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Series I: Correspondence
Series III: Alexander Sumerkin documents
Series VII: Books
At a Glance
The papers are arranged into eight series.
Scope and Contents
A considerable part of the collection consists of correspondence to and from Alexander Sumerkin on personal and professional topics. The personal correspondence is with a large circle of friends and acquaintances in the United States, Russia and elsewhere. The professional correspondence concerns the activities of the Russica Publishing house as well as numerous freelance translation, editing and reviewing projects.
Two subject files are dedicated to Sumerkin's work on the writings of Joseph Brodsky and Marina Tsvetaeva. These contain scholarly articles, research notes, working drafts, manuscripts and correspondence directly relating to Sumerkin's translations, publications and reviews of the two poets' writings.
The collection contains typescripts of Sumerkin's own writings, as well as his address books, agendas, documents, notes and photographs.
A large part of the collection consists of manuscripts authored by third parties and provided to Sumerkin for editing or review.
A considerable number of American Russian-language newspapers are present, frequently including contributions by Sumerkin. The collection also includes a significant number of books containing notes by Sumerkin or inscribed to him by their authors.
The materials in this collection document the personal and professional life of Alexander Sumerkin as well as the Russian émigré literary community in New York during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Further, they represent valuable resources for research on Joseph Brodsky and/or Marina Tsvetaeva.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
The following boxes are located off-site: 1-29. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Sumerkin, Alexander Personal Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2007.2008.M027: Source of acquisition--Alexander Sumerkin. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--2006.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
2018-08-29 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Alexander Yevgenievich Sumerkin was born on November 2, 1943 in Moscow. He graduated from Moscow State University and worked as translator and interpreter for the Soviet Union of Cinematographers. Sumerkin emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1977. He lived the rest of his life in New York City, where he worked as a publisher, editor, translator, critic and essayist. A known and respected member of the Russian émigré literary community, Sumerkin was the chief editor of Russica Publishers and secretary to Joseph Brodsky. He edited and published a five-volume authoritative academic edition of Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry (1990) and a two-volume edition of her prose. Sumerkin was the editor of Brodsky's last collection of poems, Peizazh s navodneniem (1995). He also edited and published works by Vladimir Vysotsky, Nina Berberova, Eduard Limonov and numerous others. A lover of theater and music, he frequently published reviews of performances and recordings in Russian-language newspapers. Sumerkin died in New York City on December 14, 2006.