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Guide to the Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff Papers, 1897-1968

Collection Overview

The Michael I. Rostovtzeff Papers span the years 1897 to 1968 with the bulk dated 1926 to 1954. The collection chiefly consists of the correspondence of Michael Rostovtzeff and C. Bradford Welles, a colleague of Rostovtzeff's at Yale University, with other scholars in the fields of ancient history, archaeology, and philology. Other materials include autobiographical writings by Rostovtzeff, photographs, financial papers, and clippings. The papers primarily reflect Michael Rostovtzeff's tenure as a faculty member of the Classics Department at Yale University.

The Papers of Michael I. Rostovtzeff provide information on the scholarly study of the ancient world during the first half of the twentieth century. In the Correspondence Series, letters from scholars in England, America, and Europe focus on matters of historical interpretation, archaeological work at Dura-Europos, and philological analysis. Notable scholars include Rene Mouterde, W. W. Tarn, Franz Cumont, Athur D. Nock, Vincenzo Arangio-Ruiz, Tadeusz Zielinski, Walter Otto, and Fritz Heichelheim.

The Biographical Materials Subseries contains Rostovtzeff's narrative of the Provisional Government's fall during the Russian Revolution of 1917, his opposition to Bolshevism, and his eventual emigration from Russia. The Correspondence Series also documents Rostovtzeff's assistance to European scholars seeking teaching and research positions in the United States during World War II. A number of letters between Rostovtzeff and Alvin Johnson, Director of the New School for Social Research, concern efforts by Johnson to identify refugee scholars for faculty positions at the New School for Social Research.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Number
RL.01112
Title
Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff papers
Date
1897-1968
Creator
Rostovtzeff, Michael Ivanovitch, 1870-1952
Extent
4.5 Linear Feet, 2,500 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
English, Latin, French, German, Spanish or Castilian, Russian, and Italian.

Restrictions on Access & Use

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in the Michael I. Rostovtzeff papers have not been transferred to Duke University. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence Series, 1918-1968, undated (bulk 1926-1954).

Divided into three subseries: Individuals, Subjects, and Languages. Letters to and from an individual, or letters pertaining to a subject may be located within more than one subseries. Correspondence in English, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Italian is scattered throughout the subseries.

Correspondence: Individuals Subseries, 1921-1968, undated (bulk 1926-1954).

Consists of letters to Rostovtzeff or copies of letters sent by him. Included are letters which did not originate from, nor were addressed to Professor Rostovtzeff, including a substantial number of letters either to or from C. Bradford Welles. Many of the letters pertain to Professor Rostovtzeff's teaching positions at Oxford University, the University of Wisconsin, and Yale University; his study of ancient history; and his work as Director of the Yale Expedition at Dura-Europos.

Arranged alphabetically by correspondent, organization or society. Arranged chronologically under the correspondent when there is more than one letter to or from a correspondent. Following the A-Z arrangement are folders arranged alphabetically by surname.

