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   Aleksandr Kazem-Bek papers, 1898-2014.

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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, writings, lectures, notes, manuscripts, photographs, printed and research materials related to the life and professional and political activities of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek – Russian émigré social and political activist, founder and leader of the “Union of Young Russia” (“Mladorossy”), professor of Russian language and literature, and journalist. The collection contains significant documents of the “Mladorossy” movement.

At a Glance

Call No.:BA#0528
Bib ID:7756884 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Kazem-Bek, Aleksandr 1898-1977.
Title:Aleksandr Kazem-Bek papers, 1898-2014.
Physical description:39.98 linear ft. (19 document boxes, 16 flat boxes)
Language(s): Russian, English, French.
Access: This collection has no access restrictions. This collection is 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.  More information »



This collection is arranged in eight series.

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Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection comprises Aleksandr Kazem-Bek’s professional and personal correspondence, his writings, documents and publications related to his professional academic work and his social and political activity as a leader of the Mladoross party, and an extensive collection of printed materials including Russian émigré periodicals. There are also personal documents, biographical materials, and photographs.

Kazem-Bek corresponded with many leaders of Russian emigration including scholars, political figures, writers, composers, etc. Among them are Mark Aldanov, Roman Jakobson, Mikhael Karpovich, Arthur Lourie, Philip Mosely, De Witt Clinton Poole, John R. Mott, and others.

The collection contains Kazem-Bek’s writing including published and unpublished books, autobiography and memoires, articles for various periodicals, lectures, interviews, etc. Files include drafts, notes, and research materials. There are also writings by other authors, among which manuscripts of Nikolai Berdiaev, Boris Likhachev, Nikolai Vakar, and others.

There are also personal documents of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek and members of his family, as well as biographical materials.

A significant part of these papers is the materials related to the Mladoross party (“Union of Young Russia”). Among them are the party’s publications, governing and operating documents, including the rare ones, and extensive collection of periodicals.

Aleksandr Kazem-Bek’s name has several spelling variations – he is often referred to as Alexander Kazem-Bek, Alexander Kazem-Beg, or Alexandre Kazem Beg.

Series I: Correspondence, 1924-1993

The series consists of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's personal and professional correspondence with various people and organizations, as well as family and subject correspondence. It also includes correspondence of Svetlana Kazem-Bek with various persons and organizations.

Subseries I.1: Correspondence with Prominent Persons, 1930-1958

Contains professional and personal letters (some with Kazem-Bek’s replies) of prominent scholars, writers, composers, and public figures. Arranged alphabetically.

Subseries I.2: General Correspondence, 1926-1969

Consists of correspondence with various people and organizations. Selected correspondence with individuals that contains a significant number of letters is arranged alphabetically. The rest is arranged in chronological order. This subseries also includes Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's outgoing letters.

Subseries I.3: Family Correspondence, 1928-1975, undated

Consists of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's correspondence with his wife and daughter. Also includes his and Svetlana Kazem-Bek's correspondence with various family members.

Subseries I.4: Subject correspondence, 1928-1974

Consists mostly of correspondence with various institutions and organizations, including churches and religious organizations, publishers, universities, and the U.S. War Department. There is also letters from Kazem-Bek’s students, as well as invitations to various receptions, exhibits, and so on.

Subseries I.5: Svetlana Kazem-Bek's Correspondence, 1924-1993

Contains Svetlana Kazem-Bek’s personal and professional correspondence with various people (including some prominent figures) and organizations. Also includes personal correspondence with family members and her outgoing letters. Correspondence with prominent figures and selected correspondence with individuals that contains a significant number of letters are arranged in alphabetical order. The rest is arranged chronologically.

Series II: Writings, 1906-1973

The series comprises published and unpublished works of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek, including articles, monographs, talks memoire, etc. There are also writings of other authors. Arranged in five subseries.

