From the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean: Three Governor’s Wives in Russian America
While some work has recently been done on native women in Russian America, very little has been written about Russian women and even less about the European non-Russian women who went to Russia’s North American colonies in Alaska—the easternmost outpost of the Russian empire in Alaska—from the western periphery of the empire. This paper is about three such women, Elisabeth von Wrangell, Margaretha Etholén and Anna Furuhjelm, and their experiences as governors’ wives in Russian America between 1829 and 1864. As the wives of governors, these women had a semi-official role as representatives of the Russian empire, which meant that they were expected to contribute to its civilizing mission in the colonies.
The paper aims to understand the experiences of these women as governors’ wives in the light of prescriptive notions of true womanhood and of the role of women in the civilizing mission. What was it like to be a young woman in the most remote part of the Russian empire and how can these experiences be related to the cult of domesticity and the new ideal of womanhood that took form in the nineteenth century? What was expected of them as representatives of the Russian empire and how did they themselves perceive this role?
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
Please note that there are no author fees for publishing in this journal.