Pushkin Society in America was originally recorded under the name The Pushkin Fund, Inc. in 1935.
In 1935, Boris Brasol, a prominent lawyer, and other organizers aimed to collect the necessary amount of money to fund the memorable evenings honoring the 100th anniversary of the death of Alexander Pushkin across the United States. Following Brasol's initiative Andrey Avinoff, prince Sergey Belosselsky-Belozersky, Petr Rutskiy, Igor Sikorsky, Mikhail Karpovich and other persons formed the Board of Directors for The Pushkin Fund.
Later, our organization became popularly known as The Pushkin Society in America. In 1971, Semen Bogolyubov, the third president, made a formal document affirming the bond between the Pushkin Fund and Pushkin Society in America.
During the 1970s, our organization became known as The Pushkin Literary Society. However, during the 2000s, it repeatedly changed the name of the organization.
Annex to the Certificate
In 2011, The Lodyjensky Immigration Archive Center of Russian and Ukrainian Culture was founded in New York City. The Pushkin Society in America was established in 1935. From 1995 to 2009, Dr. Catharine Lodyjensky served as the chairperson of our organization. She collected a significant amount of old pertaining to various meetings, programs, and artistic activities of Russian-speaking immigrants in New York City. Dr. Lodyjensky sponsored literary and artistic events as a member of our organization; she expressed a wish in her will that the Pushkin Society in America would continue her efforts to sponsor literary and artistic events. As a result, we decided to name our cultural center and archive in her honor. Following that time, the Pushkin Society in America, one of the oldest Russian-American organizations, began a new chapter as a developing institution.
1937 marked the 100th anniversary of Alexander Pushkin’s death. Russian immigrants worldwide gathered together to remember that momentous occasion, reminding themselves of the significant contributions of Russian writers to world literature. They began active preparations for the forthcoming celebration in the United States in the fall of 1934. The immigrants established a special jubilee committee led by Boris Brasol, an employee at the United States Department of Justice; the committee’s headquarters was located in Paris. The meeting of the first committee took place in New York on January 29, 1935 and included 47 people.
The committee appointed Brasol as its president, Pitter Rutsky as treasurer, and Pitter Malevski-Malevich as secretary.
Thus, the Pushkin Society in America became an active organization and has continued to preserve the legacy of Alexander Pushkin. A very strong and active group of 22 people became a driving force of the society towards the end of 1935. The most prominent individuals included such experts in literature as Alberta Gallatin Childe, the founder of the Edgar Allan Poe Society, Edwin Markham, the old poet in America, Princeton University Professor T. Parrot, a William Shakespeare scholar, and Columbia University Professor Clarets Manning. These literary experts collaborated with their Russian immigrant colleagues to found the various branches and 21 committees of the Pushkin Society in different cities across the United States, including Baltimore, Washington, Cleveland, Bridgeport, Seattle, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Chelsea, and Los Angeles.
As president of the Pushkin Society in America, Boris Brasol devoted his time to organizing it, and lecturing, as well as publishing literature about Pushkin. In 1936, an American publishing company released “The Russian Wonderland”, a booklet that included fragments of “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, a poem, and three of Pushkin’s fairytales. The company also published a jubilee book containing English-language articles, such as “Pushkin: The Man and the Artist” with a detailed biography. A short reader of works by Pushkin and many separate poem editions were published in Russian as well. The Board of the Pushkin Society in America founded a library and named it after Pushkin, as well as its own publishing company; the company published a booklet with an emblem. In 1937, certain memorabilia, such as “The Bronze Horseman” postcards, Orest Kiprensky’s portraits of Alexander Pushkin and jubilee medallions feathering Pushkin’s face, were released in the United States for the commemorative date.