Subseries II.1: Kazem-Bek's Books and Monographs, 1951-1952, undated

Drafts, manuscripts, and typescripts of Kazem-Bek’s published and unpublished works “History of Russia”, “History of the Russian Church”, “History of Russian Colonization”, and “K zhizneopisaniu Sviateishego Patriarkha Moskovskogo i Vseia Rusi Aleksiia”.

Subseries II.2: Kazem-Bek's Biographical Writings, 1948-1949

Drafts and notes to Kazem-Bek’s autobiography and photocopy of typescript of memoire piece.

Subseries II.3: Kazem-Bek's Articles, 1930-1973

Typescripts, handwritten notes, research materials; clippings and various newspapers with Kazem-Bek's printed articles in Russian, English, and French.

Subseries II.4: Kazem-Bek's Various Writings, [1935]-1948

Typescripts, drafts and notes of addresses, lectures, talks, interviews, reviews, memoranda, sermons.

Subseries II.5: Writings by other authors, 1906-1953

Manuscripts and typescripts of works by various authors, including manuscripts of such prominent authors as Nikolai Berdiaev, Boris Likhachev, Nikolai Vakar, and others. Printed works of various authors are part of the Series VIII: Printed Materials.

Series III: Documents and Biographical Materials, 1902-2014

Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's and his family members' personal documents and Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's biographical materials.

Subseries III.1: Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's documents, 1902-1967

Contains Aleksandr Kazem-Bek’s certificates, IDs, immigration papers, travel documents, passports, CVs, financial and legal documents, business cards, contacts, etc.

Subseries III.2: Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's Biographical Materials, 1939-2014

Biographical materials include CVs and biographical statements, genealogical notes, letters of recommendation, publications about Kazem-Bek, and Mireille Massip's extensive correspondence with various people related to her work on Kazem-Bek's biography.

Subseries III.3: Kazem-Bek’s Family Documents, 1898-1994

Documents of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's wife, children, and father.

Series IV: Photographs and Drawings, 1904-1970s, undated

Photographs of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek, his friends and family, students and colleagues from Connecticut and Middlebury colleges, members of the Mladoross movement and scenes from the party’s events, the Royal Family, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch and other clerics, etc. The series also includes Kazem-Bek’s original drawings-sketches and photographs of his paintings.

Subseries IV.1: Photographs, 1904-1970s

Black and white and color photographs. Notable names include: Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich Romanov, Grand Duke Vsevolod, Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich, Grand Duchess Victoria Romanova, Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich Romanov, Patriarch Aleksii of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Sergii of Moscow and All Russia, Archbishop Aleksei, Metropolitan Benjamin of North America, Alexander Grechaninov. Also portrayed are main members of the Mladorossy: Pantaleon Avsenev, Serge Boulatzel, Grigorii Butakov, Count Igor’ Caruso, Prince Mikhail Chavchavadze, Kirill Chevich, Boris Demidov, Helen Didriks, Garald Graf, Anatolii Karamosko, Prince Vladimir Krassinskii, Andrei Nekrasov, George Otvinovskii, Sergei Otvinovskii, Alexander Ugrimov, Anatolii Shteiger, Platon Stefanovich, Maximilian Strenger, Pierre Vasil’ev, Kirill Wilezhkovskii, Sergei Zbychevskii, and others. One especially notable photograph portrays Aleksandr Kazem-Bek as a child, with his parents and officers from the aboard the frigate "Pallada".

Subseries IV.2: Drawings by Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's, undated

Series V: Professional Activity, 1941-1965

The series comprises materials related to Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's teaching work and his work at YMCA.

Subseries V.1: Teaching, 1943-1965

Correspondence, documents, curriculum and teaching materials, lectures notes, newspapers and clippings related to Aleksandr Kazem-Bek’s work at the Connecticut College, his activity as a member of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), his appointment as a visiting Russian lecturer and educational expert with the government of India and Pakistan.

Subseries V.2: YMCA, 1941-1956

Series VI: Social and Political Activity: Mladorosskaia partiia, 1921-1954

This series contains materials related to Aleksandr Kazem-Bek's role as the founder and head of the Mladorosskaia partiia and to the party's activities. Photographs of the party’s members see: Series IV: Photographs and Drawings.

