Philanthropic Society for Publishing Generally Useful and Inexpensive Books (Благотворителное общество издания общеполезных и дешевых книг; Blagotvoritelnoe obshchestvo izdaniia obshchepoleznykh i deshevykh knig). The Russian name adopted by the publishing society of the Ukrainian Hromada in Saint Petersburg because of severe censorship. The society was founded in 1898 on the initiative of General Mykola Fedorovsky. It was headed first by Danylo Mordovets, then by Oleksander Rusov, and later by Petro Stebnytsky, who initially, together with Oleksander Lototsky, conducted all of the society’s activities. Among its members were hundreds of Ukrainians from various provinces. By 1917 the society had published 80 popular Ukrainian brochures (more than a million copies) on agriculture, hygiene, and, particularly, history. In 1904–5 the society addressed petitions to the supreme imperial institutions demanding the annulment of restrictions on Ukrainian publishing. Together with the auxiliary Shevchenko Society in Saint Petersburg, the society published the first complete edition of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar in 1907.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

Encyclopedia of Ukraine