Liudvikas Jakavičius

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Liudvikas Jakavičius
Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis in 1938
Born 22 June 1871
Akmene, Lithuania
Died 20 August 1941 (aged 70)
Nationality Lithuanian
Occupation Banker, journalist, writer, publisher, theatre director and actor
Spouse(s) Honorata Grimalauskaitė-Jakavičienė
Children Gražina Jakavičiūtė-Grimalauskaitė Šaltenienė, Liudas Jakavičius-Grimalauskas and Donatas Bronislovas Jakavičius-Grimalauskas

Liudvikas Jakavičius (22 June 1871 – 20 August 1941) was a writer, journalist, publisher, theatre director, banker and nobleman. He was born in Akmenė (Lithuania) and died in Anykščiai (Lithuania). He was married to Honorata Grimalauskaitė-Jakavičienė, a Lithuanian – Polish noblewoman and public figure. Honorata's father, Juozas Grimalauskas, was a wealthy Lithuanian – Polish Duke and Count close to the Drucki – Lubecki Dynasty, Royal Family of the old Princedom of Druckiai (Belarus), political family of the Lithuanian Royal Family (House of Gediminas), political family of the Polish-Lithuanian Royal Family (House of Jagiellon) and founders of the National Bank of Poland. Liudvikas and Honorata had five children (Gražina; Liudas; Donatas Bronislovas, Juozas and Artūras) all of which were artists devoted to music and theatre. His eldest son was Liudas Jakavičius-Grimalauskas, President of the Siauliai Drama Theatre, composer of the first Lithuanian tango (Sutemos tango) and a famous pianist, disciple of the world-famous Russian musician Dmitry Kabalevsky. His only daughter was the actress Gražina Jakavičiūtė-Grimalauskaitė Šaltenienė, remembered by her performances at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre. His son Donatas Bronislovas Jakavičius – Grimalauskas was a brilliant violinist who delighted with his Stradivarius in the best orchestras in the world, including Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Kaunas Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (considered as the best symphony orchestra in the world), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and Venezuela National Symphony Orchestra.


Liudvikas Jakavičius studied Drama and perfectly spoke nine languages (Lithuanian, Latvian, German, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Czech, Russian and Latin). He used the pseudonym of Lietuvanis and represented informal literature, as a man who spread forbidden Lithuanian print, worked in several newspapers and in radio. Unfortunately, most of his works disappeared during the occupation of the Soviet regimen after the Second World War. So he was rarely mentioned as the largest private publisher in the Lithuania of interwar.

House where Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis died in 1941 (Anykščiai, Lithuania). Picture year 2011.
Tree planted by Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis in 1929 in pro to the freedom of speech (Šiauliai, Lithuania). Picture year 2011.

But now, the most important historians and museologists of Lithuania like Almantas Šlivinskas, Leopoldas Rozga or Leonas Peleckis – Kaktavičius, consider him one of the most important writers and publishers of Lithuania. He produced more than two million books and performed more than two hundred and eighty plays during the period 1898 – 1938.[1] From 1888 to 1891 he worked in Šiauliai (Lithuania) as a journalist and writer. In 1891, he settled in Riga (Latvia), where he started working as judge and administrator of the railway company. In 1904, he opened his own printing house (AB Lietuvos Knygynas) and his own bookstore in Riga (Latvia). In 1909, he founded the newspaper Rygos naujienos which maintained its activities until 1915.[2] On his newspaper staff worked many great personalities like Tadas Balanda (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania); Zigmas Gaidamavičius – Gele (poet); Konstantinas Jasiukaitis (writer); Jonas Kriščiūnas – Jovaras (poet); Kazys Puida (writer); Ona Pleirytė – Puidienė (writer); Balys Sruoga (writer); Juozas Petrulis (historian) and Kostas Stiklius (journalist).[3] He also collaborated with other newspapers and journalists like his friend Antanas Smetona (writer, journalist and the first president of the Republic of Lithuania). It should be mentioned that Antanas Smetona wrote about Liudvikas Jakavičius in his memories, written in Cleveland, Ohio, US, in 1960.[4] In 1910, Liudvikas Jakavičius founded The Society of Lithuanian Theatre of Riga. In 1914, he financed the construction of the Lithuanian Theater of Riga. That same year he founded the Lithuanian – Latvian Savings Bank. His bank grew up rapidly, but it was expropriated in 1915 by the State Bank of the Russian Empire, as a result of the beginning of the First World War. During his residence in Riga he was one of the most prominent residents of Latvia.[citation needed] In 1916, all his business was paralyzed and confiscated by the outbreak of the First World War and he changed his residence to Saint Petersburg (Russia). He bought 15.000,00 USD (equivalent to US$500,000 in 2014) in printing equipment and moved the machinery in secret to Saint Petersburg, where he continued with his printing house spreading Lithuanian language.

