Portraits of Russian political exiles and convicts, with some additional photographs depicting the life of both political and common criminals in Siberia,collected and presented to the New York Public Library by George Kennan.

Collection History

The Library acquired the majority of the albums in this digital presentation during the early 1930s. Many were originally part of Romanov palace libraries nationalized by the Soviet government and sold abroad for hard currency.


Subjects include Russian Orthodox churches, monasteries, and ecclesiastical art; views of cities, as well as small provincial towns; secular architecture; tsarist- and Soviet-era political exiles; and the diverse peoples of the Russian Empire. A number of albums include portraits of the Tsar or the imperial family; state occasions, military maneuvers, and relaxation at the imperial hunting lodge are all depicted. Represented as well are military operations, particularly during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Russian Revolutionary-era photos are extensive, ranging from the immediate aftermath of the February Revolution, to the Stalinist period.

Many of the imperial association albums-that is, those presented as gifts to the royal family-are of superior technical and artistic quality, and in several cases mounted in bindings that are themselves works of art, incorporating silver, wood, and other decorative elements.

Related Resources

Hee-Gwone Yoo."Holdings of rare photographs and plate books at the Slavic and Baltic Division of The New York Public Library." Rosia yongu (Russian Studies), vol. 12, no. 1 (2002): [323]-332.

Collection Data

Kennan, George, 1845-1924 (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1920
Place: New York.
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection
Shelf locator: Slav. Reserve (Photo) (Kennan, G. Portraits of Russian political exiles and convicts)
Political prisoners -- Russia
Siberia (Russia)
Content: Photographs mounted and bound. 246 albumen photogrpahs, mostly carte-de-visites.The text of the legends placed below the photographs or on the opposite page consists of a copy of the inscription on the back of the photograph, coming in most cases from Mr. George Kennan's pen, with additional notes supplied by Mr. Konstantin M. Oberuchev and the Slavonic Division. Mr. Kennan's and Mr. Oberuchev's notes are followed by letters K and O respectively.
Type of Resource
Still image
RLIN/OCLC: 42603594
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b14346266
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 7bfb4420-c6e5-012f-3a43-58d385a7bc34
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