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The charitable help to deaf-mutes in Russia under the auspices of an imperial surname (the end the XIX beginning of the XX century)

a. A. Hitrov


Work is presented by department of archive science of St.Petersburg State University.

In article the charitable social and medical care for deaf-mutes in Russia is considered. The author investigates activity Popechitelstva the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes - one of the Russian charitable departments under the auspices of an imperial surname. In the publication is narrated about the history of this organization, forms and methods of social and medical care for deaf-mutes in Russia are considered.

A. Khitrov


The article tells about charitable social and medical assistance to deaf-mute men in Russia. The author researches activity the Patronage of empress Maria Fedorovna for a deaf-mute men - one of the Russian charitable organizations under patronage of the emperor&s family. The article narrates about history of this organization. The author tells about the forms and methods assistance to deaf-mute men in Russia.

The system of the social assistance based on charity operating in imperial Russia constantly developed. By efforts of the power and society the circle of philanthropists extended, forms and methods of contempt needing social assistance, including specialized were improved. One of the categories needing such help were deaf-mutes. By the end of the XIX century the power and the public realized need of the organization of a system of social and medical care for deaf-mutes for nation-wide scales. For the solution of this task of an initiative of the widowing empress Maria Fiodorovna in 1898 the Guardianship of the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes - specialized charitable department for rendering social and medical care for deaf-mutes, the deafs affected with diseases of hearing and a speech disorder was created. Activity Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes as only department in Russia for contempt of the specified category of persons in need is rather poorly studied problemoy*. In this article organizational and legal basics of activity Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes, forms and methods of work of the charitable institutions of contempt which were its part, positive sides and shortcomings of charity as bases for the organization of social and medical care for deaf-mutes are covered.

Completely Guardianship about deaf-mutes was called "The Guardianship of the monarchess empress Maria Fiodorovna consisting under most august protection of their imperial majesties about deaf-mutes". Guardianship was a part of Department of institutions of the empress Maria - one of special charitable departments and committees under the auspices of an imperial surname. Inclusion Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes in the structure of Department of the empress Maria was caused by a variety of reasons. Among institutions of Department the only thing in Russia specialized teaching and educational institution of contempt for children and young people - the School of deaf-mutes created in 1806 in Pavlovsk and in 1810 transferred to St. Petersburg worked. Besides, as a part of Department of the empress Maria successfully worked formed in the early eighties 19th century. The guardianship of the empress Maria Aleksandrovna about blind people performing specialized social and medical care in country scales blind and affected with eye diseases. Experience of this department was used at the organization of the help to deaf-mutes.

Guardianship about deaf-mutes was a part in Departments of the empress Maria, having kept internal independence. "The provision on Popechitelstva consisting under most august protection of their imperial majesties of the monarchess empress Maria Fiodorovna on deaf-mutes",

laid the legal foundation of its activity, it was approved as the emperor on May 2, 1900. The purpose of activity of new department was defined by Situation as "... care about deaf-mutes of all age" [3, page 2]. Contempt of adult deaf-mutes consisted in creation of workshops, houses of diligence for partially able-bodied, almshouses for weak, in job searches, etc. For "juvenile deaf-mutes" the opening of schools, educational workshops, shelters, assistance allowances to poor families in which deaf-and-dumb children lived was supposed. Besides, Guardianship "ozabochivatsya" by creation of courses on training of teachers for schools of deaf-mutes, development of techniques of training of deaf-mutes.

In the organizational device the Guardianship about deaf-mutes was similar to other structures and institutions of Department of the empress Maria. Actually Guardianship as governing body consisted of Committee, Council at it and unlimited number of members. Popechitelstva was the main leading structure the Committee exercising "the highest supervision" of all institutions which were a part Popechitelstva. Six members approved for a period of three years as the empress Maria Fiodorovna were a part of Committee. One of members of the committee was appointed to this term the chairman, another - the deputy. Committee Popechitelstva established rules of storage and use of funds, considered applications on assistance to deaf-mutes, Popechitelstva and their deputies, honorary members Popechitelstva and members of council Popechitelstva claimed in positions of heads of regional offices. Council at Committee intended for discussion of issues of teaching and educational and economic activity Popechitelstva. The Chairman of the Committee headed Council. Situation provided a possibility of creation of provincial, regional and city offices Popechitelstva with councils at them. The questions connected with opening of offices were in competence of Committee. Number

members Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes were not limited. They were subdivided on honorary members, full members and member employees. In honorary members persons, "were accepted. the services which rendered Popechitelstva considerable donations or otherwise contributing to the successful development of activity Popechitelstva" [3, page 2]. Honorary members were approved in a rank by the empress Maria Fiodorovna. The persons which contributed 500 rub at a time or contributing not less than 50 rub annually could be among full members. Persons, the offered 100 rub at a time or not less than 5 rub annually could be member employees. Two last categories of members Popechitelstva were approved in ranks by Committee. Stay in a rank of the member Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes did not give any office, social and class advantages, and served only public recognition of merits of philanthropists. However to the philanthropists holding positions of trustees of institutions of contempt, Guardianship about deaf-mutes appropriated ranks and uniforms of Department of the empress Maria. Trustees of institutions in the capitals had ranks of the VI class, their assistants - the VII class, in other cities, provinces and counties - respectively ranks of VII and VIII class.

Means Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes generally consisted of the sums arriving as donations. The sums arriving on behalf of the empress Maria Fiodorovna and also in the form of contributions of members Popechitelstva, various irregular donations, the means received from holding charitable actions concerned them: balls, concerts, markets, performances, from kruzhechny collecting. Besides, Popechitelstva the means received for the contents prizrevayemy on non-staff vacancies from sale of products prizrevayemy, income from operations with the real estate went into the disposal. Among the sums going into the disposal Popechitelstva "subsidies what can be appointed the government" also are mentioned in Situation [3, page 3]. Vyde-

the leniye of public funds Popechitelstva Polozheniyem was not guaranteed, and it was only allowed.

Formation of separate specialized department on contempt of deaf-mutes created a basis for changes in the institutions of contempt of deaf-mutes existing by then and for opening of new institutions. Changes concerned also School of deaf-mutes in St. Petersburg. In March, 1900 the new Charter of School which put an end to experiments with ways of training of deaf-mutes was adopted. The charter approved a "oral" way of training, that is training in special techniques by means of oral speech. The "mimic" training (sign language) applied earlier was kept in special offices for adults at School, after liquidated. According to the Charter the purpose of School of deaf-mutes was education, the general and special (labor) training of children of both sexes both been born deaf-mutes, and lost hearing or a speech power as a result of a disease. In School there were two offices: women's and men's. Everyone consisted of "preparatory" and general education classes. Training term in a preparatory class was three years, in general education - six years. The general education included studying the Scripture, Russian, arithmetics, geometry with drawing, geography, history, "extraction" from natural history and physics, calligraphy, drawing and "a course of all-useful data". Male pets were engaged in manual work, women's - needlework. In school of deaf-mutes children of all estates, any Christian religion were accepted, is not younger 7 and 9 years are not more senior. Pupils contained at the expense of Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes and a pansionersky payment which was brought by the family prizrevayemy or philanthropists from outside. Free vacancies intended, mainly, for orphans, semi-orphans (the children who had only fathers), pets of the St. Petersburg and Moscow Educational houses of Department of the empress Ma -

riya and children of the "poorest" parents. The payment for keeping in School was for those times quite high - 350 rub a year for a board, 120 rub a year for a half board (day stay) and 40 rub a year for the "coming" pupil. If persons interested to come to School was more, than free vacancies, applicants were enlisted by candidates and expected release of vacancies. As of January 1, 1905 the St. Petersburg School of deaf-mutes contained 142 pets, 96 of which prizrevatsya at the expense of Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes. The others were guests of various departments, public organizations and individuals, including members of an imperial surname [7, page 434]. Vocational education to crafts and needlework was carried out in the craft workshops at school created in the first half of the 19th century. The St. Petersburg School of deaf-mutes served as a sample for creation of other similar teaching and educational institutions. Since the end of the XIX century the School served as the all-Russian educational and methodical and educational center preparing administrative and pedagogical shots for work with deaf-mutes and deafs, drawing public attention to questions of social and medical care for these persons. The leading medical specialists in this area gave in School lectures in the evening "for the persons wishing to devote themselves to education and training of deaf-mutes" [4, L. 84].

