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Romanov collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 313
Scope and Contents
The Romanov Collection, 1894-1935, consists of letters, photographs, artwork, and autographs by or pertaining to the Russian imperial family, from the years 1894-1935. The vast majority of the material, however, dates from the period 1907-1918. The collection is organized into three series: Correspondence, Photographs, Other Papers. In addition to the original source materials, some folders contain research notes such as transcriptions, translations, attributions, and background information, which have been contributed by scholars over the years. While the accuracy of these notes cannot be guaranteed, they have been retained with the relevant materials as witnesses to established interpretations.

Series I. Correspondence (1913-1928) (Box 1) consists chiefly of letters written by members of the imperial family to their close friends, lady-in-waiting Anna Vyrubova (née Taneeva) and Lili Dehn, who remained in Petrograd by orders of the government when the imperial family was removed to Tobol'sk. These letters document the family's arrest at TSarskoe Selo, exile to Tobol'sk, and relocation to Ekaterinburg, where they met their death on 16-17 July 1918. The final letter is dated after April 1918, almost three months before the death of the imperial family. Their letters chiefly concern details of the imperial family's everyday existence, news about mutual friends, and expressions of hope and despair, with little specific reference to the historical events taking place around them. In order to mask the senders' identity, the letters were often signed with an initial, a nickname, or, in Alexandra's case, a cross. In addition, some letters were apparently dictated to servants who then signed them with their own name (e.g., one letter is signed "Annushka" Box 1 folder 22). In these cases the traditional attribution has been followed.

There are several letters to Vyrubova from other members of the imperial entourage: one letter from the Tsarevich's tutor Pierre Gilliard, one letter from a relative of the imperial family, Anna Pavlovna Romanova, and three letters from Aleksei Volkov, Alexandra's valet, who accompanied the family to Ekaterinburg and escaped.

Also included in Series I are three miscellaneous letters: to Empress Alexandra from her lady-in-waiting Anastasiia Gendrikova; from Nicholas II to A. N. Naryshkina; and a historic letter from Grigorii Rasputin to the Emperor warning him against becoming entangled in the First World War.

Series II. Photographs (1894-1935) (Boxes 2-8) includes six photograph albums of the imperial family (numbered 2 through 7) and individual photographs of royal personages and related individuals, such as Rasputin's daughter Mariia. The albums mainly contain snapshots of the imperial family's leisure activities, ranging from hunting and tennis to sightseeing, at or near their palaces around Petersburg, their summer home Levadiia in the Crimea, Siberia, and Germany. Also included are some photos of the Emperor at state visits and parades, and of the Empress attending to men wounded in the First World War. Interspersed between these are photos of the family aboard the imperial yacht Standart. Many of the photos were taken and annotated by Anna Vyrubova; others were taken by members of the imperial family themselves. The albums are numbered 2 through 7; Album 1 is not in the collection. A detailed listing of Albums 2 and 3 is given in the Appendix. Further information about the origin of these albums can be found in The Romanov family album. Introduction by Robert K. Massie; picture research by Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey; assembled by Anna Vyrubova. (New York: Vendome Press, 1982).

Series III. Other Papers (1910-1918) (Box 9) includes one autograph album, containing the signatures of the entire royal family as well as many members of court, and several pieces of artwork by Empress Alexandra and Grand Duchess Irina Aleksandrovna.

The Restricted Fragile Papers housed in boxes 10-15 consist of the original photo albums from Series II; photographic facsimiles of the albums have been placed in the main files for general reference use.
Language of Materials
Materials in Russian, English and French, with some transcriptions in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.

Boxes 10-15: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
The Romanov Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Robert D. Brewster, 1951, 1983. The letters to Anna Vyrubova (in Series I) and the photo albums (in Series II) were acquired by Brewster from Anna Vyrubova, a friend of the Romanov family.
1894 - 1935
Majority of material found within 1907 - 1918
12.8 Linear Feet (15 boxes)
Related Names
Romanov, House of
Language of Materials
Language of Materials
Language of Materials
Language of Materials