Principal Research Archives
The United States has the biggest collection of Russian books, periodicals, audiovisual files, and personal archives outside of Russia. In fact, every state in the nation houses materials relating to the rich history, culture, and foreign relations of America’s long-standing relationship with Russia and the Soviet Union. However, this information can often be difficult to find – and to facilitate the process of accessing these data sources, the Soloviev Foundation has compiled a list of the nation’s richest archives pertaining to this extensive history.
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress, the main research depository in the United States, houses the largest collection of Russian-related material outside of Russia itself, and comprises approximately 700,000 volumes of books, bound periodicals, and other printed material. In addition, the Library holds a trove of non-printed Russian-themed material, including a significant collection of photographs, posters, sound recordings, movie scores, and rare manuscripts. The pearl of the Library’s Russian collection is formed by nearly 100,000 volumes of the Yudin Collection, purchased by the U.S. in 1906 from a Siberian merchant who compiled one of the best private libraries in Russia. The Library of Congress also houses the Russian American Company records, and the records of the Orthodox Church in Alaska, which are vital source for the study of Russian America.
The Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is home to a remarkable collection of archival materials specifically relating to Russia and the Soviet Union. Anyone interested in the Russo-Japanese War, First World War, the Revolution of 1917, and the Russian Civil War will find an abundance of research materials, including records from various Russian diplomatic missions at the turn of the 20th Century, such as the papers of Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov. Those interested in the Romanov Dynasty will enjoy exploring the personal archives of Grand Duchess Kseniia Aleksandrovna and Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. Furthermore, the Institute has a large collection of Russian scores and music, in addition to significant primary sources relating to the study of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, as well as personal archives of many famous Russian Americans.
The National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an excellent source of Russian-related materials found in federal records of historical importance. Perhaps its most notable collection is the data files relating to the immigration of at least half a million Russian subjects to the United States between 1834-1897. The Archives also house substantial collections relating to US-Russian relations, the space race, and Allied cooperation during World War II, as well as a cache of rare documentary reels, sound recordings, and photograph series on Russia and the Soviet Union.
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is an excellent depository for Russian-related materials in the United States. The Slavic and East European collections are home to approximately 500,000 bound volumes and 24,000 microform titles. In addition, the Library stores many personal archives of noted Russian Americans, including ballet dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mikhail Mordkin and George Balanchine.
Harvard University holds one of the largest collections relating to Russia and the Soviet Union in the areas of the humanities and social sciences. The University is home to the personal record books and diaries of Dimitrii Pavlovich, Grand Duke of Russia, Leon Trotsky’s papers, and the archives of Russian nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov. Harvard also offers an extensive collection of records documenting the activities of the Soviet State and Communist Party, as well as substantial visual records of daily life, culture, and important historical events in Russia and the Soviet Union.
The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies
The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies houses an extensive list of materials pertaining to Russia and the Soviet Union, covering a broad range of subject matters including politics, history and diplomacy. In addition, the Institute provides the locations of archives by each of the 50 states.