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Register of the I. Babel' letters
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: I. Babel' letters
    Date (inclusive): 1925-1939
    Collection Number: 2006C32
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: Russian
    Physical Description: 2 manuscript boxes (0.8 linear feet)
    Abstract: Letters to family members relating to Russian literature and personal affairs. Includes typed transcripts. Photocopy.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Babel', I. (Isaak), 1894-1941.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], I. Babel' letters, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2006.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    Isaak Babel', Russian/Soviet writer, was born in 1894, in Odessa. In 1915 he moved to Petrograd, where he met Maksim Gorky, who became his friend and mentor. He published Babel's two short stories in the Letopis' magazine. Gorky advised the aspiring writer to gain more life experience. According to one of Babel's stories, Doroga (The Road), he served on the Romanian front until early December 1917. He resurfaced in Petrograd in March 1918 as a reporter for Gorky's newspaper, Novaya zhizn (New Life). During the Russian Civil War, Babel' worked for the publishing house of the Odessa Gubkom (regional CPSU Committee), in the food procurement unit in the Narkompros (People's Commissariat of Education), and in a typographic printing office.
    After the end of the Civil War, Babel' worked as a reporter for Zaria Vostoka (The Dawn of the Orient).
    Babel' married Yevgenia Gronfein on August 9, 1919, in Odessa.
    In 1920, Babel' was assigned to the First Cavalry Army and witnessed a military campaign in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920. He documented the horrors of that in the Konarmeiskiy Dnevnik, 1920 God (1920 Diary), which he later used to write Konarmiya (Red Cavalry), a collection of short stories.
    In 1924, his mother and sister with her family immigrated to Belgium; in 1925 his wife immigrated to Paris. Babel' visited them several times during his trips to France; in 1929, his daughter Natalie was born. Babel' wrote letters to his family from 1925 through 1939, when he was arrested and put in prison.
    Babel' was arrested in May 1939; his writings were confiscated and disappeared. He was tortured during interrogations. In January 1940 he was executed, and his name disappeared from literary life: it was removed from literary dictionaries and encyclopedias and taken off school and university syllabi. He was rehabilitated in 1954.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Letters relating to Russian literature and personal affairs from Babel' to his family members: mother, Fania Babel'; sister, Mera Chapochnikoff, and her husband Grigorii; and Babel's wife and daughter. Includes typed transcripts. Photocopy.
    It should be noted that some original letters do not have corresponding transcripts, while some transcripts were made from letters unavailable in this collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Russian literature.