[...] 1.90m, over 100 kilos, academic, cultured, affable, charismatic, bohemian, skilful conversationalist, host and famous gastronome, Jordão was held in extremely high esteem in Recife. The dinners and literary soirées at his home, with an excellent library, in Rosarinho, at the foot of the Avenida Norte Bridge, which he called “ponte do jacaré” (alligator bridge), were the “place to be” of the city at that time, with the constant presence of the inseparable Mauro Mota, Paulo do Couto Malta and Marcel Morin, our consul to France, the popular Marcelo Amorim. [...]
(Artur Carvalho, O príncipe Jordão, 1999).
Severino Jordão Emerenciano was born in the Pernambuco municipality of Catende on 14 February 1919, to Afonso Elísio Emerenciano and Irene Jordão Emerenciano.
He did his secondary schooling at Colégio Manuel da Nóbrega in Recife, and his pre-vestibular course at the Ginásio Pernambucano, where he was the overall first-place.
He studied at the Recife Law Faculty, graduating in 1944 as student laureate and class orator.
His first book, A retirada para o Brasil (The Retreat to Brazil), was published the year following his graduation and, soon afterwards, he was named as District Attorney in the State capital.
He also graduated in Library Studies, in 1951, as a student in the course’s first class at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), whose patron was the professor Edson Nery da Fonseca.
Organiser and one of those responsible for the creation of the Pernambuco State Public Archives – restructured under the minister of Governor José Neves Filho in 1945 – he was its first director, occupying the position with some interruptions from 1945 to 1972, the year of his death.
He carried out some political roles, among that of the Secretary General of the Fernando de Noronha government; Judge at the Electoral Tribunal and Head of the Civil House in the Cid Sampaio government.
He was also a professor of Portuguese Literary History at the Faculty of Philosophy in the University of Recife, where he created the Institute of Portuguese Studies in 1954.
A member of the Pernambuco Academy of Letters, he was the institution’s secretary during the management of Valdemar de Oliveira, whose book Mundo submerso – memórias contains the following testimony:
[...] I won’t forget the many other collaborators who, in twelve years of Presidency, I had. But Jordão Emerenciano stands out, and it is in him I found more than a simple writer of acts and orders, a great livener of cultural incentives in the same fashion of a lucid Master of Ceremonies, who, it seemed to me, should make all Academies, as learned as they are mundane, follow the noble path of Jordão.
Writer and journalist, contributor to the Jornal Pequeno, Jordão Emerenciano is the author of various books and periodical articles, among which the following are of note:
Books and pamphlets: A retirada para o Brasil (The Retreat to Brazil) (1945); Apontamentos para a narrativa feliz da empresa da 2ª Batalha dos Guararapes (Notes for a Happy Narrative of the Company at the 2nd Battle of Guararapes) (1949); Edgar Allan Poe o homem, o temperamento (Edgar Allan Poe, The Man, The Temperament) (1950); Jose Mariano ou o elogio da tribuna (Jose Mariano or the Tribune’s Compliment) (1953); Silvino Lopes: o homem e a obra (Silvino Lopes: the Man and the Work) (1959); Três instrumentos de trabalho: fontes básicas para estudos portugueses (Three Working Tools: Basic Sources for Portuguese Studies) (1965); A conjuntura açucareira em Pernambuco (The Sugarcane Conjuncture in Pernambuco) (1965); Contribuição bibliográfica para estudantes brasileiros de literatura portuguesa (1966) (Bibliographic Contribution for Brazilian Students of Portuguese Literature);
Magazine articles: Notas à margem da interpretação marxista da história (Marginal Notes for Marxist Interpretation of History) (1946); Interpretação de Pernambuco flamengo (Interpretation of Dutch Pernambuco) (1947); Plano de altos estudos (Higher Education Plan) (1947); Vauthier no Arquivo Público (Vauthier in the Public Archive) (1948); Joaquim Nabuco e a igreja (Joaquim Nabuco and the Church) (1949); Centenário de Pereira da Costa (Centenary of Pereira da Costa) (1952); Guararapes e a unidade brasileira (Guararapes and Brazilian Unity) (1971); Francisco do Rego Barros, Conde da [Count of] Boa Vista (1972).
He was recognised with many accolades, among them the Commander of the Military Order of Christ (Portuguese Government, 1948); the Austrian Order of Merit (1950) and the Commend of Merit, awarded by the Argentinean government in 1962.
He was a member of the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute; the Pernambuco Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Institute and of the Coimbra Institute of Culture, Portugal.
Jordão Emerenciano died in Recife on 17 February 1972.
He received many posthumous tributes, among them from the Recife City Council which instituted the Prêmio Jordão Emerenciano in 1972, awarded to the best book of essays; the Institute of Portuguese Studies and the Pernambuco State Public Archive were renamed to the Jordão Emerenciano Institute of Portuguese Studies and the Jordão Emerenciano Pernambuco State Public Archive. The 1972 Law graduating class at UFPE was also called the Jordão Emerenciano Class.
Recife, 29 March 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.
O mestre Jordão Emerenciano. Disponível em: <http://www.diariodepernambuco.com.br/2009/06/07/urbana9_0.asp>. Acesso em: 25 mar. 2010.
CARVALHO, Arthur. O príncipe Jordão. Disponível em: <http://www2.uol.com.br/JC/_1999/2403/art2403.htm>. Acesso em: 25 mar. 2010.
OLIVEIRA, Valdemar. Mundo submerso: memórias. 3. ed. Recife: Fundação de Cultura Cidade do Recife, 1985. p. 227-231.
PERÉA, Romeu. Jordão Emerenciano: homem de vida interior. Caderno Moinho Recife, Recife, n. 10, p. 31-34, dez. 1972.
SILVA, Jorge Fernandes da. Vidas que não morrem. Recife: Gráfica J. Luiz Vasconcelos, 2000. v. 2, p. 135-137.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Jordão Emerenciano. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.