Verkhratsky, Ivan

Verkhratsky, Ivan [Верхрацький, Іван; Verxrats’kyj] (pseuds: Ivan Chaika, Liubart Horovsky, Losun, Petro Pravdoliub, Liubart Spivomyr, Ivan Shchypavka), b 26 April 1846 in Bilche Zolote, Borshchiv county, Galicia, d 29 November 1919 in Lviv. Natural scientist and philologist; full (and later honorary) member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh) from 1899 and the first chairman of its Mathematical–Natural Science–Medical Section. He studied at Lviv University (1865–8) and in Cracow (1874), worked as a Realschule and gymnasium teacher in Drohobych (1868–71), Lviv (1871–9, 1891–1908), and Stanyslaviv (1879–90), and founded the natural science cabinet at the Academic Gymnasium of Lviv and the NTSh Ethnographic Museum. He specialized in the flora and fauna, especially insects, of Galicia. He wrote numerous works, including the first Ukrainian high-school textbooks in zoology (1895, 1906) and botany (1905); the first Latin-German-Ukrainian dictionary of natural science nomenclature and terms (7 fascicles, 1864–1908); materials for a Ukrainian dictionary (1877); a register of vernacular botanical terms and nomenclature (1892); materials on mineralogical terminology (Zbirnyk Matematychno-pryrodnycho-likars’koï sektsiï NTSh, vol 13 [1909]); pioneering studies of the Maramureş region dialects (1883), Sian dialects (1894, 1900), Transcarpathian dialects (1901), Lemko dialects (1902), Bukovyna-Pokutia dialects (1908), and Dnister dialects (1912); and liberal-populist polemical articles criticizing the Galician Russophiles and their use of the yazychiie. His attempts at classifying and determining the etymologies of the dialects were dilettantish, but his descriptions of them and data about their lexicon remain an important empirical source. In the 1870s Verkhratsky also wrote poetry and translated Polish verse into Ukrainian, and in 1880 he published the Stanyslaviv literary-scholarly newspaper Dennytsia, in which he included his own poems, stories, and articles under various cryptonyms.

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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