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 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 – 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 Never shown before and unpublished, this charter is a very rare and significant document from the reign of the first Romanov tsar.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 highlight 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 Ol’ga, 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 while 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.