Tumansky, Fedir

Tumansky, Fedir [Туманський, Федір; Tumans’kyj], b 1757 in Hlukhiv, d December 1810 on the Rodionivka khutir, near Hlukhiv, Chernihiv gubernia. Historian, ethnographer, and community activist; corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences from 1779. He studied at Königsberg University (1773–7) and was elected to the Royal Prussian Society. Upon returning to Ukraine he was made a fellow of the standard (1778–9). He organized a topographical study of the Hetman state, drew up a wide-ranging plan for cultural and research work in Ukraine, and established standards for collecting historical, geographical, economic, ethnographic, anthropological, and environmental data. The data provided the basis for the topographic descriptions of Hetmanate territories published in the 1780s by Dmytro Pashchenko, Opanas Shafonsky, Petro Symonovsky, and others. Tumansky presented proposals in late 1779 and early 1780 for the establishment of an academic library in Hlukhiv and an academic society in Little Russia (as the genesis of a Ukrainian academy of sciences); only the former proposal was acted upon. He then decided to write a complete history of ‘Little Russia,’ for which he requested that the requisite archival materials be sent to him from Saint Petersburg, but the academy was skeptical and quashed his project. After the liquidation of the Hetmanate he was a tsarist censor in Riga; thereafter he set up an active literary-publishing and research concern in Saint Petersburg. He published a 10-volume collection of various notes and monographs on Peter I; a number of periodicals, among them Rossiiskii magazin (1792–4), in which important Ukrainian historical material appeared, including the Hrabianka Chronicle; and the monographs Vypiska iz zapiski 1749 g. (Extract from Notes on the Year 1749, 1792), Manifest getmana Bogdana Khmel’nitskogo (The Manifesto of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, 1793), and Letopisets Malyia Rossii ... (Chronicler of Little Russia ..., 1793). His glossary appendix to the last work, titled ‘Iziasnenie malorossiiskikh rechenii v predshedshikh listakh’ (Explanations of Little Russian Expressions in the Preceding Pages), was one of the first Ukrainian historical dictionaries; it consisted of 333 words. In 1801 he retired and settled on his homestead near Hlukhiv, but he continued his literary and publicistic activity (eg, he wrote in defense of the aristocratic rights of the Ukrainian nobility).

Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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