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Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskiĭ papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 598

Scope and Contents

The Papers document the literary work of twentieth-century Russian poet and writer Vladimir L'vovich Korvin-Piotrovskii as well as the emigre circles in which he worked in Berlin and Paris. Correspondence (Series I) dates predmoninantly from the 1950s and 1960s and relates to publications and literary criticism. There are also several letters to Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia about her husband's writings and publications. Writings (Series II) include holograph drafts of many of Korvin-Piotrovskii's works as well as corrected and annotated printed versions. There is also one audio recording of Korvin-Piotrovskii reading his poetry. Of particular interest is a scrapbook from the Berlin Poets' Club that documents membership, poetry readings, correspondence, minutes and meeting notes. Papers relating to Korvin-Piotrovskii's service in the French Resistance and imprisonment at Fort Montluc can be found in Personal Papers (Series III).

The Papers also contain material from IUrii Ofrosimov and Italo Griselli, both friends of Korvin-Piotrovskii. The IUrii Ofrosimov Papers (Series IV) document the collaboration of Ofrosimov and Korvin-Piotrovskii on children's stories, using the pseudonyms Chika Bura and Chika Dzhura. The Italo Griselli Correspondence (Series V) documents the communications of early twentieth-century Italian artists and architects, particularly those involved in the Futurism movement.


  • 1899 - 1973


Language of Materials

Materials in Russian, English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 14-15: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskii Papers 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 Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia, 1975.


The Papers are organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1920-1973. II. Writings, 1928-1966. III. Personal Papers, 1944-1958. IV. IUrii Ofrosimov Papers, 1939-1962. V. Italo Griselli Correspondence, 1899-1953.


7.56 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains correspondence, writings, photographs, scrapbooks and an audio recording that document the literary careers of Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskii and IUrii Ofrosimov, the professional life of Italian sculptor Italo Griselli and the activities of the Russian expatriate Berlin Poets' Club.

Vladimir L'vovich Korvin-Piotrovskii, 1892-1966

Vladimir L'vovich Korvin-Piotrovskii was born May 15, 1892 in Kiev. His place of birth is sometimes identified as the Ukranian town of Bila Tserkva, where Korvin-Piotrovskii spent much of his childhood. During Word War I, Korvin-Piotrovskii served in the White Army as an artillery officer. After being taken prisoner and barely escaping execution, he crossed through Poland and made his way to Berlin around 1920.

In Berlin, Korvin-Piotrovskii became active in the Russian emigre literary community. There he met IUrii Ofrosimov and Vladimir Sirin (Nabokov). He also became involved with the Berlin Poets' Club, a group of Russian emigre poets founded by Mikhail Gorlin. In addition to Ofrosimov, Korvin-Piotrovskii and Sirin, members included Raisa Blokh, Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia (née Kaplun), Vera Nabokov, and Sofiia Pregel'.

Vladimir and Nina Korvin-Piotrovskii left Germany before World War II began. Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia worked at the French Embassy in Berlin and they were able to travel to Paris with embassy staff. During World War II, Korvin-Piotrovskii was active in the French Resistance movement. He was arrested and imprisoned for approximately eight months in 1944. His fellow prisoners included the French writer André Frossard, whose memoir La maison des otages documents this time period.

Vladimir and Nina Korvin-Piotrovskii were close friends with Italo and Leila Griselli and visited them many times in Italy. Italo Griselli, a sculptor, made busts of both Vladimir and Nina Korvin-Piotrovskii.

In 1961 the family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskii died on April 2, 1966 and Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia died in 1975. They had one son, Andre De Korvin, born in 1935.

Custodial History

The IUrii Ofrosimov Papers (Series IV) were sent to Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia from Ofrosimov's widow Dorothea Ofrosimov-Voegeli in 1968.

Processing Information

When the Beinecke Library received this collection, the notebooks had been numbered (likely by Nina Korvin-Piotrovskaia). A notebook labeled #16, with the inscription "Beatriche, rewritten by hand not long before [his] death," is not present in the collection.

Folder 151 in box 8 is unused. Original reel-to-reel audiotape is now housed in box 14. Restricted fragile material.

Guide to the Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskii Papers
Under Revision
by Lisa Conathan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.