Milica Tomić

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Name Milica Tomić
Spouse and other names rođ. Miletić
Date of birth November 30, 1859
Date of death November 24, 1944
Country Serbia and Austro-Hungarian Empire
Language Serbian
Web address http://neww.huygens.knaw.nl/authors/show/4001

About her personal situation

 

Born in Novi Sad in 1859, Milica was the daughter of Svetozar Miletić and Anka Milutinović. They bore nine children together, out of which only two survived – the first, Milica, and the seventh, a son named Slavko. The period in which Milica was growing up and developing was characterized by vigorous struggles for national liberation. It is no wonder therefore that she was christened after Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja, whose poems were inspired by the idea of the Serbian state and the struggle for national liberation. On October 25, 1885, she married Jaša Tomić. They had no children. She died in 1944 in Belgrade.

 

Place of birth Novi Sad
Place(s) of residence Serbia
Place of death Beograd
Nationality srpska
Marital status Married
Social class Middle class
Education School education

About her professional situation

 

Milica received her education in Novi Sad, Pest and Vienna. She was fluent in four languages: Hungarian, German, French and English. Prior to the incarceration of her father, which was a great blow to her family, she had been preparing for medical studies in Switzerland. Having to take on a part of his responsibilities, she was forced to give up medicine. She published her first literary works in the German magazine Gartenlaube.

There were two persons who influenced her life seminally: her father, Svetozar Miletić, leader of the Serbian national liberal party, founder and editor of the magazine Zastava (The Flag), and her husband, Jaša Tomić, a Serbian journalist, politician and writer.  Very early on, thanks to her father, she became familiar with the political situation and the problems faced by Serbs in Hungary. It would seem that Svetozar Miletić had high expectations of his daughter, for there are records that he dressed her up as a boy and called her Miloš. Traveling with her father, she met most of his associates. When Miletić was arrested and incarcerated for the second time (1876–1879), Milica assumed some of his duties, the editorship of Zastava, among other things. She wasn’t even twenty when she started publishing political texts in this magazine.

Upon his release from prison, Svetozar Miletić fell ill. In time, his associates started abandoning him. Milica Tomić needed a new editor, and on the January 2, 1885, a politician of the radical party, Jaša Tomić, took over the magazine Zastava. Bearing in mind the fact that Jaša married Milica the same year he took over Zastava, their marriage was regarded upon variably, often as one concluded out of interest. However, its longevity, together with the dedicated effort of both spouses to solve many political and cultural problems, provides sufficient reason to claim otherwise. The marriage is linked to a scandal (a political one, to be precise) whose main actors were Jaša Tomić and Miša Dimitrijević, the owner and editor of Branik (The Defender), a herald of the Liberal party. In an effort to bring down Jaša Tomić, his political opponent, Miša Dimitrijević used Milica as a target, not only attacking her ideas and attitudes, but compromising her honor by publicizing a love letter she wrote before her marriage. The scandal ended in murder. On January 5, 1890 at a train station in Novi Sad, Jaša Tomić stabbed Miša Dimitrijević to death. For this he spent six years in prison.

After the wedding in 1885, Milica dedicated herself to women’s issues. She had great support from none other than her husband Jaša Tomić, who advocated economic, political, cultural and every other kind of equality between men and women. He wrote many papers on the subject of women’s rights and their emancipation.

Milica worked diligently on the organization and enlightenment of women. Her work was dual in nature: not only did she publish works on the subject of women’s rights, education and emancipation, but she worked on the enlightenment of women through direct contact, under the auspices of various organizations and associations.

1881 She was hired to work for the Charitable Cooperative of Serbian Women of Novi Sad.

1886 Certain ‘friends’ of Miletić to his defense

1886 Distortion is not – light: (a response to Mr. M. Dimitrijević)

1905 Milica plays a pivotal role in founding the organization known as “Poselo Srpkinja” (“poselo” being a term commonly used in small towns and villages for an informal party or gathering)

1910 “Poselo Srpkinja” evolved into  “Posestrima” – a reading room for women, founded by Milica.  “Posestrima” was meant to be a place where women of Novi Sad could gather in order to receive education and perform community work. The members of this foundation succeeded in founding a library, as well as organizing classes for those female members who didn’t know how to read or write. Danica Tomić was the first teacher, and Ljubica Jerković was the first president of  “Posestrima”. During winter, the members of “Posestrima” organized Women’s Villages in the rural communities near Novi Sad. These manifestations consisted of various activities, including lectures, reading and singing classes. It is therefore obvious that Milica Tomić, along with some of her associates, considered the education of women from rural areas a matter of great importance, if not the main goal and purpose of women’s organizations. In this way, she signalized the need for solidarity between women belonging to different classes of Serbian society in Voivodina. The Serbian reading room for women, “Posestrima”, had its charitable organization, that is, a fund used to help its members financially. They mostly spent its resources on helping the sick and the poor.

1914  “Posestrima” and its activities were terminated by the Hungarian government.

1918  “Posestrima” reading room resumed its work. Already next year its membership increased, amounting to about 300 women. The association became part of the National Women’s League of The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.  

1911 Milica founded and edited a women’s magazine, Žena (The Woman), and a calendar of the same title. The magazine was issued monthly, on a regular basis in the period between 1911 and 1921, with hiatuses during the war years, in 1915, 1916 and 1917.  It was established with the intent to deal with “all the issues pertaining to a woman’s life and her vocation”.

Milica cooperated with Rozika, Rosa Schwimmer (1877–1948), a prominent Hungarian feminist and suffragette. This cooperation is evidenced by their correspondence published in one of the issues of Žena.

In addition to six other women, Milica took part in the activities of Grand National Parliament in Novi Sad at the time when women gained the right to vote in this Parliament. This right was abolished shortly after the formation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

1922 After the death of Jaša Tomić, Milica retired from public life.

edited by: Ana Kolarić

translated by_ Dunja Dušanić

 

Profession(s) and other activities Urednica časopisa
Financial aspects of her career Investing/losing her own money

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