Osip Mandelshtam Papers

1900s-1970s, bulk 1914-1937


© 1998 Princeton University Library
Web version of this finding aid prepared by Jim Vere in September 1998.


The Papers of Osip Mandelshtam (1891-1938) consist of Russian-language works, correspondence, and printed matter of Osip Emil'evich Mandelshtam. The collection contains holograph and typed manuscripts of his poems, reviews, articles, and essays, often in draft form representing different stages of his work, many of which are in the hand of his wife, Nadezhda, who acted as his amanuensis. Among the works are the following collections of poetry: KAMEN, TRISTIA, POEMS (1928), NEW POEMS, and VORONEZH NOTEBOOKS. Prose works include FOURTH PROSE, JOURNEY TO ARMENIA, CONVERSATION ABOUT DANTE, and THE EGYPTIAN STAMP. A copy of KAMEN belonging to S. P. Kablukov and POEMS (1928) inscribed to N. E. Shtempel are also in the collection. In addition, there are official documents; correspondence as well as notations by Nadezhda on Mandelshtam's political situation; letters from Mandelshtam to Nadezhda [Khazina]; and letters from Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova, a letter from Arthur Miller, and others, some of which contain references to the Writer's Union.

The Papers were entrusted by the poet's widow Nadezhda Mandelshtam to Prof. Nikita Struve to be taken out of the Soviet Union in two valises and temporarily kept in Paris until they could be given to Prof. Clarence Brown of Princeton University. In 1976 Prof. Elliott Mossman of the University of Pennsylvania, acting as an agent for Princeton University, assisted by securing the papers from Struve, who had taken them to Paris. While Nadezhda Mandelshtam proposed either giving the papers to Princeton University or Clarence Brown personally, Professor Brown did not wish to own them personally and therefore had University counsel Thomas H. Wright prepare a deed of gift for Nadezhda Mandelshtam's signature. On 7 April 1976 Nadezhda Mandelshtam signed a deed of gift assigning "unconditional possession and ownership, including all literary property rights" of the Mandelshtam papers to the Trustees of Princeton University.

The papers were at first kept and consulted in Professor Brown's Firestone Library carrel, then transferred to the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. For a detailed description of how these papers arrived at Princeton University, see Clarence Brown's article, "A Moscow Journal," Jan. 14, 1991 (p. 13); a copy is in the collection file.

In accordance with the wishes of Nadezhda Mandelshtam, only photocopies of the papers are to be used by researchers in order to help preserve the originals, which may only be used with the permission of the Curator of Manuscripts.

Container Count: 5 boxes (originals), 1 box of original binders and folders, 4 reels of microfilm, 9 boxes ("copyflo" printed from microfilm), 5 boxes (photocopies of originals).

Size: 1.80 cu. ft.

Language: Russian

Subject Headings (in upper case) / Form Headings (in upper and lower case)

 The following added entries have been assigned to this collection to highlight significant sources (other than main entry),
subjects, and forms of the collection's materials. Where possible Library of Congress Subject Headings have been used, and
the forms of names reflect international cataloging standards. As a result, all of these entries may be searched in the
Department's database (MASC), in the Library's online catalog, and the public card catalog to find other related material.

    MANDELSHTAM, OSIP, 1891-1938
    Poets, Russian—20th century—Biographies
    Poets, Russian—20th century—Correspondence
    Poets, Russian—20th century—Poetry, Fiction, Criticism
    Russian poetry—20th century
    Russian prose literature—20th century


The collection has been foldered strictly in the order in which it was found. Most of the material had been previously processed and described. Many items were identified and grouped by Nadezhda Mandelshtam; part of the collection was organized by Nikolai Khardzhiev; much of the work on collating and describing poetry and prose manuscripts was done by Irina Semenko. The present inventory draws almost exclusively on these earlier descriptions. In several cases, however, no description was available, and attempts were made to organize certain items (without disturbing the original order of item envelopes) and identify them. Thus, Nadezhda Mandelshtam's correspondence (Box 3, Folders 102-104) has been itemized and chronologically arranged within the three envelopes in which it was originally placed.

The folders in the collection are arranged into five boxes:

          Box 1
          Box 2
          Box 3
          Box 4
          Box 5

View these notes on transliteration, citation conventions, and abbreviations used in compiling the preceding entries.

Material for some items was frequently found in different parts of the collection, therefore, for prose, cross-reference has been made to relevant folders. Besides, for poetry and for prose, respective indices to titles and first lines have been compiled. For letters, there are indices to addressees and senders.

Folder List

          Box 1
          Box 2
          Box 3
          Box 4
          Box 5

Indices of Contents

           Index to Poem Titles and First Lines (Transliterated)
           Index to Prose Titles and First Lines (Transliterated)
           Letters of Osip and Nadezhda Mandelshtam Index to Addressees
           Letters Received by Osip and Nadezhda Mandelshtam Index to Senders

           Available in the Manuscripts Division at Firestone Library, Princeton University:
           Index to Poem Titles and First Lines (Russian)