Primary Sources

Women's Letters and Memoirs (and Other Writings)

Eighteenth Century 

By Catherine II

Correspondence of Catherine the Great when Grand Duchess with Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams and Letters from Count Poniatowski. Thornton Butterworth Ltd., 1928.

Memoirs of the Empress Catherine II, Written by Herself. Trübner & Co., 1859.

Catherine II’s Charters of 1785 to the Nobility and the Towns (The Laws of Russia. Series II, Imperial Russia, Vol. 289). Translated and edited by David Griffiths and George E. Munro. Charles Schlacks, Jr. Pub., 1990. ISBN: 9789990413724. 

Catherine the Great’s Instruction (Nakaz) to the Legislative Commission, 1767. Edited with a new introduction, bibliography, and newly translated sections by Paul Dukes. Oriental Research Partners, 1977. ISBN: 9780892501069. 

Love & Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin. Edited and translated by Douglas Smith. Illinois University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780875806075. 

Two Comedies by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia: Oh, These Times! and The Siberian Shaman. Translated and edited by Lurana Donnels O’Malley. Routledge, 1998. ISBN: 9789057550232. [Preview with Google Books]

Documents of Catherine the Great: The Correspondence with Voltaire and the Instruction of 1767 in the English Text of 1768. Edited by William Fiddian Reddaway. Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781107694859. [Preview with Google Books]

Memoirs of Catherine the Great. Edited by Katherine Anthony. Alfred A. Knopf, 1926.

 Catherine the Great: Treasures of Imperial Russia from the State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad. Edited by Isabella Forbes and William Underhill. Gingko Press, Inc., 1993. ISBN: 9780904866926. 


Dashkova, Ekaterina. The Memoirs of Princess Dashkov. Translated and edited by Kyril FitzLyon. John Calder, 1958. (Friend of Catherine II. Lots of court gossip and politics. Includes letters by Catherine II.)

Dolgorukaja, Natal’ja Borisovna. The Memoirs of Natal’ja Borisovna Dolgorukaja. Translated by Charles Edward Townsend. Slavica Publishers, Inc., 1977. (Short memoir with lots of commentary. Very interesting insider’s account of political power and disgrace.)

Golovina, V. N. Memoirs of Countess Golovine, a Lady at the Court of Catherine II. Translated from the French by G. M. Fox-Davies. David Nutt, 1910.

Vigor, Mrs. William. Letters from a Lady, Who Resided Some Years in Russia, to Her Friend in England. J. Dodsley, 1777. (Court news from a British woman in Russia, 1730–1739.)

Nineteenth Century

Breshko-Breshkovskaia, Ekaterina Konstantinovna. Hidden Springs of the Russian Revolution: Personal Memoirs of Katerina Breshkovskaia. Stanford University Press, 1931. (Memoir of a populist.)

Bisha, Robin, Jehanne M. Gheith, et al. Russian Women, 1698–1917: Experience & Expression—An Anthology of Sources. Indiana University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780253215239. [Preview with Google Books] (Lots of short excerpts—a little fragmentary.)

Broido, Eva L’vovna. Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Translated and edited by Vera Broido. Oxford University Press, 1967. ISBN: 9780192111777.

Clyman, Toby W., and Judith Vowles, eds. Russia Through Women’s Eyes: Autobiographies from Tsarist Russia. Yale University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780300067538. [Preview with Google Books]

Durova, Nadezhda. The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars. Translated by Mary Fleming Zirin. Indiana University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780253205490. (Account by a woman who dressed as a man and fought in the Napoleonic Wars.)

Figner, Vera. Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Introduction by Richard Stites. Northern Illinois University Press, 1991. ISBN: 9780875805528. 

Kovalevsky Sonia, and A.C. Leffler (Edgren). Sonia Kovalevsky: Biography and Autobiography. I. Memoir, by A. C. Leffler (Edgren) Duchessa Di Cajanello. II. Reminiscences of Childhood, Written by Herself. Translated into English by Louise Von Cossel. Macmillan, 1895. (Kovalevskaia was a prominent Russian mathematician from a leading academic family. She studied and worked abroad, but her childhood memoir concerns Russian intellectual life.)

Labzina, Anna. Days of a Russian Noblewoman: The Memories of Anna Labzina, 1758–1821. Translated and edited by Gary Marker and Rachel May. Northern Illinois University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780875805894. 

The Marchioness of Londonderry, and H.M. Hyde, eds. The Russian Journals of Martha and Catherine Wilmot: Being an Account by Two Irish Ladies of Their Adventures in Russia as Guests of the Celebrated Princess Daschkaw, Containing Vivid Descriptions of Contemporary Court Life and Society, and Lively Anecdotes of Many Interesting Historical Characters, 1803–1808. Macmillan, 1934.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2019
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments