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This webpage reproduces a section of

Survey of Ukrainian Historiography
By Dmytro Doroshenko

published by
The Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences
in the U. S., Inc.,

The text is in the public domain.

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 p163  Official Steps to Organize Archeographic Research in the Ukraine; Attempts to Found a Publication Devoted to Ukrainian History

As early as the 1840's Maksymovych suggested that a learned society should be created in Kiev to devote itself to the study of the Ukrainian past. This idea, although in a different form, found support in government circles, and in 1843 a Vremennaya Komissiya dlya razbora drevnikh aktov (Provisional Commission for the Study of Ancient Documents) was created as an affiliate of the Governor General's Office in Kiev, Volynia, and Podolia. The government's purpose in creating the Vremennaya Komissiya was to concentrate and assemble under its control all the archives and collections of historical documents that would demonstrate that this land had been "Russian since time immemorial," and that the policy of Russification which the government pursued at that time (after the suppression of the Polish uprising in 1830‑31) was justified by history and was an attempt to restore the country to the form in which it had existed before Polish rule.

Yet the execution of this idea was entrusted to men who were concerned first of all with scholar­ship and who, in addition, were Ukrainian patriots. Therefore the Vremennaya Komissiya turned out to be a body which rendered great service to Ukrainian historiography, by publishing volumes of valuable materials and sponsoring the creation of Central Archives in Kiev to house materials from the Left-Bank as well as the Right-Bank Ukraine.

The first President of the Vremennaya Komissiya was the Chief Secretary of the Governor's Office, N. Pisarev, and his assistant was Baron S. Shoduar (Chaudoir). However, Pisarev was very soon replaced by Mykhaylo Sudiyenko. [. . .] Among the members of the Commission and its editors were Professors Maksymovych, Ivanyshev94 and V. Dombrovsky; among the  p164 contributors who were to collect and record historical materials were P. Kulish, T. Shevchenko and M. Rigelman.

In 1846‑48 the commission collected a wealth of material (including notes by Professor Ivanyshev on archeological findings near Perepyatykha) and began to publish its series Pamyatniki (Memoirs). The four volumes of the Pamyatniki comprised:

Vol. I (Kiev, 1845), second edition 1848; third edition 1898:

a. Records of the Lutsk Khresto-Vozdvyzhensky Brotherhood, 1617‑1763 (constitution of the Brotherhood, privileges, decrees, and resolutions).

b. Documents on relations between peasants and landlords, 1490‑1596.

c. Documents on the history of the Ukraine, 1648‑49; official and private correspondence, "Universals," decrees, reports and notes on the time of Khmelnytsky.

Vol. II (Kiev, 1846), second edition, 1898:

a. Records of the Kiev Bohoyavlensky Brotherhood, 1615‑1787.

b. Ustav o volokakh (Land-owning Statute) of King Sigismund-August, 1557.

c. Documents on the history of the Ukraine, 1650‑51.

Vol. III (Kiev, 1852), second edition, 1898:

a. Records of the Lviv Brotherhood, 1586‑1637.

b. Documents on landowner­ship by landlords in the 16th century.

c. Documents on the history of the Ukraine, 1652‑1660.

Vol. IV (Kiev, 1859):

a. Records of minor brotherhoods and monasteries.

b. Description of Volynian castles, 1545.

c. Documents on the history of the Ukraine, 1660‑64.

 p165  Simultaneously with the Pamyatniki there appeared three fascicles of Drevnosti (Antiquities) with text describing archeological discoveries by Ivanyshev and with drawings by T. Shevchenko.

In a separate series the following Cossack chronicles were published:

1) Letopis' sobytii v Yougoº-Zapadnoi Rossii v XVII st. sostavlennaya v 1720 g. b. kantselyaristom Malorossiiskoi Generalnoi Kantselyarii Samoilom Velichkom, (A Chronicle of Events in South-West Russia in the XVII Century Composed in 1720 by the Former Secretary of the Little Russian General Chancellery, Samoil Velychko), 4 volumes, 1848, 1851, 1855, 1864.

