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The following periodical appears in Anarchy Archives thanks to FLA, the Federacion Libertaria Argentina and their project, Biblioteca-Archivo de Estudios Libertarios.

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[…] theoretical pedagogue of Latin America. No one could surpass him in illustration, competence, production, even though, outside of the two stars of primary magnitude that I’ve mentioned already, (Pedro Varela and Sarmiento) there are numerous other that have, before and now, dedicated their lives, or a major parts of them, to the service of educational propaganda or to teaching.”

Biographical Dates

Mr. J.M says of Vedia:

Berra was born in the city of Buenos Aires, on December 3, 1844, passing barely 7 or 8 years in the city of Montevideo and entering school that we have already referred to as his workplace, we believe this school was on Camaras Street, today known as Juan Carlos Gomez Street, of that capital.

Berra started working when he was very young, almost a boy, to procure means of subsisting and to cope with the expenses his studies caused him. The modest pay he enjoyed as a dependent of a house of commerce, was so meager that when he saw the necessity to acquire some texts and tools, he thereupon found that his resources were lacking. Fortunately, his headmaster was notified of the state of finances of his employee and gave him a small increase in his pay, one that put an end to the crisis.

Berra gave in permanently to work and to study, counting on the few hours of rest that 1869 would bring with the finish of his baccalaureate studies, at the University of Montevideo. He then received his doctorate in 1872 at the same institution. He then studied judicial procedures and the justice court appointed him the title of lawyer in 1874.

His first works were published while he was studying, and consisted in texts about schooling, which lacked, nevertheless, the pedagogic merit of his later works, because until then his new ideas in the matter of methods and procedures, were not well known in the Rio de la Plata.

Sarmiento also had little success in his didactic essays and this is perhaps why he abandoned this path, he did not pass through this phase.

By chance this deserving student gained employment in the Society of Friends of Popular Education and put him in contact with Jose Pedro Varela, Emilio Romero, Alfredo Vazquez Acevedo, Carlos Maria de Pena, and in a word, with all the promoters of the institution that deserve recognition for most of the advances in education in and outside Uruguay.

Dr. Berra was the soul of that Society during the time that relied, also, on the very valuable and decided contributions of another Argentine: Don Emilio Romero, to whom we have referred.

In the Society of Friends of Education, Dr. Berra successively occupied the board positions of the Directive Commission, vice-president, president and ultimately, having left Montevideo, was overwhelmed with honors and chosen as the honorary president.

From 1868 to 1873 he worked disinterestedly for popular education in this country, although not refusing to serve and through all when he was able to proceed independently, did his scholastic acts took on serious due.

The humble teacher could count on the aid of Dr. Berra in the exercise of his profession, being sure that he would help him with his advice and that he would provide him with the verbal or written instructions that his case demanded. He was the consultant par excellence in these numerous society that sometimes needed much help and encouragement in its noble tasks.

It is widely known that the schools do not always have competent directors and these directors are in favor of certain deviltries and complacencies of the authorities, usually they are superficially supported by inept people. Dr. Berra, although with a smooth, kind and amiable character, was inflexible to the front of an examining table when he was to judge the educational state of a class. Berra initiated in modern pedagogy and concluded that the foundations of science had to be thrown out.

When the Directive Commission of the […]

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