Monthly Archives: March 2014

Columbia Acquires Papers of Brodsky Translator & Biographer Lev Loseff

Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the papers of Lev Loseff (1937-1999), noted Russian émigré poet, literary critic, professor of Russian Literature and Language at Dartmouth College, and a lifelong friend and authoritative biographer of Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996). 

This acquisition of about 40 linear feet (more than twenty-eight packing boxes) of manuscripts, poems, correspondence, photographs, autographed first editions, and subject files includes a plethora of Brodsky materials, and represents an important addition to the  already rich collection of Russian materials in the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture.

Born Lev Lifshits, Loseff was the son of Vladimir Lifshits, a well-known Russian poet.  He graduated from the Leningrad State University and soon after started writing poetry for Russian children’s magazines. In order not to be confused with his father, he changed his name to Loseff. 

He immigrated to the U.S. in 1976, and spent several years in Ann Arbor working for the Ardis Publishing House while obtaining his American doctoral degree.  In 1979, he accepted a position at Dartmouth College where he worked until his death.  In America he published twelve  well-received collections of verse and fiction in Russian, as well as numerous works of literary criticism. 

Joseph Brodsky’s correspondence, drawings, typed and holograph manuscripts, and books with inscriptions cover the period 1969 to 2001.  Some of the photographs cover an even earlier period in Brodsky’s life in Soviet Russia.  The collection also includes legal papers relating to Joseph Brodsky’s will.

Lev Loseff’s correspondence with well known Russian émigré intellectuals including Sergei Dovlatov, Ivan Elagin, Konstantin Kuzminsky, Leonid Rzhevsky is complimented by his research materials on these significant representatives of Russian Diaspora.

A collection of this magnitude offers valuable information on Russian émigré literary circles and sources of Russian scholarship in the United States. The Loseff Collection will also enhance the research and outreach activities of both the Harriman Institute and the East European Studies Center, both recipients of recent NEH Summer Institute grants for the study of America’s Russophone and East Central European communities. The Loseff collection constitutes an important complement to Brodsky materials already held at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, The Russian National Library, St. Petersburg, and the Green Library, Stanford University.

The Library can provide users with limited access to the Loseff papers while they are being processed. Patrons should make an appointment by calling the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at 212-854-3986.

Trial access to MultiData Online database – Index to Arabic periodicals

Columbia University Libraries is considering subscription to an index to Arabic periodicals called MultiData Online. We have arranged a trial which runs through March 31, 2014.
MultiData Online database provides full text access and bibliographic citations indexes with a focus on political and socio-economic affairs in the Middle East. It includes news sources, periodical articles, bibliographic citations, and book reviews from Arabic newspapers and magazines. Selected newspapers and periodicals are available primarily in Arabic with some content available in English and French.

The database is divided into five components which can be searched together or separately :

  •     Full text of 40 daily and weekly newspapers (1994- ) ;
  •     Bibliographic citations for articles from over 250 Arabic periodicals published since 1920;
  •     Full text book reviews from more than 250 newspapers and magazines in the Arab world from 1998;
  •     Access to Index Arabicus* which includes citations from 42 Arabic periodicals published between 1870 and 1969;
  •     Index to theses submitted to 21 Lebanese institutions.

English and Arabic interfaces are available.  The database is available at:
(Access to this resource is available only to current faculty, staff and students of Columbia University)

Please send comments and evaluation remarks to

* Index Arabicus is a bibliography of Arabic articles modeled on Index Islamicus. It was compiled on cards in the 70's and converted into online database by the University of Imam al-Ouzai in Beirut.