemorating festivity and the celebration of Teacher's Day. However, there must be a certain harmony of views among the promoters of the commes. so as to have ella a uniformity. except of course, small details or circumstantial circumstances peculiar to each social environment. (LIMA, 1927, p. 199).

The program for the centenary commemoration of Rio Grande do Norte was prepared by the Director of the Department of Education, Nestor Lima. The intellectual thought the celebration with a standardized character, that is, the schools of the capital and the interior of the state should follow what was forwarded by the director with full support of the President of State and his personal friend, José Augusto. Amorim (2017, p. 88) characterizes the relationship between the two intellectuals as "a mixture of friendship and professional partnership expressed in the pages of newspapers, magazines and official documents produced in the period".

And so the celebration began on October 12 with the feast of children's day, day 13 and 14 there were civic-literary festivals and conferences with intellectuals Dr. Adauto da Câmara and Ivo Cavalcante. And on October 15, on Teacher's Day, there was a mass; solemn session of consecration to the primary magisterium, in the Palace of the Presidency of the State, with emphasis given the prayer of the President of the State and singing of the hymn commissioned for the solemnity of the centenary; and in the evening the great celebration party, at the Carlos Gomes Theater, with songs, declamation and closing speech made by Nestor Lima.

All the efforts of the intellectual to commemorate the centenary in 1927, with the Teacher's Day scheduled, was recorded in the book Um século de ensino primário . On the elaboration of this work azevedo analyzes (2019, p. 8) "the work allows the observation of some pertinent aspects. The book bears the coat of arms of the state, giving the work the claim of an official document." In addition, Carlos et al (2018) talk about the elaboration of both the book and the Photo Album with images of the centenary celebration:

What was the objective of Rio Grande do Norte to celebrate the centenary of the Law of October 15, 1827, since the work mentioned above was produced by order of the State itself? It can be concluded that there was, yes, a certain intention, on the part of the State of RN, in producing both the work ‘Um século de ensino primário' and the 'Photo Album of the Geographic Historical Institute of Rio Grande do Norte: Normal School of 1927'. (CARLOS; PESSOA; MEDEIROS NETA, 2018, p. 8).

In 1926, the newspapers circulated, which first mentioned nestor lima's name as responsible for the suggestion of October 15 as Teacher's Day. The newspaper Diário da Tarde (PR) published on February 24, 1926 the news with the article Um século de ensino primário produced by Nestor Lima to be "published especially in Paraná, for a deference to our collaborador Professor Raul Gomes with whom aquella illustrada authority maintains the most close relations of courteousness" (O ESTADO DO PARANÁ, 1926, p. 02). The news entitled Um século de ensino primário presents Nestor Lima and his initiative regarding the suggestion of the date to celebrate Teacher's Day in Brazil. As published:

The author of the words that will be read and Dr. Nestor Lima, Director of the Department of Teaching of Rio Grande do Norte, poet, journalist and publicist of high reputation in the north of the paiz. S. S. applauding the idea of the institution of The Teacher's Day sucked the date October 15, as the most appropriate to that end. And the reason is that today recalls the sanction of the first law of teaching of independent Brazil. (O ESTADO DO PARANÁ, 1926, p. 02).

The same article produced for the newspaper O Estado do Paraná: Jornal da Manhã that has as its title the same as his book Um século de ensino primário is present on pages 3 to 6 of this book already mentioned, produced by Nestor Lima. This is an analysis of the conquest of the Law of October 15 in the imperial period, later, it is brought what was pointed out in the Law on the valorization of teachers, followed by a criticism of the lack of advances related to this problem, the author attributes this incase to the "Addiccional Act of August 12, 1834" that federalizes the provinces and designates the initiative and charges to deal with these issues. Nestor Lima believed that if the central power had taken responsibility for managing teaching, the referrals would have been other. He points out:

What all means that, there are one hundred years ago there was already a notion, more or less safe, of the value of the teaching profession, which deserved the legal consecration and special prerogatives, which today, a century later, still do not exist in some departments of the Brazilian Union, despite the advances that have been made in this particular. (O ESTADO DO PARANÁ, 1926, p. 02).

