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Entries / Historical Societies (entry)

Historical Societies (entry)

Categories / Science. Education/Learned Societies

HISTORICAL SOCIETIES, associations of historians, including both professionals and amateurs, aimed at studying and developing various historical issues. Most historical societies received imperial support during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Ethnography Department of the Russian Geographical Society was the first historical society in St. Petersburg, founded in 1845. The Russian Archaeological Society was established in 1846 to study national culture, arrange archaeological expeditions, and preserve monuments of the past. It had its meetings in the Mariinsky Palace. A major contribution to developing the historical studies in Russia and building a source base was made by the Amateur Society for Ancient Literature located at 34 Fontanka River Embankment in 1827-29, Russian Historical Society in 1866-1920, and Society for Enthusiasts of Russian History Education in Memory of Emperor Alexander III situated at 27 Nadezhdinskaya Street (today, Mayakovskogo Street) in 1895-1917. Among St. Petersburg's historical societies, the Historical Society and Russian Anthropological Society attached to St. Petersburg University and operating in 1889-1917 and 1888-1923, respectively, held a special place, with representatives of liberal professorship playing the leading role. Regional problems and issues of special disciplines were studied by Petersburg Slavic Society situated at 2 Alexandrinskaya Square (today, Ostrovskogo Square) in 1877-1917, Orthodox Palestinian Society founded in 1882 (today, Russian Palestinian Society), Russian Genealogical Society in 1897-1917, Society for the Exploration and Welfare of Siberia attached to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in 1908-17, Jewish Historical and Ethnographical Society in 1908-29, Society of Russian Orientalists situated at 31 Zagorodny Avenue in 1910-17, Society for the Exploration of the Black Sea Coast later renamed the Society for the Exploration of Crimea situated at 1 Simeonovskaya Street (today, Belinskogo Street) and 9/7 Universitetskaya Embankment in 1911-31, and Russian Society of Numismatists situated at 38 Bolshaya Morskaya Street in 1911-24. The military history of Russia was studied by the Russian Military Historical Society in 1907-14 and the Society of Military Enthusiasts in 1896-14. Although a number of societies were disbanded after the October of 1917, new historical societies sprang up in their place. The Society of Russian Archive Keepers that was situated at 36 Millionnaya Street in 1920s contributed substantially to the development of archive-keeping in the country. The Leningrad Society for Studying the Culture of Finno-Ugric Peoples operated at 52 First Line of Vasilievsky Island in 1926-34. Old Petersburg Society played a major role in studying the history of the city. Most historical societies suffered from the mass political repressions and were closed in the 1930s. A number of local history societies appeared in Leningrad in the late 1950s to study the history of the city. A branch of the All-Russian Association of Orientalists was founded in Leningrad in 1981. There are the following societies existing in St. Petersburg today: Russian Palestinian Society, Russian Geographical Society with a number of committees to formulate historical problems, Scientific Society of Historians and Archive Keepers, and Association of Historians of St. Petersburg. The Russian Genealogical Society and Old Petersburg Society were re-established. Original are numerous groups and commissions attached to the city branch of the Society for Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, as well as public associations that sprang up in the second half of 1980s such as the Rescue Group for Historical and Cultural Monuments of St. Petersburg, Ecology of Ordinary Architecture, and Petersburg Society in St. Petersburg State University. Their activities are co-ordinated by the Council for Culture Ecology.

References: Степанский А. Д. К истории научно-исторических обществ в дореволюционной России // Археографический ежегодник за 1974 г. М., 1975. С. 38-55; Хартанович М. Ф. Научные общества России // Вестн. РАН. 1996. Т. 66, № 12; Ее же. Санкт-Петербург - центр российской гуманитарной науки XIX столетия // Там же. 2002. Т. 72, № 5. С. 422-425.

M. F. Khartanovich.

Alexander III, Emperor

1st Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city, house 52
Belinskogo St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 1
Bolshaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 38
Fontanka River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 34
Mayakovsky St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 27
Millionnaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 36
Ostrovsky Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 2
Universitetskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 7/9
Zagorodny Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city, house 31

Степанский А. Д. К истории научно-исторических обществ в дореволюционной России // Археографический ежегодник за 1974 г. М., 1975
Хартанович М. Ф. Научные общества России // Вестн. РАН, 1996
Хартанович М. Ф. Санкт-Петербург - центр российской гуманитарной науки XIX столетия // Вестн. РАН, 2002

The subject Index
Mariinsky Palace
Russian Historical Society
Slavonic Society, Petersburg
Palestinian Society
Russian Genealogical Society
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Society
Russian Military Historical Society
Society of Military Enthusiasts
Old Petersburg, Society