Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Alexander Sumerkin papers, 1977-2006

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection is comprised of books, correspondence, documents, drafts, manuscripts, periodicals, photographs and printed material. These papers document the life and work of Alexander Sumerkin (1943-2006), a noted member of the Russian émigré literary community in New York City.

At a Glance

Call No.: BA#0602
Bib ID 12918931 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Sumerkin, Alexander
Title Alexander Sumerkin papers, 1977-2006
Physical Description 27.5 linear feet (31 boxes)
Language(s) Russian
Access

Boxes 1-29 of the collection are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Arrangement

Arrangement

The papers are arranged into eight series: Series I. Correspondence; Series II. Subject files; Series III. Alexander Sumerkin documents; Series IV. Third-party documents; Series V. Periodicals; Series VI. Clippings; Series VII. Books; Series VIII. Computer discs, VHS tapes

Description

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

Boxes 1-29 of the collection are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two 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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Sumerkin, Alexander Personal Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Revision Description

2018-08-29 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Berberova, N. (Nina) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Georgadze, Marina, 1966-2006 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Intellectuals -- Russia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Limonov, Ėduard Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mashinskai︠a︡, Irina Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pleshakov, Constantine Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian Americans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian literature -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian literature -- History and criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian literature in foreign countries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian newspapers -- Foreign countries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russian poetry -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russica Publishers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sumerkin, Alexander Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

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.