Composition of the André Savine Collection
In the spring of 2002, a gift from Van and Kay Weatherspoon of Charlotte, NC, enabled the UNC University Library to purchase the personal collection of the late Paris book dealer André Savine, including the inventory of his bookstore, Le Bibliophile Russe. Altogether this collection contains more than 60,000 printed items, as well as a number of archival collections totaling approximately 30,000 pages. Among the treasures are printed books, journals, and periodicals; handwritten and typewritten newspapers, manuscripts, journals, and books; and photographs, postcards, sound recordings, and currency.
The collection is composed of three main categories of resources: printed and archival materials, militaria, and bibliographic and biographic cards.
More than 16,000 volumes of books published by the Russian Diaspora in all places where Russians lived:
- Rare publications of poetry, prose, history, memoirs, philosophy, religious studies, politics, etc.
- First editions autographed by prominent representatives of Russian culture abroad such as Vladimir Nabokov, Feodor Chaliapin, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nina Berberova, Duke Felix Yusupov, and others.
- A collection of books in French illustrated by famous Russian artists, and a collection of children's literature in Russian.
- A unique collection of examples of the Russian émigré press — 663 titles (963 issues):
One or two examples per title of Russian émigré periodicals — extremely rare newspapers, journals, bulletins, calendars, almanacs, and the like, on a great variety of subjects. Published in such diverse locations as Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, England, Germany, Italy, Serbia, and other places, from 1917 to 1993. Many titles are not represented in any library or mentioned in any existing bibliographies. Many of these titles are simply not known to the world.
- Large runs of rare journals (656 titles) and newspapers (168 titles), both printed and handwritten. Because few libraries have complete runs of many of the titles, and no other library has the entire collection together, this collection has enormous value.
- Archives of Russian émigré book publishers, booksellers, and libraries around the world
Includes publishing house correspondence, book catalogs, invoices, library publications, vendor's catalogs, and the like. There are 59 boxes of this material, comprising approximately 22,500 pages.
- Archive of the Union of Russian Taxi Drivers (Очаг русских шофёров) in Paris
Member dossiers – about 120; correspondence with French private and state organizations – approximately 100 pages. Minutes of meetings, financial statements, speeches delivered by members, a list of members who perished in WWII, and one of members who were forcefully displaced to Germany as Arbeiters – 18 folders. Cards with member information – 4,494.
- Archive of the Union of Russian Nurses
Four boxes with ledgers, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, etc. The ledgers contain information on pensioners who were receiving aid from this organization, among other things.
- Church Archives
One box with manuscripts, correspondence, architectural drawings, 9 issues of 7 different journals, 2 monographs. There is also a very large flat folder that contains religious posters and some photographs from the Russian Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt.
- Paper currency
This collection has already been cataloged, and is available online.
Unpublished handwritten diaries of Nikanor V. Savich
Consists of ten sizable notebooks.
Savich was a long-term member of several Russian State Dumas, and a prominent and respected politician. He participated in General Petr Nikolaevich Vrangel's negotiations with the French government after the exodus of the Russian White Army to Turkey, and also served as a finance officer for this army in Turkey. His diaries cover the period from 1930 to 1942, when he was living in Paris.
The most valuable part of the collection, and the dearest to André Savine's heart, was a compilation of materials on the history of the Russian White Army in exile, which he named "Militaria." He sold only second copies of titles from this collection, as he could not bear to part with any of the materials in it.
This sizable collection of manuscript, printed, and pictorial materials includes 145 printed and handwritten journals published on all continents; histories of military regiments and Russian military schools in Russia and abroad; documents about the betrayal of the Cossacks in 1945; military orders (prikazy) issued and signed by General Vrangel; the autographed typescript of General Evgenii Karlovich Miller's memoirs, dated April 24, 1917; and other items. A large part of this collection comprises documents relating to the White Army in Gallipoli. This is extremely rare material that probably does not exist anywhere else.
Bibliographic and Biographical Records
André Savine produced exquisite annotated catalogs. Information for these catalogs was derived from Savine's records that he kept on approximately 16,000 index cards and 5,500 notebook pages.
These records contain bibliographic descriptions of each title that was in the stock of Savine's bookstore, Le Bibliophile Russe. Descriptions often contain extensive abstracts, as well as biographical information on the authors, illustrators, and translators of the books, and often on people mentioned in them. Savine gathered this information from sources such as published bibliographies, newspaper and journal articles, obituaries, and interviews with members of the Russian Diaspora. In many instances, Savine also preserved oral histories on his cards by recording information garnered in conversations about both famous and ordinary Russian émigrés.
During the time in which Savine operated his bookstore, there were only a few bibliographies published on Russian emigration, and probably the only relatively comprehensive one was Liudmila Foster's Bibliography of Russian Emigrant Literature, 1918-1968. Many of Savine's sources are rare, and thus his bibliographic descriptions, biographical information, and bibliographic citations are particularly valuable. Savine thought that his index cards would serve as a foundation for the encyclopedia of Russian emigration he hoped to someday publish.
These records served as the basis of the Core Module of the Russia Beyond Russia Digital Library created at the UNC University Library.