A: 1934, Oct.-1955, June
Box 1
B-C: 1937, Apr.-1947, July
Box 1
D-F: 1936, Dec.-1953, Jan., undated
Box 1
G-J: 1932, Feb.-1953, May , undated
Box 1
K: 1921, May-1954, Aug.
Box 1
L: 1936, Mar.-1948, Jan.
Box 1
M: 1925, Sept.-1954, Dec., undated
Box 1
N-O: 1934, Jan.-1960, May
Box 1
P: 1932, Jan.-1968, Mar.
Box 1
R-Sc: 1920s, 1936, Sept.-1963, Dec., undated
Box 1
Se: 1930, Feb.-1965, Sept.
Box 1
Sh-Sn: 1933, Jan.-1964, May, undated
Box 1
Soc: 1936, Sept.-1964, Jan.
Box 1
Sok-Sz: 1933, May-1965, Feb., undated
Box 1
T-Z: 1931, Mar.-1962, Oct.
Box 1
Arangio-Ruiz, Vicenzo, 1938, Feb.-1953, May
Box 1
Cumont, Franz, 1927, Feb.-1939, Oct.
Box 1
Heichelheim, Fritz M., 1933, Jan.-1942, Sept.
Box 1
Mouterde, Rene, 1934, Nov.-July, 1960, undated
Box 1
Nock, Arthur and C. Bradford Welles, 1932, May-1963, Jan.
(3 folders)
Box 1
Otto, Walter, 1934, Nov.-1948, June, undated
Box 1
Rostovtzeff, Michael I., and Russian relatives, 1918-1941, undated
Box 1
Rostovtzeff, Michael I., letters not sent to the addressees, 1942, Sept.-1950, June, undated
Box 1
Rostovtzeff, Michael I. to C. Bradford Welles, 1930, May-1946, Oct., undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
Rostovtzeff, Sophie, Sympathy letters to, 1952, Oct.-1953, Jan., undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
Rostovtzeff, Sophie to C. Bradford Welles, 1944, Oct.-1954, June
Box 1
Schubart, Wilhelm, 1933, Jan.-1960, Aug., undated
Box 1
Welles, C. Bradford and Mrs. F.S. Merrill, 1944, Sept.-1946, July
Box 1
Welles, C. Bradford to Michael I. Rostovtzeff, 1930, Nov.-1946, July
Box 1
Welles, C. Bradford and Mariano San Nicolo, 1933, Aug.-1955, May
Box 1
Welles, C. Bradford and W. W. Tarn, 1939, Feb.-1954, Dec., undated
Box 1
Welles, C. Bradford and Toll, Nina, 1932, Nov.-1936, July 2
Box 1
Wilammitz to Michael I. Rostovtzeff, 1926, May,-1930, July
Box 2
Zielinski, Tadeusz, 1929, Apr.-1940, June
Box 2

Correspondence: Subjects Subseries 1918-1966, undated (bulk 1926-1950).

Includes correspondence concerning Rostovtzeff's contribution to The Cambridge Ancient History. Also contains other correspondence from publishers in England, as well as in Germany and France, concerning the publication of Rostovtzeff's works. Correspondence from the British publishers comment on the effects of World War II upon publishing and everyday life.

The focus of a substantial number of letters is Professor Rostovtzeff's efforts to aid refugee European scholars in obtaining faculty positions in the United States during World War II.

Arranged alphabetically.

The Cambridge Ancient History, 1926, June-1933, Mar., undated
(2 folders)
Box 2
The Clarendon Press, 1926, June-1942, Sept. undated
(2 folders)
Box 2
Harvard University: Offer of an appointment as a university professor, 1938
Box 2
Harvard University, The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1940, Aug.-1950, Nov.
Box 2
Princeton: Advisory Council to the Department of Classics, 1947, July-1966, Dec.
Box 2
Publications: French correspondence, 1923, Dec.-1939, Aug.
Box 2
Publications: German correspondence, 1928, Apr.-1939, July
Box 2
Recommendations by Rostovtzeff, Michael I., 1936, Nov.-1950, Jan. (Restricted)
Box 2
Refugee scholars: Bickerman, Elias, 1939, Apr.-1942, Jan.
Box 2
Refugee scholars: Curriculum vitae, 1938-1941; n.d
Box 2
Refugee scholars: English, French, German, and Italian languages, 1937-1942, undated
Box 2
Refugee scholars: Johnson, Alvin, 1940, Aug.-1941, Apr.
Box 2
Refugee scholars: Slavic, French, and Italian languages, 1929-1943, undated
Box 2
University appointments, 1918, Apr.-1944, June.
Box 2
Yale Research Funds, 1938, Aug.-1943, May
Box 2

Correspondence: Languages Subseries, 1920-1951

Primarily letters received by Rostovtzeff from scholars in Great Britain and Europe. Contains correspondence in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Included are letters concerning Rostovtzeff's archaeological work at Dura-Europos and matters of historical interpretation and philological analysis. Included in the German correspondence are letters from scholars hoping to emigrate from Germany due to political changes after World War I or anti-semitism. A letter dated April 15, 1938 is written from a concentration camp in Germany and describes the conditions within the camp. In the Russian correspondence, the topics of the letters include humanitarian aid to people in Russia, censorship of mail, and archaeology.

