Exploring DBE’s entries, the article follows the biographical paths of some figures who were, in different ways, emblematic of the composite teachers’ universe and its mutations throughout about two centuries. Teachers living in the first part of the 19th century, usually clerks, are mentioned in view of their participation in cultural debates of the time or in the Risorgimento movement, more than for their didactic activity, due to a sort of marginality of education at that point. Only later a sense of professional awareness came to light, involving women as well, who enrolled more and more in teaching. This led to teachers’ commitment within communities and to the promotion of cultural activities, of social services and even of economic business. The association experience was later dismantled by Fascism, under which a number of teachers bended; nonetheless, a new cultural and professional identity, linked to Catholicism, had arisen in the meanwhile. After the Second War World such identity, purged from Fascist influences, would be embraced by the majority of teachers.
Keywords: Teachers, Women teachers, Patriotic education, Teachers association, Women writers of children’s literature, History of education