Subseries VI.1: Documents and publications, 1921-1954

Statute, program, resolutions, memos, internal publications, bulletins, and other documents and materials of the Mladorosskaia party.

Subseries VI.2: Kazem-Bek's Writings on Mladoross Movement, [1935], 1943

Subseries VI.3: Printed Materials, 1928-1940

Books, brochures, pamphlets, and periodicals published by the Mladorosskaya partiia.

Subseries VI. 4: Mladorosskaia partiia's members personal files, 1934-1965

Files of three members of the Mladorosskaia partiia contain personal documents, correspondence, materials related to life in camps Rolland Garos and Vernet d’Ariege.

Series VII: Subject Files, 1935-1976

Subseries VII.1: Church related, 1945-1956

Materials about Archbishop Aleksei’s and Metropolitan Nikolai’s visits to the USA and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church affair. Also includes publications of the Sviateishii Pravitel'stvuiushchii Sinod and various materials related to the Local Assembly of Russian Orthodox Church and World Council of Churches.

Subseries VII.2: Personalia, 1944-1970, undated

Research materials on Charles De Gaulle. Correspondence, photograph, bio notes and other materials related to General Spiridovich, chief of Emperor Nicholas II personal guard. Materials related to Tolstoi's case against UN irregularities in the conduct of the examination for Russian translators.

Subseries VII.3: Various Subjects, 1901-1960s

Series VIII: Printed Materials, 1928-1989

Books, brochures, articles, periodicals, journals, offprints, newspapers in Russian, English, French.

Subseries VIII.1: Books, brochures, and reprints, 1931-1989

Subseries VIII.2: Periodicals, 1933-1975

Subseries VIII.3: Various printed materials, 1952-1955, undated

Subseries VIII.4: Clippings, 1938-1976

Clippings with research and reference materials on various subjects.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection has no access restrictions.

 This collection is 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.

Restrictions on Use

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.


Addition was received in 2014.

No further accruals are expected.

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.

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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

March, 2009: Papers processed and finding aid written by Alexandra Kotar, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Slavic Department, Class of 2010

May-July 2018: Addition of 2014 was incorporated and the collection was reprocessed by Katia Davidenko. New materials were checked against the existing papers and multiply copies were discarded. Newspapers were placed in mylars and rehoused due to their fragile condition. Possibility of use of the newspaper part of the collection is limited. Further preservation and conservation actions are needed.

Finding aid was re-written accordingly in July 2018 by Katia Davidenko.

Machine readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002. Encoded by Katia Davidenko. Finding aid written in English. Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    2010-05-08 File created.
    2018-07-18 EAD updated during reprocessing.

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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.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Aldanov, Mark Aleksandrovich, 1886-1957PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Aleksiĭ, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, 1877-1970PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Avinoff, Andrey, 1884-1949PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Berdi͡aev, Nikolaĭ, 1874-1948PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chavchavadze, PaulPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Grebenshchikov, Georgīĭ, 1882-1964PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gusev-Orenburgskiĭ, S. I. (Sergeĭ Ivanovich), 1867-1963PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ivask, I︠U︡riĭPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Karpovich, Michael, 1888-1959PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Knupffer, GeorgePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Konovalov, AleksandrPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Likhachev, B. T.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lourié, Arthur, 1892-1966PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mladorosskai︠a︡ partii︠a︡PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mott, John R. (John Raleigh), 1865-1955PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Muromt︠s︡eva-Bunina, V. N. (Vera Nikolaevna).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Orthodox Church in AmericaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Poole, D. C. (Dewitt Clinton), 1828-1917PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Raeff, MarcPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russian Americans--Political Activity--Periodicals--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russian--Emigre--Journalism--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russian--Emigre--Periodicals--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russian--Emigre--World War, 1939-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russians--France--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russians--United States--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sablin, Evgeniĭ Vasilʹevich, 1875-1949PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sedykh, Andreĭ, 1902-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Shteĭger, Anatoliĭ, 1907-1944PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Slonim, Marc, 1894-1976PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Timasheff, Nicholas S. (Nicholas Sergeyevitch), 1886-1970PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vakar, Nicholas P. (Nicholas Platonovich), 1894-1970PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Zenkovsky, Serge A.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Aleksandr L'vovich Kazem-Bek, Russian émigré social and political activist, founder and leader of the “Union of Young Russia” (“Mladorossy”), professor of Russian language and literature, journalist, was born in Kazan on the 2nd (15th old style) of February, 1902, into an old noble family of Persian (Azeri) origin. His great grandfather, the first Aleksandr Kazem-Bek, was one of the founders of Oriental studies in Russia, professor of Kazan and St. Petersburg universities. His father, Lev Kazem-Bek, a graduate of the Corp of Pages, was a Director of the State Bank in Kaluga and the Peasants’ Land Bank in Revel (Tallinn).