Soon after the education the Guardianship of the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes started creation of a system of specialized institutions for rendering various social and medical care for deaf-mutes in the capitals and provinces. The period of active development Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes proceeded till 1905-1907. The greatest number of the Popechitelstva institutions was concentrated in St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg province: Pedagogical courses, a shelter for deaf-mutes with school for girls, craft workshops in St. Petersburg; a shelter school in Sestroretsk; school in Narva and Murzinsky colony

deaf-mutes, including a number of the teaching and educational, production and medical institutions which were located in the town of Murzinka on the Shlisselburg path. Entered this complex the Mariinsky school for the most capable children to training combining the general and labor training, educational - a farm, a laundry, workshops and also hospital. The Murzinsky colony at a time could prizrevatsya to one hundred and fifty people.

Contempt of adult deaf-mutes (except for weak) consisted, mainly, in labor training and the labor help. For this purpose in St. Petersburg in 1899 the workshops consisting of three offices were organized: joiner's, turning and binding. Deaf-mutes not only studied in them, but could use production rooms, tools and materials for work. A part of earnings kept in favor of Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes, a part remained prizrevayemy. Studying were in workshops on full providing Popechitelstva, coming could use that or the help only in working hours. During 1904 in workshops 24 guests Popechitelstva were trained and 11 coming worked. For the specified year the workshops realized made by pupils and working products for the sum of 7500 rub [7, page 439]. In St. Petersburg also the medical institution for deaf-mutes - the out-patient clinic opened in 1901 worked. It intended for assistance by suffering diseases of organs of hearing and a speech disorder. For 1905 the out-patient clinic assisted 1237 patients. [6, page 86]

Like Popechitelstva the empress Maria Aleksandrovna about blind people, Guardianship about deaf-mutes had departments in provinces. In 1905 14 departments worked already: Aleksandrovsky in the city of Aleksandrovsk of the Ekaterinoslavsky province Don in Novocherkassk, Kaluga, Kostroma in the city of Yuryevets of the Kostroma province, Moscow, Poltava, Smolensky, Tiflissky, Ufa, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Odessa. Most departments of races -

believed only teaching and educational institutions for contempt of deaf-and-dumb children. In these institutions, as well as in the St. Petersburg School of deaf-mutes, the general and labor education and training were combined. Some departments had almshouses. The number of deaf-mutes, prizrevavshikhsya departments, did not exceed two-three dozen people. An exception was the Moscow department representing the complex of institutions of contempt including a shelter for deaf-and-dumb maidens, school, workshops of painting and an iconography and accounting courses. In total in institutions of the Moscow department as of 1905 about 60 people prizrevatsya at a time [7, page 437-438].

The quantity prizrevavshikhsya Guardianship of the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes was small. As of 1905 in teaching and educational and bogadelenny institutions 749 deaf-mutes prizrevatsya at a time, from them 439 in St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg province and 310 - in other provinces. [7, page 437-438]. Taking into account the persons suffering from disorder of speech and hearing, accepted in the specified year by a clinic for deaf-mutes in St. Petersburg, the total number of the persons receiving various social and medical care as of 1905 was no more than 2000 people. For comparison, Popechitelstva Maria Aleksandrovna about blind people for 1904 used various social and medical care in any given form of 602,459 people [2, page 23].