On January 24, 1937, more than 1,000 people gathered at the International House in New York City to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pushkin’s death. The commemoration began with a memorial service honoring the legacy of the poet. The participants at the commemoration included the Archbishops Vitaly, Adam, and Aleksei, as well as Archdeacon F.I. Semenov. A symphony chorus conducted by Vasily Kibalchich accompanied the delirious service. B.L. Brasol gave the opening ceremony speech. The audience was presented with the musical program directed by M.M. Fiveisky. The participants at the musical program included O.N. Averino, A.D. Anikina, I.V. Ivantsov, A.N. Cherkasski, and the Prince A.A. Obolensky vocal group performance of the “Anthem to Pushkin”; it included music by M.M. Fiveisky and songwriting y L.Y. Nelidova-Fiveiskaya. F.I. Zakharov prepared the artistic direction for the concert. On January 31, 1937, Dr. Hans Kindler, the symphony orchestra director, presented a concert in commemoration of Pushkin. He played a few fragments from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Golden Rooster.” The Washington branch of the Pushkin Society in America initiated this event. Sergei Kusevitsky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra director, also gave three concerts commemorating Pushkin. Prior to the first concert, P.A. Sorokin a member of the Pushkin Society, presented a short speech dedicated to Pushkin’s works. On February 14, 1937, the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed a jubilee concert at Carnegie Hall. They played some of Pushkin’s works that were set to music by Russian composers. The performance demonstrated the significant contribution of Russian composers to the genre of classical music. During that evening, a bust of Pushkin was installed in the lobby of Carnegie Hall. N.V. Dimitriev, a sculptor and member of the Jubilee Committee, presented the Pushkin bust as a gift to the Pushkin Society. In 1941, the Pushkin bust was transported to Jackson, N.J. The unveiling ceremony of the first monument to Pushkin in the United States took place there. Many people gathered to commemorate the event in cities that included active committees. From 1936 to 1937, 38 lectures were delivered in New York City only that related to the historical importance of Alexander Pushkin’s works. In 1937, it became known that the Pushkin Jubilee had taken place on all five continents. The Pushkin commemorations occurred in 170 cities that were located in 24 European countries, 4 cities that were located in Australia, 14 cities that were located in 8 Asian countries, and 28 cities that were located in African countries; altogether, these commemorations took place in 42 countries and 231 cities worldwide.
MEMBERS OF PUSHKIN SOCIETY IN THE UNITED STATES
Georgi Grebenschikov, a world-renowned author and founder of Churaevka, a Russian-American community in Connecticut, was an active member of the Pushkin Society in America from its very beginnings. Her Highness Princess Vera Konstantinovna Romanova, the granddaughter of Alexander II, was an Honorary Member of the Society. From 1935-1950, the members of the Pushkin Society included Princes S.S. Beloselski-Belozerski, A.A. Gurieli, A.D. Isheeva-Anikina, A.A. Obolensky, N.A. Tumanova, I.K. Tumanov, L.S. Urusov, P.A. Chavchavadze, S.S. Buturlin, Professors A.A. Vasiliev, I.V. Emelianov, M.M. Karpovich, V.S. Kolesnikov, N.O. Losskiy, N.P. Rashevskiy, M.I. Rostovtsev, P.A. Sorokin, G.P. Fedotov. It also included writers such as S.I. Gusev-Orenburgskiy, G.V. Golokhvastov, V.K. Zavalishin, and musicians like A.I. Ziloti, V.N. Drozdov, M.M. Fiveiskiy, A.P. Aslanov, E.E. Plotnikov, and K.N. Shvedov. The Pushkin Society in America also included members such as M.M. Fokin, a ballet-master, the sculptors N.V. Dimitriev, S.T. Konenkov, G.V. Deriuzhinskiy, and others. Sergei Rachmaninoff, a great composer in the Romantic tradition, frequently participated in the meetings of the Pushkin Society in America. Sometime later, a hall in the St. Seraphim Foundation building in New York City was named after that composer. Pushkin Society meetings, concerts, and lectures were held at this location. Igor Sikorsky, a world-renowned engineer, Vladimir Zvorikin, the father of the television, artists such as Mstislav Dobuzhinskiy, and Sergei Sudeikin Semion Karavaev, a dancer, Nikolai Gedda, a singer, and others took part in such events.