2) Letopis' gadyachskago polkovnika Gr. Grabyanki s prilozheniem otryvkov iz letopisnago sbornika, pisannago v 1699 g. ieromonakhom L. Bobolinskim i reestra chernigovskikh knyazei pogrebennykh v Chernigove, sostavlennago 1792 g. prot. Levitskim (A Chronicle by the Hadyach Colonel H. Hrabyanka with a Supplement Containing Extracts by the Hieromonach L. Bobolynsky, and a Register of the Chernihiv Princes Buried in Chernihiv, Written in 1792 by Archpriest Levitsky), 1853.

The book Zhizn' knyazya A. Kurbskago v Litve i na Volyni (The Life of Prince Kurbsky in Lithuania and in Volynia), the records edited by Ivanyshev, was also published by the Commission, 2 volumes, 1849.

The activity of the Commission was intensified in the 1860's after the second Polish uprising in 1863, when the government increased its drive against Polish influences in the Right-Bank Ukraine and granted fresh funds to support the Commission's publications. Michael Yuzefovych, the notorious begetter of the 1876 Ukaz95 was the president of the Commission from 1857 to  p166 1889. The high level of the publications, however, was due to V. Antonovych, the secretary and editor to the Commission.

Among the collaborators in the work of the Commission in the 1870‑80's were the following scholars: S. Ternovsky, T. Lebedyntsev,º M. Vladimirsky-Budanov, I. Novytsky, Orest Levytsky, M. Storozhenko, S. Golubev, I. Kamanin, A. Storozhenko; in the 1890‑1900's also M. Hrushevsky, M. Yasinsky, M. Dovnar-Zapol'sky, N. Molchanovsky, V. Shcherbyna, A. Krylovsky, and V. Kordt.

The chief publication of the Commission was now Arkhiv Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii (Archives of South-West Russia) which appeared in eight separate series: 1) documents concerning Church history; 2) history of self-government by the nobility; 3) history of the Cossacks and the Haydamaks; 4) history of the gentry; 5) history of the townsfolk; 6) history of the peasantry; 7) colonization; 8) history of class organizations and local customs.

The volumes in the different series appeared at irregular intervals and contained, as a rule, a preface by their editors. For reasons of space it is only possible to indicate briefly the contents of those publications having tremendous importance in Ukrainian historiography.

The first series (1859‑1914) comprised 12 volumes on the history of the Ukrainian Church from 1481 to 1798 (including the Church Union, the subjugation of the Kiev Metropolitanate to the Moscow Patriarch, the last period of the Orthodox Church in Galicia, the Stavropigian Brotherhood in Lviv, records of ecclesiastical literature and polemics). Among the prefaces (which often reached the proportions of a monograph), the one by O. Levytsky ("Vnutrennee sostoyanie Zapadno-russkoi Tserkvi v Pol'sko‑Litovskom gosudarstve v kontse XVI v. i Uniya" — Inner Condition of the West Rus′ Church in the Polish-Lithuanian State at the End of the XVI Century and the Church Union), vol. VI, 1884, is outstanding, while the introductions by T. Lebedintsev,º S. Ternovsky, S. Golubev, and V. Antonovych are also valuable.

The second series (1861‑1910) in 3 volumes, comprises documents  p167 concerned with the nobles' self-government in the Right-Bank Ukraine, and the history of provincial assemblies and their resolutions (from the sixteenth century to 1726). The editors of this series were Ivanyshev, Kamanin, and M. Storozhenko.

