research; Angelica Balabanoff; archives; Chernigov Archive

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How I did Research on My Book about Angelica?

16.05.2014 Posted in Writing No Comments

Dear Reader, I’m about to finish writing a biography of Angelica Balabanoff. A fasinating woman and prominent Russian socialist of the 20th century. Before telling you more about my book, I have to tell you more about my reasearch thet went on for five years. This work proved to be as incredible as my heroine. Because of her nomadic life, the documents are spread all over the world. It turned out that just about every police and state archive of each country that Angelica visited during her life had documents on her. Luckily for me, most of them were in the languages which I understand (some better than others) – German, French, Russian, English and Italian. During the course of my research, nearly twenty different archives and libraries, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, agreed to provide the information in electronic format after a few e-mail exchanges which had greatly facilitated my work. Some held such vast documentation that they could not scan it and send it to me, and so I had to go there in person. As I undertook this research on my own, it was a significant financial investment which I made over a few years. I live in Paris, so the French documents were the easiest to consult, but I also traveled to New York, Rome, Berne, London, Brussels and Amsterdam. To understand the difficulty of the research one has to imagine a stack 2.5 meters long with Angelica’s personal documents, letters, notebooks, drafts of articles, photos, […]