Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Samizdat Collection, 1955-1983
12 boxes (6 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 404

Abstract:
In the mid-1970s, the Center for the Study of New Russian Literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UMass Amherst began collecting the self-published and underground literature of the Soviet Union as a means of documenting social and political dissent in the Communist state.

The Samizdat collection includes writings in several genres -- chiefly fiction, poetry, drama, and literary, social, and political criticism -- in handwritten, photocopied, and printed form, as well as photos, a passport application for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and memorabilia from an American production of one of the plays in the collection.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Historical Note

With the formal publishing houses and mimeograph and xerographic machines controlled by the state in the Soviet Union, dissident literature circulated in manuscript form, copied over and over by hand or typewriter. Despite these difficulties, samizdat (literally self-published) writing flourished in the 1970s and 1980s and exerted a significant cultural and political influence. Although individual works migrated to the west, often with the exiled writers themselves, very little was ever formally published due to the relatively limited market and low potential for profit.

In the mid-1970s, the Center for the Study of New Russian Literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UMass Amherst began collecting samizdat to document political and social dissent in the Soviet Union. Laszlo M. Tikos, Head of the Department, established the Center both to create an archive of the New Russian literature and a place for its systematic study.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Writings by Russian dissident authors in many genres (chiefly fiction, poetry, drama, and literary, social, and political criticism) in handwritten, photocopied, and printed form (printed versions were made in the United States, West Germany, Spain and Argentina), all unpublished in the Soviet Union; also photos, a passport application for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and memorabilia from an American production of one of the plays in the collection.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Samizdat Collection (MS 404). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Laszlo Tikos, 1975 and later.

Processing Information

Processed by SCUA staff.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Language
English.
Related Materials

See also the Basia Jakubowska-Schlatner Solidarity Collection and the Michael Bernhard Solidarity Collection (MS 575) for Polish underground literature.