Revue de Transylvanie: Creation, Structure and Research Themes

15 December 2021

Author Sorin Șipoș, University of Oradea

Revue de Transylvanie appeared in May 1934 in Cluj, at the initiative of Transylvanian intellectuals and with the financial support of Astra, its pages containing studies of good scientific quality, aiming at disseminating the results of Romanian historical research to the European scientific and public opinion. Our paper intends to outline the context in which the journal appeared, its editorial structure, its main contributors and topics throughout the years, as well as the context in which it ceased its activity. In the Foreword of its first issue, its initiators stated the reasons for starting the journal, as well as the objectives its founders had set for themselves. Silviu Dragomir, the director of the journal, and D.D. Roşca, its first editor-in-chief, intended the Revue de Transylvanie “to be a means of informing its Western readers on Transylvania through various aspects of life in a major province of post-1918 Romania”.

The founders of the publication wished for the journal to be “an objective and accurate means of information” on the ethnic issues in Transylvania and particularly on minorities. Revue de Transylvanie also aimed at investigating the relations of minorities in Romania with its majority Romanian population. The journal also appeared as a reaction to the Hungarian external propaganda, which was trying to accredit the idea that, after having become a Romanian province, Transylvania experienced a regress. The journal was not founded immediately after 1918, but in 1934, when it became increasingly obvious that the political changes that had occurred in the states defeated during WWI were threatening Europe’s configuration. Even in this difficult political context, the Romanian State took a long time to get involved in financially supporting the publication.

The journal achieved only some of the goals set by its founders, namely informing scientists and decision-makers in the Western states on the political and ethnic realities in Transylvania. This was due to the professionalism of the authors and their published studies on a great variety of topics, namely history, historical demography, cultural history, ethnography, linguistics etc., as well as to the 1200 free copies distributed to specialists in the country and abroad.

Regarding the contributors to the issues of the journal, although their number was over 60, only a few of them were permanent contributors, i.e. Silviu Dragomir, with 9 published studies, George Sofronie, with 8 published studies, Laurian Someșan, with 6 published studies, Coriolan Petranu, with 5 studies, Ioachim Crăciun, with 5 published studies, Ioan Lupaș, with 4 studies. The journal was also a true training workshop for younger specialists who made their apprenticeship especially in the Notes and Reviews sections. Worth mentioning among the younger historians are Ioachim Crăciun, Aurel Decei, Ioan Moga, Andrei Oţetea, P.P. Panaitescu, Ştefan Pascu, Aurelian Sacer­doţeanu, David Prodan, Virgil Vătăşianu.

The journal contained good quality studies on a variety of topics, especially contributions on contemporary history, minority issues, international law, historical demography, language history, historical geography etc.  Revue de Transylvanie proved to be an interdisciplinary journal in terms of both published studies and articles, and of its contributors’ formation. Disputes and polemics occurred mainly in Notes and Reviews. The political factor in Romania used only to a small extent the pertinent information provided by the specialists, and its editing team set itself difficult objectives, unachievable without political support.

Revue de Transylvanie, Silviu Dragomir, structure and research subjects, Transylvania

[1] According to the extract from Matricula botezaţilor [Baptismal Register] of the Romanian Ecclesiastical Orthodox Commune in Gurasada, fol. 1, Fund Silviu Dragomir, Serviciul Județean Hunedoara al Arhivelor Naționale (henceforth abbreviated as SJHAN); Nicolae Stoian, “Date privitoare la formaţia intelectuală a istoricului Silviu Dragomir” [Data Regarding the Intellectual Formation of the Historian Silviu Dragomir], AIIACN XXVIII (1987‑1988): 563; Mircea Păcurariu, “O sută de ani de la naşterea istoricului Silviu Dragomir (1888‑1962)” [One Hundred Years since the Birth of the Historian Silviu Dragomir (1888 1962)], MA XXXIII, no. 2 (1988): 109; Sorin Șipoș, Silviu Dragomir istoric [Silviu Dragomir – Historian], 2nd edition (Oradea: Editura Universității din Oradea, 2008), 30.

