Sergievskaya Lydia Palladievna

Sergievskaya Lydia Palladievna (5.03 (22.02) 1897, Shirogorye (Shirokogorye) village, Vologda province. – 21.09.1970, Tomsk) – botanist, professor, the Herbarium curator. Born to a family of priest, senior priest of the Demetrius Shirogorye church. She studied at Tomsk Diocesan College (1910–1912), attended the two–year additional pedagogical classes (1913–1914), and then studied at a natural branch of physics and mathematics faculty of Siberian Higher Courses for Women (1915–1920). Candidate of Biological Sciences (1938) without defending a thesis. Doctor of Biological Sciences (1954) without defending a thesis. In 1956 acquired the rank of a professor.
Worked as a teacher in the Taryshkino village of Tomsk Province (1914), master workwoman of the botanical work section in the workhouse for training manuals of Tomsk Gubsovnarhoz and taught botany at the Remedial school for workers of Tomsk State University (1920), admitted in 1921 as a junior curator of the Botanical Museum (Herbarium) of TSU, from 1931 until her death had been in charge of the herbarium
L.P. Sergievskaya made an exclusive contribution to the development of the Herbarium. During the summer time, participated in the expeditions, and in the winter used to do a lot to arrange collections. In 10 years’ time (1921–1931), using two preparators, analyzed and brought into proper order all collections that had been accumulated in the Herbarium for the 46 years since its establishment (about 200,000 herbarium sheets), inventory books were compiled for all materials, counted all herbarium sheets. L.P. Sergievskaya participated in the reconstruction of 7 Herbarium departments started in 1918 by P.N. Krylov, of which only department of the Altai flora and Tomsk province (now the Department of Western Siberia) and the General department were arranged, others were only outlined. She had established new Herbarium departments, such as the departments of spore plants (bryophytes and lichens), tropical and arctic flora and a training herbarium. L.P. Sergievskaya intensified exchange of collections with many domestic and foreign botanical institutions, liaised with monographers on individual groups of plants – R.Y. Rozhevits, V.I. Krechetovich, E.G. Bobrov, S.V. Yuzepchuk and others, who worked in Leningrad. Just in a forty year period during which L.P. Sergievskaya was in charge, the Herbarium collection doubled to 400,000 specimens, she had been daily organizing and supervising the execution of all activities in the Herbarium, personally looked through herbarium materials from all botanical expeditions, highlighting the most valuable specimens for collections. L.P. Sergievskaya created floral directory for all Siberian Herbarium Departments, containing information on the location and habitat of all species of vascular plants included in the collection of the Herbarium.
L.P. Sergievskaya preserved Herbarium in extremely difficult conditions of the Great Patriotic War, when all assets and herbarium collections were moved to the building of the Scientific Library of TSU. During World War II, L.P. Sergievskaya devoted much effort to the organization of work to collect raw herbal materials. L.P. Sergievskaya organized the collection of raw herbal materials and the Herbarium became the headquarters for storage of the medicinal plants – dried plants were stored under the tables, on the cabinets and in the aisles. In these years, in consort with the Tomsk Medical Institute, a work was started to find additional sources of medicinal plants under the guidance of the TSU Professor V.V. Reverdatto and professors of the Tomsk Medical Institute N.V. Vershinin and D.D. Yablokov. During expeditions, she carried out tasks of various organizations to identify stocks and harvest medicinal plants. Her knowledge of floras of different regions of Siberia and the plants used in folk medicine were of great value for exploration works.
Collections of L.P. Sergievskaya significantly complemented the Herbarium collections: together with P.N. Krylov she conducted floristic studies in Petropavlovsk, Kokchetav, Kurgan and Chelyabinsk districts (1926), in the southern part of Omsk and Tobolsk (Tyumen, Turin counties) provinces (1927), in Eastern Kazakhstan (Bukhtarminsky and Zaisan district) (1928), in Semipalatinsk and Zaisan districts (1929), in the Baikal region, in Dauria, Amur and Primorye regions (1930) and in the Transbaikalia (1931). Since 1934 L.P. Sergievskaya regularly went to the Transbaikalia, having made 30 expeditions (1934–1940, 1942–1944, 1946–1949, 1951–1954, 1957–1968), The routes covered the Transbaikalia within the Chita Region and the Buryat Republic, including the remote northern and mountainous areas of the region.
L.P. Sergievskaya conducted floristic and systematic studies, conducted phyto–phenological observations, described the 60 taxa new to science (17 in collaboration with P.N. Krylov and B.K. Shishkin); was a co–author of “Flora of Western Siberia” (Volumes 7–11), including 11 completely rewritten and completed edition of “Flora” by writing the 12th volume in 2 parts (1961, 1964), which included additions and corrections to the entire work (total 370 newly introduced species); since 1937 participated in the drafting of the “Flora of the Krasnoyarsk krai” and was the editor of three issues; processed complex genus Cobresia for “Flora of the USSR”; from 1932 to 1970 had issued established by P.N. Krylov collection of papers on the systematics of plants – “Systematic notes based on Tomsk University herbarium material”; explored the flora and vegetation of the Transbaikalia and wrote four volumes of “Flora of the Transbaikalia” (1966, 1969, 1972), collected and published information on folk medicine.
