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Finding Aid to the Alexis N. Kniazeff Papers, 1877-1993
BANC MSS 86/201 cz  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Alexis N. Kniazeff Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1877-1993
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 86/201 cz
    Creator: Kniazeff, Alexis N., 1913-
    Extent: Number of containers: 1 box, 39 cartons, 1 oversize box Linear feet: 49.25
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Materials assembled by Alex N. Kniazeff, including diaries, photo albums, family papers and papers re Russian organizations in the U.S., especially San Francisco.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in Russian

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.
    Until 1997, personal correspondence of the following persons represented in the collection may not be cited in print: Mr. and Mrs. Alex N. Kniazeff, O. Geshvendt, V. V. Krasovskii, V. V. Lavrov, V. V. Mersieu, N. V. Moravskii, M. D. Odinets, O. Pantiukhov, R. Polcharinov, N. Seolliarevich, E. M. Tkachenko, and V. A. Volmenskii.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alexis N. Kniazeff Papers, BANC MSS 86/201 cz, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Removed or Separated Material

    • Photograph and picture postcard albums have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    • One map has been transferred to the Map Room.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Alexis N. Kniazeff Papers were purchased from Alex N. Kniazeff by The Bancroft Library on March 31, 1986, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Russian Emigre Project. Additions were received in 1991.


    Final processing and microfilming of the scrapbook of Clippings from various newspapers in Harbin, Tian Tszin, Shanghai, China, 1928-1942 provided in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


    Alexis Nicolas Kniazeff was born in Tsitsihar Station (Manchuria, China) on August 5, 1909. His father, Nikolai Ivanovich Kniazeff, an officer of the Russian Imperial Army Engineering Troops, and his mother, Nadiezhda Shabanova, a Red Cross nurse during the war, were married after the Russian-Japanese War in 1905 and decided to remain in the Far East. During the Civil War, his father was a commandant of the Manchuria station, and then an assistant commandant for the city of Harbin, where Alexis went to high school. He graduated from the American Methodist College in 1927.
    From 1927 to 1933, Alexis was a student of the Harbin Polytechnical Institute and, after completing a government project, was awarded a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. At the same time, he was graduated as a sergeant from an officer's training course. He completed additional training in the Military Academy of the Russian All Military Union, and graduated in 1934 as a Chief Cadet Officer.
    Due to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, Kniazeff moved to Tientsin, North China, where he worked for a number of engineering companies. In 1945, Northern China was occupied by American Marines, who landed from Okinawa to stop the Soviet troops. Kniazeff was working with the Kailan Mining Company when communists surrounded Tientsin. An American consul general helped him to escape to Shanghai, where he stayed for one and a half months, with other refugees waiting for evacuation to the Phillipines. Kniazeff lived in Tubabao Camp (Philippines) until January 1951 and on January 25th, he arrived in San Francisco.
    From 1951 through 1974, Kniazeff worked for the following local companies: Pelton Water Wheel Co. (as a draftsman and laboratory technician, 1951-1952); Bechtel Corporation (as an instrumentation designer, 1955-1958); and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (1958-1974). He also served as a college instructor for the Army Language School-Presidio of Monterey from 1952-1955.
    Kniazeff has been a member of the Russian Boy Scouts Organization since 1922, and has served as Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, Group Scoutmaster, Commissioner, and president in Harbin, Tientsin, Shanghai, and Tubabao, as well as in San Francisco. Since 1951, he has been part of St. George's Knights, Inc., the Russian Orthodox Church Scout Organization.
    Kniazeff has been a member of the Board of Directors of the All Cossack's Union of San Francisco, Inc. (for which he also served as Treasurer), and the Trans-Baikal Cossack's Stanitza of San Francisco. He was also a member of the Society of the Russian Veterans of World War I of San Francisco and of the Supervisory Committee of Harbin Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association.
    Alexis N. Kniazeff died in San Francisco in 1993.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists primarily of materials assembled by Alexis N. Kniazeff, including diaries, family papers, and Papers relating to Russian organizations in the United States, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    These have been divided into two series. The first consists of Alexis N. Kniazeff's personal diaries, spanning the years 1927 to 1953, and contained in nine notebooks written during his time in Harbin, Manchuria; Tiantszin and Shanghai, North China; Tubabao, Philippine Islands; and finally, San Francisco, California.
    The remaining, and by far the largest, part of Kniazeff's papers comprises Series 2: Alexis N. Kniazeff Collection, 1877-1993. The bulk of the collection consists of scrapbooks, although later only files, which contain personal papers and correspondence of Kniazeff, his relatives, and close friends, in addition to miscellaneous papers and printed materials. These document Kniazeff's life and activities as a member of numerous organizations, mainly for the years 1904 through the 1980s. Of particular interest are materials concerning the Russian Boy Scouts, the Russian Orthodox Church, and various other Russian organizations in the United States, China, and other countries. In most cases, the volumes are organized by subject, and within each volume, both originals and photocopied items are arranged chronologically. Most of the materials are in Russian and English, with a few documents and letters in Chinese, Spanish, German, Polish, and other languages.
    Kniazeff was meticulous in the arrangement and recording of items within his collection. In addition to sorting within specific categories or "Otdels," most items have also been given discrete item identification or "accession" numbers. Since copies of his summary of these categories and item numbers has been circulated and used in the scholarly community, the correlation of "Kniazeff #'s" are also included in this finding aid, with a list of otdels included in the table of contents.