The Patriotic Ladies’ Society was founded in St. Petersburg in December 1812. The tsarina, Elizabeth Alexeeva, served personally as the patron. The offer of membership expressed the society’s objective: to show that Russian women are no inferior to their spouses, brothers and sons in the fervour of their patriotism. “We have not been endowed with physical strength, but nature has been generous with power of spirit.” The organization aimed to provide moral and material support to families who had suffered due to the war.
Membership was open to noblewomen and merchants’ wives who paid a joining fee of 200 roubles and membership dues of 100 roubles per year. The plan was to collect monetary donations from members of all classes and accept donations of materials – salt, candles, foodstuffs, household goods, used and new clothing etc. The society wanted to open a poorhouse in future that would be open to all women and children experiencing privation. It also called for similar societies to be established throughout the country.