Following the news found on the website of hemeroteca Digital, in the same year of the previous news (1926), in Jornal do Brasil (RJ), Nestor Lima is remembered once again by the suggestion. Leoncio Correia, an intellectual from Paraná, alternated his residency between Rio de Janeiro and Paraná, was a teacher at important schools in Rio de Janeiro, Director of Public Instruction, held political positions, was a journalist and writer. The dissertation by Amélia Siegel Corrêa, from 2006, entitled Press and Politics in Paraná: Prosopography of writers and republican thought at the end of the 19th century has one of its chapters dedicated to clarifications about the trajectory of this subject. In his writing on Teacher's Day in Brazil refers in this way to the intellectual potiguar:

And 'Teacher's Day' should be according to the bella suggestion of the Director of Teaching of Rio Grande do Norte, fifteen of Ouctubro. Why October 15th? Because this is the date of the first law on primary education, sanctioned in Independent Brazil. [...]. (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1926, p. 10).

Later, the author of the text adds his opinion about rio de Janeiro's performance in mobilizing the commemoration of the date, praising the participation of the states that moved for this purpose, including among the three is Rio Grande do Norte:

Every teacher is in love with this tribute. And she must have a national character. It's Patria thanking her good-backs. Thus, three states were better than to understand it: Paraná, Santa Catharina and Rio Grande do Norte. Three Gracias consecrating the hostia of light in the quiet and serene hour of spiritual glory. Oh! if Rio de Janeiro, land *eracissima, re-known piously in its boist to only blessed that these three States sow... If he did so in a little while, the whole of Brazil would vibrate with emotion to the jubilee, revereciando the noble and high profession. (JORNAL DO BRASIL, 1926, p. 10).

The following year, in 1927, the paraná professor Raul Gomes writes in the newspaper Diário da Tarde (PR), an article in which he and the north-rio-grandense intellectual describes the articulations for the authorities in relation to the celebration of Teacher's Day.

Meanwhile, only half a dozen dreamers I here in the South, and Dr. Nestor de Lima, Director of Teaching in Rio Grande do Norte, we remember solemnizing the first centuria [...] Since 1925, Dr. Nestor Lima and I have been dealing with the assunto. And what we have achieved: Vague adoptions, very colorless promises, and none of these dynamizing enthusiasms, which make ideas spread, dismay the spaces, enstilling souls for communs objectives. The good of this idea is that it fell into the brain of stubborn, tenacious spirits that never retreated from times (DIÁRIO DA TARDE, 1927, p. 02).

From this news it is possible to observe that the relationship established by the two intellectuals in favor of the creation of the date, began on average two years before the centenary celebration, however, we do not know for sure how this relationship was built, besides the information that Dr. Sebastião Viana presented them. However, we infer that these relationships of Nestor Lima with Paraná subjects may have started in participations in national events, considering that there is a record, for example, of intellectual participation, in 1912, at the II Brazilian Congress of Primary and Secondary Education. At the end of the news, Raul Gomes renews the appeal to the authorities about the tribute through Teacher's Day.

In another article published in the same newspaper three months later, Nestor Lima's partner in the mission to think about this tribute, writes another article also entitled Um século de ensino primário, he starts inviting teachers to a meeting with the aim of discussing the tribute, soon after he reports how he had a relationship with Nestor Lima, explaining that Sebastião Vianna presented them and from this, it was possible both Raul Gomes to disseminate his ideas in the north of the country, as Nestor Lima in the southern region. Later, he comments:

The illustre Director of Teaching of the land potyguara found interesting my ideas, wrote a letter to our countryman criticizing my project of dealphabetization, with the most flattering references to my humble person. Among other observations, he made one about Teacher's Day, whose institution my plan advocated. And he recalled that the day chosen was October 15, because he commemorated the date of the promulgation of the first teaching law on our land. I accepted the suggestion. Dr. Nestor Lima wrote a special article for our press, reminding Brazilians of the duty to celebrate the passage of the first centenary of the law that the national primary school [...] And begin the evangelization of the north, for the beautiful commettinentto. Recent news there tell us that the ilustre pedagogist obtained the support of his colleges from all septentrionales states. (DIÁRIO DA TARDE, 1927, p. 02).

In addition, Raul Gomes comments that only the support of the South, Paraná and Santa Catarina, in relation to Paraná, he made himself available to arouse the interest of the magisterium on the initiative. Finally, among the news found in the Hemeroteca Digital, we had access to the publication of Dr. Sebastião do Paraná in the Daily Newspaper of the afternoon the date of publication is October 15, 1927, when in the state of Rio Grande do Norte was celebrated, within the schedule of the celebration of the centenary of the Law of October 15, Teacher's Day.

The author of the text published in the newspaper talks about the creation of the law, the importance of the teacher and the institution of the date, presents the bill already mentioned in this paper that suggested the legitimation of the celebration of Teacher's Day. During the text, referring to the sublime role of teachers, Dr. Sebastião uses as a reference the words of Nestor Lima "No one, says Nestor Lima, can deny the obscure 'master school' the pioneering role of Brazilian civilization, in the outbreaks of development that we light up among the South American nations". (DIÁRIO DA TARDE, 1927, p. 02).

