Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova
Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova (Russian: Мария Александровна Ульянова; née Blank; 6 March [O.S. 22 February] 1835 – 25 July [O.S. 12 July] 1916) was the mother of Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik revolutionary leader and founder of the Soviet Union.
Ulyanova was one of six children born in Saint Petersburg. Her father was Alexandr Blank (born Israel Blank), a well-to-do physician, who was a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity. Her mother, Anna Ivanovna Groschopf, was the daughter of a German father, Johann Groschopf, and a Swedish mother, Anna Östedt.
In 1838, Ulyanova's mother died and her father turned to his sister-in-law, Ekaterina von Essen, to help raise the children. Together they bought a country estate near Kazan and moved the family there.
Ulyanova was educated at home, studying German, French and English as well as Russian and Western literature. In 1863, she took an external degree and became an elementary school teacher. However, she would go on to dedicate most of her life to raising her children.
After marrying Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, an upwardly mobile teacher of mathematics and physics, the couple lived in moderate prosperity in Penza. Later, they moved to Nizhny Novgorod and then Simbirsk, where Ulyanov took up a prestigious position as an inspector of primary schools.
Ulyanova displayed a courage and firmness in the face of tragedies and misfortunes that would haunt her family during her lifetime, namely, the death of her husband in 1886, the execution of her son, Aleksandr, in 1887, the death of her daughter, Olga, in 1891, and the multiple arrests and exiles of the rest of her children - Vladimir, Anna, Dmitry and Maria.
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