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Von Arnold (Antonina R.) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Location of Originals
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Title: Antonina R. von Arnold papers
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1988
    Collection Number: YY598
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: In Russian and English
    Physical Description: 1 folder, 23 microfilm reels (3.6 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Diaries, correspondence, writings, financial records, printed matter, photographs, artwork, and memorabilia, relating to Russian émigré affairs, and to social work in California. Includes papers of other members of the Von Arnold family.
    Creator: Von Arnold, Antonina R., 1896-1988


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Antonina R. von Arnold Papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Location of Originals

    In part, originals in: Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco.


    A. R. von Arnold, who often went by the nickname Dora, was born in Siedlce (now in Poland) on 26 February 1896 (O. S.). Her father, Roman Apollonovich, then a retired military officer working in the office of the governor-general, volunteered for service during the Russo-Japanese War, following which he remained in Harbin, where he eventually rose to the rank of chief of police. Her mother, born Ekaterina Khristoforovna von Maidel', a dentist by profession, became the founder and director of the Harbin dental school. Antonina had a sister, Liubov', a promising poet who died of appendicitis in Petrograd early in 1917, and a brother, Boris, who became a psychologist in the United States.
    Following Boris to the United States in 1923, Antonina tried her hand at business college, but eventually had to fall back on office work to support herself, as well as her mother living in Harbin (her father died in 1930). From work at the Young Women's Christian Association, she moved to the International Institute of San Francisco, making a career in social work and receiving an M.A. in the subject from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942.
    An unhappy marriage to a Polish immigrant named Ignatius McGuire was followed by a happier one to the émigré artist Sergey Scherbakoff. Ultimately, Antonina was able to put together enough savings to bring her mother to San Francisco and buy a number of properties, thus achieving the trappings of material success. She died in San Francisco on 8 December 1988.

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection contains the papers of Antonina Romanovna von Arnold, as well as papers relating to and produced by her father, mother, sister, brother, and other family members. Of particular interest are von Arnold's diaries and her untitled family chronicle (SPEECHES AND WRITINGS, Box 12). Together with the material in her biographical file and correspondence, these provide an in-depth view of the personal experience of a Russian immigrant in the United States. The FAMILY FILE contains the reminiscences of von Arnold's father, Roman Apollonovich, the police chief of Harbin, and materials on the career and life of his wife, Ekaterina Khristoforovna, founder and principal of the Harbin Dental College. Also of importance are the papers of von Arnold's second husband, the artist Sergey Scherbakoff (SERGEY SCHERBAKOFF FILE).
    Detailed processing and preservation microfilming for these materials were made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by matching funds from the Hoover Institution and Museum of Russian Culture. The grant also provides depositing a microfilm copy in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. The original materials remain in the Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco as its property. A transfer table indicating corresponding box and reel numbers is available at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.
    The Hoover Institution assumes all responsibility for notifying users that they must comply with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) and Hoover Rules for the Use and Reproduction of Archival Materials.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Russians -- United States
    Social service -- California
    Von Arnold family