In 1919, during the civil war, Aleksandr Kazem-Bek joined the White Army, and after the collapse of the White movement, left Russia with his family in 1920. He lived in Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Poland and eventually settled in France.

In 1921, he married Svetlana Ellis and had two children – daughter Nadine (1926) and son Aleksandr (1930).

In Munich, the "Union of Young Russia" was established in 1923 and Aleksandr Kazem-Bek was elected its president. The members of the Union were called "Mladorossy" and its slogan was "Neither Reds, nor Whites, but Russian". Kazem-Bek was reelected as a president of the movement in 1924 and held this post until the Mladoross party was dissolved in 1940. The movement had branches in many countries, including France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and others.

Before emigration, Aleksandr Kazem-Bek studied law at the University of Rostov. He continued his education in emigration and did post-graduate study at the University of Belgrade; Technische Hochschule in Munich (1922-1923) and then in Paris at the Hautes Etudes Sociales et Politiques (1924-1925). From 1930 to 1932 he attended the Academy of Religion and Philosophy in Paris, which was led by Nikolai Berdiaev.

For several years Kazem-Bek worked at the Foreign Exchange department of the Credit Foncier de Monaco in Monte Carlo, until his return to Paris in 1929 as an established political activist of Europe's Russian émigré community. Besides being a head of the Mladoross movement, he played a leading role in youth organizations such as Russian Student Christian Movement (Russian YMCA), Boy Scouts, etc. He directed the publication of Russian language magazines and newspapers and was an active contributor to various notable émigré newspapers, including Mladoross’ publications, such as Bodrost’, Mladorosskaia Iskra, and others.

From the beginning of the World War II Kazem-Bek was an outspoken critic of Hitler. After the fall of France he was arrested and imprisoned in a concentration camp in Vernet. He was released in October 1940 and in 1941 he and his family left Europe and arrived to the United States. First Kazem-Bek worked at the Bank of America in San-Francisco (1942-1943) and later he commenced his career in academic circles, first as Russian language instructor at the Army Specialized Training Program at Yale University. In 1944-1946, he was a head of the Book Department of the YMCA’s War Prisoners Aid program. In 1946, he became a member of the faculty of Connecticut College (New London) as Assistant Professor in Russian. He was a visiting professor of Russian language in the summer school of Middlebury College in Vermont. In 1954, he was a lecturing professor at the Government of India School of Foreign Language at New Delhi.

In the US Aleksandr Kazem-Bek continued his activity as social, political, and religious leader of the emigration. Among fulfilling other duties, he edited and published hundreds of essays and articles in periodical publications (mainly in Russian), including in the San Francisco-based Russian émigré newspaper Novaia Zaria.

In 1957, Kazem-Bek unexpectedly returned to the Soviet Union. Upon his arrival to Moscow, newspaper Pravda published his letter of contrition with anti-American statements. During the last twenty years of his life, Kazem-Bek worked for the Moscow Patriarchate both in the area of public relations and as a staff member of the Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii.

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

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