Liudvikas Jakavičius is considered one of the most representative Lithuanian book smugglers. Book smugglers were people who transported Lithuanian language books printed in the Latin alphabet into Lithuanian – speaking areas of the Russian Empire. Book smuggling emerged as resistance to the repressive actions of tsarist Russia authorities against the Lithuanian Catholic Church consisting of the ban of Lithuanian prayer books and the imposition of Russian Orthodox faith. Book smuggling activities involved the printing of books, mostly in the then Prussia, Lithuania Minor and America, carrying them illegally through the border to their distribution. Though the participants of book smuggling were mostly ordinary peasants (Liudvikas Jakavičius was the only book smuggler of noble origin), this cultural movement, which is considered to be a part of Lithuanian national movement, paved the way for the restoration of Lithuania's independence in 1918 and, as a means of preserving national identity, has retained importance until this day. Thus, book smuggling is often regarded to be Lithuania's historical phenomenon of the 19th century. In 2004, the UNESCO characterized book smuggling as a unique and unprecedented phenomenon in the world. Thanks to many books smugglers like Liudvikas Jakavičius, now, Lithuanian language is one of only two living languages (together with Latvian) in the Baltic branch of the Indo – European language family. Lithuanian language is also one of the world's oldest languages and it is believed to be the most conservative living Indo – European language, retaining many features of Proto – Indo – European now lost in other Indo – European languages. So the contribution of Liudvikas Jakavičius and all book smugglers to European and world culture is enormous.[5]

In 1919, Liudvikas Jakavičius returned to Lithuania and re – opened his printing house (AB Lietuvos Knygynas) and inaugurated five bookstores in the major cities of Lithuania, establishing itself as the largest publisher of Lithuania. In 1924, he founded The Society for Ethical Culture. In 1938, he was awarded by President, Antanas Smetona, with the Great Grand Cross of the Order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas. In 1940, sick and depressed by the Soviet occupation of his country, Liudvikas Jakavičius moved to Anykščiai (Lithuania), where his father-in-law, Juozas Grimalauskas, bought a little village with a private lake, a mansion and nine houses (one for each of his children). Juozas Grimalauskas bought this little village because of his bankruptcy in Poland by the Great Depression in 1929. Liudvikas Jakavičius died in 1941 in the lands of his wife Honorata Grimalauskaitė-Jakavičienė. In 2011, his great – grandson Liudvikas Jakavičius – Grimalauskas announced to the press that he will open in the near future the "Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis Museum" in honor to his great – grandfather Liudvikas Jakavičius. The museum will be about the Second World War and about the Soviet Holocaust that caused more victims than Nazism. Currently, there is a permanent exhibition of the life and work of Liudvikas Jakavičius in the Siauliai Ausros Museum (Šiauliai, Lithuania). Also, there is about four hundred works (books, newspapers, postcards, etc.) written and printed by Liudvikas Jakavičius in the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania (Vilnius, Lithuania). Liudvikas Jakavičius was a very patriotic, dynamic, organized and enterprising person, whose contribution to the preservation of Lithuanian culture is incalculable. He is survived by his granddaughters and his great – grandson: Gražina Šaltenytė Jakavičiūtė-Grimalauskaitė Svilienė (film critic), Marcia Bell (actress, singer and composer), Carla Rigg (model, fashion designer, business woman and socialite) and Liudvikas Jakavičius – Grimalauskas (columnist, editor, culture promoter and lawyer). It is worth mentioning that in our days the Jakavičius – Grimalauskas Dynasty continuing related with European nobility and monarchy, proof of that was the relationsship as "fiance" of Marcia Bell and HRH Gonzalo de Borbón y Dampierre, Duke of Aquitaine and grandson of Spanish monarchs Alfonso XIII & Queen Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (also granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom).[6]

Most prominent works[edit]

Book wrote by Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis in 1907.
  • 1905 – Lietuvių naminis draugas
  • 1907 – Juokdarys
  • 1907 – Juokų kalendorius
  • 1909 – Artistų patarėjas
  • 1909 – Juokai be pinigų
  • 1924 – Teismas
  • 1927 – Linksmųjų monologų pasakotojas
  • 1927 – Džiaugsmas per ašaras
  • 1929 – Juokų milteliai: linksmūs vakarėliams paįvairinti kupletai su gaidomis
  • 1929 – Meilės ir tarnybinių laiškų
  • 1932 – Ką turi žinoti jauna mergaitė prieš ištekėsiant
  • 1936 – Linksmų valandų dainelės
  • 1939 – Lietuvos dievai


  1. ^ "Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis" in Kultūros barai (2011 – No. 4 – ISSN 0134-3106). Vilnius: Almantas Šlivinskas, pg. 75.
  2. ^ "Rygos Naujienos," in Zurnalistikos Enciklopedija (Encyclopedia of Journalism). Vilnius: Pradai, 1997; pg. 427.
  3. ^ "Rygos Naujienos," in Mazoji Lietuviskoji Tarubine Enciklopedija (Small Lithuanian Soviet Encyclopedia). Vilnius: Mintis, 1971; p. 80.
  4. ^ "Liudvikas Jakavičius – Lietuvanis" in Kultūros barai (2011 – No. 4 – ISSN 0134-3106). Vilnius: Almantas Šlivinskas, pg. 77.
  5. ^ "Liudvikas Jakavičius" in Varpai (L. Peleckis / Baltas lapas – lyg altorius / Varpai / pg. 242–247 / ISBN 9986-499-25-9 / 1995)
  6. ^ "Marcia Bell" in Luis Alfonso de Borbón, un príncipe a la espera (José Apezarena, pg. 287 , 2007, Madrid, Spain, Random House Mondadori, S.A. / ISBN 8401305527)


External links[edit]