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135 FILOSOFOVA, Anna Pavlovna, born Diaghileva (1837–1912) Russian women’s movement activist; philanthropist; driving force behind the establishment of the famous St Petersburg Higher Women’s Courses (the Bestuzhev courses); Chairwoman (1861– 1863; 1867–79) of the Obshchestvo Dostavlenniia Deshevykh Kvartir i Drugikh Posobii Nuzhdaiushchimsia Zhiteliam SanktPeterburga (Society for Cheap Lodging and Other Aid to the Residents of St Petersburg ); Vice-President of the International Council of Women (1899–1911); Chairwoman of the First All-Russian Women’s Congress (1908). Anna Pavlovna Diaghileva was born on 5 April 1837 into a wealthy and longstanding noble family in St Petersburg. Her father, Pavel Dmitrievich Diaghilev (1808–1883), was a successful official at the Ministry of Finance who retired in 1850 and started his own distillery business at his family estate in Perm. Around 1855, he became obsessively religious and Anna’s mother, his wife Anna Ivanovna (born Sul’meneva) (1818–1888), took over the family business. The eldest of nine children (she had five brothers and three sisters), Anna Diaghileva received her education at home (as was customary in Russian noble families ) and received a strict upbringing from her mother. Anna herself found classes, governesses and teachers dull. In 1855, at the age of eighteen, she married Vladimir Dmitrievich Filosofov (1820–1894), then a powerful official at the Ministry of War and Defence. Like many feminists of her time, Anna Filosofova managed to combine extensive public activities with childbearing and childrearing. She had six children (three boys and three girls). Her youngest son, Dmitry (1872–1940), together with his cousin Sergey Diaghilev—the son of her younger brother Pavel (1848–1914)— established the famous magazine Mir Iskusstva (World of art) and the two became prominent cultural figures in early twentieth-century Russia. Anna Filosofova spent the first years of her married life (1855–1861) leisurely, making short visits to her husband’s family estate of Bogdanovskoe in Bezhanitsy (the Pskov region). Her husband was from typical country gentry that lived off serf labor; his father was a tyrannical figure, known to sexually exploit peasant women on the estate. Filosofova was struck by this lifestyle since her family had never used serf la- 136 bor. She began reflecting on social problems, especially those relating to peasant life. Her first philanthropic efforts involved providing poor peasants with medicine and food. The emancipation of the serfs on 19 February 1861 was a real turning point for Anna Filosofova, as was meeting Mariia Trubnikova, who gave her books to read on ‘the woman question’ and with whom she often discussed her reading. In 1860, Mariia Trubnikova, Anna Filosofova and Nadezhda Stasova—collectively known as ‘the Triumvirate ’—established the Obshchestvo Dostavlenniia Deshevykh Kvartir i Drugikh Posobii Nuzhdaiushchimsia Zhiteliam Sankt-Peterburga (Society for Cheap Lodging and Other Aid to the Residents of St Petersburg), based on a new approach to philanthropy. Filosofova believed that instead of giving relief or cash benefits to the needy, it was necessary to create conditions that would enable the poor—through education, training and moral development—to earn their own incomes. The society rented an apartment where poor women could live at affordable rent and provided them with sewing work at workshops, also organized by the society. Under Filosofova’s leadership as Chairwoman, the society acquired its own building and a large contract to make uniforms for the army (1871). The society also opened a cheap canteen and hired a doctor . ‘The Triumvirate’ set up many other philanthropic projects, the two most important being the Obshchestvo Organizatsii Zhenskogo Truda (Society for the Organization of Work for Women) and the Zhenskaia Izdatel’skaia Artel’ (Women’s Publishing Artel). By the late 1860s, these organizations had difficulties remaining operative: the Obshchestvo Organizatsii Zhenskogo Truda suffered from internal disagreements and the Zhenskaia Izdatel’skaia Artel’, from a lack of funds. The most ambitious initiative of ‘the Triumvirate’ was the one launched on behalf of women’s education. Stasova and Filosofova zealously promoted plans to allow women to attend lectures at St Petersburg University. In 1868, they managed to collect four hundred signatures on a petition to Tsar Alexander II, asking for permission to open the first Higher Education Courses for Women at St Petersburg University. Filosofova was elected Chairwoman of the committee organizing the women’s Higher Education Courses. Resistance among conservative circles was strong and the Minister of Education, Count Tolstoi, did not support the admission of women into universities. However, he did allow women to attend public lectures by university professors and...


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