She had been daily organizing and supervising the execution of all works in the Herbarium, personally looked through herbarium materials of all botanical expeditions, highlighting the most valuable specimens for collections. According to her student N.F. Vyltsan, “no matter what she [L.P. Sergievskaya] was engaged into – checking herbarium materials, preparation of plants to mounting, signing labels – everything was done carefully and accurately. L.P. Sergievskaya was thorough in her daily work, without which no museum can exist. Herbarium was her home, and work in the Herbarium was the only happiness”. She brought in colleagues and assistants responsible attitude to herbarium work, precision and accuracy in the performance of duties assigned, as it was the only way to preserve order in the collections and extend them. Each Herbarium employee clearly knew the responsibilities and norms that had to be carried out every day, which was strictly controlled by L.P. Sergievskaya. She would kept the record of who did what in the Herbarium, what amounts were paid for a particular job, especially for the manufacture of furniture and equipment for the herbarium, so we have these historical evidence.
L.P. Sergievskaya invested a lot of effort in the creation of floral catalogs based on all Siberian Herbarium Departments, the cards of which duplicated herbarium specimen’s labels and contained information on the location and habitats of species of vascular plants. Floristic catalogs were systematically complemented in the processing of newly arrived collections, were used in the preparation of the “Flora”, mapping of areas and now comprises more than 350,000 cards. Nowadays, floristic catalog is still a certain kind of database of species locations; it is being updated, maintained and actively used, especially by florists.
L.P. Sergievskaya did not give lectures to students, but was an active promoter of knowledge about plants. In the Herbarium she regularly gave lectures, excursions to pharmacists and physicians, agricultural workers, students, constantly advised young botanists, students and all those who needed this kind of knowledge. Under her supervision were made 3 master’s theses. She wrote a number of popular works that could be used by non–specialists: “The key to spring plants of Tomsk vicinity” (1929), “Wild edible herbs” (1943), “Food plants of the steppes and meadows of Chita Region” (1955), “Useful Plants of Buryatia” (1958) and others.
L.P. Sergievskaya was the guardian of the traditions established by the founder of the Herbarium P.N. Krylov. As a person who had worked for 11 years with him, and she became his biographer, published a series of papers devoted to P.N. Krylov and Herbarium created by him. She carefully collected everything connected with P.N. Krylov – his letters, diaries, memoirs; even drafts of documents, one way or another connected with the name of the teacher, carefully preserved it. Through the efforts of L.P. Sergievskaya in 1933, the collegiate of the People’s Commissariat, Tomsk University Herbarium was named after P.N. Krylov, and in 1950 the city authorities allowed to transfer ashes of P.N. Krylov from Preobrazhenskoye Cemetery, demolished shortly after, to the territory of the Botanical Garden he established.
With all her merits, L.P. Sergievskaya was a very humble woman in everyday life. Through all of her life she lived in a unimproved one-roomed apartment, her personal savings and cash bonuses she used for the needs of the Herbarium (several large herbarium cabinets were bought on her money) and for the publication of works of the Tomsk branch of the All–Union Botanical Society. Was a staunch vegetarian, did not wear furs on principle.
L.P. Sergievskaya died on September 21, 1970. On the initiative of A.V. Polzhiy and request of Tomsk University she was buried next to her teacher at the Botanical Garden.
Awards: the Order of Lenin (1953), the medal “For Valorous Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945” (1946) and “For Valorous Labor. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin” (1970).
As a sign of respect and recognition, the name of L.P. Sergievskaya was embodied in the names of new species of plants, about 20, including: Alchemilla lidiae Zamelis, Alyssum sergievskajae Krasnob., Cicuta elpassiana Pavl., Hyeracium lidiae Schischk. et Steinb., Lotus sergievskiae R. Kam. et Kovalevsk, Poa sergievskajae Probat., Potentilla lydiae Kurbatsky, P. sergievskiae Peschkova, Rosa sergievskiae Polozhij et Pros., Thymus sergievskajae Karav. Torularia sergievskiae Polozhij, Veronica sergievskiana Polozhij, Equisetum sergijevskianum C.N. Page et Gureeva.

Gureeva I.I. Lydia Palladievna Sergievskaya (the 110–th anniversary). Bot. Zh., 2008. V. 93, No. 5. Pp. 800–805.
Polozhii A.V. PN Krylov Herbarium of Tomsk State University (the 100th anniversary since the foundation). Tomsk, 1986. p. 87
Polozhii A.V. Lydia Palladievna Sergievskaya (the 100th anniversary since birth). Tomsk:
Publishing House of Scientific and technical literature, 1997. p. 16
Sergievskaya Lydia Palladievna. Professor of Tomsk University. Biographical Dictionary. Ed. S.F. Fomin. Tomsk, 2001. V. 3. Pp. 375–381.
Sergievskaya L.P. Porfiri Nikitich Krylov. Novosibirsk Obl. gos. Izd. 1952. p.48
© I.I. Gureyeva