Alzira Vargas do Amaral Peixoto: guardian of the archives of the Vargas and Amaral Peixoto families
Alzira Vargas do Amaral Peixoto was born in São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul in 1914, the daughter of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, who would later become president of Brazil, and Darcy Sarmanho Vargas. In 1937, she graduated from the National Law School in Rio de Janeiro and Getúlio Vargas formally appointed her an advisor. She later became a member of the presidential civil cabinet, until 1945.
During Getúlio Vargas’ first administration, as of 1930, she worked as her father’s secretary, librarian and archivist. She always acted as a confidant and go-between with other politicians, party members and opposition leaders, during Vargas’ two periods in office, from 1930 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1954.
Between 1946 and 1950, while Getúlio Vargas was in Rio Grande do Sul and she was in Rio de Janeiro, they worked on getting him back into power. She played a key role in the political and military crisis of 1954, which culminated in the suicide of President Vargas that year.
She married Ernani do Amaral Peixoto in 1939 and became the first lady of the state of Rio de Janeiro when he served as governor, from 1939 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.
In 1960, her book, “Getúlio Vargas, My Father,” was published. Between 1968 and 1992, she served as the president of the Darcy Vargas Foundation and “Casa do Pequeno Jornaleiro” (House of Young Newspaper Sellers, an orphanage).
She was considered the guardian of her father’s, her husband’s and her own personal archives. These archives, before being donated to CPDOC, were kept at her home, where they were consulted by Brazilian and foreign researchers under her watchful eye.
This was the last article in Women’s Archives, a special series that began on International Women’s Day.