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Everyday Life

In order to understand a particular historical period, it is essential to understand what daily life looked like at that time. History of everyday life – history from below, the German Alltagsgeschichte, or the Italian microstoria – is a form of social history that became popular in the 1980s. This approach intends to find links between the experiences of daily life in a certain society, and the broad social and political changes which occur in that society. Finding tensions within relations between the subject (a human) and the structure (a social system) gives meaningful insight into a specific society or culture. Our materials focus on everyday practices and rituals of urban life, discuss the history of consumerism, and shed light on experiences of metropolitan nightlife. To learn about the everyday life of a specific period means to delve into specific sources, such as autobiographies and memoirs, letters and correspondences, photographs, and private recordings.

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Primary Sources

Documents (7)

Image for Galician Holiday Cooking in the Letters of the Hlynskyi Family, 1890s-1920s
Galician Holiday Cooking in the Letters of the Hlynskyi Family, 1890s-1920s
The letters presented here are from the correspondence of the Hlynskyi family: the Greek Catholic priest Isidor Hlynskyi, his mother Yuliia Hlynska (née Bilynska), and Anastasia Kuzyk, the housekeeper in Isidor's household. They discuss various topics, including the festive menus of church celebrations in the Galician village of Butsniv near Ternopil, where Isidor Hlynskyi served as a priest from 1887 to 1931. The author of the first two letters, dating approximately from 1890 to 1892, is Yuliia Hlynska, the widow of the priest Kuprian Hlynskyi, Isidor's mother, who lived in Cherneliv-Ruskyi. These letters are written in Ukrainian and transcribed in Latin script. The choice of the Latin alphabet was likely influenced by Hlynska's...
Image for Christmas and Easter in Lemberg in 1908: The Case of One Multidenominational Family
Christmas and Easter in Lemberg in 1908: The Case of One Multidenominational Family
Teofil Hrushkevych a teacher of classical languages at the Second (German) Gymnasium in Lviv, commenced his diary in 1895, though it was only after his retirement in 1906 that his entries became regular. The extant handwritten diary comprises eight notebooks, documenting entries for 1895, 1903, and 1906 (intermittent), and for 1908-1915 (almost daily). Typically, the author penned his notes in the evening, commencing with a depiction of the weather, followed by an account of the day's events: personal matters, such as receiving a pension, settling bills, visiting friends or acquaintances, attending church services, and social engagements, such as participating in meetings of Ukrainian societies to which he belonged, attending the theatre or a...
Image for A letter from Olha Barvinska, a teacher at the Lviv school, to her father, 1893
A letter from Olha Barvinska, a teacher at the Lviv school, to her father, 1893
This letter is part of the correspondence between its author, Olha Barvinska (1874-1955), and her father, Oleksandr Barvinskyi, an influential Ukrainian politician. The Barvinsky family lived separately at the time. As an ambassador to the Austrian parliament, Oleksandr was permanently in Vienna while his family lived in Lviv. This letter, among other things, contains an interesting story about Olha's teaching career, which began almost immediately after she graduated from the city women's teacher's seminary. In September 1893, Olha started working as a Ruska (Ukrainian) language teacher at the city's incomplete secondary school. In the letter below, the author describes her invitation to work at the first Ukrainian women's private educational institutions in Lviv,...
Image for Ryszard Gansiniec writing about everyday life of Lviv in 1945-1946
Ryszard Gansiniec writing about everyday life of Lviv in 1945-1946
Ryszard Gansiniec is a classical Polish philologist and linguist. In 1920–1941 and 1944–1946 he was a professor and Head of Classical Philology Chair of Lviv University. His “Notes of Lviv” are a compilation of his letters to his wife who left for Stryzow (Poland) in 1944. R. Gansiniec stayed in Lviv until June 1946, working at Lviv University and at the Academy of Science under Soviet authority. In January 1945 he was arrested and kept in jail until May. After he moved on to Poland, he was appointed the position of professor of Wroclaw University. In 1948 and until his death, he was a professor of Jagiellonian University. In the compilation of letters presented, R....
Image for Secret report on the moods among Kharkiv factory workers at the time of May Day holidays in 1929
Secret report on the moods among Kharkiv factory workers at the time of May Day holidays in 1929
The presented report illustrates types of information that are hard to find in other sources. Those are conversations during a celebratory demonstration. In the source text, we can see that people found pressing issues more important than party slogans. Workers were mostly interested in the availability of bread, work, and free sale of alcohol on festive days. Certainly, the quotes and statements of people presented in the report do not represent the entire range of topics discussed during the demonstrations. However, they allow us to at least take a look behind the settings of official manifestations. It is critical, for in 1929, Soviet celebration canon was still on the development stage. It is...
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Family Correspondence from the World War I (Ivan and Ivanna Blazhkevych), 1917
Family correspondence of Ivanna Blazhkevych with her husband Ivan, who fought in the ranks of the Austrian army during the First World War.
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Images (2)