These words of Nestor Lima make up the annexes of his book, in fact, this news does not concern the protagonism of Nestor Lima in the suggestion of October 15 as Teacher's Day, but rather the reference in a text that deals with the subject and puts it in a newspaper outside the place of origin of the intellectual potiguar.

Final considerations

Nestor Lima brought in the annex of his book Um século de ensino primário a selection of news that places him as one of the central characters in the initiative to institute Teacher's Day in Brazil and as agent of the indication of October 15 for this celebration. Through his network of sociability developed due to the position of occupation, Director of the Department of Education of Rio Grande do Norte, it was possible for the intellectual to contact teaching representatives and have the necessary support to mobilize the discussion around the commemoration of the centenary of the law of first letters and the institution of Teacher's Day.

Nestor Lima narrated and presented reports from teaching representatives from different states of Brazil about supporting the centenary celebration and teacher's day celebration. He went to the states of Paraíba, Rio de Janeiro, Sergipe, Bahia, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Amazonas and São Paulo to talk about the importance of celebrating October 15. The intellectual potiguar diffused the value of that day everywhere he went.

The intellectual potiguar signed agreement with the teacher and journalist of teaching Raul Gomes, author of the "Plan of desalphabetization" that became a bill, and initially brought in one of his articles, the day 21 April for The Teacher's Day, however he agreed to publish the article Um século de ensino primário Nestor Lima in a newspaper from Paraná in which he defended the October 15 for commemoration, Nestor Lima's mobilization for teaching representatives from other states to give their respects.

We found that in addition to Raul Gomes who was Nestor Lima's partner in mobilizing the celebration to have recognized his suggestion, another intellectual from Paraná, Dr. Sebastião Viana in the newspaper O Estado (PR) makes this recognition, in addition the name of the intellectual potiguar appears published in a newspaper of great national visibility, Jornal do Brasil (RJ) , in a news story written by Leôncio Correia. In this news, Nestor Lima is also recognized for having proposed the date of institution of The Teacher's Day.

Thus, through the analyses, it is concluded that Nestor Lima was appointed as the character, among those who had the initiative to celebrate Teacher's Day, which was recognized in other states by his suggestion during the period experienced by them.

In addition, through research in the Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira we were able to observe more than the initiatives to institute this date, but rather a real struggle of those who became sensitized to the cause. From 1923 to 1925 we found several news about discussion and veto to Project no. 77 that intended to institute The Teacher's Day. In addition, we found that several states celebrated the date in their own way, without a standard date, usually in school groups within the so-called "Week of Education" that intended one day for the teacher/master.

The study is part of Nestor Lima, an intellectual potiguar, once again in discussion nationwide. And with this, the historiography about this intellectual expands, enabling new perspectives of study about this subject, and consequently, on research in the field of The History of Education.


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1English version by Érico Gurgel Amorim. E-mail:

2The Hemeroteca is a portal of national journals that, via the Internet, can be widely accessed from anywhere in the world. Its collection of periodicals includes newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, bulletins and serial publications. This space is linked to the National Digital Library belonging to the National Library Foundation. It preserves documents and democratizes access to documents, contributing to the work of the historian. Access via link:

3Main mapped works about Nestor Lima: antônio's book Basil Novaes Thomaz de Menezes Entitled Nestor dos Santos Lima and Educational Modernity published in 2009; sara Raphaela Machado Amorim's thesis, 2017, with the title Travel as a mission: pedagogical exchange of educator Nestor dos Santos Lima (1913-1923) and his 2010 master's thesis From The Master to the Disciples: the Educational Legacy of Nestor dos Santos Lima (1910-1930); the 2009 dissertation by Jane Karoline Carvalho de Aguiar Ramos Nestor Lima and the Conservative Modernization in educational management of Rio Grande do Norte between 1924-1928 and more recently, in 2020, the dissertation by Laís Paula de Medeiros Campos Azevedo The Pedagogical Trips of Nestor dos Santos Lima and Education in Rio Grande do Norte in the First Republic.

4Raul Gomes (1989-1975) was a Paraná intellectual, teacher and journalist who fought for the educational issues of Paraná. In addition to other performances and trajectories that can be found in Vanessa Goes Denardi's dissertation entitled Among Theses: A Crossing by the representations of Professor Raul Rodrigues Gomes about the New School (Paraná, 1920s and 1930s).

Received: December 06, 2022; Accepted: February 05, 2023

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