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II. Asarkan Series


Scope and Contents

This series consists of letters and handmade postcards from Alexander Naumovich Asarkan (1930-2004), from 1982 to 2003. Asarkan was a noted theater critic and free-thinker. Born in Moscow, he was raised by his mother who died when Asarkan was 13 years old. His father was arrested by the Soviet authorities due to earlier affiliation with the Jewish Labor (Bund) Party, and was killed in Soviet prison in 1931.

Asarkan studied theater until his arrest in 1949 for "anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation." He was incarcerated in the Leningrad Prison Psychiatric Hospital, where he remained until 1954. Upon his release, Asarkan returned to Moscow, where he became an influential Soviet counterculture figure. He frequently attended gatherings of artistic intelligentsia who called themselves representatives of the "second culture". He wrote articles on theater and performing arts for such official publications as "The Theater" and "Moskovskii Komsomolets." He also gained fame for his unofficial and artistically original hand-made postcards. Asarkan emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1980 and settled in Chicago, where he became acquainted with Gennady Barabtarlo.


  • Creation: 1979-2012


Conditions Governing Access

Folders 46 and 147 are restricted from use until 2032.

Language of Materials



Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556