Image for Olha Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka, Lviv, spring 1939
Olha Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka, Lviv, spring 1939
This photo is a testimony to a photographic practice popular in the 1930s. It was about making portraits of passers-by on the city streets. Such photos often recorded people in motion in the middle of a large street, and seemed to emphasize the belonging of those depicted characters to urban culture. In view of this, the genre of such photography can be called street portrait, the street and commercial photography. The photo shows the great-grandmother and great-grandfather of Bozhena Pelenska — Olha-Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka (b. 1899). Based on the Bozhena's memories, the story was recorded of the photograph and of the people in it. The photo was taken on...
Image for Photo of the physical exercises, Lviv, 1927
Photo of the physical exercises, Lviv, 1927
The photo is from Stepan Haiduchok collection. It is one of the series of photos of physical exercises. The format is adjusted to the composition: five women stand in one row and demonstrate the body positions as part of dynamic exercises (bending forward, arm stretching, steps). The static vertical lines of the trees in the background contrast with the movements of women. The expressiveness of the composition is built on tonal and texture contrast. The composition is divided in half by the horizon line. The background of the photos' lower part (grass) has a neutral tone, so the dark skirts and light legs are distinctly presented. Conversely, the background of the upper part...
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Videos (2)

Image for The Morality of Mrs. Dulska, 2013 TV Movie [Moralność pani Dulskiej]
The Morality of Mrs. Dulska, 2013 TV Movie [Moralność pani Dulskiej]
It is a screen adaptation of the same name work by the Polish writer Gabriela Zapolska, written in 1906. The play's plot reveals the problem of social inequalities and moral degradation of the Galician society at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where these inequalities were crucial. The author chose female characters as protagonists. According to literary critics, the prototype of the main character in this text, Aneli Dulska, was a prominent Lviv-based author, Mrs. Golanbova (pani Gołąbowa). The prototype’s name is also associated with a Lviv woman named Czeslawa Dulska. In response to a survey published in 1905 by the famous local newspaper Wiek Nowy, she described her housekeeping system...
Image for For the Family Hearth, a 1970 film
For the Family Hearth, a 1970 film
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ivan Franko, written in 1892. In his story, the problem of sexual slavery (or “white slavery” in the terms of those times) and women’s engagement as its victims and enablers. The author’s choice of topic must have been influenced by the lawsuits against human traffickers that were actively taking place in Galicia at this time. One of the most high-profile cases was the Lviv trial in 1892 against 27 traffickers (men and women) accused of organizing sexual traffic abroad. The investigation confirmed 29 cases of selling girls from Galicia to brothels in Constantinople, Egypt, and India. The “white slavery” usually...
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Audio (0)

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Modules (3)

The Soviet government aimed to profoundly transform the styles and structures of people’s everyday lives, encompassing housing, leisure, and work. Particularly ambitious projects were conceived and executed during the 1920s and 1930s. Workers were at the forefront of Soviet social policy, with the Bolshevik Communist Party depicted in Soviet discourse as the avant-garde of the proletariat, primarily serving the interests of the working class. 
The early vision of amateur filmmaking in the Soviet Union was characterized by the pragmatic idea of using the new media not only for entertainment but also to involve a wide range of citizens in the production of newsreels and to create a network of correspondents across the country to cover the construction of socialism. 
In the 19th century, the gender pact dividing public and private spheres, as man-owned and women-inhabited, found its most solid reasoning. The separation of the private and the public was accelerated by the Industrial Revolution when it fixed a role of the key “bread-winner” for the man. The gender-divided lines of responsibility certainly existed before the 19th century, but the role of women in family economy before the Industrial Revolution was much more visible. Since the Enlightenment era, the idea of the private and the public (as female and male, respectively) has been included in legal codes of most European states. This way, the new economic order was enshrined in the law, where...

Digital stories (1)

The three stories presented in this text are dedicated to three different women united by one city. Sharing a common urban space, they experienced it in different ways, given their different social positions, status and starting opportunities. The time in which they had to live their lives was in one way or another reflected in microstories from the life of each of these women. The first story is dedicated to Maria Hrushkevych, a long-time employee of the Lviv post office, who was among the "first" women employed by the state. In the second, Maria Linchak will be talked about, who was a maid in the house of Teofil and Liudmyla Hrushkevych, a chorister...

Reflections

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Syllabi (2)

This course was a part of Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th-20th Centuries summer school. The syllabus is written in Polish.
This course forms a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school. The syllabus is available only in Polish.