The Contribution of Exiles to the Distribution of Literacy among the Children of Yekaterinburg in 1734–1740s
Keywords:Urals, Yekaterinburg, Vasily Tatishchev, exiles, literacy training, private schools
This article examines the contribution of exiles to teaching children living in the settlement of the Yekaterinburg plant, the largest in the mining and industrial Urals, to read and write. It was a place where the features of the new policy of Vasily Tatishchev, who became head of the factories in 1734, concerning teaching literacy to the vastest range of children possible and using exiles sent there from all over the country as teachers, were most clearly manifest. Based on the extensive use of archival documents of administrative and information character and petitions, the author characterises the peculiarities of the cadre of exiled teachers, which has never been done previously. The author reveals the reasons for the extensive recruitment of exiles and, starting from 1742, pardoned ex-exiles as teachers, reconstructs their composition, reveals their previous posts, the crimes for which they were exiled, common features characterising their vital activity, position in society, their relations among themselves and with other representatives of society, and the different levels of their material situation. Additionally, the article examines the peculiarities of the attitude of the Ural authorities toward the exiled teachers. The petitions of the exiles indicate that with them, the position of a literacy teacher enjoyed great appreciation despite the low pay. For the first time in history, the author analyses the student records of the grammar school, identifying all the cases of collective enrolment and the total number of children taught by the exiled Yekaterinburg masters, including those from the nearby factories. Also, the article introduces data about private literacy schools in Yekaterinburg opened by exiles, where they taught children for a fee as part of a contract with their parents at their homes. Based on this, the author concludes that the contribution of exiles as teachers to the development of children’s literacy in Yekaterinburg deserves the highest assessment.
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