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MC 815

Strelsky, Katharine. Papers of Katharine Strelsky, 1896-1993: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 815
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Strelsky, Katharine
Title: Papers of Katharine Strelsky, 1896-1993
Date(s): 1896-1993
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (5 file boxes, 2 half file boxes) plus 16 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English and Russian.
Abstract: Photographs, correspondence, writings, etc., of editor, translator, and researcher Katharine Strelsky, whose work focused on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, among others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2010-M4, 2014-M135, 2016-M15, 2016-M66. Accession numbers 2016-M15 and 2016-M66 were added in January 2017.
These papers of Katharine Strelsky were given to the Schlesinger Library between January 2010 and March 2016 by Anne W. Elvins.

Processing Information:

Processed: November 2014
Updated and additional material added: January 2017
By: Anne Engelhart

Access Restrictions:


Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Katharine Strelsky is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Katharine Strelsky Papers, 1896-1993; item description, dates. MC 815, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Houghton Library, Harvard University; see Katharine Strelsky Papers (79M-61).


Editor, translator, and researcher Katharine Anderson Strelsky (1900-1993) was born in Rochester, New York, the daughter of Willis P. and Maud Harrington Anderson. She had a brother, Donald (1907-1979) and a sister Eloise (1909-1911). She graduated from the University of Rochester (AB 1922) and studied at Radcliffe College (1922-1923) and Columbia University (1935). From 1924 to 1930 she lived in Saranac Lake, New York, where she was treated for tuberculosis. In 1928 she married Nikander Strelsky, also a former patient, who went on to join the faculty at Vassar College and to develop the Russian department into one of the first and largest such programs at a woman's college in the United States. He died in 1946. They had no children.
Following his death, Katharine Strelsky lived in Italy, Paris, and London, serving as dean at Eversholme, an international school in Florence, and working as a free-lance writer, translator, and English coach for film and stage. Returning to the United States in 1953, she worked as assistant editor for the journals Isis and Daedalus. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute (1963-1965), where she worked on a study of Dostoevsky entitled "An Obsolete Image of Goodness," an analysis of his novel The Idiot. She published numerous translations of works in French, Italian, and Russian, including a translation of Dostoevsky's Notebooks for the Idiot (1967). She was also the editor, with Catherine Wolkonsky, of Alexandra Tolstoy's autobiography, Out of the Past (1981), and the author of occasional published poems and articles. She died in 1993; her affairs were taken care of at the end of her life by Anne and Peter Elvins. Strelsky had been a friend of Anne Elvins's mother, Dorothy Colman Wallace, and had become a friend of the Elvins family as well.


The collection is arranged in two series:


Collection includes resumes and other biographical information, photographs, personal and professional correspondence (often with publishers), poems and other writings, reviews by Strelsky and about her work, a lecture, and correspondence with and biographical material about British publisher John Holroyd-Reece. Folder headings in quotations (if not titles of works) are those of Katharine Strelsky; other folder headings are those of the archivist. Additional material received in 2016 (accession numbers 2016-M15 and 2016-M66) were added to the collection in January 2017. These material are housed in PD.13-PD.18, PD.14f, #6.1-6.13, 7.1-7.3, F+D.1. A few photographs were also added to #PD.2, PD.4, PD.8, and PD.9. All other files remain in the same order.
Series I, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1904?-1970s, n.d. (#PD.1f-PD.18), includes family photographs of Katharine Strelsky (especially the Anderson and Harrington families), portraits of Katharine and Nikander Strelsky, and friends. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
Series II, PERSONAL, CORRESPONDENCE, WRITINGS, ETC., 1896-1993, n.d. (#1.1-7.3, F+D.1), includes biographical information such as resumes, birth certificates, passports, etc.; legal and financial documents concerning her estate and nursing care during the last years of her life; personal and professional correspondence; articles by Strelsky and reviews of her work; drafts of writings most of which were unpublished; etc.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Manuscripts for publication
Publishers and publishing
Holroyd-Reece, J. (John)
Jones, Howard Mumford, 1892-1980
Sarton, May, 1912-1995
Trudeau Sanatorium (Saranac Lake, N.Y.)
Vassar College--Faculty