By Ostap Kin, Archivist
The Archives of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York consist of over two hundred collections of papers provided by individuals and organizations. These collections highlight a wide range of topics pertaining to the history and culture of Ukraine, as well as life and activities of individuals and organizations in Ukraine and the United States. Among these rich collections is archival material on the resistance of Ukrainian women over the course of the twentieth century.
The Political Prisoner in Ukraine (PPU) collection consists of material compiled by the Prolog Research and Publishing Corporation. The PPU collection features individuals persecuted for their political activism or religious beliefs in the Soviet Union between the 1970s and the 1980s, and it includes material on such prominent figures of the Ukrainian dissident movement as Oksana Meshko, Iryna Senyk, Stefania Shabatura, Nina Strokata, and Nadia Svitlychna. The PPU collection also warrants attention because it sheds light on the role of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States in monitoring state repression in the Soviet Union and raising public awareness of these issues in the West.
The Ukrainian Political Prisoners in the USSR collection holds materials produced by the Smoloskyp Organization for the Defense of Human Rights in Ukraine, co-founded by Smoloskyp, one of the largest Ukrainian dissident literature publishers in the United States. This collection comprises posters with the dissidents’ photographs and information about their occupation, charges, previous imprisonments, trials and sentences. It also contains leaflets about Ukrainian women in Soviet prisoners published by Smoloskyp.
The Sviatoslav Karavanskyi and Nina Strokata Papers catalogues material regarding the lives of the two dissidents. The collection covers activities of Nina Strokata, a Ukrainian microbiologist who was sentenced to a four-year imprisonment for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” in 1971 and later became a founding member of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote Implementation of the Helsinki Accords. The collection includes personal correspondence, writings (among other things, on women political prisoners), and other documents.
The Ewhen and Jaroslawa Salamacha Papers features personal correspondence, writings, and photographs compiled by the two immigrants from Ukraine who settled in the United States in the wake of the World War II. Jaroslawa Salamacha was an active member of the underground movement in Western Ukraine during WWII, and the archival material covers this critical period of her life.