The third series (six volumes) is of special importance. The first volume contains documents on the Cossacks 1500‑1648, prefaced by V. Antonovych ("O proiskhozhdenii kozachestva" — On the Origin of the Cossacks), 1863. The second volume contains documents on the Cossacks (1679‑1716) with Antonovych's preface "Poslednya vremena kozachestva na pravom beregu Dniepra" (The Last Days of the Cossacks on the Right Bank of the Dnieper), 1868. The third volume contains documents on the Haydamaks (1700‑1768) with a preface by Antonovych "Izsledovanie o gaidamachestve" (A Study of the Haydamak Movement), 1876. The fourth volume contains documents on the uprising of Khmelnytsky (1648‑54) with an introductory study by I. Kamanin "Uchastie yuzhno-russkago naseleniya v vozstanii B. Khmelnitskago" (The Participation of the South Rus′ Population in the Insurrection of B. Khmelnytsky), 1916. The fifth volume contains documents on the Volynian unrest in 1789 with an introduction by V. Antonovych "O mnimom krest'yanskom vozstanii na Volyni" (The Alleged Peasant Uprising in Volynia), 1902. The sixth volume, edited and prefaced by N. Molchanovsky, contains the documents of the Swedish State Archives, 1649‑60, concerning relations with the Ukraine (1908).

The fourth series consisted of one volume of documents dealing with the origin of the gentry families from 1442‑1760, edited by V. Antonovych, who also wrote a study "Ob okolichnoi shlyakhte" (The Neighboring Gentry), 1867.

The fifth series comprised two volumes, devoted to the townsfolk. The first volume contains documents on the towns in Volynia, the Province of Kiev, and Podolia in 1432‑1798, accompanied by a treatise by V. Antonovych "Izsledovanie o gorodakh v Yugo-Zapadnom krae" (A Study of Towns in the South-West Lands), 1869. The second volume (in two parts) contains materials about the Jewish population, 1765‑1791, with a study by I. Kamanin (1891).

 p168  The sixth series also comprised two volumes: The first, with a study by I. Novytsky "Ocherk istorii krest'yanskago sosloviya v Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii v XV‑XVIII v." (A Survey of the History of the Peasants in South-West Russia in the XV‑XVIII Centuries), 1876. The second volume was prefaced by V. Antonovych "O krest'yanakh Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii" (The Peasants of South-West Russia), 1870.

The seventh series, in three volumes, was devoted to the colonization of the Right-Bank Ukraine (1386‑1668) with an introductory study by M. Vladimirsky-Budanov.

The eighth series consisted of six volumes. The first two volumes, with an introduction by M. Hrushevsky, contained documents concerning the Barskoe Starostvo in the XV‑XVIII centuries. Hrushevsky's study is entitled "Barskoe starostvo, istori­cheskoe ocherki" (Barskoe Starostvo, Historical Sketch), 1893‑1894. The third volume is entitled "Akty o brachnom prave i semeinom byte v Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii v XVI‑XVII vv." (Documents Concerning Marriage Laws and Family Life in South-West Russia in the XVI and XVII Centuries), with a study by O. Levytsky (1909); the fourth volume: "Akty o zemlevladenii v Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii XV‑XVIII vv." (Documents Concerning Owner­ship of Land in South-West Russia in the XV‑XVIII Centuries) with an introduction by M. Vladimirsky-Budanov, "Tserkovnye imushchestva v Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii XVI v." (The Church Estates in South-West Russia in the XVI Century), 1907; the fifth volume: "Akty ob ukrainskoi administratsii XVI‑XVII vv." (Documents on the Ukrainian Administration in the XVI‑XVII Centuries), with a study by M. Dovnar-Zapol'sky "Ukrainskiya starostva v pervoi polovine XVI v." (Ukrainian Starostva in the First Half of the XVI Century), 1907; the sixth volume: "Akty o zemlevladenii XV‑XVII v." (Documents on Land Owner­ship in the XV‑XVIII Centuries), 1911, with a study by M. Vladimirsky-Budanov "Zastavnoe vladenie." Three other volumes were scheduled to appear: the seventh and eighth, edited by M. Yasinsky, "Akty o kopnykh i dominial'nykh sudakh XVI‑XVIII vv." (Documents on Public and Dominiyalni Courts in the XVI‑XVIII Centuries), and the ninth, edited by M. Dovnar- p169 Zapol'sky, "Akty o naselenii Volynskago Voevodstva XVI‑XVIII vv." (Documents Concerning the Population of the Volynian Province in the XVI‑XVIII Centuries).96

Two independent reference works were also published by the Commission: Ukazatel' imen lichnykh (An Index to Proper Names), 1878, and Ukazatel' imen geograficheskikh (An Index of Geographical Names), 1883, compiled by I. Novytsky.

