Scope and Content Note

Konstantin Solntsev Papers

The Konstantin Solntsev Collection was donated to the Amherst College Center for Russian Culture by Thomas Whitney, Amherst College Class of 1937.  The material, which consists of correspondence, manuscripts, mementos, photographs, printed matter and clippings, documents K. Solntsev's personal life and professional activities.

Konstantin Ivanovich Solntsev was born in 1894 in Spassk (near Riazan').  In 1914, after graduation from St. Petersburg University, where he was a student of history in Professor Shliapkin's class, he became a volunteer in the Russian Army.  After the October Revolution Solntsev  emigrated to the United States.  Later he lived in Berlin and Paris.  In 1948 he came back to America.  

In Paris K. Solntsev became a taxi-driver and a passionate collector of Russian émigré materials.  His goal as a trained historian was to document not only Russian literary and cultural events abroad, but the everyday life of the Russian community in exile.

Solntsev's intention to preserve Russian history led him to buy a small house near Paris, where he started collecting and processing Russian periodicals and mementos.  Apparently, Solntsev's purpose was to organize a Museum of Russian Émigré Literature in Paris.  His personal friendship with Russian writer Alexei Remizov and his wife Serafima Remizova-Dovgello helped him to acquire a part of the Remizov Papers as well as several other collections from the circle of Remizov's literary acquaintances.

In the United States Solntsev taught Russian language and literature at Syracuse University.  Beyond his teaching duties, Solntsev was a devoted archivist and bibliographer.  His contributions to Russian periodicals in the U.S. played a pivotal role in reconstructing the historical significance of the Russian émigré community in the West.

Konstantin Solntsev died in New York in July 1961.