Scope: 1947-1975
Bulk: 1960-1969
Size: 4 c.f.
Language: Ukrainian

Donated by the estate of the late Mykola Ponedilok (see Harvard Ukrainian Studies Newsletter, Vol. VII, Nos. 3-4 (January-April 1976)

Collection Description Biography

Collection Description

The Ponedilok Collection is divided into eight series: correspondence (1947-1975); articles, notes (1949-1972); book reviews (1957-1974); literaturno dopomohovyi fond (1965-1974); manuscripts (not dated); photographs (not dated); program announcements (1947-1972); and radio program transcripts (1953-1954). The collection as a whole provides insights to post-World War II émigré life among Ukrainian writers, journalists, and literary scholars.

The bulk (3 c.f.) of the collection is comprised of correspondence to Mykola Ponedilok which is arranged chronologically. Most of the letters were written to him once he had emigrated to the United States. There is however one folder of correspondence dating from his time as a displaced person in Germany (1947-1948). Although few in number, these letters give some information about his involvement with Volodymyr Blavatsky and Yosyp Hirniak's theater groups. Among the letters, there is one from Ivan Bahriany encouraging Ponedilok to write, several from Hirniak asking for translations, and one from Bohdan Pazdrii about the premiere of Lucretia in Regensburg, as well as others.

The rest of the correspondence, 1951-1975, pertains primarily to his public appearances, publications, and professional as well as personal relationships. Ponedilok corresponded with a number of editors including: Mykola Bohatiuk (Feniks); Lida Burachynska (Nashe zhyttia); Andrii Hlynin (Ukrainski visti--Neu-Ulm); Vasyl Hryshko (Ukrainskyi Prometei); I. Krushelnytskyi (Ukrainska dumka); Petro Pihichyn and Ivan Ovechko (Kanadiiskyi farmer/Vilnyi svit); Mykhailo Pohoretsky, V. Martynets, and V. Levytsky (Novyi shliakh); Lev Shankovsky (Prologue, Ameryka); Rev. M. Sopuliak (Ukrainski visti--Edmonton); Oleksander Vashchenko (Khliborob); S. Volynets and I. Syrnyk (Ukrainskyi holos--Winnipeg). By far the most frequent editorial correspondence came from his book publishers Julian Serediak and Ivan Boiko. Serediak, editor of Mitla and an almanac by the same name, headed his own publishing house in Argentina. He published Ponedilok's Vitaminy (1957), A my tuiu chervonu kalynu...(1957), and Sobornyi borshch (1960). Boiko worked for the Homin Ukrainy Publishing Co. in Toronto and assisted in the publication of Hovoryt lyshe pole (1962) and Zorepad (1969). These titles as well as Smishni slozyny and Riatuite moiu dushu! were well received in the Ukrainian émigré press and by such literary scholars as Oleksii Kobets (pseud: O. Varavva, O. Voronyn), Mykyta Mandryka, Petro Odarchenko, and Wolodymyr Zyla, who reviewed Ponedilok's books and also corresponded with him.

Other of Ponedilok's correspondents, many of them members of the Slovo Association of Ukrainian Writers in Exile, include such writers, literary scholars, journalists, educators, actors, artists, and community leaders as: Emma Andiievska, Oles Babii, Ivan Bahriany, Vasyl Barka, Olimpiia Dobrovolska, Mykola Domashevsky, Sofiia Haievska, Maria Harasowska-Daczyszyn, Vasyl Hirny, Nina Horlenko, Toma Kobzei, Volodymyr Kubijovych, Hryhorii Luzhnytsky, Lesia Lysak, Julian Movchan, Halyna Mazepa, Volodymyr Nestorovych, Iryna Pelenska, Volodymyr Shasharovsky, Michael Stechishin, Ostap Tarnavsky, Mykola Trotsky, Vasyl Yemets and Anatol Yuryniak. The content of their letters consists mostly of praise for either his published works or his performances and information about their own projects. Ponedilok's closest and most frequent epistolary contacts appear to have been with D. Buchynskyi from Madrid, Spain (translator of Spanish literature into Ukrainian); Anatol Kalynovsky from Rochester, New York (pen names: A. Halan, Ivan Eventualny; writer and journalist); Vasyl Onufrienko from Sydney, Australia (writer and translator of Australian poetry into Ukrainian); Daria Siiak from Paris (Shevchenko Scientific Society); and Yurii Stefanyk from Edmonton (writer, editor and community leader; son of Vasyl Stefanyk).

