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ITEM Identifier: DCVC-2011-001

Poliksena N. Shishkina-Iavein Digital Collection

Scope and Contents

The Poliksena Nesterovna Shishkina-Iavein digital collection is comprised of materials that document the life of Poliksena Shishkina-Iavein, Russian physician, feminist activist, and president of the Russian League for Women’s Equal Rights. The bulk of the collection (1901-1917) consists of photographs of Shishkina-Iavein, her family and associates, and League meetings and activities, as well as a set of postcards published by the League, featuring prominent women in politics, science, and the arts. Other items in the collection include newspaper articles documenting Shishkina-Iavein's public speeches and meetings with international women's organizations, a petition from the League to the Provisional Government, a pamphlet listing delegates to the Budapest Congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, a placard of the League’s office, posters advertising public debates organized by the League, a card of thanks from Shishkina-Iavein’s medical course students, and an announcement to visitors from Shishkina-Iavein and her husband.


  • 1890-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1901-1917


145 digital images

Biographical / Historical

Poliksena Nesterovna Shishkina (1875-1947) was born in Nikolaev, Ukraine. She studied at the St. Petersburg Women’s Medical Institute and graduated in 1904. While there, she met and married Georgi Iulievich Iavein in 1900. They had two children: a daughter, Alla, and a son, Igor. In 1910, Shishkina-Iavein became the president of the League for Women’s Equal Rights, making universal women’s suffrage the goal of the organization. In addition to heading the League, Shishkina-Iavein promoted women’s equal rights through speeches, teaching medical courses, writing for the feminist magazine Jus Suffragii, visiting Swedish women’s organizations, and receiving delegations from other countries. In 1917, electoral rights were extended to the women of Russia. During the Russian civil war Shishkina-Iavein and her family fled to Estonia, where her husband died. It is unknown when Shishkina-Iavein returned to Russia, but she survived the World War II siege of Leningrad. She died in 1947.

Custodial History

Digitized in St. Petersburg, Russia, by permission of Nonna Igorevna Roshchina, Shishkina-Iavein's granddaughter.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Digitized in St. Petersburg, Russia, by permission of Nonna Igorievna Roshchina, 2011.


Edmondson, Linda Harriet. Feminism in Russia, 1900-17. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1984.
Ruthchild, Rochelle Goldberg. Equality and Revolution. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.
“Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena” in Rappaport, Helen, Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2001. Pages 648-650.
Stites, Richard. The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1991.
Yukina, Irina. “Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena Nesterovna (1875-1947),” in A Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries, ed. by Francisca de Haan, Krassimira Daskalova and Anna Loutfi. Budapest; New York : Central European University Press, 2006. Pages 511-513.

Processing Information

Processed by: Hugh Truslow and Vania Tomaski, 2013. Additional processing by Svetlana Rukhelman, 2015.


Bárczy, István, 1866-1943. Bashkirtseff, Marie, 1860-1884. Bem, Eliz. (Elizaveta), 1843-1914. Catherine II, Empress of Russia, 1729-1796. Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947. Cauer, Minna, 1841-1922. Curie, Marie, 1867-1934. Dashkova, E. R. (Ekaterina Romanovna). Denison, Flora MacDonald. Despard, C. (Charlotte). Durova, N. A. (Nadezhda Andreevna), 1783-1866. Fawcett, Millicent Garrett, Dame, 1847-1929. Filosofova, Anna Pavlovna, 1837-1912. Furuhjelm, Annie. Giesswein, Sándor, 1856-1923. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 1860-1935. Glücklich, Vilma. Hardie, James Keir, 1856-1915. Hultin, Tekla, 1864-1943. Ishimova, A. O. (Aleksandra Osipovna), 1805-1881 . Jacobs, Aletta H. (Aletta Henriette), 1854-1929 . Kovalevskai︠a︡, S. V. (Sofʹi︠a︡ Vasilʹevna), 1850-1891. Krestovskīĭ, V., 1824-1889. Lukács, György, 1865-1950. Mechelin, Leo, 1839-1914. Orzeszkowa, Eliza, 1842-1910. Rostopchina, Evdokii︠a︡, 1812-1858. Sand, George, 1804-1876. Schwimmer, Franciska. Schwimmer, Rosika, 1877-1948. Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919. Stritt, Marie. Suttner, Bertha von, 1843-1914. Tolstoĭ, I. (Ivan), graf, 1858-1916. Zhadovskai︠a︡, I︠U︡lii︠a︡, 1824-1883.
Shishkina-Iavein, Poliksena Nesterovna (1875-1947). Poliksena N. Shishkina-Iavein Digital Collection, 1890-2009 (inclusive), 1901-1917 (bulk) : Guide
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Collection

Repository Details

Part of the H.C. Fung Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge St
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 496-0485