Arranged alphabetically by language and chronologically within each language.

English, 1921, Dec.-1951, Nov., undated
(9 folders)
Box 2
French, 1920, Nov.-1950, Feb., undated
(4 folders)
Box 2
German, 1926, May-1944, Jan.
(3 folders)
Box 2
Italian, July, 1927-May, 1940, undated
Box 2
Latin, March, 1926-1939, 1930s
Box 2
Russian, 1920-1945, 1940s, undated
(5 folders)
Box 3
Spanish, 1940, Sept.-1946, Feb.
Box 3

2. Miscellaneous Series, 1897-1961, undated

Comprised of five subseries Biographical Materials, Pictures, Writings, Financial Papers, and General. Each subseries primarily documents Rostovtzeff's professional affiliations.

Awards and honors, 1918-1951
(2 folders)
Box 3
Autobiographical Writings, 1940; undated
Box 3
Curriculum vitae and lists of publications, 1951
Box 3
Obituary notices, clippings, 1952-1963
Box 3
Obituary notices, 1952-1954, undated
Box 3

Pictures Subseries, 1909-1941 and undated

Primarily black and white photographs. Subjects include Michael and Sophie Rostovtzeff, scenes in Russia, and archaeological sites, possibly Dura-Europos.

Rostovtzeff, Michael I., 1926-1933, undated
Box 3
Rostovtzeff, Michael I., and colleagues, 1931-1941, undated
Box 3
Rostovtzeff, Michael I., and Russia, 1909, undated
Box 3
Rostovtzeff, Michael I. and Sophie, undated
Box 3

Writings Subseries, 1926-1961

Includes offprints, typed drafts, and clippings of reviews for The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire and The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World, and a first edition of Samuel Eliot Morison's The Scholar in America.

Arranged chronologically.

1926-1961
Box 3
Papyri and antiquities, accounts and purchases, 1930-1932, undated
Box 3
Publications, accounts and receipts relating to, 1921-1932, undated
Box 3

General Subseries, 1897-1952, undated

Includes notes for a lecture series and the preparation of a bibliography of Rostovtzeff's works.

Arranged chronologically.

1897-1952
Box 3

Historical Note

Chronology

Date Event(s)
1870, Nov. 10 Born, Zhitomir (the Ukraine), Russia
1888 Graduated from the First Classical Gymnasium, Kiev, Russia
1892 B.A., University of St. Petersburg
1899 Master of Latin Literature, University of St. Petersburg
1901 Married Sophie M. Kulezycki
1903 Doctor of Latin Literature, University of St. Petersburg
1905-1918 Member, Constitutional Democratic Party
1916-1919 Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
1918 Emigrated to Great Britain
1918-1920 Lecturer, Queen's College, Oxford University
1920-1925 Professor of Ancient History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
1925-1939 Sterling Professor of Ancient History, Yale University
1926-1927 Published A History of the Ancient World
1926 Published The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire
1928-1937 Director of the Yale University Expedition at Dura-Europos
1938 Published Dura-Europos and Its Art
1939 Appointed Director of Archaeological Studies, Yale University
1941 Published The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World
1944 Appointed as the Sterling Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology, Emeritus
1952, Oct. 20 Died, New Haven, Conn.

Professor Rostovtzeff received honorary degrees from the University of Leipzig (1909), Oxford University (1919), University of Wisconsin (1924), Cambridge University (1934), Harvard University (1936), Athens University (1937), and the University of Chicago (1941). He was also a member of numerous national academies and learned societies, both in the United States and Europe. Included among these are Phi Beta Kappa, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philological Society, La Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, and the Polish Academy of Science.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Michael I. Rostovtzeff Papers (1897-1968) were donated to the Rubenstein Library in 1992 by the American Society of Papyrologists.

Processing Information

Processed by: Daniel Daily

Assisted by: Sallie Locke and Brent Johanson

Date Completed: Nov. 20, 1992

Encoded by: Daniel Pitti and Stephen Miller