[2] Fund Universitatea din Cluj. Facultatea de Litere, Minutes, no. 186 of 1921/1922, Serviciul Județean Cluj al Arhivelor Naționale (henceforth abbreviated as SJCAN); Fund Onisifor Ghibu, file 1, 1919‑1929, vol. I, fol. 10, Serviciul Arhivelor Naționale Istorice Centrale Bucharest (henceforth abbreviated as SANIC Bucharest); Anuarul Universităţii din Cluj I (1919‑1920) (Cluj, 1921): 32; Stelian Neagoe, Viaţa universitară clujeană interbelică [The Interwar University Life in Cluj], vol. I (Cluj-Napoca, 1980), 111; Șipoș, Silviu Dragomir, 56.

[3] Neagoe, Viaţa universitară clujeană, 187‑202. See also Fund Onisifor Ghibu, file 282, 1919‑1929, vol. I, fol. 10, SANIC Bucharest.

[4] Stelian Mândruţ, “La ‘Revue de Transylvanie’ et l’école d’histoire de Cluj (1934‑1945),” Studia hi. XXXII, no. 1 (1987): 65.

[5] Fund Servicul C. Arhiva operativă. Dosar de anchetă a lui Silviu Dragomir, no. 10 162, p. 44, Arhiva Ministerului Justiției.

[6] Stelian Mândruţ and Liviu Ursuţiu, “Repere istoriografice: destinul unei instituţii” [Historiographical Landmarks: The Destiny of an Institution], Buletinul Centrului de Studii Transilvane, Supplement (Cluj‑Napoca, April 1995): 5. See also the documented study published by Stelian Mîndruţ, “Centrul de studii şi cercetări privitoare la Transilvania. Istoric şi activitate (1942‑1948) (I)” [Transylvania Studies and Research Center. History and Activity (1942-1948) (I)], AIIACN XXIX (1989): 318‑344; Idem, “Centrul de studii şi cercetări privitoare la Transilvania. Istoric şi activitate (1942‑1948) (II)” [Transylvania Studies and Research Center. History and Activity (1942-1948) (II)], AIIACN XXX (1990‑1991): 151‑162.

[7] Mândruţ and Ursuţiu, “Repere istoriografice,” 7.

[8] See Stelian Mândruţ, “Bibliotheca Rerum Transsilvaniae, I‑XXI/1943‑1946,” AIICN XXXIII (1994): 417‑443.

[9] Request by Professor Constantin Sudeţeanu to Professor Silviu Dragomir, Director of the Centre for Transylvanian Studies, dated 15 June 1943, Fund Istorici clujeni, p. 36, Biblioteca Centrală Universitară Lucian Blaga.

[10] Mîndruţ, “Centrul de studii şi cercetări privitoare la Transilvania (II),” 161; Fund Silviu Dragomir, file 4, SJHAN.

[11] Revue de Transylvanie, vol. I, no. 1 (Cluj, 1934): 139; Mândruț, “La ‘Revue de Transylvanie’,” 65; Radu Mârza, Romanian Historians and Propaganda (1914-1946). The Case of Transylvania (Bratislava: AE Press, 2014), 70.

[12] Mândruț, “La ‘Revue de Transylvanie’,” 70; Idem, “Revue de Transylvanie. Bibliografie” [Revue de Transylvanie. Bibliography], Revue de Transylvanie (1991): 195; Mârza, Romanian Historians and Propaganda, 70.

[13] Ioachim Crăciun, “Cinq ans au service de la Transylvanie,” Revue de Transylvanie V, no. 4 (Cluj, 1939): 491.

[14] Revue de Transylvanie VII-IX, no. 3-4 (Sibiu, s.a.): 1.

[15] Stelian Neagoe, Istoria guvernelor României de la începuturi – 1899, până în zilele noastre – 1995 [The History of Romanian Governments from the Beginning – 1899, to the Present Day – 1995] (Bucharest: Machiavelli, 1996), 122.

[16] Ioan Scurtu and Gheorghe Buzatu, Istoria românilor în secolul XX (1918‑1948) [The History of the Romanians in the 20th Century (1918-1948)] (Bucharest: Paideia, 1999), 338.

[17] Crăciun, “Cinq ans,” 491; Mândruț, “Revue de Transylvanie,” 196.

