Ivan Franko Literary Memorial Museum – Recognition for First Ukrainian Journalist
Ivan Franko, born in 1856, became what could be regarded as the first Ukrainian journalist of his time. It was his steadfast beliefs and determination that won him much respect from both locals as well as people from abroad during and after his passing on the 28th of May 1916.
He was a man tireless in his activities; accomplished as a poet, philosopher, political activist and interpreter. He resolved to complete his studies at university, which he did at Chernivtsi and Vienna. One year later he took up a post as a lecturer at Lviv University, specializing in the history of Ukrainian literature. It was his controversial views and opinions that prevented Franko from claiming the much desired chair of Ukrainian Literature. Many of Franko’s articles would center on the countering of ideas portrayed by Marx and Engels on socialism and these were published in the journal ‘Zhytie I Slove’, or ‘Life and Word’. Franko’s most renowned accomplishment, however, was his ability to speak over 14 different languages. This allowed for his involvement in supplying articles in the appropriate language for some of the most well acclaimed European newspapers. The result: the first Ukrainian ‘journalist’ who was able to support his family from his work.
In the late 1890’s, Franko became intimately associated with the ‘Shevchenko Scientific Society’ (NTSh). By 1904 he was instituted as a full and honorary member with many of his articles appearing in the ‘Zapysky NTSh’. However Franko and Hrushevsky, a renowned historian, formed a formidable partnership. Together they formed the first beginnings for the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences before the start of World War I. 1898 and 1913 were two special occasions for Ivan Franko, honoring his 25 and 40 years of contribution to the literary world. For this his students showed high regard by trying to raise funds towards a proper home for him and his family; the latter, NTSh awarded him with a yearly pension to show their appreciation for his works. During this period Franko devoted his time editing ‘Literaturnonaukovyi Vistnyk’, a monthly journal initiated by Hrushevsky. Later, as many changes began to occur, Hrushevsky transferred back to Kyiv where he took back the position, thus depriving Franko in his last years. 1906 saw Franko receiving an honorary doctorate, and by 1908 his health began to fail. With his death in 1916 Ivan Franko, legend in all respects, was to be no less esteemed in death with over 10,000 people in attendance of his funeral. He was buried in Lviv’s beautiful Lychakiv Cemetery.
Today, Ivan Franko is immortalized in the ‘Ivan Franko Literary Memorial Museum’ based in his home, built in 1902, as well as two consecutive buildings. It is here that you will find his treasured memories from personal items lying on his writing table through to his personal library, manuscripts, first editions of his works and original photographs. The address: 150-152-154, Ivan Franko Street.