This guide lists materials in U.S. archives and manuscript repositories that relate to the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and the many distinct nationalities therein. The materials described in the guide are extremely diverse in character. They cover the broadest possible range of subjects: political, historical, social, economic, diplomatic, artistic, literary, religious, military, musical, and other matters. The combined subject and name index at the end of the volume is the key to locating desired materials in the approximately 650 different entries.


The guide covers public and private institutions, including university libraries and archives, public libraries, museums, ethnic organizations, church and business archives, federal and state governmental archives, and both public and private historical societies. Some collections owned by private individuals are also noted.

All research for entries was completed by the spring of 1979.

Among the types of materials listed in the guide are the following: correspondence, reports, organizational records, account books, essays, literary manuscripts, diaries, journals, memoirs, autobiographies, photographs, films, tape recordings, and graphic material. With the exception of certain mimeographed materials and rare clippings, nearly all printed matter has been excluded. Those seeking published books, periodicals, theses, and the like should refer to appropriate catalogs of library collect ions. However, unpublished facsimiles, photo reproductions, and microfilms of originals (even of originals subsequently published) have been taken to be archival materials in this guide.

An attempt has been made to cover all nationalities and regions within the present territory of the Soviet Union. For the most part, the emphasis throughout has been on the homelands of these people, rather than on their emigration and life in the United States or elsewhere. However, some documents pertaining to emigre life have been included.

Method of Collecting Data

The careful user of this guide will doubtless turn up instances in which coverage of a given collection or repository is less than complete or in which items are imprecisely described. Given the large number of collections involved, this is inevitable, the more so since the authors and their assistants could actually visit only the most important collections and repositories in or near Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. For the many collections not examined in person, the authors have relied upon published finding aids, descriptions supplied by curators and librarians in writing or by telephone, photoreproductions of card catalog entries, and the like. Many entries on collections or individual items are thus based closely on information published elsewhere or supplied by others. Wherever possible, the sources have been duly acknowledged in the text. If the authors have anywhere failed to provide such acknowledgments, they would like here to express their gratitude to their informants.

Form of Entries

Entries are in alphabetical order by state, by city, and thereunder by repository, institution, or individual. Within each entry collections are again in alphabetical order.

Every effort has been made to assure that each collection listing provides the following information: name of the person, organization, or subject involved; dates of birth and/or death of pertinent individuals; dates of existence or operation of institutions and organizations covered; the quantity of materials preserved in the collection; a general description of the collection as a whole, with a more detailed description of the Russian-related holdings; reference to pertinent citations in the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and other finding aids; and special conditions affecting access to the collection. Some repositories also provided their own identification or location numbers for collections; these have been incorporated as well.

Due to the diversity of cataloging systems and to the fact that collections were in varying states of organization, it was not always possible to adhere to this ideal format. Even when it has been followed, the same term may have different meanings in the context of different collections. For example, a "box" in one collection may be substantially larger than the same unit of measure in another. For more information or for clarification, researchers should always directly contact the repository or individual concerned.

Restrictions on Access

The conditions of access to the various collections listed in this volume vary greatly, as do restrictions affecting the use of materials. The ultimate authority on such matters is the repository itself, and failure to observe any restrictions will only complicate access to the collection by other users. It is therefore strongly recommended that researchers ascertain beforehand not only the restrictions on access to collections, but also regulations affecting literary rights and the duplication of materials.


Most transliterations of names have been left in the form in which the different repositories reported them with the exception of more common names, such as Trotskii, Dostoevskii, Chaikovskii, etc., which have been standardized for ease of reference. When the spelling used by a repository differs from this, the standardized spelling used here has been indicated in square brackets following the particular entry. When the repository itself did not transliterate Russian names, the authors have made a transliteration based on the Library of Congress system. This procedure simplifies work in the separate repositories as researchers must locate materials by the repository's own listings. However, the lack of a standardized transliteration system throughout the U.S. means that the researcher sometimes has to use his or her imagination in identifying the Russian original. In order to reduce confusion on this point, the authors have frequently introduced Library of Congress transliterations in parentheses after the repository's version. Most importantly, alteniative forms are cross-referenced in the index.

Toward Future Research

This guide does not pretend to be an exhaustive coverage of all Russian/Soviet-related materials in archives and manuscript repositories in the United States. For some entries in the volume, the collections listed may represent only highlights of relevant holdings. Much work remains to be done, particularly in church archives and private collections. Computerized data banks and machine-readable collections will also have to be culled at some future point. One should note as well that the microfilm revolution is proceeding at so rapid a pace that the accessibility and reproduction of many items and collections listed herein will soon be greatly broadened.

Steven A. Grant
John H. Brown
Washington, D.C. 1980