Vera Nikolaevna Rostovtseva (Emina) – (1807 – 1888)

Vera Nikolaevna Rostovtseva / Emina / was born on October 27, 1807, in a wealthy family of prominent intellectuals. Her father is the famous writer Nikolai Fedorovich / 1767-1814 /, and her mother, named Khmelnitsky and was the sister of the famous writer Nikolai Ivanovich Khmelnitsky / 1791-1845 /.

Vera receives high for her time education, which included an excellent command of Western languages.

She marries Iakov Ivanovich Rostovtsev / 1803 -1860 / – a famous for his time figure- a general of the infantry and an active participant and creator of the fortress reform in 1861. In 1828 he is an adjutant of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, whom he accompanies in the Turkish campaign in1828 and the Polish – in 1831. After the accession to the throne of Emperor Nicholas he is appointed Chief of Staff of all military-educational institutions.

The marriage with Vera probably happens around the middle of the 1830s, from which period are their common photos and children. They get married in St. Petersburg in the church of St. Archangel Michael in the Mikhailovsky Palace. In 1850, for the merits of her husband, she is awarded the Order of St. Catherine / 1850 /. They have 5 children – Nikolai (1831-1897), lieutenant general, military governor in Samarkand; Mikhail (1832-1870), colonel; Alexandra (1833-1836) and Vera (1835-1837), who died early and Alexandra (1836-1855). Iakov Rostovtsev dies in 1860 and fails to complete the project for the abolition of serfdom, but after the publication of the Manifesto for the abolition of serfdom on February 19, 1861, Rostovtsev’s widow, her sons, and their heirs are awarded the title of Count, and Rostovtsev, posthumously a gold medal for his work on the liberation of the peasants.

Countess Vera Rostovtseva has a high authority in the higher St. Petersburg’s society and enjoys the reputation of an active woman – a liberal. Together with Anna Filosova, with whom they are very close, she participates in the establishment of the Society of Translators and at its first meeting is elected its chairman and even participates in a delegation to apply for registration of the association to the Minister of Internal Affairs[1]. At this first meeting – in the home of Anna Filosova, two different circles of women are formed, and they create tension. “It is enough to see at the meeting in Filosova the two groups of women – those who surrounded Rostovtseva – in fashionable dresses and hats, and those who surrounded Tsenina – in black dresses, without hats with cut hair. You will immediately understand that these are two unrelated elements called to act together… Therefore, the meeting was disbanded and re-established in 1863, but only with liberal women from the aristocracy[2].

            Since 1860, Countess Rostovtseva is the vice-president of the Society of Cheap Accommodation, where she actively works. Since 1863 she is a member of the Publishers’ Artel of Translators, and since 1964 – a trustee of Alexandro – the Marine Children’s Home.

[1]Shtakenshneider Diary and Notes…, p. 123. 

[2] Ibid., с. 124.