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Tsypkin (Leonid) papers
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Collection Details
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  • Content Description
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: Russian
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Leonid Tsypkin papers
    creator: T︠S︡ypkin, Leonid, 1926-1982
    source: Tsypkin, Mikhail
    Identifier/Call Number: M2209
    Physical Description: 5 Linear Feet (11 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1947-2013
    Abstract: Typescripts, manuscripts, correspondence, and documents relating to the literary output and the private life of Russian author Leonid Tsypkin (1926-1982).

    Content Description

    This archive was collected by Leonid Tsypkin’s son, Mikhail Tsypkin, and consists of manuscripts and typescripts; correspondence both from and regarding his father; several of his parents’ personal documents; his father’s published works and reviews of them collected by Mikhail; some of Tsypkin’s books taken from his personal library; a large amount of his photographs; and the only known recording of Leonid Tsypkin’s voice.
    The series of manuscripts and typescripts includes the original copy of Leto v Badene (Summer in Baden-Baden) – typed double-sided on a thick paper for smuggling out of the USSR; the original handwritten manuscript of N orartakir; carbon copies of both, as well as carbon copies of the typescript of his other novella, Most cherez Neroch’ (The Bridge Over the Neroch); original manuscripts and typescripts complete with Tsypkin’s own notes of his unpublished poetry, an unpublished essay, as well as all his short stories: both those still unpublished and those which have been subsequently published.
    The personal documents here provide some insight into Tsypkin’s life with his wife, Natalia Iosifovna Michnikova through their diplomas, proof of employment, and Tsypkin’s resume among other documents.
    The correspondence includes seven letters from the pianist Maria Iudina, who was the inspiration behind Tsypkin’s story Ave Maria! The largest section is the correspondence from Leonid Tsypkin and Natalia Michnikova to their son after he had left for the United States (dated July 21, 1977 to July 8, 1982) in which they discuss their lives. The series also contains letters to Mikhail Tsypkin from the same period from Klara Rozental’, the inspiration behind Galya in Leto v Badene), and to whom the novel is dedicated. The series also includes all of Mikhail Tsypkin’s correspondence connected with his effort to help his parents emigrate, including letters from the desks of Senators Edward Kennedy, Paul Tsongas, and Daniel Moynihan, the American Jewish Committee, Action for Soviet Jewry, and the letters of support written on behalf of the Tsypkins and sent directly to Leonid Brezhnev. Also included are both Natalia Michnikova’s and Mikhail Tsypkin’s correspondence with various literary journals and publishing houses, as well as Mikhail’s correspondence from 2001 to 2008 with Lucy Ravkina, a former colleague and friend of his father, who has included her memories of their friendship in his final years.
    The archive contains whatever original publications of Tsypkin’s works that his son could acquire, as well as reviews and articles from the international press, collected by Mikhail. The ‘Library’ series contains books from Tsypkin’s own personal library. Chosen by Mikhail for inclusion here, they are primarily books connected with Dostoevsky, who was the subject of Leto v Badene and indeed the primary subject of Tsypkin’s interest for most of his life. Of particular note is Tsypkin’s own personal copy of Anna Dostoevskaia’s Dnevnik 1867 goda (Diary of 1867), which he had trimmed and rebound and which is described in and serves as a focal point of Leto v Badene.
    There are also a large number of photographs included in the collection, reflecting how seriously Tsypkin took his hobby. The majority of the photographs are also connected with Dostoevsky and come from three cities associated with him: St. Petersburg/Leningrad, Moscow, and Staraia Russa. Many of them include Tsypkin’s meticulously researched notes and references. The photographs of Leningrad were presented by Tsypkin at the Dostoevsky Museum and this series also contains the text of the presentation he gave there.
    Finally, this archive contains one audio tape, and is the only known recording of the author’s voice, saying a few personal words to his son.
    Mikhail Tsypkin ordered and arranged his father’s papers and the general categories encountered there have been retained. Name and titles have been transliterated according to the simplified American Library of Congress of Standards, and an English translation provided where appropriate.

    Biographical / Historical

    Leonid Borisovich Tsypkin was born in Minsk, USSR on March 20, 1926 to Russian-Jewish parents. His father was a successful doctor in Minsk and was able to arrange for the family to be evacuated during the War. He returned to Minsk after the War and graduated from medical school in 1947. Tsypkin moved to the Moscow Region, and then to Moscow, where he advanced his medical career (authoring or co-authoring over 100 academic articles) and continued his education, receiving his Doctorate in 1969.
    Despite his success in the medical field, it was actually in his secret life as a writer that Tsypkin’s passion lay. He began by writing poetry in the 1960s, and by the early 1970s he had switched to prose, all of which was written strictly “for the drawer” and unread by anyone but family and the most trusted friends.
    After his son and daughter emigrated to the United States in 1977, Tsypkin was fired from his post and he and his wife were denied permission to emigrate themselves. Facing increasing hardship as a “refusenik” in the Brezhnev era, Tsypkin gave permission to his friend Azary Messerer and his son to seek the publication of his novel Leto v Badene (Summer in Baden-Baden) in the West. The first installment was published in the émigré journal Novaia Gazeta on March 13, 1982. Exactly one week later, on March 20, 1982 Tsypkin passed away from a heart attack, having never seen any of his fiction in print. His work would finally receive significant acclaim only in the early 2000s, thanks to the championing of it by literary critic Susan Sontag.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift and purchase from Mikhail Tsypkin; 2017. Accession MSS 2017-085.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Leonid Tsypkin papers (M2209). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use. Audiovisual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Russian literature -- 20th century
    Authors, Russian
    T︠S︡ypkin, Leonid, 1926-1982
    Tsypkin, Mikhail