1844 – 1934 A.D.
Catherine Breshkovsky, a Russian heroine. She was the daughter of a noble who held hundreds of serfs, and her girlhood was spent in luxury.
At the age of eighteen she left her home and began to speak and write against the iniquities and tyranny of the Czar’s government. She was soon sent into exile to a Siberian hamlet north of the Arctic Circle where she remained sixteen years, and was then released, but her speeches against autocracy periodically sent her back to exile. Many times she escaped, many marvellous [sic] adventures were attributed to her, and she became known to the people as the “Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution.”
During one of her free periods, in 1905, she came to the United States and collected more than $10,000 for the revolutionary cause, but the following year she was again a prisoner, having been sentenced, without formal charges, to perpetual exile.
When at last set free, she had spent forty-four of her seventy-three years as a political prisoner. Her journey from Irkutsk was a triumphal progress, and when she reached Petrograd, she was welcomed by an enormous, enthusiastic gathering. After her first words of thanks that the people had freed themselves from Czardom, she made an appeal that her countrymen continue faithful to the great nations who were her allies, and continue the war of freedom; she further warned Russia not to abuse the gift of democracy which had been bestowed by faith.
She insistently repeated her appeal and warning as the Soldiers’ and Workmen’s delegates grew into power, and her friends hid her away, fearing for her safety.
Later she escaped, and came to the United States, arriving here in January, 1919, where she at once began her work of raising funds for the benefit of four million Russian orphans, and soon thereafter returned to her native country, continuing her labors for the poor children.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.