Tag Archives: Bakhmeteff Archive

New Acquisition | The Bakhmeteff Archive acquires Arkadii Belinkov’s papers

Arkadii Belinkov spent 12 years behind the bars. Photo taken in 1968.

The Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European  History and Culture has acquired a throve of correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, photographs, personal documents and ephemera of Arkadii Belinkov (1921-1970), a well-known Soviet writer and dissident.  Belinkov received his higher education at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute and Moscow State University. During World War II, he was briefly employed as a correspondent for the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia. During this time he wrote a number of literary works, including fiction and critiques.

Continue reading

Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Archive of Russian Émigré Poet Lev Loseff

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ (CUL/IS) Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the papers of Lev Loseff (1937-2009), noted Russian émigré poet, literary critic, professor of Russian Literature at Dartmouth College, and a lifelong friend and authoritative biographer of Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996).


Brodsky & Loseff. (Photo: Loseff Family Collection)

Born Aleksei 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 Lev Loseff.

The collection, which contains approximately 40 feet of linear material, is comprised of manuscripts, poems, correspondence, photographs, and autographed first editions of Loseff’s work, as well as a significant number of subject files on Joseph Brodsky. 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.

“These papers represent an important addition to the already rich collection of Russian materials to the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture at RBML,” said Tanya Chebotarev, Curator of the Bakhmeteff Archive.  “His 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.”

Loseff immigrated to the U.S. in 1976, and spent several years in Ann Arbor working for the Ardis Publishers while obtaining his American doctoral degree. In 1979, he accepted a position at Dartmouth College where he worked until his death. He published 14 well-received collections of verse, as well as numerous works of literary criticism.

The collection offers valuable research opportunities on Russian émigré literary circles and Twentieth-century Soviet literary culture. The 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 diasporic 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.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

Selling Russia’s Treasures


November 12, 2013 (Tuesday)

Butler Library, Room 203 at 6:00 PM

Please join us for a presentation on the Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art, 1917-1938 – an authoritative illustrated account of the unprecedented sale of Russia’s cultural treasures by the Soviet government.

Speakers will include Nicolas Iljine, Natalia Semenova, Elena Solomakha, Robert H. Davis, Jr., Edward Kasinec, Mark Schaffer, Richard Wortman, and honorary guest Amir Kabiri, President of the M.T. Abraham Foundation.

Co-sponsored by the Harriman Institute and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.


The event is free and open to the public.

Quatercentenary of the House of Romanov

Kempner Gallery

February 14th to June 28th, 2013


Romanov Exhibition

The exhibition Quatercentenary of the House of Romanov features objects drawn from various collections held by the Bakhmeteff Archive and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) at Columbia University. It consists of books, correspondence, original charters, maps, photographs, posters, personal documents, ephemera, and books and other possessions that belonged to the Russian Imperial Family. The exhibition will be on display from February 14th through June 28th, 2013 in the RBML’s Kempner Gallery.

One highlight of the exhibition is the 1622 manuscript Charter of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov granting land and other privileges and rights to Onufrii, Archbishop of Astrakhan and Terek.  Never shown before and unpublished, this charter is a very rare and significant document from the reign of the first Romanov tsar.  Another highpoint is the recently opened collection of nearly 500 letters sent by Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna, mother of the last Russian Emperor, and her two daughters, Grand Duchess Ksenia and Olga, to their close friend and companion, Princess Aleksandra Obolensky.  There letters are written in French and Russian and reflect the daily life and expectations of the Imperial family in exile.

Most poignant is a white lace parasol that belonged to Aleksandra Fiodorovna (1872-1918), the last Russian Tsarina, along with a never-shown-before white lace pillow, that was also her property, preserved by one of her ladies-in-waiting, Countess Mariia Semenovna Benckendorff. Other items from the reign of the last Romanovs include a variety of elaborate menus and other ephemera relating to the coronation festivities of Nicholas and Aleksandra in 1896, a print announcing of the birth of the Tsarevich, Grand Duke Aleksei Nikolaevich, in 1904, a draft of Nicholas II’s abdication manifesto, 1917, and a volume of Nikolai Sokolov’s Preliminary Investigation into the Death of Nicholas II and His Family, Ekaeterinburg, 1918.

For more information on the exhibition, please see: information.


For exhibition hours, please review: hours.


Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th floor East, 535 West 114th St., New York, NY 10027

The Bakhmeteff Archive: “In the Tight Triangle of the Night”

Tanya Chebotarev, Curator, The Bakhmeteff Archive

On Thursday, March 21, The Bakhmeteff Archive hosted a presentation of a new monograph, in Italian, entitled "In the Tight Triangle of the Night" by Maria Grazia Bartolini.  In about 30 minutes, Maria Grazia managed to introduce the entire book on a well-known Ukrainian-American poet Yuriy Tarnawsky, skillfully and compare him with an eminent Ukrainian philosopher of the 18th century Hryhoriy Skoworoda.


Yuriy Tarnawsky, one of the founders of the New York Group, a group of émigré Ukrainian poets, was born in Ukraine, but raised and educated in the United States.  Upon graduating from college with a degree in Electrical Engineering (Newark College of Engineering), he joined the IBM Corporation, where he worked first on circuit design, but then switched over to computer science, earning a Ph.D. in Linguistics (New York University) in the process. Much of his work in this area has been in Artificial Intelligence, in particular Natural Language Processing.  After taking early retirement, he joined Columbia University in New York City, where he became a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Ukrainian Literature and Culture as well as co-coordinator of Ukrainian Studies.

Yuriy’s professional background has had a profound influence on his literary work.  It manifests itself primarily as strict attention to language and structure. The novel Meningitis (FC, 1979), for instance, is written in an artificial language, a proper subset of English.  Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) uses a similarly restricted language and relies on numerology instead of plot.  His work also shows the strong influence of Surrealism and Existentialism.

His most recent books are five mininovels (a genre he developed himself) Like Blood in Water (FC2, 2007), a collection of short stories Short Tails (Civil Coping Mechanisms/JEF Books, 2011), and selected essays in Ukrainian Flowers for the Patient (Piramida Publishing, 2012)  His play Not Medea was published in Journal of Experimental Fiction in 2009.  It was staged in a workshop production at the well-known avant-garde New York Mabou Mines Theater in 1998.  Forthcoming are collections of mininovels The Future of Giraffes and View of Delft, books two and three of the Placebo Effect Trilogy, from JEF Books, and a book of Heuristic Poetry, Modus Tollens from Jaded Ibis Press.

For his contributions to Ukrainian Literature, in 2008, he was awarded the Prince Yaroslav the Wise Order of Merit by the Ukrainian Government.
Maria Grazia Bartolini is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ukrainian and Slavic Philology at Milan State University, Italy.  Her area of interest is contemporary Ukrainian poetry as well as Ukrainian Baroque literature, with particular attention to the theological thought developed at the Kyjv-Mohyla Akademy.  She is currently a Eugene and Daymel Shklar Research Fellow at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, where she is involved in a project focusing on the functional and stylistic distribution of Church Slavonic, Russian and Ukrainian in the language of  the 18th century Ukrainian philosopher Hryhorij Skoworoda.

Russian Delegation

On December 18, 2009, the four member Russian delegation led by Aleksandr Pavlovich Vershinin, General Director of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, has visited the Columbia University libraries. This visit was initiated by the Russian side of the team representing the Joint Project between the Library of Congress and the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, the first Presidential Library in Russia.

Russian delegation represents one of five Joint Project Implementation Teams created within the framework of the Russian-American Working Group on Library Cooperation. The focus of these five groups is 1)Technology and Best Practices; 2) Content and Exchange of Materials; 3)Audio-Visual Collections; 4) Copyright and Related Rights; and 5)Specific Joint Digital Projects.

The Russian delegation met with Jim Neal, who introduced them with Columbia Libraries system in general. Then they were hosted by Columbia University Slavic bibliographer, Rob Davies, who made a Powerpoint presentation on the historical background of Columbia’s library, in a national context, 1903-1946.

Tanya Chebotarev, Bakhmeteff Curator, set up a small exhibit of Russian and East European materials which emphasized the vast variety of the Bakhmeteff Archive collecting activities. She also talked about the history and collection development policies of the second largest repository of Russian émigré materials in the United States. See photos.

Patricia Renfro and representatives from RBML, LDPD, Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching & Research, and the Center for Digital Research & Scholarship gave an overview of Columbia’s digitization program, special online teaching and learning projects, Courseworks, and other digital initiatives.

The group then had lunch at Faculty House with Jim Neal, Patricia Renfro, and former chair of the Baltic and Slavic Division at the NYPL, Edward Kasinec, who is now a fellow at the Harriman Institute.