Aleksandr Ivanovič Gercen Papers

Biographical / Historical Note

Full name: Aleksandr Ivanovič Gercen (Herzen) (Герцен Александр Иванович); born in Moscow 1812, died in Paris 1870; writer, famous critic of the Russian government; greatly influenced both the government and the political emigrés; gathered a circle of friends around him at Moscow University; their seditious opinions led to his exile; pardoned in 1839, again arrested in 1841; left Russia for Paris in 1847; after suppression of the June Days uprising in 1848 went to Italy; lost his wife in 1852 and, overcome by misfortune, fled to London; his house became a Mecca for political emigrés; founded the Free Russian Press in 1853, which brought out the first antitsarist publications like Poljarnaja Zvezda (Полярная звезда) and Kolokol (Колокол); supported the Polish rebellion in 1863 which antagonized the Russian public.


The IISH acquired this collection in 1938 with financial support of the Centrale Arbeiders-Verzekerings- en Deposito-Bank (the Centrale). The collection was mentioned in the Annual Report of 1938 (p. 45).


Letters to Gercen (Герцен Александр Иванович) from several correspondents, including Louis Blanc, Jules Michelet and Giuseppe Mazzini; album, containing drawings, a letter from Tsar Alexander I to Gercen's father, and letters to Gercen from Giuseppe Garibaldi, Victor Hugo, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Thomas Carlyle and others; letters from Gercen to several correspondents, including his son Alexander A. Herzen (Герцен Александр Александрович) and his friend Nikolaj P. Ogarev (Огарев Николай Платонович); notes by Gercen and the manuscript (handwritten) of part V of `Byloe i Dumy' (Былое и думы); personal documents of Gercen. Correspondence by Gercen's relatives and by Nikolaj Ogarev; manuscripts (handwritten) of poems, etc., by Ogarev; articles by and on Alexander A. Herzen; printed material.

Processing Information

Inventory revised for purposes of digitization by Eva van Oene in 2015.

Alternative Form of Material

Complete papers digitized as part of the Centrale Project 2012-2016.

4 security microfilms (1994).

Partly published in: Nicolas Ogarev, lettres inédites à Alexandre Herzen fils. Introduction, traduction et notes par Michel Mervaud. Paris, 1978.