Hamida Javanshir in the 1890s
January 19, 1873|
Kahrizli, near Agjabadi (in present-day Azerbaijan)
|Died||February 6, 1955
|Spouse(s)||Ibrahim bey Davatdarov (†1901)
Jalil Mammadguluzadeh (†1932)
Hamida Ahmad bey qizi Javanshir (Azerbaijani: Həmidə Cavanşir) (19 January 1873 – 6 February 1955) was an Azerbaijani philanthropist and women's rights activist. Her second marriage was to writer and journalist Jalil Mammadguluzadeh.
Born on her family's ancestral estate in the village of Kahrizli, Hamida Javanshir was the eldest child of Ahmad bey Javanshir (1828–1903), an Azeri historian, translator and officer of the Russian Imperial army. She was the great-great-grandniece of Ibrahim Khalil Khan, the last ruling khan of Karabakh. Hamida and her younger brother were educated at home; when she was nine, a family of Russian tutors came to live with them to guide their education. By age 14, she was familiar with European and Islamic literature, and spoke Russian and French fluently.
In 1889 Hamida Javanshir married a Barda-native, Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim bey Davatdarov. They settled in Brest-Litovsk (in present-day Belarus). Soon their two children, Mina and Muzaffar, were born. Javanshir took ballroom dance lessons and studied German and Polish. In 1900 the family moved to Kars, where Davatdarov was appointed commander of a military fortress. A year later he died, leaving his 28-year-old wife a widow; her wish to study medicine in Moscow seemed unrealizable.
Later life and activism
She inherited the Kahrizli estate from her father and continued his successful cotton business. In accordance with his will, she took the manuscript of his historical work On the Political Affairs of the Karabakh khanate in 1747–1805 to Tiflis (capital of present-day Georgia) in order to get it printed at the Geyrat publishing house. Here, in October 1905, she met Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, who then was a columnist for the Azeri-language newspaper Sharg-i rus. In 1907 they married (Mammadguluzadeh was twice-widowed at the time) and lived in Tiflis until 1920. They had two sons, Midhat in 1908 and Anvar in 1911.
During the Karabakh famine of 1907 Hamida Javanshir distributed flour and millet to starving villagers, and also acted as a mediator between local Armenians and Azeris after two years of mutual massacres. In 1908 she founded a coeducational school in her home village of Kahrizli, which became the first Azeri school where boys and girls could study in the same classroom. In 1910 Javanshir, together with female members of the city's Azeri nobility, founded the Muslim Women's Caucasian Benevolent Society. During a smallpox epidemic in the Soviet era, she bought vaccines and gave shots to the people of Kahrizli.
In 1921, after having lived in Tabriz for a year, the family moved to Baku, where she wrote memoirs and translated her husband's works. She outlived two of her children: Mina in 1923 and Midhat in 1935. She died in Baku in 1955. There is a museum of her life and works in Kahrizli.
- (Azerbaijani) Megastar and Her Light. An interview with Hamida Javanshir's granddaughter Dr. Mina Davatdarova. Gender-az.org
- (Russian) Truth Told by Nasreddin the Wiseman. Nash vek. #21(260). 28 May 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2007
- (Russian) Our Pride: Jalil Mammadguluzadeh by Galina Mikeladze. Azerbaijanskie izvestia. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2007