Apart from Arkhiv the Commission continued to publish texts of chronicles and other historical material:

1. Letopis' Samovidtsa po novootkrytym spiskam (The Chronicles of Samovydets' According to Newly Discovered Texts), edited by O. Levytsky with a study by him, supplemented by the Khmelnytsky Chronicle, Kratkoe opisanie Malorossii (A Short Description of Little Russia) and Sobranie istori­cheskoe (Historical Collection), by S. Lukomsky, 1878.

2. Sbornik letopisei otnosyashchikhsya k istorii Yuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rossii (A Collection of Chronicles Relating to the History of Southern and Western Russia), edited by V. Antonovych, 1888.

3. Sbornik materialov dlya istori­cheskoi topografii g. Kieva (A Collection of Materials Relating to the Historical Topography of Kiev) edited by V. Antonovych, 1874.

4. Paleografi­cheskii Izbornik (A Paleographic Collection) compiled by I. Kamanin, 1909.

5. Materialy po istorii russkoi kartografii (Materials for the History of Russian Cartography); two volumes with old maps of the Ukraine, compiled by V. Kordt.97

[. . .] the Commission published Sbornik materialov po istorii Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii (A Collection of Materials for the History of South-Western Russia), two volumes, 1914, 1916, which contained several important studies: the monograph on the Kievan Bishop J. Vere­shchynsky by A. Storozhenko; "Dokumenty epokhi  p170 B. Khmelnitskago 1656‑57" (Documents of the Epoch of B. Khmelnytsky 1656‑57), and "Dogovory B. Khmelnitskago s Pol'shei, Shvetsiei i Rossiei" (Treaties by B. Khmelnytsky with Poland, Sweden, and Russia), both by I. Kamanin.98

Almost simultaneously with the creation of the Vremennaya Komissiya in Kiev, similar commissions were established in Vitebsk and Vilno. Some publications of these commissions, especially Akty izdavaemye Vilenskoyu Arkheograficheskoyu Komissieyu (Documents Published by the Vilno Archeographic Commission) are important for those historians who specialize in the "Lithuanian" period of Ukrainian history.

In 1839 an Obshchestvo istorii i drevnostei (Society of History and Antiquities) was founded in Odessa. It issued a publication (Zapiski) in which much space was devoted to Zaporozhe and South Ukraine, although attention was chiefly focused on the history of the Black Sea Coast. Among the contributors who wrote on the Zaporozhian past were: N. Murzakevych, N. Vertilyak, O. Andriyevsky and others. The Zapiski also printed some historical materials as, for instance, Istoriya o zaporozhskikh kozakakh (A History of the Zaporozhian Cossacks) by Prince S. Myshetsky, a description of the Dnieper from 1687 (vol. III), and "Stateinyi spisok V. Tyapkina i N. Zotova," about the Bakhchisaray Treaty in 1681 (vol. II).

The need for the publication of a periodical exclusively devoted to Ukrainian history was very acute. A. Chepa planned such a historical journal but his plans were not realized, and Ukrainian scholar­ship remained without an organ of its own. Ukrainian literary magazines, like Ukrainskii Zhurnal or the symposia Molodyk (edited by I. Betsky) and Kievlyanin (edited by M. Maksymovych) also published many articles on Ukrainian history, but since they existed only for short periods, their importance was secondary. Kulish's Zapiski o Yuzhnoi Rusi did not become a periodical and ceased publication after the second volume.  p171 Some contributions to Ukrainian history were printed in Chteniya of the Moscow Historical Society, due only to the personal efforts of O. Bodyansky. [. . .]

