Nikolaj Vasilévič Šelgunov Papers

Biographical / Historical Note

The documents of the three generations of the Šelgunov family that reflect the inner family life and interrelations with the state in the case of birth conditions, social level, education, military and state services, participation in populist movement, property disputes with the relatives, salary, pension payments, custody from the early 1820s till 1913. The collection includes service records, birth certificates, diplomas, applications to the state authorities, court and state decisions, wills, insurance certificates, and reports to the board of custody trustees, bills and receipts, correspondence with the solicitors, factory owners and etc.

Ivan Silyč Šelgunov served as marine officer, was ennobled, died in 1799. His son – Vasilij Ivanovič Šelgunov also was a marine officer.

Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil’evič (1824-1891) – a prominent public figure and publicist, literary critic, a specialist on forestry, one of the well-known journalists from the middle of 1850s till the beginning of 1890s. In 1841 N.V. Šelgunov graduated from the Forestry Institute and till 1862 served as forestry officer colonel in the Ministry of State Properties. In the beginning of 1850s Šelgunov made the acquaintance of a poet-democrat Mikhail Larionovič Mikhajlov (1829-1865), N.G. Černyševskij, N.A. Dobroljubov, N.A. Serno-Solov’evič, M.A. Antonovič, S.I. Serakovskij and other “Narodniki”. In 1858 twice, in Paris and London, met Aleksandr I. Gercen. Since 1859 Šelgunov started to write for the leading Russian journals – “Russkoe slovo”, “Sovremennik”, “Trud”. In September-November 1859 in “Sovremennik” was published his article “Rabočij proletariat v Angli i vo Francii” (“Working proletariat in England and France”). It was the first and unique till 1905 legal Russian exposition of the F.Engels’s “The Condition of the Working Class in England”. In 1861-1862 Šelgunov and Mikhajlov with the help of Gercen published in London the revolutionary leaflet “To young generation” (that was written by Šelgunov). He was the author of the other revolutionary leaflets. In 1862 Šelgunov was arrested, jailed in the Petr and Pavl Fortress, convicted and from November 1864 almost till the end of the life he passed in exiles in Vologda, Novgorod, Smolensk regions and in Vyborg. In 1850 Šelgunov married Ljudmila Petrovna Michaelis (1832-1901) who worked as a translator from French and German into Russian. The married couple advocated the idea of women emancipation. N.V. Šelgunov was not the father of the three children of his wife but recognized them officially as his children and actively participated in their upbringing. The father of the eldest son Mikhail (1862-1897) was Mikhail Mikhajlov, the father of the youngest son Nikolaj (7 June 1864 – 29 January 1909, was born in Geneva) was Aleksandr Aleksandrovič Serno-Solov’evič (1838-1869), later was born the daughter Lujdmila (she lived with the mother and took care of the father during the last months of his life, she married M.A. Lukin). N.V. Šelgunov died in Sankt-Peterburg on the 12th of April 1891 and his funerals (15.04.1891) turned to one of the first labour demonstrations.

Nikolaj Nikolaevič Šelgunov (1864-1909) was born in Geneva and, according the documents, his father was N.V. Šelgunov. N.N. Šelgunov lived with his father since early childhood. The mother visited them periodically, she lived separately and earned for the life of the whole family by the translation work in both capitals. N.N. Šelgunov stayed with the father till the middle of 1880s, then he studied in nautical school, later he served as a warrant officer of Baltic fleet, participated in populist movement, in 1885-1886 was a member of the circle of ‘militarists’ (they supported the programme of antiterrorist military organization); he was an advocate of rapprochement with the social-democrats. N.N. Šelgunov was arrested in 1887 and condemned to penal servitude for 8 years that, as a result of his “sincere repentance”, was replaced by the compulsory service as a soldier. Šelgunov retired from service in 1897 and didn’t participate in revolutionary movement anymore. In 1898 he graduated from the Institute of mines and became mines engineer. The wife of N.N. Šelgunov, neé Lakier, had died after the birth of the daughter (in 1895 ?) – Aleksandra Nikolaevna Šelgunova. In view of military service of the father the official tutor of A.N. Šelgunova became the grandfather of her mother – Mark Komneno-Varvaci, but Aleksandra lived and educated by the grandmother (from the side of her mother) – Elena Markovna Lakier. N.N. Šelgunov worked at the Taganrog iron and steel plant in 1897-1899. In 1899 he was appointed the director of Sulinsk iron and steel plant by the owner –Sergej Nikolaevič Pastuchov. In 1909 (29.01.1909) Šelgunov was killed by the workers. As the trustee of his property and tutor of his daughter and her property was appointed the relative – Andrej Georgievič Mavrojani, and later – the grandmother – E.M. Lakier. As an additional trustee was appointed S.N. Pastuchov. The property disputes of the tutors of Alexandra Šelgunova are reflected in the documents.

