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"The letters of mine I keep and bequeath to my grandchildren: let them read and know the deeds long gone…»
In the spring of 1892 Anton Chekhov settled down in the village of Melikhovo and from the first day his letters flew to different recipients - "an excellent spiritual self-portrait of Chekhov himself with a big correction for self-irony (Vladimir Lakshin), are the letters, "which we read now as one large consistent letter he mailed to the future and to us, his readers of today." Two thousand four hundred and twenty-two letters were written by Anton Pavlovich in Melikhovo from 1892 to 1899.
In the Museum collection there are eleven memorial letters.
These are private and business letters related to greater extent to professional and social activities of Chekhov. His service in Serpukhov Zemstvo (district council) brought the writer closer to zemstvo doctors, while his literary work drew him together with publishers and editors of scientific, literary and political magazine Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought) (1880-1918). Romantic relationship with a tutoress of Rzhevskaya's private gymnasium for girls in Moscow, where Chekhov’s younger sister Masha was a teacher of history and geography.
Among Chekhov’s addressees were:
Mizinova Lydia Stakhievna (1870-1937): firstly she was a close friend of Maria Pavlovna Chekhova, and later of all the Chekhovs. Relations between Anton Pavlovich and Lidia Mizinova seemed to be romantic, not easy, and they are still judged in different ways. The letter of invitation is dated March 29, 1892. It was given to the Museum by Sergey Mikhailovich Chekhov, nephew of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov in 1958.
"Dear Melita, bring me my Innocent speeches and please release my Motley Stories from your captivity.
We all look forward to Your arrival. The rooms look nice, it’s spacious now here... Write to me, Melita, at least two lines. Do not commit us to premature oblivion. At worst pretend you still remember us. Tell us lies, Lika. Your deception would be better than indifference…
I am all yours from head to heels, with all my heart and soul, to my last day, to self-oblivion, to clouded mind, to hot anger.
Glukhovskoy Vladimir Stepanovich (1851-1929): a veterinary doctor of Serpukhov Zemstvo (district council). Letters are dated: April 11, 1895, May 17, 1896, April 8, 1896, April 11, 1896, June 10, 1896, and August 18, 1897. These are business like letters dealing with insurance of livestock. They were given to the Museum by Nikita Bolotnikov, a distant relative of Vladimir Glukhovskoy, in 1964. From the six letters published in the Complete Woks by A. P. Chekhov in thirty volumes, Moscow, Nauka 1977-1989 – volumes 5,6,7,8, all six ones are in our Museum collection.
Yakovenko Vladimir Ivanovich (1857-1923): a psychiatrist, founder and Director of a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility in the village of Pokrovsko-Meshcherskoe, Podolsky district.
1. Business letter of July 22, 1896, questioning about condition of a patient. It was received as a gift from Yakovenko Mstislav Vladimirovich and Mira Mstislavovna, a son and a granddaughter of Dr. Vladimir Yakovenko, in 1969
2. Business letter dated 1 February 1897. Here Dr. Chekhov asks for advice and help to his patient. It was given by Yuri Zhukov, a doctor of Meshcherskaya Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility, in 1963.
For the first time it was published by Avdeev Yuri Konstantinovich, the first Director of the Museum-Reserve of A.P. Chekhov “Melikhovo” in his book In Chekhov Melikhovo, Ed. 2nd M, 1968, p. 49-51.
Lavrov Vukol Mikhailovich (1852-1912): a publisher of magazine Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought). It is a private Chekhov’s letter wishing his friend a good journey.
This letter was mailed from Lopasnya village to Palermo, dated 28.04.1897. It has the postal stampings of Lopasnya village and Palermo. Acquired by the Museum from Ivanova Nelly Sergeevna in 1983.
Serpukhov Zemstvo (district council). The letter dated June 30, 1899. The letter deals with a request for giving money to the contractor of money for construction of a school in Melikhovo. This letter was handed over to our collection by the Serpukhov historical and art Museum in 1952.
Eight of the above mentioned letters were restored by the day of celebration of the anniversary of Anton Pavlovich. These memorial letters are quoted in our Museum tours, published in periodicals and Museum bulletins. Today we prepare them for publication in the "Electronic catalog".Anton Pavlovich Chekhov has a large archive of letters. In this connection, we have a special branch for keeping them in "Museum of letters of A. P. Chekhov". Its present-day exposition deals with the issues of essence, origin and history of the collection as well as publication of Chekhov's epistolary legacy. The exposition of this museum has interesting exhibits of the post-and-telegraph office of the late ХIХ century, Besides that, here our visitors can join a multimedia educational program "A living letter".