Creation Popechitelstva the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes was a progressive step on the way of development of social policy in Russia. For the first time deaf-mutes began to prizrevatsya as the special category demanding the specialized, more difficult and qualified social and medical care. Various types of institutions of contempt and forms of social assistance to deaf-mutes, including the labor help which was considered as the most progressive and widely taking root gained development. As well as for Department of the empress Maria in general, for Popechitelstva about deafly -

mute the help to children became the main direction of work. Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes was connected development of educational and methodical base of contempt of this category in specialized institutions with activity. For rather short term the network of institutions of contempt which covered not only St. Petersburg and Moscow, but also a number of provinces was created. However the Guardianship about deaf-mutes created for the help of this category in nation-wide scale could not cope with this task successfully. The lack of funds was an immediate cause of such situation. In 1904 revenue Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes made 150,251 rub 25.5 kopeks whereas, for example, income Popechitelstva the empress Maria Aleksandrovna about blind people for the same year made 1,045,624 rub [2, page 23, 25]. The capitals of Department of the empress Maria and other large charitable department under the auspices of an imperial surname - Imperial philanthropic society - were formed decades, including due to large donations on behalf of members of an imperial surname. Guardianship about blind people received, in particular, one million rubles offered Alexander II on the charitable purposes in memory of the spouse - the empress Maria Aleksandrovna. The Romanovsky committee created in 1913 received one million rubles on behalf of Nicholas II. To allocate Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes so large sum from the treasury or means which were at his personal disposal, the emperor, probably, did not consider necessary. Thus, the lack of support from an imperial surname and the state was the initial reason that Guardianship about deaf-mutes could not develop large-scale activity.

In process of possible the Guardianship about deaf-mutes sought to secure with arrangement of the persons invested by the high government. In 1900 Nicholas II according to the report of Minister of Finance S.Yu. Witte after all disposed to allocate from treasury 75,000 rub for the organization in St. Petersburg of workshops

for deaf-mutes. The same year S.Yu. Witte was elected by the honorary member Popechitelstva. [4, l. 111] However the solution of the tasks facing Guardianship required much more in cash. The chairman Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes I.K. Merder repeatedly pointed to their shortcoming. "The guardianship consisting under most august protection has no sufficient money yet to organize necessary almshouses, shelters and schools [4, l. 83], - Popechitelstva for 1898-1900 is said in the note made by him about activity. Nevertheless Merder believed that "with the God's help business has to move forward, and with assistance of the educated physicians it will be possible to alleviate suffering from ear diseases, and sometimes and to prevent development of deafness" [4, l. 83]. Apparently, the management Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes accurately represented specific objectives of activity of the department, but there was not enough "God's help" for their successful decision. Did not change this situation and further. In S.I. Umants's article "Prizreniye of deaf-mutes", contained in the collection of articles "Public and Private Contempt in Russia" which appeared in 1907, is marked out that "Guardianship, unfortunately, despite all energy, powerlessly recedes before scandalous need in the medical, educational and educational assistance by all unfortunate..." [7, page 85-86]. In the publication it is directly specified that the question of contempt of deaf-mutes in Russia costs ". hitherto not on the corresponding its importance to height" [7, page 90]. Sharper assessment of activity Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes contains in article of doctor E. Borishpolsky "About participation of territorial and city self-managements in contempt (training) of deaf-mutes", published in 1914 in the "Prizreniye and Charity in Russia" magazine (No. 3-4). The author notes what for the first nine years of existence Popechitelstva for deaf-mutes was made more, than for all previous time, however "sudden death of I.K. Merder (27.11.1907), still during lifetime of nicknamed for the activity in

advantage of deaf-mutes "the friend of deaf-mutes", changed the speed and the nature of activity Popechitelstva at once..." [1, page 373-384]. From now on, Borishpolsky notes, Guardianship about deaf-mutes did not open any new teaching and educational institution for deaf-mutes, in institutions of St. Petersburg and its vicinities the number of prizrevayemy deaf-mutes was reduced, and the Sestroretsk school in general was closed. Moreover, the author is indignant, Guardianship "does not allow also individuals on their own means to open schools for deaf-mutes" [1, page 373]. As an exit from the situation Borishpolsky suggests to submit the case of contempt of deaf-mutes to zemstvoes and the municipal public government. Despite sharp criticism, the management Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes did not undertake any measures for correction of such situation which remained before overthrow of the monarchy. In March, 1917 the delegate of Mariinsky school sent to Murzinke P.V. Kudryavtsev to the commissioner for institutions of the former Department of the empress Maria E.P. Kowalewski the report in which critically characterized a state in which there was a contempt of deaf-mutes in Russia. "To the greatest regret, - Kudryavtseva emphasizes, - our Great Russia far lagged behind in this question the states of Western Europe" [5, l. 2]. As a primary measure for correction of this situation the author of the report suggests to begin immediately

development of the legislation on obligatory contempt of deaf-mutes through joint efforts of society and state, and as a primary measure to resolve "an issue of training of deaf-mutes now"

[5, l. 1].

