For over thirty years the late André Savine, owner of the Paris bookstore Le Bibliophile Russe, collected materials of the Russian Diaspora covering the period from 1917 to the present. Born in Paris, Savine was the son of a White Army soldier who left Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian civil war and endured the hardships encountered by the defeated White Army in a military camp in Gallipoli.
André Savine was a member of the prestigious French Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (Professional Association of Antiquarian Bookdealers, Autographs and Engravings) and had earned the title of Libraire Expert. Together with his wife, Savine owned and operated Le Bibliophile Russe and became a highly reputable Russian book dealer. His particular interest lay with rare editions, archival materials and documents of worldwide Russian culture. An avid collector, Savine spent the 30 years preceding his death acquiring hundreds of rare editions, archival materials and documents relating to worldwide Russian culture in exile.
Savine's personal collection consists of more than 10,000 volumes of books, serials and newspapers, rare manuscripts, photographs and archives. This personal collection and the holdings of his bookstore, Le Bibliophile Russe, comprise the André Savine Collection. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill acquired this prize collection in 2002 with the help of a generous donation from Van and Kay Weatherspoon of Charlotte, NC.
The André Savine Collection is composed of several large 'sub-collections' documenting the lives of Russian exiles. The most distinguished of these, named by Savine Militaria, documents the life of the Russian White Army in Gallipoli and beyond. After suffering defeat in the Battle of Perekop, some 100,000 demoralized White Army troops and 50,000 civilians were evacuated from the Crimean peninsula in November 1920 and transported by ship to Constantinople. General Petr Nikolaevich Vrangel (1878 1928), Chief Commander of the White Army in Crimea, settled the fully armed regiments in the Gallipoli camp, as well as in other places in Turkey, Yugoslavia, and the island of Lemnos. The Militaria collection contains hand-written and illustrated journals of various regiments, memoirs and other documents of soldiers and officers, General Vrangel's orders, pictorial materials, and many other priceless documents.
A second sub-collection contains more than 10,000 books. Genres include poetry, fiction, history, memoirs, philosophy, religious studies, politics and children's literature. Also in this group is the unpublished ten-volume diary of Nikanor V. Savich (1869-1942), a well-respected politician and long-term member of the Russian State Duma (Parliament). His handwritten diaries cover his life in exile from 1930 to1942 when he lived in Paris.
Archival materials represent yet another large sub-collection. Among them are the archives of Russian émigré book publishers, booksellers and libraries around the world, including publishing house correspondence, book catalogs, invoices, library publications, vendors' catalogs, etc. Another large archive is that of the Union of Russian Taxi Drivers in Paris, which includes membership cards and dossiers, and much of the organization's official documents. The collection also includes the archives of The Paris Union of Russian Nurses and of various dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church in Diaspora. The collection also contains hundreds of photographs, postcards, and numismatic items, as well as original artwork and other significant archival materials.
Another valuable part of this collection is the bibliographic and biographical information compiled by Mr. Savine. As a respected book dealer and professional bibliographer, he conducted thorough research on titles in his bookstore and in his personal collection. In addition, Savine annotated each title extensively on index cards and notebook pages and included detailed bibliographic and biographical information.
With the exception of the André Savine Collection, materials dating from the period immediately following the 1917 revolution are fragmented and scattered around the world. Due mostly to the lack of available materials, serious study of the Russian Diaspora has been difficult at best. The great strength of the Savine Collection lies in the fact that it assembles so many items in one location. Moreover, it contains a significant number of unique monographic and serial titles held by no other institution. These are rich and important sources for contemporary scholars.
Books and periodicals from the André Savine Collection become available to researchers as they get cataloged. Access to archival materials from the André Savine Collection is currently restricted.