Title: Irene Knysh fonds.
Dates: 1920-1995, predominant 1950-1980.
Extent: 2.47 m of textual records. -- 159 photographs.
Biographical sketch: Irene Knysh was a feminist, journalist, and author of many books on the Ukrainian women’s movement. She is well known not only among the Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada and America, but also in Ukraine. Irene Knysh was born on April 20, 1909 in Lviv, Ukraine to Dmytr and Anastazia Shkvarkiv. In 1933, she graduated from the Lviv University with a Master’s degree in Philosophy. She was fluent in many languages including Ukrainian, Polish, French, German, and English. After her graduation, she became a professor of linguistics and taught at various secondary schools in Lviv and Premysl. During the 1930s, she collaborated with the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and Ukrainian Patriotic Organization (OUN). In 1939, she married Zinovii Knysh, a political and community activist. Her son, George Knysh, was born in 1940. During the Second World War, the family lived in Cracow, Lviv, and Austria. After the war they moved to France, where Irene Knysh became the Head of the Ukrainian Women’s Alliance in France.
In 1950, she immigrated to Winnipeg and worked as a journalist for various Ukrainian newspapers including Kanadiis’kyi Farmer, Novyi shliakh, Zhinoche Svitlo, Promin, and Ukrains’kyi Holos in Canada; Svoboda, Samostiina Ukraina, and Nashe Zhyttia in the United States; and Ukrains’ke Slovo in France. She wrote extensively on the Ukrainian women’s movement. She was considered the archivist of the Ukrainian Diaspora on the American continent. Her books are also well known in Ukraine. Her major works include Na sluzhbi ridnoho narodu: iuvileinyi zbirnyk Orhanizatsii Ukrainok Kanady im. Ol’hy Basarab, Ivan Franko ta rivnopravnist’ zhinky (Ivan Franko and Equal Rights for Women) (1956), Smoloskyp u temriavi (Torch in the Darkness) (1957), Patriotyzm Anny Ionker, Zhinka vchora i s’ohodni (Collection of articles published in various Ukrainian newspapers) (1964), Nezabutnia Ol’ha Basarab (Unforgettable Olha Basarab) (1976), and Try rovesnytsi, 1860-1960 (Three Ukrainian Contemporaries) (1966).
Irene Knysh was one of the first Ukrainian-Canadian women to be included in the Ukrainian Literary Encyclopaedia (Kyiv, 1990). She visited Ukraine in 1970 and her book, Vich-na-vich iz Ukrainoiu (1970), was a reflection of her journey. After Ukraine Independence in 1991, she was elected a member of the Ukrainian Women’s Alliance in Lviv, Ukraine (2005) and in her honour a scientific conference took place on June 4, 2005. Irene Knysh passed away on May 11, 2006.
Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by George Knysh of the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba in 2008 and 2009.
Scope and content: The fonds consists of Irene Knysh's biographical information, her articles and research material pertaining to her writings (Ukrainian women's movement in Canada and America), correspondence including correspondence with Vasyl Avramenko, Ukrainian dance teacher, and a photograph collection.
Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.
Accruals: Further accruals are expected. A substantial collection of letters between Dr. George Knysh and Irene Knysh (1955-1995) regarding her publications is still in Dr. George Knysh’s possession.
Finding aid: On-line finding aids are available at the links below: