Kharkiv Literacy Society

Kharkiv Literacy Society ( Kharkivske tovarystvo dliaposhyrennia v narodi hramotnosti or Kharkivske tovarystvo hramotnosti). Society established in 1869 on the initiative of several Kharkiv University faculty members and students, especially Nikolai Beketov, Mykola Sumtsov, Vasyl Danylevsky, and Dmytro Bahalii. The society drew on broad public support to develop programs and schools to promote literacy and education in the whole gubernia. Loosely connected to similar societies in other regions, it supported the founding of four separate Sunday literacy schools for men and women, trade schools, programs on personal hygiene, handicrafts courses, and five small circulating libraries. In 1903 it acquired a building to house its headquarters, a museum of visual teaching aids, and a library. In 1912 it sponsored the publication of the multivolume Narodnaia entsiklopediia nauchnykh i prikladnykh znanii (People's Encyclopedia of Scientific and Practical Knowledge). After the Revolution of 1905 it began sponsoring public discussions on current political affairs. Its activities were severely curtailed during the First World War, and after the Revolution of 1917 its work was taken over by the Ukrainian Scientific and Technical Society and the Ukrainian Commissariat of Education.

Marta Bohachevsky-Chomiak

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]

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