Activity Popechitelstva the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes is the certificate that only charity could not serve as a reliable way of ensuring social assistance even if this charity was patronized by an imperial surname. A lot of things depended on subjective addictions of the emperor and members of his family, on a personal initiative and the authority of heads of charitable departments and institutions of contempt. The story Popechitelstva about deaf-mutes shows that if in some cases at the local level the social assistance and could be carried out on a charitable basis, then successfully it was impossible to solve nation-wide problems in the field of contempt without strong and system state support during this period. At the same time this example is set by value of a charitable public initiative at the expense of which it was created and Guardianship about deaf-mutes worked, the charity potential which it is possible and needed to be used together with the state for the solution of social tasks, including in such complex specialized industry as contempt of deaf-mutes.

* The pre-revolutionary historical publications devoted Popechitelstva the empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes have not research, but descriptive character. See: The St. Petersburg school of deaf-mutes and Guardianship of the monarchess empress Maria Fiodorovna about deaf-mutes//Educational institutions of Department of institutions of the empress Maria. Short essay. SPb., 1906. Page 427-445; S.I. Umanets. Contempt of deaf-mutes//Public and private contempt in Russia. SPb., 1907. Page 84-90. Single questions of contempt of deaf-mutes in imperial Russia are raised in the modern generalizing works on the history of the Russian charity. See: A.R. Sokolov. Charity in Russia as the mechanism of interaction of society and state (the beginning of XVIII - the end of the 19th century). SPb., 2007. 656 pages; G.N. Ulyanova. Charity in the Russian Empire, XIX - the beginning of the XX century. M, 2005. 403 pages. Directly the publication is devoted to the history of contempt of deaf-mutes: Obertrays Yu. Strana of deafs//Rodina. 2001. No. 10. Page 94-97.


1. E. Borishpolsky. About participation of territorial and city self-managements in contempt (training) of deaf-mutes//Prizreniye and charity in Russia. 1914. No. 3-4.
2. Department of institutions of the empress Maria//Charity in Russia. SPb., 1907. T. 1.
3. The provision on Popechitelstva consisting under most august protection of their imperial majesties of the monarchess empress Maria Fiodorovna on deaf-mutes. Saratov, 1909.
4. The Russian State Historical Archive (further - RGIA). T. 765. Op. 1. 23.
5. RGIA. T. 759. Op. 27. 2343.
6. S.I. Umanets. Contempt of deaf-mutes//Public and private contempt in Russia. SPb.,
7. Educational institutions of Department of institutions of the empress Maria. Short essay. SPb., 1906.


1. Borishpol&sky E. Ob uchastii zemskikh i gorodskikh samoupravleniy v dele prizreniya (obucheniya) glukhonemykh//Prizreniye i blagotvoritel&nost& v Rossii. 1914. N 3-4.
2. Vedomstvo uchrezhdeniy imperatritsy Marii//Blagotvoritel&nost& v Rossii. SPb., 1907. T. 1.
3. Polozheniye o sostoyashchem pod avgusteyshim pokrovitel&stvom ikh imperatorskikh velichestv Popechitel&stve gosudaryni imperatritsy Marii Fedorovny o glukhonemykh. Saratov, 1909.
4. Rossiyskiy Gosudarstvenny Istoricheskiy Arkhiv (daleye - RGIA). F. 765. Op. 1. D. 23.
5. RGIA. F. 759. Op. 27. D. 2343.
6. Umanets S. I. Prizreniye glukhonemykh//Obshchestvennoye i chastnoye prizreniye v Rossii. SPb., 1907.
7. Uchebnye zavedeniya Vedomstva uchrezhdeniy imperatritsy Marii. Kratkiy ocherk. SPb., 1906.
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