Literature list: Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil'evič. Sočinenija. Tom I-III. S.-Peterburg, 1872; Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil'evič. Sočinenija. S Prt-mi Avtora I Vstupitel'noj Stat'ej N. Michajlovskogo. Izd. 3-e. Tom 1-j. S.-Peterburg: Popova; Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil'evič. Vospominanija. Redakcija, Vstupitel'naja Stat'ja I Primečanija A.A. Šilova: S Prtr. I Ukaz-mi. Moskva i t.d.: Gosizdat, 1923; Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil'evič., I Novič, and Miklós Kun. Izbrannye Literaturno-kritičeskie Stati. Moskva [etc.]: "Zemlja i Fabrika", 1928; Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil'evič., Ljudmila Petrovna Šelgunova, and Michail Larionovič Michajlov. Vospominanija : V 2-ch T.t.: V 2-ch T.t. Moskva: Chudožestvennaja literatura, 1967; Pervoe Maja 1891 Goda. Četyre Reči Rabočich , Proiznesnnye Na Tajnom Sobranii V Peterburge. S Rpil. Adresa Peterburgskich Rabočich N.V. Šelgunovu I Presidl. G.[V.] Plechanova: (Zagl. Lista Net.). Ženeva, Tip: "Soc.-Demokrata", 1892; Šelgunova, Ljudmila Petrovna. Iz Dalekogo Prošlogo. - Šelgunov, N.V. Perepiska S ženoj. S.-Peterburg: [Kušnerev], 1901; Lavrov, Petr Lavrovič. Posledovatel'nyja Pokolenija. V Pamjat' G.Z. Eliseeva I N.V. Šelgunova. (Pročitano Na Sobranii 2 Ijunja 1891 G. V Pariže). Iz Vospominanij O N.V. Šelgunove: Eliseev, Grigorij Zacharovič. Ženeva, 1892; Michajlov, Michail Larionovič. Stichotvorenija. Leningrad: [s.n.], 1950; Peunova, Margarita Nikolaevna. Obščestvenno-političeskie I Filosofskie Vzgljady N.V. Šelgunova: Akademija Nauk SSSR, Institu Filosofii. Moskva, 1954; Slabkij, Aleksandr Semenovič. Mirovozzrenie N.V. Šelgunova. Pod Red. D.F. Ostrjanina: S Bibliogr. I Prt. Char'kov: Izd-vo Char'kovskogo un-ta, 1959; Rozanov, Michail Dmitrievič. Vasilij Andreevič Šelgunov: Šelgunov, Vasilij Andreevič. Leningrad: Lenizdat, 1966; Maslin, Aleksandr Nikiforovič. Materializm I Revoljucionno-demokratičeskaja Ideologija V Rossii V 60-ch Godach XIX Veka. (D. Pisraev, M. Antonovič, N. Šelgunov, N. Serno-Solov'evič, A. Slepcov): Institut Filosofii AN SSSR. Moskva: Izd-vo VPŠ i AON pri CK KPSS, 1960; Esin, Boris Ivanovič. N.V. Šelgunov: S Bibliogr. Moskva: "Mysl'", 1977; Erašov, Valentin Petrovič. Preodolenie : Povest' O Vasilii Šelgunove: Povest' O Vasilii Šelgunove. Moskva: Politizdat, 1982; Sčegolichin, Ivan Pavlovič. Sliškom Dobroe Serdce : Povest' O Michaile Michajlove: Povest' O Michaile Michajlove. Moskva: Politizdat, 1983; Fateev, Petr Stepanovič. Michail Michajlov - Revoljucioner, Pisatel', Publicist: Michajlov, Michail Larionovič. Moskva: "Mysl'", 1969; Romanenko, V.I. Mirovozzrenie N.A. Serno-Solov'eviča: Serno-Solov'evič, Nikolaj Aleksandrovič. Leningrad, 1954.

Custodial History

The papers were transferred to the IISH after acquisition in Russia.


The documents are arranged in a way resulting from a combination of chronological and logical order.


Documents relating to Vasilij Ivanovič Šelgunov, Ivan Šelgunov, Nikolaj Vasil’evič Šelgunov, Nikolaj Nikolaevič Šelgunov and other family members 1820-1919.

Processing Information

This EAD-record has been edited by Bouwe Hijma, IISH, 2015.