Kovalenko, Hryhorii

Kovalenko, Hryhorii [Коваленко, Григорій], b 5 February 1868 in Baryshivka, Poltava gubernia, d 15 December 1937 in Poltava. Writer, ethnographer, artist, and community figure. In the years 1896–1905 he lived in Chernihiv and helped Borys Hrinchenko publish educational literature for the masses. There he became a close friend of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky and Volodymyr Samiilenko and a supporter of the Revolutionary Ukrainian party. He was also an active member of the Poltava Gubernia Learned Archival Commission and published his research on the Ukrainian peasant home in its Trudy. He edited the journal Ridnyi krai in 1906 and published the journal Zhyttia i znannia in 1913–14. In the 1920s he traveled through the local countryside and continued his research on the peasant home.

Kovalenko’s articles, poems, stories, and illustrations appeared from 1891 in many periodicals. Published separately were his story collection Zharty zhyttia (Life’s Jokes, 1911), plays for children, his and Borys Hrinchenko’s book on Ivan Kotliarevsky (1898), and many educational brochures on medicine and Ukrainian writers, literature, and history. After the February Revolution of 1917 he published a book about Yevhen Hrebinka (1918), his comedy Vorozhka (The Fortune-teller, 1918), and sketches of Hryhorii Skovoroda and I. Kotliarevsky (1919). In the 1920s he contributed to several popular journals and to the Kyiv daily Proletars’ka pravda. Arrested during the Yezhov terror, he died in prison. Many of the works he wrote in the Soviet period—novellas, plays, and the historical novel ‘Iurko Sokolenko’—remain unpublished. He left behind many paintings, sketches, and photos of Ukrainian folk architecture.

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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