Archives and Manuscripts Department
Archives and Manuscripts Department of the museum has a unique collection of documentary relics of the history of the native theatre from XVIII century until today.
At the present time, more than 200 thousand units are keeping here. All the documents form part of the personal, family funds, the archive collections and characterize the activity of theatre’s creative teams, life and work of actors, directors, drama writers, composers, choreographers, theatre historians, theatre designers and their environment. There are original manuscripts of plays and articles, director’s copies of plays, director’s notes, drafts, texts of played roles with marks of actors, letters, diaries, notebooks, memoirs, photographs in life and in roles, programmes, playbills, personal documents, welcome letters, certificates of merit, etc.
Materials of the collection are always exhibited at the native and foreign exhibitions, used for the work on books, monographs, theses, articles, publications of the documents on various issues of the theatre history, in documentary cinema, television films and shows.
Fund of the founder of the museum A.A. Bakhrushin and his son, ballet historian, Y.A. Bakhrushin holds a principal place among personal funds. Documents of the fund reflect the history of the museum and the history of the formation of its collections, the social activity of A.A. Bakhrushin in the Council of the Russian Theatre Society, Vvedensky People’s House, State Academy of Art Sciences, etc. Letters to A.A. Bakhrushin constitute a large group of documents. Authors of these letters were M.N. Yermolova, Vl.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, L.V. Sobinov, K.S. Stanislavsky, G.N. Fedotova, F.I. Chaliapin, A.I. Yuzhin, A.A. Yablochkina and other.
Manuscript collection keeps documents of first Russian actors of XVIII century, founders of the Russian professional theatre, F.G. and G.G. Volkov brothers, P.A. Plavilschikov.
Department possesses the funds of leading actors of the Russian theatre of XIX century. History of the Moscow Maly Theatre is most fully covered in the documents of the funds of great actors and directors: M.N. Yermolova, A.P. Lensky, P.S. Mochalov, O.A. Pravdin, G.N. Fedotova, M.S. Shchepkin, Borozdins-Muzil-Ryzhovs acting dynasty, Vasilievs and Sadovskys families, etc. Large part of these funds is taken by letters, diaries, notebooks, memoirs, texts of played roles with marks, director’s copies of plays, welcome letters, playbills, programmes, etc.
Department also owns the materials of greatest figures of the theatres of Saint Petersburg: V.N. Asenkova, I.F. Gorbunov, V.N. Davydov, Karatygin brothers, E.P. Karpov, V.F. Komissarzhevskaya, A.E. Martynov, M.G. Savina, A.I. Schubert, etc.
Big place in the manuscript collection is taken by the documents on the history of private theatres, kept in the funds of A.A. Brenko, S.I. Zimin, F.A. Korsch, M.V. Lentovsky, S.I. Mamontov, P.M. Medvedev, K.N. Nezlobin, N.N. Sinelnikov, N.N. Solovtsov, etc. Thanks to its documents, one can follow the life of theatres not only from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but also provincial theatres, their repertoire and works of famous tour actors, Adelheim brothers, P.N. Orlenev and others.
Materials on the history of the native musical culture are represented by the documents of M.A. Balakirev, A.N. Verstovsky, E.V. Geltser, M.I. Glinka, A.A. Gorsky, M.I. Petipa, L.V. Sobinov, I.F. Stravinsky, P.I. Chaikovsky, F.I. Chaliapin, etc. Small collections of the materials of composers have a great value due to the stored musical autographs of the great Russian composers. Half-century history of the Russian ballet stage of Saint Petersburg is shown in the documents of the prominent choreographer M.I. Petipa, and the documents of the choreographer A.A. Gorsky’s fund demonstrate the history of the ballet art of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre of the first quarter of the XX century. L.V. Sobinov and F.I. Chaliapin funds keep the documents about life and work of these remarkable signers.
A.N. Ostrovsky’s fund has a principal place among the funds of writers: it keeps several manuscripts of his works, letters to him by F.M. Dostoevsky, N.A. Nekrasov, N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, P.M. and M.P. Sadovsky, M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, P.A. Strepetova, I.S. Turgenev and other actors and writers.
A.P. Chekhov fund keeps the manuscript of his play “The Jubilee” and censored copies of the plays “Ivanov” and “The Jubilee”. Collection of the materials related to A.S. Griboedov has his autographs and 50 copies of manuscripts of the comedy “Woe from Wit”, widespread in the country in XIX century.
Department stores also the funds of such Russian drama writers, whose works took an important place in the repertoire of theatres of the late XIX – early XX centuries, like P.P. Gnedich, V.A. Krylov, A.F. Kryukovskoy, N.I. and N.N. Kulikov, S.A. Naydyonov, I.V. Shpazhinsky, etc.
History of theatrical decorative art is represented by the funds of such stage designers and technicians, like M.I. Bocharov, F.K. and K.F. Waltz, A.Y. Golovin, K.A. Korovin, A.A. Roller.
Department has the funds of imperial theatres’ directors: I.A. Vsevolozhsky, A.M. and S.A. Gedeonov, F.F. Kokoshkin and others. Fund of the last imperial theatres director V.A. Telyakovsky represents a particular value. Besides the correspondence, he kept an everyday diary that became a detailed chronicle of the theatrical life of Moscow and Saint Petersburg of the late XIX – early XX centuries.
Creative activities of the greatest theatrical figures – reformers of stage are found in the documents of the funds of E.B. Vakhtangov, F.N. Kaverin, K.A. Mardzhanov, V.E. Meyerhold, K.S. Stanislavsky, A.Y. Tairov, etc.
Manuscript department stores documents from the funds of such famous theatrical figures of recent past, like O.N. Androvskaya, M.F. Astangov, M.I. Babanova, O.I. Dal, D.V. Zerkalova, A.G. Koonen, E.P. Leonov, O.V. Lepeshinskaya, M.P. Maksakova, T.L. Mansurova, S.A. Martinson, A.A. Mironov, D.N. Orlov, A.A. Orochko, A.D. Papanov, V.N. Pluchek, I.M. Smoktunovsky, Y.V. Tolubeev, G.S. Ulanova, N.K. Cherkasov, M.I. Tsaryov, L.V. Tselikovskaya, L.V. Yakobson and many others.
In addition to personal funds, the manuscript department stores the archive collections of the materials from the history of several theatres, studios, associations, societies, the large collection of the materials of the Vs. Meyerhold State Theatre, as well as the collections of memoirs and diaries, letters and autographs, autobiographies and questionnaires of theatrical figures, collection of materials on the history of frontline theatres and brigades in the years of the Great Patriotic War.
Department funds are the complex and continuously increasing set of valuable written sources. Aiming to save materials reflecting the theatrical process of modern stage, the museum purchases the archives of theatrical figures not only of the past, but also of the present that live and continue to create.
In order to have the opportunity to quickly and easily to navigate in the whole set of documentary materials, the department established a reference apparatus that includes archive lists of every archive fund, list of funds, General alphabetical object catalogue, fund catalogue, etc. At the present time, the work is proceeding on the creation of the electronic catalogue.
Moreover, the employees of the museum prepared a handbook about the funds – “The Guide on the Manuscript Department’s Funds”, which is available in printed version and online.
Director of the Archives and Manuscripts Department: Elena Sergeevna Nebotova.
Tel.: +7 /495/ 951-71-11