Modzalevsky, Vadym

Modzalevsky, Vadym [Модзалевський, Вадим; Modzalevs'kyj], b 9 April 1882 in Tbilisi, Georgia, d 3 August 1920 in Kyiv. Historian, genealogist, and archivist. A descendant of Cossack starshyna in the Chernihiv region, he graduated from the Nicholas Engineering School in Saint Petersburg (1902), worked as a military engineer in Kyiv (1902–6), and then was a training officer of the First Cadet Corps in Saint Petersburg. From 1911 to 1917 he directed Vasyl V. Tarnovsky’s Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities in Chernihiv and was administrator and editor of publications of the Chernihiv Gubernia Scholarly Archival Commission. From 1918 he lived in Kyiv, where he headed the archives and libraries divisions of the Ukrainian National Republic Ministry of Education and the Hetman government’s Arts and National Culture Administration. He was also active in the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv and was secretary of the Commission for the Development of a Draft Law on the Creation of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Under Soviet rule he headed the Archival Administration and the All-Ukrainian Main Archives, was a member of the Archeological Commission of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (VUAN), and directed the VUAN Commission for the Compilation of a Biographical Dictionary of Ukrainian Personalities.

Modzalevsky’s research was based extensively on documents he had collected in the archives of Ukraine, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg. A specialist on the Hetman state in Left-Bank Ukraine, he wrote books on the history of Lokhvytsia, Sencha, Chornukhy, Kurinka, and Varva companies (1906) and on glassworks in the Chernihiv region (1926). He wrote longer articles on Poltava regiment (Trudy Poltavskoi uchenoi arkhivnoi komissii, vols 1–2 [1905–6]), the general judge Ivan Charnysh and the Charnysh family (Kievskaia starina, 1904, nos 4–5), relations between the monks of the Mhar Transfiguration Monastery and the Cossacks of Lubny regiment in 1649–61 (ibid, 1906, nos 3–4), and Roman Rakushka, the first military treasurer (1663–9) (Zapysky Istorychno-filolohichnoho viddilu VUAN, vols 1–3 [1919, 1923]). He also edited, with introductions, editions of the books of acts of the municipal governments in Poltava in the 17th century (1912) and in Starodub in 1693 (1914), and the 1735–40 diary of Yakiv A. Markovych (vol 2 of Zherela do istoriï Ukraïny-Rusy, 1913).

Modzalevsky’s best-known works are his Malorossiiskii rodoslovnik (Little Russian Genealogy, 4 vols, 1908–14), the fifth and final volume of which was never published, and Malorossiiskii gerbovnik (Little Russian Heraldry, 1914), which he cowrote with Vladislav Lukomsky, and which was illustrated by Heorhii Narbut. He also wrote a booklet on the fundamental traits of Ukrainian art (1917) and articles on artistic metalwork in Left-Bank Ukraine and the engraver Hryhorii K. Levytsky. Modzalevsky’s diary of the years 1896–1917 and his correspondence are preserved at the Central State Historical Archive in Kyiv. His valuable collection of archival documents pertaining to 17th- and 18th-century Left-Bank Ukraine is in the manuscript division of the National Library of Ukraine in Kyiv, and his personal library is part of the National Library of Ukraine. An incomplete bibliography of Modzalevsky’s works was published in Zapysky Istorychno-filolohichnoho viddilu VUAN (vol 1, 1919).

Oleksander Ohloblyn, Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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