Helen Muchnic papers
Scope and Contents
The Helen Muchnic papers include course notes and materials, personal and professional correspondence, journals, manuscripts, and published works. There are also articles and clippings pertaining to Russian literature and culture collected from various sources, such as the New York Times and the New Yorker.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1930 - 1969
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
Helen Muchnic was the Helen and Laura Shedd Professor of Russian Literature at Smith College. Born in Baku, Azerbaijan (formerly part of the Soviet Union) in 1902, as a young girl her family emigrated to the United States, where she was educated. Muchnic received a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in 1925. She also studied at the School of Slavonic Studies of the University of London. In 1930, Muchnic became a member of the Smith College faculty as an instructor in the English department. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in 1937, she was appointed assistant professor in the English Department, and then in 1943 became an associate professor. During WWII she taught the history of Russian Literature at Yale University under the Army Specialized Training Program. She helped to organize the department of Russian Literature at Smith College in 1945, and became an associate professor in Slavic Literature until 1947, when she was appointed full professor. She also taught at Harvard University in 1948. In 1963, sMuchnic became chair of Smith's Russian department, as the Helen and Laura Shedd Professor of Russian Literature, a position which she held until her retirement in 1969. In 1965, she was visiting professor of Russian Literature at the University of Toronto.
Muchinc authored many books, including An Introduction to Russian Literature (1947), From Gorky to Pasternak: Six Writers in Soviet Russia (1961), The Unhappy Consciousness: Gogol, Poe and Baudelaire (1967), Dostoevsky’s English Reputation, 1881-1936 (1969), and Russian Writers: Notes and Essay (1971). She was also a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
Helen Muchnic died on June 29, 2000 at her home in Cummington, MA at the age of 97.
10.188 linear feet (10 containers)
Language of Materials
Helen Muchnic was the Helen and Laura Shedd Professor of Russian Literature at Smith College. Her papers include course notes and materials, personal and professional correspondence, journals, manuscripts, and published works. There are also articles and clippings pertaining to Russian literature and culture collected from various sources, such as the New York Times and the New Yorker.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the College Archives in 2001 by Virginia Brady, a family friend of Helen Muchnic.
- Finding aid to Helen Muchnic papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Valeria Love, Class of 2002; Ellice Yasner Amanna
- 2002; 2020
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-03-12: containers, description, barcodes added and finding aid updated to current standards
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063