Fonds MSS 270 - Irene Knysh fonds

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Irene Knysh fonds

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  • Textual record
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  • 1920-1995, predominant 1950-1980 (Creation)
    Knysh, Irene

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Physical description

2.47 m of textual records.
159 photographs.

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Biographical history

Irena 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. Irena Knysh was born on April 20, 1909 in Lviv, (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Ukraine) to Dmytro and Anastazia Shkvarok. In 1933, she graduated from 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 an instructor of linguistics and taught at various secondary schools in Lviv and Przemyśl (Peremyshl’). During the 1930s, she collaborated with the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and Ukrainian Organization of Nationalists (OUN). In 1939, she married Zynovii 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 Irena 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, Zhinochyi Svit, 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. 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 (Jubilee Collection of the UWOC) (1955), Ivan Franko ta rivnopravnist’ zhinky (Ivan Franko and Equal Rights for Women) (1956), Smoloskyp u temriavi (Torch in the Darkness) (1957), Patriotyzm Anny Ionker (The Patriotism of Anna Jonker) (1964), 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).

Irena 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 Ukrainian 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.

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There are no restrictions on this material.

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Finding aids

A finding aid can be downloaded from this description by clicking on the Download link under "Finding aid" on the right hand side of this page.

Associated materials

Digitized Material: Irene Knysh Digital Collection.

Irene Knysh's books held in the Slavic Collection, the University of Manitoba.

Related materials


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.

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Finding aid (A2008-070) created and encoded by V. Zvonik (2008). Finding aid (A2009-052) created (2009).
Revised by N. Courrier (April 2020).

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