The rest of the collection is comprised of miscellaneous series. The series of articles, notes, etc. contains reviews of Ponedilok's entertainments and readings, publication announcements, and general articles about him. Book reviews covers all of his works from 1957 to 1973. The literaturno dopomohovyi fond series includes letters enclosed with contributions as well as lists of contributors to the financial assistance fund established in 1964 to help members of the Slovo Association of Ukrainian Writers in Exile. Manuscripts consists of handwritten and typed drafts of Ponedilok's stories. Photographs include the Stefanyk family, Edward Kozak, T. Kurnita, Markian Fesolovych, Onufrienko, and Ponedilok. The series of program announcements takes the form of fliers and newspaper advertisements which provide the date, place, and names of accompanying performers for his entertainments. The radio transcripts series comprises programs critical of the Soviet Union which were presented by Ponedilok for Voice of America.


Mykola Ponedilok was born on September 24, 1922 in Novomyrhorod, Yelysavethrad (Kirovohrad) county, Kherson guberniia. His parents were Vasyl and Dariia Ksenofontivna Panasenko. After completing middle school in 1939, he entered the philology department at Odessa University. His studies were interrupted in Spring 1941 when he was called up to serve in the army. From 1943 he resided in Germany until coming to the United States in 1949. In the United States, he settled in New York City and worked odd jobs there until 1955 when he was employed by an international bookseller, Stechert Hofner.

His literary career began in 1947 with translations of German, English, and French dramas into Ukrainian for Volodymyr Blavatsky's Ensemble of Ukrainian Actors, and Yosyp Hirniak and Olimpiia Dobrovolska's Theater--Studio. Some of his more noteworthy translations include Antigone and Médée of Jean Anouilh; Lucretia of André [Obe]; Ghosts of Ibsen; and An Inspector Calls of J B Priestley. In addition to his dramatic translations, Ponedilok also wrote three plays about life under the Soviet regime: Znedoleni (The Misfortunate), Liaitenant Fliaiev (Lieutenant Fliaiev), and A my tuiu chervonu kalynu... (And We Will [Raise] That Red Viburnum..., 1957). The first two were performed in displaced persons camps in Germany, and the third was performed in the United States under the direction of Hirniak. During this period, he also began to write novellas, short stories, and sketches, publishing them in émigré newspapers and journals. His first novella, "Chorna khustyna" (Black Kerchief), appeared in 1947 in a literary supplement to Ukrainski visti (Neu-Ulm) then edited by Hryhory Kostiuk. These first humorous and satiric short stories and feuilletons about Ukrainian émigré life later appeared in the collections Vitaminy (Vitamins, 1957), Sobornyi borshch (Pan-Ukrainian Borshch, 1960), and Smishni slozyny (Funny Tears, 1966; English translation 1982). Ponedilok's later works, however, turned away from humor and satire towards a lyrical nostalgia and reminiscence of his lost native land and youth. He began the trend with Hovoryt lyshe pole (Only the Field Speaks, 1962), and continued it with Zorepad (Shooting Stars, 1969), Riatuite moiu dushu! (Save My Soul!, 1973), and the posthumous Dyvo v resheti (A Marvel in the Sieve, 1977). Additional stories and feuilletons appeared in Slovo, Novi Dni and other Ukrainian periodicals. Ponedilok not only published his writings, but also entertained various Ukrainian communities throughout North America with readings. He frequently performed together with another humorist, Ivan Kernytsky (Iker). Ponedilok was a founding member of the Slovo Association of Ukrainian Writers in Exile and a member of the Ukrainian Literary-Artistic Club in New York. He died on January 25, 1976.