On April 26 at the European Social Science History Conference in Vienna Elena Korchmina made a presentation on Impoverished Noblewomen of Ryazan and their Life Stories.
This study of poor noblewomen was focused on those noblewomen who lived in Ryazan and was guided by the principle established in the Regulation of December 6, 1831, which required that all hereditary nobles possessing over 100 souls were entitled to participate in the election. The scene was set to examine the experience of those women living on estates with less than 100 serfs. It has also included data gathered from the 1851. The regulation of the Minister of the Interior referring to those nobles owning less than ten souls. Despite the fact that this group is less well studied, OPEC and county court records can provide abundant and vivid record of their material life since in the province of Ryazan in 1853 there were 5479 estates pledged for a loan from the government established and 2566 in 1860 and even though not all of them were smallholdings, a significant number were.
This study of noblewomen’s lives was based upon evidence of their material gathered through the estate inventories. The inventory includes a description of: the manor house, often with interior decoration, a description of valuable clothing, the description of the complex of buildings near the manor house, the list of names of families of serfs with a description of the huts where they lived, and livestock in the possession of, land of the manor and farm buildings, and all the land owned. The inventory provided the assessed value and the estimated income gained from the estate. Thus, this paper gives an idea not only about the economic condition of noblewomen, but these documents allow one to “write” the story of poor noblewomen of Ryazan.