[18] In the basement of this house, in 1934, the publication of the journal Revue de Transylvanie started; its editing continued after 1940 in Sibiu, until 1943 [1944]. I remember the feverishness around the dates of publication of the journal: collaborators, translators, editors were rushing through Silviu Dragomir’s office, breaking the silence and calm that usually reigned in that office. Toa­der Buculei, Mărturii și opinii privind destinul istoriografiei românești în epoca totalitarismului comunist [Testimonies and Opinions on the Destiny of Romanian Historiography in the Era of Communist Totalitarianism] (Brăila: Editura Libertatea, 2000), 89.

[19] Mândruț, “La ‘Revue de Transylvanie’,” 65.

[20] Mândruț, “Revue de Transylvanie,” 195.

[21] Revue de Transylvanie VII-IX, no. 3-4 (Sibiu, s.a.): 1; Revue de Transylvanie X, no. 1-2 (Sibiu, 1944): 1; Revue de Transylvanie X, no. 3-4 (Sibiu, 1945): 1.

[22] Letter sent to the journal’s editorial board, to collaborators and state institutions in Romania, 6 November 1936.

[23] Revue de Transylvanie I, no. 1 (1934): 3; Mândruț, “Revue de Transylvanie,” 65-66; Mârza, Romanian Historians and Propaganda, 70.

[24] Revue de Transylvanie I, no. 1 (1934): 4; Mârza, Romanian Historians and Propaganda, 71.

[25] “Avant-Propos,” Revue de Transylvanie I, no. 1 (1934): 3.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid., 4.

[28] Ibid.

[29] “Le quatrième tome de notre revue,” in Revue de Transylvanie IV, no. 1-2 (Cluj, 1938): 109.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Circular sent by the editorial board of the journal Revue de Transylvanie to their collaborators and readers, November 1936.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Crăciun, “Cinq ans,” 490-495.

[36] Ibid., 491.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Mais, en dépit du voeu le plus cher de ses collaborateurs dévoués, son activité fut interrompue a l’automne de 1940, lorsque le rythme précipité des événements internationaux imposa au développement naturel de cette terre roumaine par excellence, une rupture qui retentit douloureusement dans le coeur de tous les Roumains. Depuis lors, des problemes d’une importance primordiale pour le sort de la Transylvanie roumaine n’ont cessé de se poser. Ils n’intéressent d’ailleurs pas seulement les destinées nationales, mais encore la vérité scientifique. Aussi les fondateurs et les anciens collaborateurs de la Revue ont-ils estimé que sa réapparition constituait une impérieuse nécessité. Elle reparaît donc, cette fois comme un organe du Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches relatives à la Transylvanie qui fonctionne auprès de l’Université de Cluj, a laquelle Sibiu offre un refuge temporaire.” “Avant-Propos,” in Revue de Transylvanie VII-IX, no. 3-4 (Sibiu, s.a.): 3.

[39] “En sa nouvelle qualité d’organe scientifique du Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches relatives à la Transylvaniè, la Revue de Transylvanie espère remplir mieux que jamais la mission qu’elle a toujours assumée en publiant les résultats des recherches scientifiques entreprises dans le cadre de ce nouvel organisme de l’Université de la Dacie supérieure, pour les porter à la connaissance des cercles occidentaux qu’intéressent les réalités de cette partie du Continent européen. Reprenant son activité et une heure où le déroulement des hostilités atteint des proportions inconnues jusqu’à ce jour et rejette dans l’ombre la justice et le droit des nations, la Revue de Transylvanie espere que sa contribution scientifique aidera et trouver la solution définitive vers laquelle tendent les aspirations légitimes de la population la plus ancienne et la plus nombreuse de Transylvanie: la population roumaine. C’est dans cette conviction que la Revue de Transylvanie reprend le cours de son apparition, résolue en servir par-dessus tout la cause de la vérité et de la justice.” Ibid., 4.

List of illustrations

Fig. 1. Silviu Dragomir, when a student at the University of Chernivtsi, student card, Fund Silviu Dragomir, file 4, SJHAN.

Fig. 2. Professor Silviu Dragomir’s refugee identification card, Sibiu, 1942 (from the collection of Florica Enescu).

Fig. 3. Revue de Transylvanie, Volume I, no. 1, Cluj, May 1943 (cover and table of contents of the journal).