Vladimir Putin tours Columbia University Libraries' Bakhmeteff Archive

NEW YORK, September 26, 2003 On September 25, 2003, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, toured the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and viewed the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European Culture, the second largest depository of Russian émigré materials outside of Russia. Putin's visit to the Libraries coincides with the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg in Russia.

Tanya Chebotarev, curator of the Bakhmeteff Archive said "the Putin visit once again demonstrates the importance of archival research in cross cultural exchange. Russian history cannot be written ignoring the Russian émigré experience, and the vast variety of émigré primary sources preserved at the Bakhmeteff Archive."

The Archive was named in honor of Boris Bakhmeteff, a Russian émigré and Columbia professor, in 1975. The archive, established in 1951, contains at least 1,680,000 items in more than 1,500 collections. The oldest material in the Bakhmeteff Archive dates from the fifteenth century however, the main focus of the collection has been on twentieth century Russia and the Soviet Union, and on Russian emigration after the 1917 revolution.

The Bakhmeteff Archive consists primarily of letters, diaries, memoirs, tapes, photographs and other documentary materials. These materials include 73,000 items in the three collections on deposit from the Free Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in New York (UVAN), and 43,000 items in other deposits.

The Archive has four main focus areas: Prominent Literary Figures of the Russian Emigration, Institutions and Organizations, Historical Holdings, and Eastern Europe. Since the archive is a living institution, its holdings are constantly growing in an effort to record and preserve a full memory of the past.

Since 1932, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library has preserved and made accessible its distinctive resources, which comprise more than 3,000 separate archival collections and 500,000 rare books, as well as photographs, three-dimensional objects, and ephemera illustrating 5,000 years of recorded history. Approximately 5,000 reader visits are recorded per year, many of them by researchers from outside the Columbia community. Online finding aids and guides make it increasingly possible to have remote access to fragile and unique materials.

For additional information about the Bakhmeteff Archive, contact Tanya Chebotarev 212-854-3986.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 7.5 million volumes, over 50,000 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms and other non-print formats. The collections and services are organized into 22 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. The Library's web site at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to the print and electronic collections and to services.

09/26/03 JD