The Royal Irish Academy and Global Connections in Martha Wilmot’s Russian Journals

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In July 2016, I traveled to Dublin, Ireland to examine the works of Martha Wilmot (1775-1873) in the Wilmot-Dashkova Collection at the library of the Royal Irish Academy.[1] Wilmot was an Anglo-Irish writer from a well-connected, wealthy family in County Cork. In 1803, she traveled to Russia after receiving an invitation from Princess Ekaterina Dashkova, who met Wilmot’s father while on a tour of Ireland in 1779-1780. One of the foremost women of the Russian Enlightenment, Princess Dashkova was instrumental in the coup that had brought Catherine the Great to power. During Wilmot’s five years in Russia, an intense friendship formed between the two women, and Dashkova often referred to herself as Wilmot’s “Russian mother.” Wilmot spent her time observing society at the royal courts in St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as at the Princess’ country estate. She also kept detailed journals and letters of her stay that provide a fascinating look at Russian customs and political life.


Sacred Heart University supported this project through a University Research and Creativity Grant.