Alfredo de Carvalho was born on 27 June 1870 in the city of Recife, Pernambuco, to Thomaz Ferreira de Carvalho and Julieta Cristina de Carvalho.
After receiving his primary and secondary education in Recife, he travelled to Hamburg, Germany, where he began a course in civil engineering. Before completion, he returned to Recife in 1888 and began working as an assistant technician on the construction of the railroad to Caruaru.
In 1890, wanting to continue studying engineering, he enlisted in the army and enrolled in the Military School of Ceará. However he was involved in the Santa Cruz fort revolt and, because of this, had to abandon his military career in 1892, travelling instead to the United States where he finished his engineering studies at the Philadelphia Polytechnic School.
With his degree, he returned to Brazil in 1894 and became an assistant engineer. Later, while working on the Central do Brasil railway in Rio de Janeiro, he was able to get a transfer to the Central de Pernambuco railway as an Engineer First-Class.
He sat a public exam for the Mineralogy, Geology and Meteorology course at the Pernambuco College in Recife and qualified in first place. However, the position was cancelled by the state.
He undertook a trip to Amazonas, working on charting topographies, but was taken ill and had to return to Pernambuco.
In 1899 he moved to the city of Santos in São Paulo, having been invited to edit the newspaper Cidade de Santos.
In 1900, due to the death of his mother, he returned to Recife, which became his permanent home.
He married Marieta Siqueira de Carvalho and began to work as a fiscal engineer in the Pernambuco sugarcane factories.
He participated in many literary and scientific entities, including the Pernambuco Academy of Letters, of which he was president, the Pernambuco Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Institute, The Ceará Academy, the Historical and Geographical Institutes of Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte, the Campinas Centre of Sciences, Arts and Letters in São Paulo, the National Geographical Society and the Anthropological Society, both with headquarters in Washington DC, USA.
He spoke German, English, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish. He did many translations to Portuguese of German, Dutch and French works, including The Diary of a Soldier in the West Indies Campaign by the German Ambrosio Richshoffer (1897), Olinda Conquered, by Dutch priest João Baers (1898); The Diary of Mathias Beck’s Expedition to Ceará in 1840 (Dutch, 1903); Dominical Notes, by the French L. F. Tollenare (1904).
He was a collaborator of newspapers and magazines, such as Diario de Pernambuco, Jornal do Recife, magazines Brasileira, Pernambucana, Instituto Arqueológico, Histórico e Geográfico Pernambucano; and also the Revistas dos Institutos Geográficos e Históricos da Bahia (Magazines of the Geographical and Historical Institutes of Bahia) and those of Rio Grande do Norte, and Almanaque de Pernambuco. He wrote many times under the pseudonyms Robur, Aldecar, Philoclio, P. Pacífico, Heraldus.
He was the author of, among others, the following works: Pernambuco Journals, 1831-98 (1899); The Bahian Press, 1811-98 (1899); Words and Phrases: historical-etymological problems (1906); Pernambuco Studies (1907); Tupi in Pernambuco Chorography: Etymologic Lucidity (1907); Diario de Pernambuco, 1825-1908 (1908); Annals of the Pernambuco Periodic Press from 1821 to 1908 (1908).
Engineer and historian of Brazilian press, Alfredo de Carvalho died in Recife in 1916.
Recife, 24 November 2004.
(Updated on 20 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.
MUNIZ, Arthur. Alfredo de Carvalho. Almanaque de Pernambuco, Recife, ano 7, p.146-151, 1905.
SOUTO MAIOR, Mário. Dicionário de folcloristas brasileiros. Recife: 20-20 Comunicação e Editora, 1999. p.22
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Alfredo de Carvalho. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.