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Polievktov-Nikoladze Family Papers

Identifier: MSE/REE 0001

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the papers of the Polievktov Nikoladze family. The papers include correspondence, diaries, memoirs, writings, documents, printed matter, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1890s-1980s


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Among the members whose papers are well represented are: Niko Iakovlevich Nikoladze (1843-1928), a leading Georgian and Russian political activist, thinker, journalist, entrepreneur, and friend and follower of N.G. Chernyshevskii; Irakli Tsereteli (1881-1959), Nikoladze's nephew, a prominent Social Democratic deputy to the Second Imperial Duma, and a leading figure in the Petrograd Soviet and the Russian Provisional Government from March through September of 1917; Rusudana Nikolaevna Nikoladze (1884-1981), Nikoladze's elder daughter, a chemist and political activist whose diaries and correspondence are especially extensive; Nikoladze's two younger children, Tamara and George, and his grandchild, the physicist Nikolai (Nika) Polievktov-Nikoladze.

Also present are the papers of Rusudana's husband, Mikhail Aleksandrovich Polievktov (1872-1942), a well-known St. Petersburg historian, who was a student of S.F. Platonov and a life-long friend and colleague of the historian A.E. Presniakov. Notable among Polievktov's papers are the transcripts of interviews with key participants in the February Revolution, conducted from Spring through Fall of 1917 by a commission he and Presniakov organized.

Biographical / Historical

RUSUDANA NIKOLAEVNA NIKOLADZE (1884-1981) was the eldest of Niko Nikoladze's three children. She was born in St. Petersburg but grew up in Georgia, moving between Poti, Tiflis (Tbilisi), and the family estate in the small western village of Didi-Dzhikhaishi. Rusudana graduated with specializations in mathematics and education from the Tiflis Gymnasium for Women in 1904 and then matriculated at the Women's Pedagogical Institute (WPI) in St. Petersburg. In 1909 Rusudana received her degree in physics and inorganic chemistry. She began working as a junior researcher at the WPI and teaching chemistry and physics at a St. Petersburg gymnasium. She also attended St. Petersburg University from which she graduated in 1913 with a degree in organic chemistry. In addition to her native Georgian and equally impeccable Russian, Rusudana spoke English, French, and German. She travelled extensively to Europe with her parents, visiting France, Switzerland, German, and Scandinavia. From 1915 to 1916 she also took higher pedagogical courses in preschool education, specializing in the new Montessori System. Her interest in education and its methods would continue throughout her life.

In the summer of 1913, Rusudana married the St. Petersburg historian Mikhail Aleksandrovich Polievktov (1872-1942).Their only child, Nikolai (Nika) Mikhailovich Nikoladze-Polievktov was born in 1915. Considering the political orientation of the family, it is hardly surprising that they greeted the news of the February Revolution with enthusiasm. Within days, Rusudana and her younger sister, Tamara (1892-1939), offered their services to the newly-formed Petrograd Soviet, and in the following weeks they worked eight-hour shifts every day inside the Tauride Palace as telephone operators on the lines designated for the Soviet's leaders. Even more important, the sisters took part in the work of the Society for the Study of the Russian Revolution, more specifically, Mikhail Polievktov's Interview Commission, recording the words of such witnesses to history as Aleksandr Kerenskii.

In July 1917 Rusudana and her son returned to Didi-Dzhikhaishi, where she was among the founders of the local gymnasium and where she taught until 1920. She then moved to Tbilisi and until her retirement in the early 1970s worked at several institutions of higher education, beginning as a researcher and reaching, in 1933, the rank of Professor and Chair of the chemistry departments at Tbilisi State Pedagogical and Polytechnic Institutes. Rusudana was a prolific and talented writer, publishing scholarly works on organic and inorganic chemistry, chemistry methods, and Georgian chemistry terminology. In addition to her scholarly publications, among her papers are long memoirs on her prerevolutionary life, on her father and mentors, including Sergei Vasilevich Lebedev (1874-1934) and Lev Vladimirovich Pisarzhevskii (1874-1938).

Though she was never a member of the Communist Party, Rusudana received numerous awards from the Soviet state, including the title of Honorary Scientist (1941), two Orders of Lenin (1947, 1953), the Order of the Red Banner (1965), and two Certificates of Merit from the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (1960, 1965).

