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07 November 2022

Sources to the History of the Education Society `Prosvita` in Sumy (1917-1918)

Sumy Historical and Archival Journal
Sources to the History of the Education Society `Prosvita` in Sumy (1917-1918)

This work is dedicated to the publication and analysis of 15 previously unknown documents from the history of ‘Prosvita’ society during the Ukrainian Revolution (1917-1918). Some of the documents are now stored in the funds of the State Archive of Sumy Oblast and the Central State Archive of Supreme Authorities and Governments of Ukraine, the another section are newspaper publications in rare editions and a memoir. The contents of the documents testifies that in Sumy the ‘Prosvita’ Society was established on April 9, 1917 and already on May 21 strongly declared itself, becoming the organizer of the Shevchenko festival. At the same time, the Society made proposals to name one of the city streets by the name of Taras Shevchenko, and erect a monument in memory of him. Sumy ‘Prosvita’ took an active part in the Ukrainianization of the local state administrations when the Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyj was a ruler of Ukraine. At ‘Prosvita’, courses in Ukrainian Studies and Ukrainian were opened for civil servants, teachers and all who were interested. In October 1918, during the discussion around introduction of two state languages in Ukraine — the Ukrainian and Russian, congresses of the ‘Prosvita’ societies of Sumy district unambiguously had spoken in favour of the Ukrainian language as the only state language and a resolution was sent to Hetman Skoropadskyj. Also, ‘Prosvita’ constantly had organized literary meeting and concerts, lectures, most often in its premises. Here, the famous Ukrainian writer Hnat Hotkevych had lectured on the history of Ukraine from October 15, 1918. In addition, lectures on national issues here were read by Yakiv Mamontov, V. Kolomiets, Mykola Yukhnovsky. On October 3, 1918, a concert of the famous kobzar Ivan Kuchuhura-Kucherenko was scheduled in the premises of ‘Prosvita’. Also, theatrical activity was one of the main activities of ‘Prosvita’. Prosvita in Sumy had staged performances at the Korepanov Theatre, which they rented. A Ukrainian choir also perfomed at the ‘Prosvita’. In 1918, at the time of the Ukrainian State of Hetman P. Skoropadskyj, the most significant in the activity of Sumy ‘Prosvita’ was the opening by virtue of his efforts, Ukrainian grammar schools. Grammar schools were started to active in Sumy and in Nyzhnia Syrovatka and Yunakivka villages. The documents provided make it possible to carry out a reasoned reconstruction of national and cultural life in Sumy during the Ukrainian Revolution, they will undoubtedly interest historians and local historians and will stimulate further research in this direction, as they shed additional light on the history of cultural and educational work in Sumy, as well as wider the role of “Prosvita” in the processes of modern Ukrainian national formation.

Source: Artyukh V.O., Ivanushchenko H.M. (2019). Sources to the History of the Education Society ‘Prosvita’ in Sumy (1917-1918). Sumy Historical and Archival Journal. №XXXIII: 33-46

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