Russian Geographic Society
The oldest and one of the most unique Archives in Russia is the Archive of the Geographic Society in Russia. This archive was founded in 1845 the same year the Russian Geographic Society was formed. The Russian Geographic Society provides a great resource for writers and researchers of history, ethnography and other related subjects.
This archive holds more than 60,000 files. About 13,000 of them contain ethnographic collections with materials about different countries and continents such as, China, Japan, Mongolia, Australia, America, and others, as well as different provinces of the Russian Empire. These collections were compiled from materials taken by travelers, voyages by members of the Geography Society, their travel notes, designs, photos, maps and ethnography objects.
Materials concerning ethnography and everyday life of persons in the provinces of the Russian Empire were developed as a result of several projects organized by this Society. In 1848, 7,000 copies of a questionnaire were sent to different locations of Russia. Local literate people (e.g. teachers, priests, physicians, etc.) answered the questions concerning the following subjects: outward appearance; language; households; particularities of the local social everyday life; intellectual and moral capabilities and education; popular legends and memories.
A program for gathering information about popular superstitions in Southern Russia was initiated in the year 1866. In 1977 there was a collection of popular juridical customs. In 1858 the Society gathered information on wedding ceremonies of Russians and non-Russians in the Eastern regions of the Russian Empire. These Archival collections are compiled according to provinces and also differentiated by locations - Caucasus, Middle-Asian Russia, Siberia, Belorussia, Poland and Finland, etc..
One of the many interesting collection of documents is the 1769-1862 project concerning the Russian American Campaign. This Russian trade association existed in the years 1799-1868 and was engaged in opening up Alaska, part of Northern California (Fort Ross) as well as the Aleutian Islands which were opened by Russian voyagers and was included in Russia up to the sale to the United States in 1867. In the years 1799-1861 these territories were rented by the Russian-American campaign. The Campaign, supported by the Russian government, founded many settlements and organized 25 expeditions, 15 of these were around the world.
There are travel logs and travel, business correspondence, plans and maps of the cities, waterways, islands as well as portraits of leaders of the campaign. In addition, this collection contains documents about American residents on the territory occupied by the Campaign.
The following are examples of documents to be found here:
Opinion of the Board of the Russian-American Campaign concerning Creoles residing in the colonies;
Documents concerning the children of the Russian merchants and female-islanders;
Registers of persons residing in Russian-American colonies;
Lists of civilians on Russian ships; civil ranks served in the colonies; and
lists of persons who were vaccinated for smallpox.
In addition, the Archive holds a number of personal Fonds of Russian travelers.
Please find below the list of persons who’s fonds are available.
Some examples of searches Blitz has undertaken for clients using the Geographic Society are the following: a general study of Russian History and prominent Russian figures such as the voyage of Grand Duke Aleksei Aleksandrovich Romanov to the US; an investigation of the Far East on the eve of the Revolution; a study of Russian philosophy circles of the 1920’s; a study of letters from the Princess Yusopova; uncovering a photo collection of members of the Imperial Family; research on two Italian musicians in Russia; a study on the American steamship “Savannah”; etc… These have been quite interesting and informative searches.
Based on the above materials, BLITZ may complete a special research on a personal or general scholarly subject in addition to information found in publications or materials of other Archives.