Russian World War I Soldier’s Memoirs and Photographs Available in the Special Collections Department


Russian World War I soldiers in the battlefield and trenches (photographs from Box 15, Scrapbook 2; image number 36 in the online digital copy).

Next summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the first war fought on a large, global scale. A recent addition to the University Archives included a number of materials from a soldier who had fought in World War I.  The grandfather of former ISU Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Hoffman, Andrew Kalpaschnikoff, fought in the Russian Army during this time. His accounts of the Great War and other experiences are held in the Special Collections Department and are ready for research!

Andrew Kalpaschnikoff grew up in Imperial Russia’s upper class, was employed by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Ambassador to the United States, and later joined the Russian Army during World War I. While in service, he was named Director of the Russian Red Cross, which explains the many Red Cross-related photographs within his materials. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Kalpaschnikoff was arrested and imprisoned by the Communists, escaped, and returned to the United States. Afterward, he wrote a book entitled A Prisoner of Trotsky’s (1920), a later copy of which can be found in the Special Collections (call number DK265.7 K25 2009x).

Kalpaschnikoff’s materials are located within the Elizabeth Hoffman Papers, RS 13/1/26. The materials related to Kalpaschnikoff include photographs, photograph albums, and undated memoirs. In his memoirs, Kalpaschnikoff tells of his encounters with such notable figures as Czar Nicholas II and Leon Trotsky. The two photograph albums can be viewed online here and here. They are well worth a look! These photographs include images of battleground sites, wounded soldiers, and Red Cross stations. A further description of the series and the collection can be found online.


Russian Red Cross workers and a patient during World War I (photographs from Box 15, Scrapbook 1; image number 20 in the online digital copy).

Collections of other World War I materials can also be found in the Special Collections Department.  A subject guide for collections related to World War I is available online.

If you have questions regarding the collection, please contact the Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library at 515-294-4216, or visit our website. We’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Russian World War I Soldier’s Memoirs and Photographs Available in the Special Collections Department

  1. Pingback: 100 Years Since the Great War | Iowa State University Library Special Collections Department Blog

  2. Pingback: Staff Pick! | Cardinal Tales: The Blog of Special Collections and University Archives at Iowa State University

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