This guide lists materials that relate to the Russian Empire, former Soviet Union, and the many distinct nationalities that were once a part of those entities. The materials described in the guide are extremely diverse in character. They cover the broadest possible range of subjects: political, historical, social, economic, diplomatic, artistic, literary, religious, military, musical, and other matters.
The guide covers public and private institutions, including university libraries and archives, public libraries, museums, ethnic organizations, church and business archives, federal and state governmental archives, and both public and private historical societies. Some collections owned by private individuals that were included in the print edition are no longer listed separately but may be searched if their materials have transferred to other hands.
Among the types of materials listed in the guide are the following: correspondence, reports, organizational records, account books, essays, literary manuscripts, diaries, journals, memoirs, autobiographies, photographs, films, tape recordings, and graphic material. With the exception of certain mimeographed materials and rare clippings, nearly all printed matter has been excluded. Those seeking published books, periodicals, theses, and the like should refer to appropriate catalogs of library collections. However, unpublished facsimiles, photo reproductions, and microfilms of originals (even of originals subsequently published) have been taken to be archival materials in this guide.
An attempt has been made to cover all nationalities and regions within the former Soviet Union. For the most part, the emphasis throughout has been on the homelands of these people, rather than on their emigration and life in the United States or elsewhere. However, some documents pertaining to emigre life have been included.
The careful user of this guide may turn up instances in which coverage of a given collection or repository is less than complete or in which items are imprecisely described. Given the large number of collections involved, this is inevitable, the more so since only the most important collections and repositories in or near Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. were visited by the two authors for the original edition. For the many collections not examined in person, they relied upon published finding aids, descriptions supplied by curators and librarians in writing or by telephone, photo reproductions of card catalog entries, and the like. Many entries on collections or individual items are thus based closely on information published elsewhere or supplied by others.
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