Further Reading

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Doukhobors/Koozma J. Tarasoff

The first important scholarly study of the Doukhobors was O. Novitsky, Dukhobortsy (Kiev, 1882), while the group’s existence was publicized to the world through

V. Chertkov, Christian Martyrdom in Russia (London, 1900). Leopold Sulerzhitskii, V Ameriku s Dukhoborami (Moscow, 1905) – translated into English by Michael Kalmakoff as To America with the Doukhobors (Regina, 1982) – is an outstanding account of the author’s journey with the Doukhobors and their early life in Canada.

Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich, Zhivotnaia kniga dukhobortsev (English-language translation by Viktor Buiniak: The Book of Life of Doukhobors, Saskatoon, 1978), is the work of a Russian Marxist ethnographer who spent several decades studying Doukhobor materials. This volume continues to be the main oral source on Doukhobors. Aleksandr I. Klibanov, Istoria religioznogo sektanstva v Rossii 60-e gody XIV v.–1917 g (Moscow, 1965) -translated as History of Religious Sectarianism in Russia, 1860s–1917 (New York, 1982) by Ethel Dunn and edited by Stephen Dunn – uses Soviet and Canadian sources for a conceptualization of the Doukhobors as a “social movement,” an approach that widened the scope for the study of the group.

C.A. Dawson, Group Settlement: Ethnic Communities in Western Canada (Toronto, 1936) is an excellent early study of Doukhobor settlement with a focus on the push-pull forces that contributed to the group’s secularization and assimilation. W. Blakemore, Report of the Royal Commission on Matters Relating to the Sect of the Doukhobors in the Province of British Columbia (Victoria, 1913), provides an invaluable description of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood during its period of vigorous development. Vladimir Nicholas Snesarev [Harry W. Trevor], “The Doukhobors in British Columbia” (unpublished mss., Vancouver, 1931), is a study of Doukhobor economic and social structure, agriculture, and history. H.B. Hawthorn, The Doukhobors of British Columbia (Vancouver, 1955), is an update of the 1950–1952 Doukhobor Research Committee report which presents an elaborate picture of communal disintegration and zealotry and a diagnosis for a holistic solution.

George Woodcock and Ivan Avakumovic,The Doukhobors> (Toronto, 1968), is a well-written and balanced history of the Doukhobor movement, while William Janzen, Limits on Liberty: The Experience of Mennonite, Hutterite, and Doukhobor Communities in Canada (Toronto, 1990), is a competent cross-cultural comparison of Canadian communal landholding, education of children, exemption from military service, and non-participation in selected social-welfare programs. Koozma J. Tarasoff, Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors (Grand Forks, B.C., 1982), is a well-documented popular history from an inside point of view, profusely illustrated with photographs. The same author’s Traditional Doukhobor Folkways: An Ethnographic and Biographic Record of Prescribed Behaviour (Ottawa, 1977) examines changes in selected cultural values between 1900 and the 1970s. The Summarized Report of the Joint Doukhobor Research Committee Symposium Meetings, 1974– 1982 (Castlegar, B.C.), prepared and translated by Eli A. Popoff, is a valuable compilation of oral presentations and written submissions to this body.

Three anthologies published in the 1990s provide regional, national, and international perspectives on the Doukhobors. The first, Koozma J. Tarasoff and Robert B. Klymasz’s Spirit Wrestlers: Centennial Papers in Honour of Canada’s Doukhobor Heritage (Hull, Que., 1995), a publication of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, focuses on ideology, the song tradition, material culture, and various historical subjects, while also citing some rare bibliographical resources. The second, “From Russia with Love: The Doukhobors,” a special issue of Canadian Ethnic Studies, vol.27, no.3. (1995), surveys one hundred years of Doukhobor history and offers reflections on Russia-Canada connections. The third, collected and edited by Koozma J. Tarasoff, Spirit Wrestlers Voices (Ottawa, 1998), explores the inner voices of the spirit that inspired the Doukhobors’ values of love, cooperation, hard work, and international kinship. Finally, Carl J. Tracie’s “Toil and Peaceful Life”: Doukhobor Village Settlement in Saskatchewan, 1899–1918 (Regina, 1996) is a work of historical geography that analyses the unique cultural landscape created by the Community Doukhobors in Saskatchewan.

The best archival and related materials on the Doukhobors in Russia, their connection to Leo Tolstoy, and their emigration to Canada are found in the Museum of the History of Religion (St Petersburg), the Lenin State Library (Moscow), and the Tolstoy Literary Museum (Moscow). The official correspondence relating to the emigration to Canada is contained the records of the Colonial Office and Foreign Office in the Public Record Office, London. The Library of the Society of Friends in London contains a useful collection of letters, diaries, minutes, and notes dealing with relief work organized by the Quakers at the end of the last century. The Friends’ Historical Library at Swarthmore College, Philadelphia, contains other materials on relief and educational work by Quakers on the western prairies.

The University of British Columbia Library has one of the largest collections in North America of materials on the Doukhobors, including newspaper clippings, correspondence, and minutes going back to their first years of settlement in the province. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto holds the James Mavor Doukhobor Papers and other papers dealing with the preliminary negotiations on Doukhobor entry into Canada, as well as miscellaneous correspondence dating to 1922.

The British Columbia Provincial Archives has materials similar to those found in the University of British Columbia Library collections and also an extensive and annotated collection of historical photographs. The Saskatchewan Provincial Archives has important materials as well, including tape-recorded interviews and annotated collections by P.G. Makaroff, K.J. Tarasoff, and other independent Doukhobors. Finally, various holdings in the National Archives of Canada – those dealing with Immigration (RG76), Dominion Lands Branch (RG15), RCMP records from the turn of the century, and so on – should also be consulted.