Lesgaft Emily Frantsevich
Prominent Russian geographer and teacher. Nephew
Born in Petersburg, his father was a teacher of chemistry in the
2nd Cadet Corps.
Lesgaft received his secondary education at the Wiedemann
gymnasium, and then, following the advice of his uncle, entered the
medical faculty of the Yuryevsky (Tartu) University. Soon,
however, he realized that medicine was not his vocation and was
transferred to the natural department of the Physics and Mathematics
Faculty of St. Petersburg University. A
large role in his development as a scientist and teacher was played
by the lectures and books of Professor E.Yu. Petri.
After graduating from university in 1892 Lesgaft taught at the
Agricultural Institute in New Alexandria, and from 1894 he worked at
the Main Geophysical Observatory as a physicist and taught in a
number of gymnasiums and in working courses. Since
1907 he has lectured in geography at universities in St. Petersburg
and taught in gymnasiums.
Lesgaft’s work at the SSC determined the main direction of his
scientific activities - marine hydrology and meteorology. It
seems that the proximity of Lesgaft to the outstanding Russian
scientist Yu.M. Shokalsky.
Among the many scientific developments Lesgaft prominently occupy
works on the Arctic topics. Here,
the work “The State of the Ice of the Kara Sea and its Accessibility
for Swimming”, published in “Notes on Hydrography”, doctoral
dissertation-book “The ice of the Arctic Ocean and the sea route
from Europe to Siberia”, article “Opening the White Sea according to
Lesgaft entered the history not so much as a
geographer-researcher, but rather as a teacher, author of numerous
textbooks well-known at one time for all sections of the school
geography course. His
"Short Course in Physical Geography" held out 13 editions from 1903
to 1927 and
remained a guide for teachers and students of higher educational
institutions until the 1940s. In
total, he wrote about 50 textbooks on general geography, the
geography of Russia, Europe and non-European countries. Russian
public education did not know another author of so many textbooks
that made up a whole era in the development of education.
The human qualities of Lesgaft were also extremely high. In
the opinion of contemporaries, he “was distinguished by remarkable
modesty and never advanced himself and his merits. Like
all remarkable people, he always treated others condescendingly and
was only demanding of himself. To
the people, he was extremely benevolent. He
worked in good faith, modestly and silently. As
a friend and professor, he enjoyed universal respect and love”.
Unfortunately, it so happened that the name of E.F. Lesgaft
was in oblivion and does not appear in reference books and,
especially, in encyclopedias. To
date, many highly educated people sincerely believe that Lesgaft,
the author of textbooks on geography, and Lesgaft, anatomist and
teacher, whose name bears the famous Institute of Physical Culture
in St. Petersburg, are one and the same person.
Died E.F. Lesgaft
in Petrograd from blood poisoning caused by a boil lip. The
disease lasted only three days. He
was full of strength and creative plans. It
was not possible to find out anything about the burial site.
of Rainer Island in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. Named
by Soviet cartographers in the 1950s.