Director of the magazines Moda & Bordados, Joaninha e Reino dos Miúdos, she stands out in these publications. In addition to Journalism, Lamas was a strong supporter and fighter of women’s rights during Estado Novo (New State).
Maria Lamas was one of the first professional female journalists. She started in Agência Americana de Notícias by the hand of the journalist Virgínia Quaresma – having a salary, schedule and hierarchy.
“An activist for the Human Rights and Women’s Rights, journalist and writer of superior merit,” she was born on the 6th of October, 1893, in Torres Novas.
Coming from a bourgeoisie family, she lived until her 10th birthday in Torres Novas where she finished her studies. Later, she learned many languages, using that information to work as a translator.
She marries for her first time in 1910 to Teófilo José Pignolet Ribeiro da Fonseca. In this marriage she had two daughters, Maria Emília (1911) and Maria Manuela (1913). She lived in Luanda between 1911 and 1913, accompanying her husband in his military mission.
In 1921 she remarries to journalist Alfredo da Cunha Lamas, with whom she had a daughter, Maria Cândida.
As a journalist she directed the magazine Modas & Bordados (1928/1947), a weekly supplement of the newspaper O Século.
At this time, Bairro Alto, in Lisbon, was known as the “Press Neighbourhood” and it was there that Maria Lamas met the writer and journalist Ferreira de Castro, who invited her to collaborate in the magazine Civilização. Maria Lamas accepted and founded an additional publication, destined to children. In 1935, she founded a weekly magazine for girls called Joaninha.
Maria Lamas was a supporter of Human Rights and also Women’s Rights. Enrolled since 1936 in Associação Feminina para a Paz (Feminine Association for Peace), she was a notable member of Conselho Nacional das Mulheres Portuguesas (National Council of Portuguese Women), becoming president in 1945. Later she was forced to choose between the Council and the Magazine Modas & Bordados. In 1947 she publicly declared herself as a feminist.
Her activity as a liberator of consciences and identities defied Estado Novo’s ideals. However. her position intensified when, in 1949, she entered the politic organizations Movimento Democrático Nacional (National Democratic Movement) and Movimento de Unidade Democrática (Unity Democratic Movement). Maria Lamas actively participated in some electoral campaigns, like General Norton de Matos’ presidential one.
Her activities were considered subversive, a reason why she was harrassed and arrested by the dictatorship regime until she left for exile in Paris, returning only in 1969.
When she returned, she joined Partido Comunista Português (Portuguese Comunist Party) and became Honorary Director of the magazines Modas & Bordados and Mulheres.
In 1980 she was awarded with Grau de Oficial da Liberdade (Degree of Freedomg Official) and in 1982 she was honoured at the National Assembly.
Maria Lamas was a journalist, a writer and a translator – an autodidact researcher of the History of Women from Contemporary Portugal.
She died on the 6th of December of 1983. A distinguished Portuguese and European citizen from the 20th century.