An outstanding scientist in the field of agrobiology Mikhail Rytov (1846‒1920) is one of the founders of scientific vegetable and fruit growing in Belarus.
The scientist was born in Novomyrhorod (Ukraine), spent his childhood in Ufa. While still a student of the Ufa gymnasium, he took interest in natural science, collected herbariums, tried to plant vegetables, fruit trees and berries on his father's family garden. In 1861, M. Rytov, at his father's insistence, entered the Law Faculty of Moscow University and graduated from it in 1871. But the work as a lawyer did not attract the young man. Crop rscience remained his dream. Therefore, he entered the Natural Science Department of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Moscow University. He was one of the students of K. Timiryazev. In 1878, he finished his studies, defended his master's thesis on the topic "Organography of flowering plants."
M. Rytov was offered a choice: to stay at the Department of Botany at his alma mater, or to teach at the Petrovskaya (now Timiryazevskaya) Agricultural Academy or at the Gorki secondary agricultural educational institutions (now the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy). He chose the latter.
Mikhail Rytov came to Gorki, Mogilev province, in 1879. In the city, which became his second homeland, he lived for more than 40 years, devoting his whole life to science. At first he was a teacher of botany and plant physiology, physics and mineralogy at the Gorki Agricultural College, later he taught gardening and meteorology. He organized the first fruit crop nursery, a pomological garden, an experimental field for the study of vegetable crops, which is called “Rytovskie Ogorody” nowadays. Here he conducted observations and conducted experiments.
In addition to research and teaching activities, M. Rytov took part (as an author and editor) in the publication of magazines on gardening, worked in various agricultural societies, scientific committees, was an expert at exhibitions on gardening and vegetable growing. In 1887, "Botanical Garden" collection, compiled by the students of the agricultural school under the guidance of M. Rytov, received a gold medal at an exhibition in Moscow.
In 1896, he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Russian Fruit Growing Society and a Corresponding Member of the Academic Council of the Ministry of Agriculture and State Property. In 1911, at the invitation of the Petrovsk Agricultural Academy, he taught a course in gardening and horticulture. Realizing that the development of scientific gardening is impossible without his own scientific personnel, he sought the founding of higher educational institutions in gardening.
The main scientific activity of M. Rytov was associated with the development of the biological foundations of vegetable and fruit growing. He was the author of textbooks, monographs, articles on crop science, many of which have been reprinted: "General gardening", "Fruit growing: a short textbook", "Russian medicinal plants", "Pomology", "Russian apples", "Peasant fruit garden", "Berry: a guide to the cultivation of gooseberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries, wild strawberries and strawberries "," Pruning fruit trees and berry bushes "," Edible mushrooms: a description of meadow and forest edible mushrooms by their distinctive characteristics, indicating their variations, use and culture ", etc. In total, M. Rytov wrote more than 1,000 scientific papers.
You can study the works of the scientist stored in the collections of the National Library of Belarus through the E-Catalogue. The most complete collection of papers by M. Rytov (including a unique collection of manuscripts) is located in D. Novikov Library of the "Belarusian State Agricultural Academy" (BSAA).
M. Rytov was also known as an inventor and even as a philosopher (a thematic selection of excerpts from his books was included in the 4-volume Anthology of World Philosophy, Moscow, 1969-1972). The scientist was also the author of the only science fiction and social utopia book in the history of Belarusian literature of the 19th century: the novel "Travel Notes and Memoirs of 1889-1898." The manuscript of this piece is kept in the collections funds of the BSAA library.
In 1918, M. Rytov was elected professor of the Petrograd Agronomic and Voronezh Agricultural Institutes, but he remained in Gorki and from 1919 became the Head of the Department of Botany at the newly opened Gorki Agricultural Institute.
Biographical materials about the famous scientist can be found in the online encyclopaedia “Belarus in Persons and Events” (in Belarusian and Russian), as well as in the multimedia publication “100 years from the history of the State Belarusian Agricultural academy: documents and materials of 1840–1940”, prepared by the National Library of Belarus in cooperation with a number of partners. We also advise you to see the virtual exhibition (in Russian), organized by the BSAA library.
Bibliology Research Department