The Amherst Center for Russian Culture was established in 1991 by writer, journalist, diplomat, and translator Thomas P. Whitney (Class of 1937) "to give greater depth and meaning to Amherst College undergraduate programs in the various areas of Russian studies...[and to be] a nucleus for study in the entire Russian area by both undergraduate and graduate students of Amherst and of the Pioneer Valley and for visiting students and scholars whose presence in the Valley will be an important asset." (Letter of Thomas P. Whitney to President Peter Pouncey, 4 January 1990)
The nucleus of the Center is Mr. Whitney's collection of books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, and other materials, which represent the breadth and depth of Russian cultural achievement in modern times. Since its establishment, the Center has striven to build upon and expand the original collection in keeping with its strengths and high quality.
The library contains nearly 15,000 books representing all areas and schools of Russian creative activity, with a focus on early 20th-century culture.
The periodicals collection includes complete or long runs of Soviet publications, as well as complete or long runs of Russian emigre newspapers and journals.