Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary Microfilm Collection
In 2007, the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution, and Peace received a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an eighteen-month long project to preserve, process and microfilm a number of significant collections of Holy Trinity Seminary’s archival holdings. The primary goal was to preserve the materials and make them accessible to researchers in the reading rooms of both the Hoover Institution and Holy Trinity Seminary in microfilm form, as materials had previously not been generally available to outside researchers.
The project resulted in full processing, including conservation, creation of finding aids, cataloging, and microfilming, of twenty nine collections, comprising 298 boxes of archival materials.
Matching contributions in materials, labor and training were provided by the Hoover Institution. John Raisian, Director of the Hoover Institution, served as Principal Investigator. Richard Sousa, Linda Bernard, and Anatol Shmelev of the Hoover Institution also assisted in the project. On behalf of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Michael Herrick, Slavic librarian, and Sergei Jakubov, archival assistant, along with other volunteers provided the necessary support to complete the project on time. The project archivist was Vladimir von Tsurikov.
Among the collections, microfilmed as part of this project, the largest is the collection of Vladimir Konkordovich Abdank-Kossovskii. Encompassing 60 boxes, of which 56 were microfilmed, it consists mainly of materials collected and organized by Abdank-Kossovskii for an exhibit on the Russian emigration, which he exhibited regularly in Paris, where he resided. Mostly pasted on panels, and organized chronologically from 1916-1962, these displays include photographs, correspondence, identification documents, announcements, and various memorabilia chronicling the life of Russians in the diaspora.
Another collection of papers, which originated in France, is the archive of the Russian secondary school in Paris, which functioned from 1920 to 1961, and graduated more than 1,200 students during that time. The school was originally opened with the support of the Russian consulate in 1920. As a major educational centre, the Russkaia sredniaia shkola v Parizhe received applications from children of Russian émigrés of different social backgrounds, including Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, Tikhon Nikolaevich Kulikovskii, Nicholas Zernov, and others. The organizational files include student files, financial documents, curricula, and other documents.
Several collections focus on the history of Don Cossacks and their activities in emigration. Among these collections are the papers of General S. V. Denisov, and General I. A. Poliakov, as well as the papers of the Don Cossack ataman and writer General Petr Nikolaevich Krasnov. Most of Krasnov’s writings in emigration focus on the events leading up to the Russian revolution, as well as the revolution and its aftermath themselves. Likewise, Krasnov also wrote on the history of the Don Cossacks. His writings have been published in translation in English, German and other languages.
Holy Trinity Seminary’s archives hold records of various military and veterans’ organizations. Included in this project were the records of the Suvorovskii kadetskii korpus, the Ob”edinenie chinov Kornilovksogo udarnogo polka, and of ROVS, the Russkii Obshche-Voinskii Soiuz. The last collection is especially valuable, as it complements collections of ROVS held at other repositories, such as the Bakhmetev archive at Columbia University, and some private collections. Aside from organizational correspondence, circulars, orders, and reports, this collection includes approximately 20,000 index cards with personal information of the organization’s members from the 1920s.
Important aspects of the history of the Russian diaspora are the role and activities of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its activities in the United States, and role in the lives of émigrés are well represented in the papers of several important figures. Among them, Archbishop Apollinarii (Koshevoi) occupies a central place. As Archbishop of North America and Canada, his assignment coincided with difficult jurisdictional controversies, and influential movements within Russian Orthodoxy on the North American continent. Historians will find his correspondence of great significance in their research, as well as the several other collections of well-known church historians and theologians.
Most prominent among them is Vladislav Al’bionovich Maevskii, church historian and theologian. Among his writings are works relating to late 19th and early 20th century history of the Eastern Orthodox Church, especially relating to Russian Orthodoxy, Mount Athos, and the Orthodox Church in the United States. His papers include important documents dealing with the history of the Orthodox Church in the United States, reflected in collected correspondence of Church hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, conciliar minutes, epistles, and other related documents.
Historians of science will doubtless be interested in the papers of Constantine L’vovich Zakhartchenko, a Russian émigré and aeronautical engineer. In the course of his engineering career, Zakhartchenko was involved with the design and development of numerous aircraft, aircraft components, and missiles, including the jet engine afterburner, the McDonnell ZHJD-1 twin engine helicopter, and ZAUM-N-Z cruise missile.
Literary scholars as well as historians will find the manuscript collection of interest. Consisting of forty works, authored by various émigré writers, these manuscripts include fiction, historical essays, and memoirs. Likewise the personal letters of the famous émigré writer Ivan S. Shmelev, collected in the papers of Raissa Zemmering, provide an important look at Shmelev’s life in emigration.
From this brief overview of the processed collections, it is evident that these materials provide previously unavailable important primary sources for the study of Russian history, including the immigrant experiences of those who settled in the United States. Researchers in the areas of Russian history, church history, and the Russian diaspora will all find materials well worth their scholarly interest, as the availability of these previously hidden resources provides the possibility to re-examine the scholarly discourse in these areas.
Detailed processing and preservation microfilming for these materials were made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by matching funds from the Hoover Institution and Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. Microfilm copies of the collections are available in The Hoover Institution Archives reading room. The original materials remain in the Holy Trinity Seminary Archives, Jordanville, N.Y. Requests to publish should be directed to Holy Trinity Seminary Archives: firstname.lastname@example.org
All information on this web site is provided for noncommercial educational or scholarly purpose.
For additional information, contact Vladimir von Tsurikov, Project Archivist.