Biographical / Historical

VISSARION ALEKSEEVICH CHICHINADZE (1887-1937) was a prominent Georgian engineer and public figure. His uncle was Niko Nikoladze. His father, Aleksei Vissarionovich Chichinadze (1851-1917), was a prominent Georgian educator. His mother, Efrosinia Iakovlevna Nikoladze (sister of Niko Nikoladze), was educated at St. Petersburg's Bestuzhevskie courses. Vissarion Chichinadze grew up with his sister Tatiana (Tata) in Kutaisi and Erevan. In 1913, he graduated from the St. Petersburg Technological Institute with a degree in hydraulic engineering. After returning to Tbilisi, he specialized in designing and building railroads in his native Georgia. He married Zinaida Aleksandrovna Dekonskaia, the daughter of a well-known Tbilisi lawyer.

In 1922, Vissarion Chichinadze began working on the V. I. Lenin Zemo-Avchalskaia hydroelectric power station, the first such plant in Georgia and only the second in the Soviet Union. During the 1920s, he also worked as chief engineer on building several hydroelectric power plants throughout Georgia. In the 1930s, he spearheaded the development of electric power lines and the electrochemical industry in Georgia. Chichinadze was the author of many scholarly works on hydroelectric power and founder of the first Georgian technical journal. He was arrested and executed during the Great Terror in 1937. His wife Zinaida was sent to exile in Central Asia. Their two sons subsequently lived in Moscow. Aleksei (Aliko) (1917-1994) became a ballet dancer and choreographer, and Avtandil (Atiko) (1921-2010) was an engineer.


12 cubic feet (20 containers)

Language of Materials





This collection derives from three generations of a prominent and historically important Russian-Georgian family. It includes personal and professional correspondence, diaries, documents, photographs, and other manuscript and print formats.


Organized into 11 series:

PN 100: Series 1 - Niko Iakovlevich Nikoladze (1843-1925) and Olga Aleksandrovna Nikoladze (1855-1940), currently in process.

PN 200: Series 2 - Rusudana Nikolaevna Polievktov-Nikoladze (1884-1981), daughter of Niko and Olga Nikoladze: Subseries 1 - journals, memoirs, and travel memoirs (folder 1-43A), arranged by record type and in chronological order; Subseries 2 - Correspondence, including family (folders 44-134) and friends (folders 135-313), arranged by sender and in chronological order; Subseries 3- Documents (folder 314-330), arranged in chronological order; Subseries 4 - Works by RNN and her colleagues (folders 331-357), arranged in chronological order; Subseries 5 - Poetry albums (folders 358-367), arranged in chronological order; Subseries 6 - Invitations and Miscellaneous Personal Papers (folders 368-383), arranged in chronological order.

PN 300: Series 3: Mikhail Aleksandrovich Polievktov (1872-1942), husband of Rusudana Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 400: Series 4: Nikolai (Nika) Mikhailovich Polievktov-Nikoladze (1915-1989), son of Rusudana and Mikhail Polievktov, currently in process.

PN 500: Series 5: Iraklii (Kaki) Georgievich (1877-1950) , Levan Georgievich (1879-1921) and Eliko Georgievna Tsereteli (1881-1959), nephews and niece of Niko Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 600: Series 6: Ekaterina (Kato) Iakovlevna (1854-1931) and Anastasia (Anna) Iakovlevna Nikoladze (1846-1931), sisters of Niko Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 700: Series 7: Vissarion Alekseevich Chichinadze (1887-1937) and family, nephew of Niko Nikoladze: Subseries 1 - Letters (folders 1-12); Subseries 2 - Works (folders 13-24); Suseries 3 - Personal papers (folders 25-30), arranged in chronological order.

PN 800: Series 8: David Aleksandrovich Guramishvili (1858-1926) and family, brother of Olga Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 900: Series 9: Georgii Nikolaevich Nikoladze (1888-1931), son of Niko and Olga Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 1000: Series 10: Tamara Nikolaevna Nikoladze Muskhelishvili (1892-1939), daughter of Niko and Olga Nikoladze, currently in process.

PN 1100: Series 11: Photographs, currently in process.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Polievktov-Nikoladze Family Papers were acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2007/2008.

Related Materials

For an introduction and an overview of the Polievktov-Nikoladze papers, see the digital exhibit: From St. Petersburg to Notre Dame (

Processing Information

Sections on Rusudana Nikolaevna Polievktov (Series 2) and Vissarion Alekseevich Chichinadze (Series 7) have been arranged and described. Series 1, 3-6, and 8-11 are currently in process.

Polievktov-Nikoladze Family Papers
Taras Karaulshchikov, Kenneth Kinslow, and Natasha Lyandres
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

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

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556