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When Boris I. Nicolaevsky (1887-1966) began his collection, he could not know how extensive or valuable it would become. As a young revolutionary in a repressive land, he sought a way to document the struggles and vision of a restless people.

Today the collection contains hundreds of thousands of rare and valuable documents relating to one of the greatest political upheavals of all time--the Russian Revolution. The assemblage is universally regarded as one of the preeminent archival holdings in the world on modern Russian history.

The Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection includes editorial files of underground newspapers, such as The Sotsialisticheskii, personal papers of prominent figures such as Leon Trotsky, internal correspondence of the Soviet secret police prior to World War II, and much more.

Housed at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace since 1963, The Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection has only recently been fully cataloged and accessible to scholars. Now UMI®'s microform edition reveals to scholars around the world the perspectives of the anarchists, the populists, the Socialist Revolutionary Party, and the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party--as written during the nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian revolutionary movements.

For ease of access, The Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection is organized into 280 subgroups, including the following topics:

Personal Papers (144 subgroups)--documents the Russian Revolution through the personal writings of those who helped make the history, including:


  • Leon Trotsky (collection includes the only known drafts of his classic History of the Russian Revolution)
  • Iraklii Tsereteli
  • Paul Axelrod
  • Viktor Chernov
  • Ekaterina Breshko-Breshkovskaia ("Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution")
  • Mikhail Bakunin
  • Maxim Gorky
  • Leonid Andreev
  • Ivan Bunin
  • Prince Petr Kropotkin
  • Many others

Memoirs, Letters, and Reports (81 topical subgroups)--includes a wide range of information about topics such as:


  • The life of Karl Marx
  • The condition of Jews in Russian society
  • The role of Freemasons in Russian history
  • Intelligence and secret police activities under tsarist and Soviet governments
  • Activities of the Duma
  • The Kronstadts rebellion of 1921
  • Forced labor, prisons, and prison camps
  • The Vlasov movement during World War II

Internal Records and/or Issuances of Organizations (39 subgroups)--through meeting minutes, leaflets, internal letters, statutes, reports, and much more, this section presents the viewpoints and objectives of the following factions:


  • Social Democratic Labor Party (with particularly enlightening information about the Mensheviks)
  • Soiuz russkikh sotsial-demokratov
  • The Bund
  • Latvian Social Democratic Party
  • Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR)
  • The tsarist Ministry of the Interior and the Soviet secret police
  • Many others

Photographs, Politico-Satirical Journals, and Bibliographical Materials (9 subgroups)

Nicolaevsky's Personal Papers (5 subgroups)

Personal Papers of Anna Bourguina, Nicolaevsky's Collaborator and Wife (1 subgroup)

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