Vasyl' Chaplenko papers

This collection houses the personal and professional papers of the writer, linguist, and editor Vasyl' Chaplenko. It documents his studies of the Ukrainian language, politics, and literature through typescripts of his articles, his correspondence, and through his large collection of annotated newspaper and periodical articles.

Summary Information

Creator Chaplenko, Vasyl'
Title Vasyl' Chaplenko papers
ID g.11
Dates 1930-1990
Dates (bulk) 1970-1990
Quantity 4.1 Linear Feet, 9 boxes
Languages Ukrainian
Languages Almost exclusively Ukrainian, with a handful of articles and letters in English.
Repository Ukrainian History and Education Center Archives

Biographical / Historical

Vasyl' Chaplenko (Василь Чапленко), also known as Vasyl' Chaplia (Василь Чапля) was a Ukrainian and Ukrainian American scholar, linguist, writer, and editor. He was born on March 18, 1900 in Mylolaivka, Ekaterynoslav governate, Russian Empire (today Dnipropetrovs'k oblast', Ukraine). He attended the Teacher's Seminary in Pavlohrad, and the Pedagogical Institute in Dnipropetrovs'k. He became head of the Department of Linguistics at the Pedagogical Institute of Luhans'k, and in 1933 moved to the Pedagogical Institute of Ashkhabad (Turkmenistan). From 1937 to 1941 he was Dean and professor in the Department of Linguistics at the Pedagogical Institutes of Voroshilovsk and Piatigorsk.

As a Displaced Person, he taught General Linguistics and Ukrainian at the Institute of Modern Languages in Augsburg, Germany and edited the newspaper "Nashe Zhyttia". After emigrating to the United States in the 1950s, he served as Chairman and Professor at the Ukrainian Technical Institute in New York, and editor of the Sunday Supplement of the newspaper "Svoboda".

Scope and Contents

This collection houses the papers of the Ukrainian American writer, linguist, and editor Vasyl' Chaplenko, primarily from the last decades of his life. It contains typescript copies of his many articles on politics, literature, linguistics, and Ukrainian scholarship, as well as works of fiction. It also includes personal and family correspondence, photographs, and an extensive collection of periodicals and newspaper clippings, many of which have his handwritten annotations.


Arranged in nine series, as follows:

Missing Title

  1. Articles, essays, and lectures
  2. Writings on linguistics
  3. Fiction, verse, and theatrical works
  4. Notebooks
  5. Correspondence
  6. Photographs
  7. Audio recordings
  8. Third-party materials
  9. Published materials, clippings, and ephemera

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Vasyl' Chaplenko papers; box number; folder number; Ukrainian History and Education Center Archives, Somerset, New Jersey.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for researcher use. Please contact the archivist ( for more information and to make arrangements.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Anna Krawczuk, stepdaughter of Vasyl' Chaplenko.

Processing Information

Collection had been partially arranged by the donor Anna Osinska Krawczuk (stepdaughter of Vasyl' Chaplenko) at the time of acquisition. The folder-level arrangement has been generally retained, but a new series structure has been imposed by the processing archivist. The original box/folder lists as well as a complete crosswalk between the original and current folder numbering is available in the last folder of the final series.

Controlled Access Headings


  • Linguistics


  • Academic writing
  • Personal correspondence
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Sound recordings
  • Literature

Related Archival Materials

Some of Chaplenko's writings can also be found in the collections of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (UVAN) in New York, the Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh-A) in New York, the New York Public Library, and Winnipeg University.

Container List

Series 1.  Articles, essays, and lectures, circa 1960-1990 (bulk 1970-1990). 1.25 Linear Feet   32 folders

Scope and Contents

Typescripts, primarily of articles on topics of politics, literature, linguistics, and Ukrainian scholarship, many with handwritten annotations, corrections, and additions. Also includes a few short fiction works and poetry, as well as occasional correspondence with publishers, editorial offices, and colleagues, and reprints and newspaper clippings (often with handwritten annotations).

  • box 1 folder 1-11
  • box 3 folder 1-10
  • box 2 folder 1-11
Series 2.  Writings on linguistics, circa 1970-late 1980s. 0.25 Linear Feet   6 folders

Scope and Contents

Typescripts (many with handwritten annotations) and handwritten notes on etymologies of ethnonyms, names of places and regions, and surnames; his "Adyghe theory"; draft for a Ukrainian etymological dictionary; and other related topics. Also includes a small number of letters.

  • box 3 folder 11
  • box 4 folder 1-5
Series 3.  Fiction, verse, and theatrical works 0.25 Linear Feet   5 folders

Scope and Contents

Typescripts of unpublished works, typescripts of published works, and copies of published works with revisions.

"Gava Ïs'ko" (1984 revision)
  • box 4 folder 6
  • box 4 folder 7
  • box 4 folder 8
Theatrical works
  • box 5 folder 1-2
Series 4.  Notebooks
  • box 5 folder 3
Series 5.  Correspondence and documents 0.3 Linear Feet   12 folders  
General correspondence, 1951-1990 (bulk 1977-1986). 0.25 Linear Feet   9 folders

Scope and Contents

Incoming and outgoing letters to friends and colleagues in the US and abroad (Great Britain and Australia). Also includes typescripts of some articles and writings.

  • box 5 folder 4-12
Family correspondence and documents, 1930-1989.  
Vasyl' Chaplenko documents, 1930-1970.

Scope and Contents

Official documents, naturalization papers, employment records, copyright registrations, and autobiographical sketches.

  • box 5 folder 13-14
Natalia Rudnyts'ka Chaplenko correspondence, 1947-1950.

Scope and Contents

Letters from Vasyl' Chaplenko to Natalia Rudnyts'ka Chaplenko and Rev. Dr. Aldo Rudnyts'kyi. Letters from Ivan Korol' to Vasyl' Chaplenko regarding Natalia Rudnyts'ka Chaplenko.

  • box 6 folder 1
Natalia Rudnyts'ka Chaplenko documents, 1935-1951.

Scope and Contents

Identification cards, Green Card, naturalization Declaration of Intention, calendars, address books, and ephemera.

  • box 6 folder 2
Natalia Rudnyts'ka Chaplenko funeral records, 1953.

Scope and Contents

Includes condolence book, photographs, funeral home records, and letters.

  • box 6 folder 3
Natalia Osinska Chaplenko correspondence, 1986-1989.
  • box 6 folder 4
Series 6.  Photographs and drawings, 1936-1970.

Scope and Contents

Contains primarily portrait and snapshot photographs, but also an original pencil portrait drawing of Chaplenko made by fellow-prisoner M. Sokolivs'kyi in 1929 (as well as a reproduction of a second similar drawing that remains in the family).

  • box 6 folder 5
Series 7.  Audio recordings
  • box 9
Series 8.  Third-party materials
  • box 6 folder 6
Series 9.  Published materials, clippings, and ephemera, 1975. 1.5 Linear Feet   22 folders, approximately 40 bound volumes, and 1 object

Scope and Contents

This series primarily contains published materials, either in the form of complete journal issues, clippings, or photocopies. These include articles by Chaplenko and others, and many of them have handwritten annotations by Chaplenko.

Pre-1950 publications, 1935-1947.
  • box 6 folder 7-8
Complete issues of journals 1.1 Linear Feet
  • box 7
  • box 8
Reprints, clippings, and photocopies of journal articles
  • box 6 folder 9-11
  • box 7 folder 12
Yukhym Mykhailiv exhibit catalog, 1962.
  • box 7 folder 13
Newspaper clippings 0.3 Linear Feet   12 folders

Scope and Contents

Also includes one DP camp document.

  • box 7 folder 1-11
  • box 7 folder 14
  • box 7 folder 15-16
Wall hanging depicting a crane
  • box 8
Original box/folder lists
  • box 7 folder 17