Dashkova, Ekaterina Romanovna
Born Mar. 17 (28), 1743 or 1744, in St. Petersburg: died Jan. 4 (16), 1810, in Moscow. Russian literary figure: director of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1783. Daughter of R. I. Vorontsov; raised in the home of her uncle, state chancellor M. I. Vorontsov.
Dashkova actively participated in the coup d’etat of June 28, 1762, which brought Catherine II to the throne, but her influence in court circles did not last. Beginning in 1769 she spent more than ten years abroad, where she met with prominent politicians, writers, and scholars, including A. Smith, Voltaire, and D. Diderot. On returning to Russia in 1783, she became head of the Russian Academy for the Study of the Russian Language, which was established in that same year on her proposal. She founded the periodicals Conversational Companion of Lovers of the Russian Word (1783–84) and New Monthly Compositions (1786–96). She renewed the publication of earlier scientific periodicals and reinstituted public readings at the academy in Russian on mathematics, physics, mineralogy, and natural history. At her initiative the Russian Academy published a dictionary of the Russian language (Dictionary of the Russian Academy, 6 parts. 1789–94). In 1796, Dashkova was excluded from academy affairs by Pavel I.
She is the author of several literary works in various genres. Most interesting are her memoirs, which contain valuable information on the reign of Peter III and accession of Catherine II, descriptions of Moscow life in the mid-18th century, and portraits of famous Russian and European figures. The first edition of her memoirs in Russian appeared in London in 1859, with an introduction by A. I. Herzen; the Russian edition of 1907 is the best.