The appearance in St. Petersburg in 1861 of the Ukrainian periodical Osnova, edited by Vasyl' Bilozersky, was therefore of the greatest importance to the development of Ukrainian historiography. This journal was devoted to Ukrainian history and during the two years of its publication it performed a great service to Ukrainian scholar­ship. Twelve issues of Osnova were published in 1861 and ten in 1862. It printed, among others, Kostomarov's articles Mysli o federativnom nachale v drevnei Rusi, and Dve russkiya narodnosti; Kulish's Khmelnychchyna, and Istoriya Ukrainy od naydavniyshykh chasiv; the treatises by O. Lazarevsky on the speech of Polubotok before Peter I and on Ukrainian schools and hospitals in the 18th century; P. Yefymenko's studies; and several other most valuable articles and notes.

Apart from the articles, Osnova published some historical material, the most valuable of which were: the "Journal" of the Ukrainian Deputies during their journey to St. Petersburg in 1745 before the election of the new Hetman (1862), II; A Contemporary Note on the Uman Slaughter of 1768 (1862, III); A letter of Hetman Orlyk to the Metropolitan Stefan Yavorsky in 1721 (a most important document for the study of Mazepa's policy), 1862, X. In the section "Documents," correspondence (e.g., between Peter I and Mazepa), proclamations, and official papers were also published. The journal, too, provided a current bibliography of literature on Ukrainian history and ethnography. Its general trend was dictated by Kostomarov's idea of democracy and Ukrainian autonomy, and in Kulish's articles there was the necessary "self-criticism in appraising the present and the past," which, as stated in the preface to the first issue, was the aim of the journal. After the expiration of Osnova in 1862 Ukrainian historical science was once again left without a journal for two decades.


O. Levitsky, Pyatidesyatiletie Vremennoi Komissii dlya razbora drevnikh aktov, Kiev, 1893; Sbornik materialov po istorii  p172 Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii, v. I, Kiev, 1911; S. Narizhnyi, "Odes'ke Tovarystvo Istoriyi i Starovyny," Pratsi Ukrayin­s'koho Istorychno-Filolohichnoho Tovarystva v Prazi, vol. IV, Prague, 1942, and separately, Prague, 1941; A. Zhyvotko, Zhurnal "Osnova," 1861‑1862, Lviv, 1938.

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

94 Mykola Ivanyshev (1811‑1874), born into an old Ukrainian clergy family, was a professor and rector of the Kiev University, a historian and specialist in history of law, and studied public (so‑called kopni) trials in the Right-Bank Ukraine. His study "O drevnikh sel'skikh obshchinakh v Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii" (On Ancient Country Communities in South-West Russia) was published in Russkaya Beseda, 1857, II, and separately, Kiev, 1863. It was reprinted in Sobranie Sochinenii (Collected Works) by Ivanyshev, Kiev, 1876. The Ukrainian translation was published in the supplement to volume XV of the Rus'ka Istorychna Biblioteka, Lviv, 1893.

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95 The Ukaz of Tsar Alexander II, dated May 18, 1876, forbade publishing in the Ukrainian language; it was inspired by the Russian administration in the Ukraine.

Thayer's Note: The so‑called Ems Ukaz; details are given by Manning, The Story of the Ukraine, p191 f.
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96 These volumes have not been published.

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97 The third volume of the Cartographic Collection of V. Kordt was published by the Archeografic Commission of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences: Materiyaly do istoriyi kartohrafiyi Ukrayiny (Materials for the History of the Cartography of the Ukraine), part I, Kiev, 1931.

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98 About the Commission activities see: O. Levytsky, Pyatidesyatiletie Vremennoi Komissii dlya razbora drevnikh aktov (Fifty Years of the Provisional Commission for the Study of Ancient Documents), Kiev, 1893; also Volume I of Commission's Sbornik, Kiev, 1914.

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