Yakov Grot
Humanist of the day

Yakov Grot

Yakov Grot was Russian official, researcher and professor who forged a long career propagating Russian and Finnish culture. Grot worked both to make Finnish and Nordic culture known in Russia and also to promote knowledge of Russian language and culture in Finland. He also founded a Slavic library within the National Library of Finland. Grot rose to become the leading authority of his time on the Russian language.

Yakov Grot

Yakov Karlovitsh Grot
Born 27 December, St. Petersburg. Died 6 June 1893, St. Petersburg.

Graduate of the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, 1832

Professor of literature 1853–62, the Imperial Alexander Lyceum
Correspondent member 1852, deputy member 1855, academic 1858, chairman 1884, vice president 1889, Imperial Academy of Science, St. Petersburg.
Tutor to crown prince Nicholas and Alexander Romanov 1853-59
Inspector of Russian teaching 1844-53, diocese of Porvoo
Professor of Russian history and statistical research, Russian language and literature 1841-53, Imperial Alexander University

College Councillor 1840-1841, office of the Minister-Secretary of State for Finland
Official of the Russian ministerial committee and cabinet 1832-1840

Member of several Finnish, Russian and other science and arts societies.

Honorary doctorate from Lund University 1880
Honorary member of the University of Moscow (and four other Russian Universities) 1880
Privy Councillor 1871
Honorary doctorate at the University of St. Petersburg 1869
Senior State Councillor 1856
State Councillor 1845
Gold medal from the Imperial Lyceum 1832
Recipient of countless (especial Russian) civil honours

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by Matthew Billington

Yakov Grot graduated from the Russian Tsarkoye Selo lyceum in 1832. His father was a teacher at the lyceum, where the sons of Russia’s political elite were trained for the empire’s highest civil offices. Like many officials of the time, Grot was a literature aficionado, which shaped his lifework.

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One of the main goals of the well-read, polyglot Grot was to promote Finno-Russian cultural relations and improve the Finnish intelligentsia’s image of Russia. He had made close acquaintances in the academic and cultural circles of Helsinki, the small size of which he would accentuate in his correspondence with his Russian supporters.

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