Leisure Societies of the Tomsk Province in 1865–1919
Authors: Vasiliy P. Zinovyev, Valentina I. Zinovyeva, Sergey S. Sulyak
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The authors turned to the history of leisure coteries and societies of the Tomsk province in the second half of the 19th – early 20th centuries, the largest province of Russia in population. Public organizations, specially formed by their members to spend their free time with a specific purpose, were considered as leisure ones. Such organizations were state-registered music-literary-drama (societies, coteries), horseracing, hunting, sporting, photo amateur, artistic, for organizing folk entertainment, gardening, Esperantists, aviation enthusiasts, public urban, commercial, railway meetings and clubs. The main source of information for analyzing the activities of leisure organizations was the chronicle of public life in Tomsk province in 1880 – February 1917, which in turn includes information from the archives, periodicals, and historical researches. The chronicle is supplemented with information from local statistical reference and local history publications. The authors set the goal of identifying the role of leisure organizations in the public life of the population of the Tomsk province in the second half of the 19th – early 20th century. The classification of organizations by subject led to the following results: literary-musical-dramatic societies – 21, public meetings – 18, horseracing – 7, sports – 7, lovers of sports hunting and photography – 3, folk entertainment – 2, art societies, Esperanto lovers, aviation circles, gardening lovers – 1 each, 65 in total. It is two times more than it was thought in historical literature.
The authors believe that in the Siberian province there were gradually going processes of constructing an urban society with a new forms of spending free time, different from the medieval cities and the peasant world. They included primarily prosperous citizens who were the initiators, organizers and sponsors of new forms of leisure. These are officials, persons of intelligent professions, entrepreneurs. The center of innovation was the provincial city of Tomsk, from which the innovations spread to district towns and commercial and industrial settlements. Firstly, the leisure was an entertainment, and then a creativity and intellectual way of development. Organized leisure covered a small proportion of the population of the province, but there was an obvious trend towards the formation of the traditions of the emerging industrial urban society. Soviet and modern leisure culture had its origins in pre-revolutionary urban culture.