VSU scholars study the letters of the Buldakovs merchant family from Ustug the Great

The research team under the guidance of Fyodor Konovalov, a leading researcher of the publishing house “Antiquities of the North”, received a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research in the amount of 1,1 million rubles.

At the present time, Russian history scholars are keenly interested in the life of real people and families, the motives and strategies of their behavior.

One of the main historical sources for studying the past is personal information, in particular, epistolary complexes.

It turned out that the epistolary legacy of the Buldakovs family (at the moment it was possible to identify about 1000 units), is kept in archives and museums across Russia, and some of the letters are located in the Library of Congress in the United States.

The documents date from early 1780s up to the late 1820s.  The addressee of most of the messages was the youngest of the Bulgakov brothers, an entrepreneur and traveler, organizer of a number of round-the-world expeditions, and the first director of the Russian-American company, Mikhail Matveyevich Buldakov.

This project is meant to continue the work of identifying and publishing the epistolary heritage of the merchant family from Ustug. In 2016-2018 VSU scholars published 179 letters from the Vologda archives.

As part of the research work, it is planned to prepare for publication about 350 letters from the collection, which is now kept in the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts. Research papers on the history of everyday life and scientific articles for publication in leading peer-reviewed journals will also be prepared.

The epistolary legacy of the Buldakovs merchant family is a unique extant set of personal documents. Their content is very diverse and reflects almost all aspects of the daily life of merchants, their families, as well as clerks, officials, and other social groups.