Shevchenko Society in Saint Petersburg

Shevchenko Society in Saint Petersburg (Товариство ім. Т.Г. Шевченка в Петербурзі; Tovarystvo im. T.H. Shevchenka v Peterburzi). A charitable organization founded in Saint Petersburg in 1898 to aid needy students from Ukraine enrolled in the city’s higher schools. The society covered school fees, the cost of books and equipment, and the medical costs of sick students. It helped students find jobs and living accommodation. To raise funds it collected membership dues and donations and organized concerts, public lectures, and bazaars. By 1900 its membership was over 200, and by 1907, almost 550. Of the 280 members in 1902, only half lived in Saint Petersburg; the others belonged to branches of the society in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Vilnius, Sukhumi, Baku, Irkutsk, Ashkhabad, Katerynodar, and Tbilisi. In 1905 a proposal to merge with the Philanthropic Society for Publishing Generally Useful and Inexpensive Books was rejected by the general meeting, but the two societies worked closely together. They collaborated in publishing Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar under Vasyl Domanytsky’s editorship (1907; 2nd edn 1908). The first president of the society was Andrii Markevych, and the first board of directors included prominent cultural figures, such as Danylo Mordovets, Volodymyr Lesevych, Ilia Repin, and Vladimir Korolenko. With the outbreak of the First World War the number of students in Saint Petersburg declined, and membership fell to 67. The society decided to discontinue its activities.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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