Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Marc Raeff papers, 1941-2008

Summary Information


Correspondence, research materials, and personal papers of Marc Isaakovich Raeff (1926-2008), a Russian history scholar and Bakhmeteff Professor of Russian Studies at Columbia University.

At a Glance

Call No.: BA#0625
Bib ID 6857257 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Raeff, Marc
Title Marc Raeff papers, 1941-2008
Physical Description 38.2 linear feet (38.2 linear feet (91 boxes))
Language(s) English , Italian , Polish , German , French , Russian .

Some folders of family materials are restricted for 75 years from their dates of creation.



This collection is arranged in 3 series: Series I. Correspondence, 1941-2008 Subseries I.1: Correspondence with individuals, 1941-2008; Subseries I.2: Correspondence with organizations, 1948-2007; Subseries I.3: Subject correspondence files, 1949-2007; Subseries I.4: Family correspondence files, 1941-2002; Series II. Professional and research activities, 1943-2008 Subseries II.1: Talks and lectures, 1988, undated; Subseries II.2: Term papers, college essays, dissertations, 1943-1950, undated; Subseries II.3: Writings, 1957-1989, undated; Subseries II.4: Academic and teaching activities, 1948-2008; Subseries II.5: Research materials, 1948-1997, undated; Series III: Personal documents and biographical materials, 1940-2008 Subseries III.1. Personal and reading journal, 1940-1947, undated; Subseries III.2: College notes, 1940-1948, undated; Subseries III.3: Harvard Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP program), 1943-1944; Subseries III.4. Service at Prisoner of War and Displaced Persons camps, 1944-1946; Subseries III.5: Various family documents, 1992-1997, undated



Correspondence, research materials, and personal papers of Marc Isaakovich Raeff (1926-2008), a Russian history scholar and Bakhmeteff Professor of Russian Studies at Columbia University.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

Some folders of family materials are restricted for 75 years from their dates of creation.

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); Marc Raeff papers; Box and Folder (if known); Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Alla Roylance, 2017-2018.

Revision Description

2018-05-24 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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Academic theses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Karpovich, Michael, 1888-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Raeff, Marc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Russia (Federation) study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Professor Marc Raeff (1923-2008) was a prominent historian, writer, and educator. His academic and teaching career spanned nearly four decades, which he divided between Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Columbia University in New York City.

Marc Raeff was born in Moscow on July 28, 1923. His parents were Isaac Raeff, a railroad engineer and an active Menshevik, and Victoria Raeff, biochemist. Marc Raeff's earliest years were spent in Czechoslovakia where Isaac Raeff worked on behalf of the Soviet government. About 1927 or 1928, Isaac Raeff was recalled to return to the Soviet Union, but he decided to move his family to Berlin instead. Marc Raeff received his early education in Berlin. In 1933, the family made another move, this time to Paris. The family lived there until 1941, when they managed to escape to the United States via Portugal.

Marc Raeff studied briefly at the City College of New York before he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Raeff, who spoke fluent Russian, German, French and English, served as an interpreter in camps for prisoners of war and displaced persons. After the end of World War II, he attended Harvard University, where he studied history with Michael Karpovich. In 1950, Raeff received his Ph.D. in Russian history and began his own teaching career at Clark University (1949-1960). While at Clark University, Raeff met Lillian Gottesman, whom he married in 1951. The Raeffs had two daughters, Anne and Catherine.

Marc Raeff joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1961 and became Bakhmeteff Professor of Russian Studies in 1973. As Bakhmeteff Professor, Marc Raeff trained several generations of historians. The range of his knowledge was legendary and can readily be seen in the titles of his nine books, not to mention the numerous articles, essays and reviews that he wrote in English, French, German and Russian. (He also read Italian and some Polish.)

Books by Raeff included Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia (Harvest Books, 1966), which argued that the pursuits of the Russian intellectual class had their roots in the thinking of 18th-century Russian nobility; Understanding Imperial Russia (Columbia University Press, 1985), a history that traces the strains of Russian thought from the 16th century to the 20th; and Russia Abroad: A Cultural History of the Russian Emigration, 1919-1939 (Oxford University Press, 1990), reflecting the history of people like himself who left during the early Soviet era.

"He was very much interested in the Western aspect of Russian culture," said Richard Pipes, a professor emeritus at Harvard and the author of A Concise History of the Russian Revolution. "He was a pillar of Russian historical studies in this country." Raeff died on September 20, 2008, in Teaneck, New Jersey.