This site features general descriptions and articles about the center, a listing of all the sections of the archive which have currently been cataloged, upcoming events, and information for scholars planning to visit.

Fall 2017 Hours:

Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Researchers requesting access to the materials should click here.

We are located on the second floor of Webster Hall on the Amherst College campus. The building is located on the South side of the College quad—a brick building overlooking the Mount Holyoke range. If you enter by the left-hand staircase and go up one flight, you will arrive at the door of the Center.


Telephone: 413-542-8204 (Nadya Spivak, Russian Center Assistant); 413-542-2350 (Russian Dept.)

FAX: 413-542-2798

Mailing address:
Amherst Center for Russian Culture
Box 2268
Amherst College
Amherst MA 01002-5000

History and Overview of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture (ACRC)

The ACRC was founded in 1991 by alumnus Thomas P. Whitney ’37, diplomat, journalist, translator, author, and collector of Russian manuscripts, rare books, journals, newspapers, and art for over 30 years.  The ACRC’s operating costs come from Mr. Whitney’s initial endowment and are supplemented by funds donated by generous alumni and friends of Amherst College.  It was Mr. Whitney’s expressed wish that neither the Center nor any of its rooms be named after him or members of his family.  The ACRC is a two-floor facility, which includes a reading room and an art gallery, and, since 1998, has been located on the second floor of Webster Hall, adjacent to the college’s Russian Department; manuscripts (and some books) are largely stored in the Center’s storage facility, located in the basement of Webster Hall.

Mission and Collection Development Policy

The centerpiece of the ACRC is Thomas Whitney’s collection of largely, but by no means exclusively, émigré Russian materials, a fuller description of which can be found under the heading "Center Description."  His intention was that the ACRC preserve and document the Russian heritage contained in these materials and also build the collection along the lines of his specific interests: 20th century Russian literature (especially poetry), history, and culture. Recent purchases have focused most heavily on the “third and fourth waves” of Russian emigration (beginning in 1970) and include more materials from Russia and the former Soviet Union than had been previously represented in Mr. Whitney’s library.  While the collection was envisaged to serve as a rich source of information for domestic and international scholars in the field of Russian studies, Mr. Whitney was mindful of the undergraduate setting of the ACRC and hoped that future activities, including new acquisitions, would take into consideration the pedagogical needs of Amherst College and its surrounding four institutions of higher learning.  A description of all catalogued holdings of the ACRC, as well as those of its collections waiting to be processed, can be found on this site. All collections of printed materials are processed and made available to enhance the ACRC’s mission to serve the scholarly and research disciplines—of literature, history, art, political science, and religion—related to Russia and the former Soviet Union.

In 2000 Mr. Whitney made an additional gift to Amherst College of his extensive holdings of twentieth-century Russian art.  Intended to join the already functioning ACRC (with its substantial library of books on the subject as well as a gallery built expressly to display some portion of these holdings), the art collection is curated and administered by the College’s Mead Art Museum, where it is permanently housed.

For further information, contact the director, Professor Catherine Ciepiela. Comments and questions welcome.