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   Aleksandr Kazem-Bek papers, 1930-1977.

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Aleksandr Kazem-Bek Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


The Aleksandr Kazem-Bek Papers consist of correspondence, family and personal documents, photographs, printed materials, lectures, notes, manuscripts, research materials, and drafts connected with Russian émigré social and political activist Aleksandr Kazem-Bek throughout his professional life.

At a Glance

Call No.:BA#0528
Bib ID:7756884 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Kazem-Bek, Aleksandr 1902-1977.
Title:Aleksandr Kazem-Bek papers, 1930-1977.
Physical description:14.19 linear ft. (10 document boxes, 6 flat boxes)
Language(s): Material is in English, Russian, and French.
Access: This collection is located on-site. Consult with appropriate curator to access fragile newspaper series.  More information »



This collection is arranged in eight series

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Scope and Content

The name of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek has several spelling variations. He is also documented as Alexander Kazem-Bek, Alexander Kazem-Beg, Alexandre Kasem-Beg, and Alexandre Kazem Beg. The version used for the purposes of this collection, Aleksandr Kazem-Bek, is according to the Library of Congress Authorities.

The bulk of the Kazem-Bek Papers consists of lecture notes, rough drafts, and manuscripts collected and written by Kazem-Bek in connection to his work as director of Connecticut College's Slavic Department and as a Russian historian. Also included is a number of personal documents relating to Kazem-Bek and his family, such as social security applicatons, copies of passports, emigration papers, inquiries concerning employment, bills and invoices, etc. Of additional note are family photographs and the personal and professional correspondence of Kazem-Bek and his family.

Included in these papers is a collection of Soviet and Russian émigré periodicals dated 1933-1956, as well as a series of Russian religious journals dated 1954-1958, to which Kazem-Bek regularly contributed as writer and editor. Several titles of the newspapers included are Novaia zaria, Novyi put', Mladorosskaia iskra, and Voskresenie Rossii. These newspapers vary in nature and content from the official publication of the Mladorossi, to a daily Russian émigré newspaper based in San Francisco. The religious journals, for which Kazem-Bek regularly wrote when he returned to the Soviet Union towards the end of his life, consist of The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii and One Church (Edinaia Tserkov')

The entire newspaper collection is found in three flat boxes and six oversize flat boxes (partially sorted and unfolded). There are also three flat boxes containing newspaper clippings and newspapers. One of these flat boxes contains a folder of oversize items referred to in the container list as Oversize Materials. Also present throughout the collection are several separation sheets to mark where oversize materials have been extracted and placed into the oversize boxes.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

Consult with appropriate curator to access fragile newspaper series.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of the Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Aleksandr Kazem-Bek Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository; folder level control.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed 3/--/2009 Alexandra Kotar, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Slavic Department, Class of 2010

Finding aid written 3/--/2009 Alexandra Kotar, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Slavic Department, Class of 2010

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion May 8, 2010 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-05-08 File created.

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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.

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HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Avinoff, Andrey, 1884-1949.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Berdiaev, Nikolai, 1874-1948.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821-1881.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Expatriate authors--France--Paris.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Karpovich, Michael, 1888-1959.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Knupffer, George.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Konovalov, Aleksandr.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Likhachev, B. T.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mladorosskai︠a︡ partii︠a︡.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Muromt︠s︡eva-Bunina, V. N. (Vera Nikolaevna).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Orthodox Church in America.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Poole, D. C. (Dewitt Clinton), 1828-1917.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Religious thought--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sablin, Evgeniĭ Vasilʹevich, d. 1949.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sedykh, Andreĭ, 1902-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Slonim, Marc, 1894-1976.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Timasheff, Nicholas S. (Nicholas Sergeyevitch), 1886-1970.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vakar, Nicholas P. (Nicholas Platonovich), 1894-1970.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Aleksandr Kazem-Bek was born in Kazan on the 2nd (15th old style) of February, 1902, into an old noble family of Persian (Azeri) origin. He came from a line of distinguished academics and professors, the most notable of which, his paternal great grandfather, founded the Institute for Oriental Studies at the University of Kazan. As a child, Aleksandr often moved with his family throughout Europe, and lived for short periods of time in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. His family finally emigrated in February 1922, and eventually reached Belgrade through Constantinople with the White Army, which he had joined at the age of sixteen. It was during his years with the White Army that the young Kazem-Bek first showed his heroic and fiercely patriotic traits, which would characterize him in his future work as a social and political leader of the White Russian emigration.

In 1923, he moved to Munich, where he began his university studies. It was here that the youth movement called "Young Russia" was born. Kazem-Bek was its founder and leader throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Its members were given the name "Mladorossi," or "Young Russians," and their slogan was "Neither White nor Red, but Russian." The movement was disbanded in 1941.

Kazem-Bek moved to Paris in the mid-1920s, and obtained his doctorate in political and social sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. He worked for several years at a credit union in Monte Carlo, Monaco, until his return to Paris in 1929 as an established political activist of Europe's Russian émigré community. He was an active contributor to several notable émigré newspapers, such as Mladorosskaia iskra, the main publication of the Mladorossi. Because of his natural leadership abilities and his notable charisma, he succeeded in garnering continued support from various religious and political leaders.

In 1937, Kazem-Bek declared his resignation from the post of director of the Mladoross movement. In 1940, Aleksandr Kazem-Bek was arrested and imprisoned in a concentration camp. After his release, he and his family immigrated to the United States, where Kazem-Bek continued his work as social, political, and religious leader of the emigration. Among fulfilling other duties, he edited and regularly submitted to the San Francisco-based Russian émigré newspaper Novaia Zaria, and occasionally delivered sermons at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York City.

While in San Francisco, Kazem-Bek was also actively involved in the distribution of literature to Russian prisoners-of-war through the YMCA. In 1944, he became professor of Russian at Yale University, and in 1946, director of the Department of Russian Languages and Literatures at Connecticut College for Women.

Kazem-Bek accepted his last and somewhat dubious post after returning to his homeland, which had then become the Soviet Union. During the last twenty years of his life, he worked for the Moscow Patriarchate, the official church of Russia, in the area of public relations. While he was in the Soviet Union, the Soviet newspaper Pravda released a false article which connected Kazem-Bek with pro-Soviet work and hinted at his betrayal of the cause of the Russian Orthodox emigration. In response, Kazem-Bek demanded that his name be cleared, and threatened to commit suicide if the newspaper did not comply. In spite of these efforts, many of his friends and followers abroad remained unsure of his position and views, and especially of the nature of his work in the USSR.

Aleksandr Kazem-Bek died in the Soviet Union on February 21, 1977, and is buried near the Church of the Transfiguration near Moscow.

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