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507 SHCHEPKINA, Ekaterina Nikolaevna (1854–1938) Russian historian and journalist; teacher at the Bestuzhev Higher Women’s Courses; co-founder of the Soiuz Ravnopraviia Zhenshchin (Women’s Equal Rights Union) and activist of the Liga ravnopraviia zhenshchin (League for Women’s Equal Rights); contributor to the leading feminist journals, Soiuz Zhenshchin (Union of women) and Zhenskii Vestnik (Women’s herald). Ekaterina Nikolaevna Shchepkina was born in 1854, into an old Moscow gentry family which, in her generation, included many scholars and academics. Among her siblings and cousins were several noted historians and linguists, including her younger brother Evgenii N. Shchepkin (1860–1920), also an historian. Shchepkina attended the Guerrier courses in Moscow and then the Bestuzhev Higher Women’s Courses in St Petersburg. As a protégé of the Director, the historian K. N. Bestuzhev-Riumin, she met some of the leading male intellectuals of the day, including Fiodor Dostoevskii and Vladimir Solov’ev. Later (1895–1896 and 1898–1899), Shchepkina taught history at the Bestuzhev courses. From 1890, she also gave history classes for workers at the Imperatorskoe Technicheskoe Obshchestvo (Imperial Technical Society). A prolific writer, she published two historical monographs, stories from Russian history for Sunday school students, a Russian history textbook and articles on women’s history and the current situation of women in Russia for several of the so-called ‘thick journals ’ (in which poets and writers first published their works for review). Shchepkina was one of the founders in February 1905 of the Soiuz Ravnopraviia Zhenshchin (Women’s Equal Rights Union). When the St Petersburg section of the Soiuz floundered in factional conflict Shchepkina, along with Liubov’ Gurevich and the Soiuz’s secretary Mariia Chekhova, kept this branch of the organization afloat. When some members sought to depoliticize the Soiuz, Shchepkina vocally supported ongoing political involvement, arguing that the goal of women’s equal rights was political to the core. Shchepkina took part in the 1908 Pervyi Vserossiisskii Zhenskii S’ezd (All-Russian Women’s Congress) session on peasant women, lecturing on the work and health of peasant women and arguing that peasant women endured a double oppression , as both peasants and women. The Soiuz Ravnopraviia Zhenshchin was defunct by the time of the Pervyi Vserossiisskii Zhenskii S’ezd in December 1908. Key activists, searching for a vehicle to continue the fight for women’s equal rights, found it in the Liga Ravnopraviia Zhenshchin (League for Women’s Equal Rights). The Liga, unlike the Soiuz, was legally registered at its founding in March 1907 and thus able to operate publicly in a period of increased police surveillance and repression. Shchepkina became head of the Liga’s lecture bureau. Sister activist Mariia Chekhova served as President (1909–1917) of the Moscow branch of the Liga, and Liubov’ Gurevich, Anna Kal’manovich, Liudmila Ruttsen and Ariadna Tyrkova were also active. 508 Shchepkina remained involved in the Liga and, in 1917, was one of the ten candidates on the organization’s electoral list for the Constituent Assembly. Others on the list included the President of the Liga Poliksena Shishkina-Iavein, as well as Mariia Chekhova, Marxist and feminist Ekaterina Kuskova, historian Alexandra Efimenko and the populist and advocate of ‘legal Marxism’ Aleksandra Kalmykova. Like many others, Shchepkina’s family was torn apart by the Revolution. In 1919, the Bolsheviks executed her twin brother, the Kadet Nikolai N. Shchepkin, for counter-revolutionary activity. In 1917, her younger brother, Evgenii Shchepkin, a left Kadet deputy in the first Duma, became a leading Bolshevik supporter in Odessa but died in 1920, his health shattered by the privations of the Civil War. In the early 1920s, Shchepkina continued to write for publication. In 1921, at the age of 67, she published her history of the women’s movement during the French Revolution, with a critical introduction by leading Bolshevik women’s activist Alexandra Kollontai. Her next project, an article about the Women’s Equal Rights Union, was to appear in Byloe (The past) but in 1926 this journal ceased publication. Little is known about Shchepkina ’s life after this. She died in 1938 at the age of 84. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild The Union Institute and University and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University SOURCES (C) Shchepkina, Ekaterina. “Pamiati dvukh zhenshchin-vrachei” (Remembering two womandoctors ). Obrazovanie (Education) 5-6, part 1 (1896): 92–137. (C) Shchepkina, Ekaterina. “Zhenskoe naselenie Peterburga” (The female population of St Petersburg). Obrazovanie 5–6 (1897): 218–32. (C) Shchepkina, Ekaterina. Kratkii ocherk russkoi istorii...


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