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Repository: H.C. Fung Library, Harvard University
Call No.: DCVC-2011-001
Creator: Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena Nesterovna
Title: Poliksena N. Shishkina-Iavein Digital Collection
Date(s): 1890-2009 (inclusive)
Date(s): 1901-1917 (bulk)
Quantity: 145 digital images
Abstract: Collection of photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, signed petitions, pamphlet, and ephemeral items that document the life of Poliksena Shishkina-Iavein, Russian physician, feminist activist, and president of the Russian League for Women’s Equal Rights.
Language of materials: Collection materials in Russian. Some newspaper articles in Swedish; a pamphlet in Hungarian.
Poliksena Nesterovna Shishkina (1875-1947) was born in Nikolaev, Ukraine. She studied at the St. Petersburg Women’s Medical Institute and graduated in 1904. While there, she met and married Georgi Iulievich Iavein in 1900. They had two children: a daughter, Alla, and a son, Igor. In 1910, Shishkina-Iavein became the president of the League for Women’s Equal Rights, making universal women’s suffrage the goal of the organization. In addition to heading the League, Shishkina-Iavein promoted women’s equal rights through speeches, teaching medical courses, writing for the feminist magazine Jus Suffragii, visiting Swedish women’s organizations, and receiving delegations from other countries. In 1917, electoral rights were extended to the women of Russia. During the Russian civil war Shishkina-Iavein and her family fled to Estonia, where her husband died. It is unknown when Shishkina-Iavein returned to Russia, but she survived the World War II siege of Leningrad. She died in 1947.
The Poliksena Nesterovna Shishkina-Iavein digital collection is comprised of materials that document the life of Poliksena Shishkina-Iavein, Russian physician, feminist activist, and president of the Russian League for Women’s Equal Rights. The bulk of the collection (1901-1917) consists of photographs of Shishkina-Iavein, her family and associates, and League meetings and activities, as well as a set of postcards published by the League, featuring prominent women in politics, science, and the arts. Other items in the collection include newspaper articles documenting Shishkina-Iavein's public speeches and meetings with international women's organizations, a petition from the League to the Provisional Government, a pamphlet listing delegates to the Budapest Congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, a placard of the League’s office, posters advertising public debates organized by the League, a card of thanks from Shishkina-Iavein’s medical course students, and an announcement to visitors from Shishkina-Iavein and her husband.
The collection is arranged in three series:
- I. Photographs, 1890-2009, arranged chronologically;
- II. Postcards, 1910-1917, arranged chronologically and alphabetically;
- III. Textual Materials, 1900-1917, arranged chronologically.
- Edmondson, Linda Harriet. Feminism in Russia, 1900-17. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1984.
- Ruthchild, Rochelle Goldberg. Equality and Revolution. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.
- “Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena” in Rappaport, Helen, Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2001. Pages 648-650.
- Stites, Richard. The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1991.
- Yukina, Irina. “Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena Nesterovna (1875-1947),” in A Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries, ed. and with an introduction by Francisca de Haan, Krassimira Daskalova and Anna Loutfi. Budapest; New York : Central European University Press, 2006. Pages 511-513.