Savka Subotić

Spouse Jovan Subotić
Other names Savka Desančić
Date of birth October 11, 1834
Date of death 1918
Web address

Personal situation

October 11, 1834 – Savka was born in Novi Sad into the Polit family, a respectable family of merchants. Her mother Julijana (maiden name Desančić) had a considerable influence on the development of Savka’s attitudes towards the world and the role of women in society. Due to the family’s favorable financial situation and the support of her parents, she gained the highest education available to girls of that period.

1846–1848: She was schooled in Timisoara. The outbreak of the Hungarian Uprising in 1848 lead to a war which greatly affected the lifestyle of the Polit family. Savka’s father, Jovan Polit, lost all his land and estates. Subsequently, the family moved to Vienna, where Savka continued her education in a catholic boarding school.

May 1, 1851 – In Vienna, Savka married Jovan Subotić (1817-1885), a writer and politician with a PhD in Law. He was also a journalist, editor of Letopis Matice srpske (The Matica Srpska Chronicle) from 1842 to 1847, and a great supporter of his wife’s progressive attitudes.

1852 – Savka gave birth to her first child, Dejan, who would become the Russian Governor of Manchuria. More children followed: Žarko, Vida, Verica, and Vojislava. Žarko and Vida died as children. Vojislav would become a doctor and one of the founders of the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade. Her sons, Branislav and Ozren, and daughter Jefimija were born later.

The Subotić family often changed residence, following Jovan Subotić who had to change places frequently, due to his career as a politician and lawyer.

1918 – Savka died in Novi Sad. She was buried in the family tomb in Zemun.

Place of birth Novi Sad
Place(s) of residence Austria, Croatia, Romania, and Serbia
Place of death Novi Sad
Nationality Serbian
First language(s) German and Serbian
Marital status Married
Number of children 8
Name(s) of children Dejan, Žarko, Vida, Verica, Vojislav, Branislav, Jefimija i Ozren
Gender of children M (5) F (3)
Social class Upper class
Education School education

Professional situation

Savka Subotić is the first Serbian feminist from Vojvodina. She fought, above all, for the improvement of women’s position in society, especially through education. As a result of her efforts, Prva ženska zadruga (The First Women’s Collective) was formed in 1867 in Novi Sad. This was a major step towards female emancipation, for the Collective was directed towards helping women become teachers. The foundation of the Higher Schools for Women in Novi Sad and in Pančevo followed in 1874. In addition to her community engagement, Savka promoted Serbian fabric handiworks and crafts with the intention of presenting them to the general public, and she studied the customs of Serbs, Bulgarians and Greeks. She attended the 1911 Feminist Congress in Budapest. She received national as well as international acclaim for her work. She was an honorary member of all women’s associations and societies in Serbia, and also the first chairwoman of Kolo srpskih sestara (The Circle of Serbian Sisters, from 1903), Zadruga Srpkinja Novosatkinja (The Collective of Serbian Women from Novi Sad), and Srpski narodni ženski savet (Serbian National Women’s Council), founded in 1906. She had an exceptional rhetorical talent, and many lectures printed in the magazines of those days testify to it, one of which particularly stood out: Žena na Istoku i Zapadu (Woman in the East and West), held at the Science Club in Vienna on November 17 (30), 1911.

Profession(s) and other activities social-cultural activist and contributor to periodical press
Language(s) in which she wrote German and Serbian
Memberships Other

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