Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, Russian pedagogue, educator, Actual State Councilor was born

26 July 1831

On July 14 (26), 1831 in Astrakhan to the family of a tailor was born Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, Russian pedagogue, educator, director of public schools, Actual State Councilor; father of Vladimir Lenin.

With brilliance did Ulyanov graduate from Astrakhan gymnasium and then entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at Kazan University. Having graduated from it, on request of the famous Russian mathematician N.I. Lobachevsky he got the position of senior teacher of physics and mathematics in Penza. The young teacher was also in charge of Penza meteorological station.

Ulyanov’s years of work in Penza Institute for Nobility were very busy and became an important milestone in his biography. It was here that he conducted meteorological observations, on the basis of which he wrote two scientific works: “On the Use of Meteorological Observations and Some Conclusions Drawn from Them for Penza” (1857) and “On Thunder and Lightning Rods” (1861). In 1863 Ulyanov together with his spouse Maria Aleksandrovna moved to Nizhniy Novgorod where he continued his career as a teacher. Here he distinguished himself as a prominent methodologist of elementary and secondary school. Ilya Nikolayevich compiled programs for mathematical disciplines, natural history, physical geography, which were shaped with a focus on age characteristics of pupils and displayed the latest achievements of psychology and pedagogy. In 1869 Ulyanov was appointed inspector and later on director of public schools in Simbirsk governorate (province).

Ulyanov was a highly educated man, had great organizational and pedagogical skills, made important contributions to the theory and practice of elementary education. His pedagogical views were formed under the influence of ideas of N.G. Chernyshevsky and N.A. Dobrolyubov. Director of public schools of the governorate shared views of leading pedagogues such as K.D. Ushinsky and N.Kh. Wessel. He advocated equal education for all social layers, all nationalities and genders.

The pedagogue drew particular attention to education of non-Russian peoples of the Middle Volga Region: Chuvash people, the Mordvins, the Tatars — worked hard to supply non-Russian schools with textbooks, visual aids in native language. The core of his work on dissemination of culture and education among non-Russian peoples focused on respect to national characteristics and rights of Volga Region people. In 1871 Ulyanov opened the first Chuvash school in Simbirsk, which later became Chuvash Teachers’ Seminary. He also founded the first national schools in Simbirsk governorate for the Mordovian population and secular schools for the Tatars.

Ulyanov’s great service was his concern about the improvement of material situation and living conditions of teachers. Due to his efforts was established teachers’ support fund (office), which provided financial assistance to pedagogues during illness and paid retirement benefits.

According to Ulyanov, the school was to perform the following three functions: shape correct views on the world by teaching basic scientific knowledge; assist students in acquiring the practical knowledge and skills necessary in life; develop and improve their natural abilities by training them correct thinking, exact expression of their ideas, and the capacity to control their desires and develop a thirst for knowledge.

Ulyanov believed that the quality of education was directly determined by the quality of lessons; while the quality of lessons depends, first and foremost, on the teacher’s personality. He attached great importance to the educational influence of the teacher, his ability to maintain attention during lessons, organize work with textbooks, map, visual aids.  Ulyanov paid much attention to school discipline. He also highlighted the importance of developing through education good work skills and a respectful attitude to work; he organized and led teachers’ congresses, was an organizer of various events in the field of pedagogical education; supported introduction of psychological methods in pedagogy.

“For the Perfect and Zealous Service” Ulyanov was awarded the Order of Saint Stanislaus 1st Class, the Order of Saint Anna 2nd Class, the Order of Saint Vladimir 3rd Class, and received the right of hereditary nobility.

On January 24 (12), 1886 Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov died of cerebral hemorrhage. He was buried in Simbirsk (today — Ulyanovsk) at the cemetery of Intercession Monastery.

Lit.: Алпатов Н. И. Педагогическая деятельность И. Н. Ульянова. М., 1956; Анисенкова А. К., Балика Д. А. И. Н. Ульянов в Нижнем Новгороде. По документам Гос. архива Горьковской области. Горький, 1969; Жданов Б. Н. Педагогическая деятельность И. Н. Ульянова и воспитание детей в его семье: автореф. … к. пед. н. М., 1956; И. Н. Ульянов в воспоминаниях современников. М., 1989; И. Н. Ульянов в Пензе: Сб. документов и материалов. Саратов, 1981; И. Н. Ульянов и просвещение народов Поволжья и Приуралья. Казань, 1985; Карамышев А. Л. Педагогическая и культурно-просветительская деятельность И. Н. Ульянова и педагогов-ульяновцев в дореволюционной России: автореф. … д. пед. н. Л., 1981; Кондаков А. И. Директор народных училищ И. Н. Ульянов. М., 1964; Кузнецов П. П., Лашко В. Т. И. Н. Ульянов и просвещение мордовского народа. Саранск, 1981; Макаров М. П. Илья Николаевич Ульянов и просвещение чуваш. Чебоксары, 1958; Назарьев В. Н. Из уездных воспоминаний члена Сибирского уездного училищного совета. [Об Илье Николаевиче Ульянове]. Симбирск, 1894; Пермяков К. М. Мировоззрение И. Н. Ульянова. Ульяновск, 1995; Савин О., Трофимов Ж. И. Н. Ульянов в Пензе. Саратов, 1983; Сергеев Т. С. Детище педагога-демократа И. Н. Ульянова (К 100-летию Порецкой учительской семинарии). Чебоксары, 1972; Сергеев Т. С. Илья Николаевич Ульянов и просвещение народов Поволжья. Чебоксары, 1972; Трофимов Ж. А., Миндубаев Ж. Б. Илья Николаевич Ульянов. М., 1981; Ульянова М. И. Отец В. И. Ленина — И. Н. Ульянов. 1831—1886. М.; Л., 1931; Юбилейный сборник памяти И. Н. Ульянова (1855-1925). Пенза, 1925.

Works: Избранное. Саратов, 1983; Начальное народное образование в Симбирской губернии с 1869 по 1879 г. // Журнал министерства народного просвещения. 1880 (май); Отчёт о состоянии начальных народных училищ Симбирской губернии. Симбирск, 1873.

Based on materials provided by M.Yu. Lermontov Penza Regional Library.