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MS Russ 140

Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 1899-1977. Vladimir Nabokov papers, circa 1920-2000 (MS Russ 140): Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b, Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Russ 140
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 1899-1977
Creator: Nabokov, Dmitri
Creator: Nabokov, Vera
Title: Vladimir Nabokov family papers
Date(s): circa 1920-2000
Quantity: 18.92 linear feet (18 boxes)
Language of materials: In Russian and English.
Abstract: Personal correspondence, artwork, chess problems, draft compositions, digital and audiovisual materials, and laptops.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2018M-044. Gift of Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation by way of Andrew Wylie from The Wylie Agency LLC in 2017 October.

Custodial History:

Donated by Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation by way of Andrew Wylie from The Wylie Agency LLC, 2017.

Processing Information:

Minimally processed by Magdaline Lawhorn, 2017.

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research.
A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Special handling required; consult curatorial staff for appointment for born-digital materials in boxes 16, 17, and 18.

Preferred Citation:

Vladimir Nabokov Family Papers, circa 1920-2000 (MS Russ 140). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Separated Materials

Born-digital material has been separated: Russ140BD

Biographical / Historical

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was a Russian-American novelist, professor, entomologist (lepidopterist), and composer of chess problems. Vera Nabokov (1902-1991) was the editor and translator for her husband Vladimir.
Dmitri Nabokov (1934-2012) was the only child of Vladimir and Vera. He studied literature and history at Harvard, graduating in 1955. In addition to translating and writing, Dmitri also sang opera professionally and raced cars competitively.


Collection is minimally processed. Materials are loosely arranged in seven series: Artwork, Chess Problems Belonging to Vladimir Nabokov, Correspondence, Dmitri Nabokov papers, Translations by Vladimir Nabokov, Model Trains and Cars, and Notes and Index Cards Belonging to Vladimir and Vera Nabokov.

Scope and Contents

Collection includes family correspondence (manuscript and typescript), sketches and paintings, chess problems, notebooks, index cards, drafts of his compositions, 103 model trains, two model cars, train tracks, circa one hundred floppy disks, and two laptops.


Includes audiovisual and/or digital media: floppy disks, laptops.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Chess problems
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence
paintings (visual works)
Russian American literature