The history of womankind can only be properly explored by looking at the
writings of women themselves. Because of this, family archives are essential to reconstruct
women’s biographies historically, which frequently are unknown. The purpose of this paper
is to demonstrate how family archives, and especially biographical writing, make it possible
to learn more about the universe of women, in particular in nineteenth-century Portugal.
Since most of the examples available concern the aristocracy of the time, some characteristics
can be detected that define this writing and the social group it belongs to.