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[muh-ree-uh, -rahy-uh; Du., Ger., It., Sp. mah-ree-ah]
Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849, Irish novelist; daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. She lived practically her entire life on her father's estate in Ireland. Letters for Literary Ladies (1795), her first publication, argued for the education of women. She is best known for her novels of Irish life—Castle Rackrent (1800), Belinda (1801), and The Absentee (1812). Although her works are marred somewhat by didacticism, they are notable for their realism, humor, and freshness of style. She also wrote a number of stories for children, including Moral Tales (1801).

See selected letters ed. by C. Colvin (1971); studies by M. Butler (1972) and C. Owens (1987).

Deraismes, Maria, 1828-94, French feminist. She was a founder (1869) of the first French society dedicated to improving conditions and securing greater educational advantages for women. Her complete writings were published in 1895.
Jeritza, Maria, 1887-1982, Austrian-American soprano. b. Brünn (now Brno). After her debut as Elsa in Lohengrin at Olmütz (now Olomouc) in 1910, she was a member (1912-35) of the Vienna State Opera. She created the title role in the opera Ariadne by Richard Strauss. Jeritza sang (1921-32) at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, where her Tosca was renowned.
Taglioni, Maria, 1804-84, Italian ballerina, b. Stockholm. Taglioni is considered the first and foremost ballerina of the romantic period. She made her debut in Vienna in 1822 in a ballet created for her by her father, the Italian choreographer Filippo Taglioni. Although she danced with the Paris Opéra from 1827, she did not achieve success until 1832, when she interpreted the title role of her father's new work, La Sylphide, which all Europe acclaimed. Taglioni's ethereal style and high elevations and leaps greatly influenced the development of ballet. She danced with the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre from 1837 through 1839. Having retired in 1848, she was forced by bankruptcy to teach dance in Paris and London in her last years.
Tallchief, Maria, 1925-, American ballerina, b. Fairfax, Okla. Tallchief, of Osage descent, was trained both as a pianist and as a dancer. Deciding on a career in ballet, she studied under Bronislava Nijinska, Ernest Belcher, and George Balanchine, whom she later married. She performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1942 to 1947, when she joined the Ballet Society (later the New York City Ballet). Through 18 years as that company's prima ballerina and through her tours and television appearances with the American Ballet Theatre and other companies in the 1960s, Tallchief contributed greatly to the fame and prestige of American ballet.

See her autobiography (1997).

Her younger sister, Marjorie Tallchief, 1927-, b. Denver Colo., was première danseuse with the Paris Opéra Ballet from 1957 to 1962. She also performed with many other companies, retiring in 1966.

Montessori, Maria, 1870-1952, Italian educator and physician. She was the originator of the Montessori method of education for young children and was the first woman to receive (1894) a medical degree in Italy.

After working with subnormal children as a psychiatrist at the Univ. of Rome, Dr. Montessori was appointed (1898) director of the Orthophrenic School. There she pioneered in the instruction of retarded children, especially through the use of an environment rich in manipulative materials. In 1901 she left the school to embark on further study and to serve (1901-7) as lecturer in pedagogical anthropology at the Univ. of Rome. The success of her program at the Orthophrenic School, however, led her to believe that similar improvements could be made in the education of normal preschool children, and in 1907 she opened the first case dei bambini [children's house] as a day-care center in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. The success of this venture led Montessori and her followers to establish similar institutions in other parts of Europe and in the United States, where the first Montessori school was established (1912) in Tarrytown, N.Y.

In 1929 the Association Montessori Internationale was established to further the Montessori method by sponsoring conventions and training courses for teachers. By this time, however, interest in Montessori education had declined in a number of countries, especially the United States, mainly because of opposition from those who felt that the method was destructive of school discipline. The Montessori method experienced a renaissance in many American schools during the late 1950s, and in 1960 the American Montessori Society was formed.

The Montessori Method

The chief components of the Montessori method are self-motivation and autoeducation. Followers of the Montessori method believe that a child will learn naturally if put in an environment containing the proper materials. These materials, consisting of "learning games" suited to a child's abilities and interests, are set up by a teacher-observer who intervenes only when individual help is needed. In this way, Montessori educators try to reverse the traditional system of an active teacher instructing a passive class. The typical classroom in a Montessori school consists of readily available games and toys, household utensils, plants and animals that are cared for by the children, and child-sized furniture—the invention of which is generally attributed to Dr. Montessori. Montessori educators also stress physical exercise, in accordance with their belief that motor abilities should be developed along with sensory and intellectual capacities. The major outlines of the Montessori system are based on Dr. Montessori's writings, which include The Montessori Method (1912), Pedagogical Anthropology (1913), The Advanced Montessori Method (2 vol., 1917), and The Secret of Childhood (1936).


See E. M. Standing, Maria Montessori (1958, repr. 1962) and The Montessori Revolution (1966); biography by R. Kramer (1983).

Goeppert-Mayer, Maria, 1906-72, German-American nuclear physicist, Ph.D. Univ. of Göttingen, 1930. She was a researcher at Johns Hopkins (1931-39), Columbia (1939-46), Argonne National Laboratory (1946-60), and the Univ. of California, San Diego (1960-72). Goeppert-Mayer shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Eugene Wigner and Hans Jensen. She and Jensen were cited for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure. Working independently, and later collaboratively, the two explained the stability of certain isotopes as a result of the arrangement of the protons and neutrons in the nucleus.
maria: see moon.
Mitchell, Maria, 1818-89, American astronomer and educator, b. Nantucket, Mass. Mitchell taught school in Nantucket, and later became a librarian. On Oct. 1, 1847, Mitchell discovered a comet (1847 VI) not far from Polaris. She was the first woman to be elected (1848) to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1857 a group of Boston area women presented her with a 5-in. Alvan Clark refractor, with which she expanded her studies of sunspots, planets, and nebulae. By taking daily photographs of the sun, she made many discoveries about the nature of sunspots. In 1865 Mitchell became professor of astronomy at Vassar College and taught several distinguished women astronomers. After her death her students continued to visit her birthplace in Nantucket; it is preserved as the Mitchell House. The Maria Mitchell Observatory was built next door, and in 1912 Harvard established a research program there. In 1913 a 7.5-in. (19.1 cm) photographic refractor was added. The Observatory has an archive of over 8,000 photographs of variable star fields, and offers a summer program for young people about to enter college.

See biographies by P. M. Kendall (1896), M. K. Babbitt (1912), and H. Wright (1949, repr. 1959).

Sint-Maria-Lierde is a small village which makes up part of the municipality of Lierde in the Belgian province of East Flanders.

The village's coat of arms shows a heart of Jesus beneath a crown. The arms were granted in 1818 and confirmed on December 20, 1846.

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