Imperial Corps of Pages Exhibition at Columbia University Libraries
New York, November 26, 2002 Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library announces a special exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial Corps of Pages. The exhibition features 50 objects drawn exclusively from the Imperial Corps of Pages collection held by the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture, one of the world's most renowned repositories of Russian materials outside Russia. This exhibition of unique photographs, newsletters, and printed memorabilia, such as programs, menus, tickets and school forms portrays Corps of Pages school life and the life of the Imperial family.
The exhibition coincides with the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg to be celebrated in 2003. It will be on view from December 1, 2002 to February 28, 2003 and is free and open to the public during regular library hours. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is located on the 6th Floor East of the Columbia University Butler Library, at 535 West 114th Street at Broadway, New York, NY.
The Corps of Pages was a privileged military school reserved for sons of noblemen and high-ranking officers. It was founded in October 1802 by Alexander I in St. Petersburg. Except by personal appointment of the Emperor or as a son of a Major-General killed in action, admission was only by a difficult competitive examination. Only the sons or grandsons of those in the top three levels of the Table of Rank were eligible to apply. All graduates were assigned to the imperial regiment of their choice. A small percentage of graduates entered the diplomatic or civil services. From its inception until 1917, the Corps graduated 4,505 officers. An additional 200 were unable to complete their education because of the revolution. The school was disbanded on the order of Alexander Kerenskii, War Minister of the Provisional Government, in June 1917.
The Imperial Corps of Pages collection was acquired by Columbia University over a period of more than twenty years (1957-1982). The collection consists of unusual photographs, lists of graduates, paintings, etchings, newsletters, and printed mementos belonging to the Imperial family and the Corps of Pages. The bulk was purchased during 1957-1971 from the Union of Pages, the émigré alumni organization founded in 1920. Almost 400 photographs, chiefly of students and graduates of the Corps of Pages, and school life ephemera, as well as a few photographs of Nicholas II, were donated to the Archive in 1982 by Alexei Mozhaiskii.
The Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture is part of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). RBML is home to over 600,000 rare books, 28 million manuscripts filed in 3,000 separate collections, 75,000 photographs, and 40,000 prints and drawings. In addition to printed and manuscript resources, the library contains cuneiform tablets, papyri, maps, works of art, posters, sound recordings and other interesting objects and materials. The library's website with collections and service information is: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rare/.
For additional information:
Tanya Chebotarev, Curator of the Bakhmeteff Archive
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Tel: (212) 854-3986
Fax: (212) 854-1365
rev. 11/26/02 KRS