Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004626, Sat, 11 Dec 1999 12:56:28 -0800

NYPL Berg Collection Nabokov Archive: the archival viewpoint (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. Mr. Phillips, Curator of the Berg Archive at the NYPL,
responds to a query from Alexander Justice below. As he suggests, there
has been some misunderstanding about the access situation at the
NYPL Nabokov archive and the Library of Congress. The latter is now closed
at the request of Dmitri Nabokov. Mr. Phillips sets forth the rules for
the Berg Nabokov archive. We thank him for the clarification and Alexander
Justice for his help.
NABOKV-L co-editor Galya Diment adds a note of her own below:

***From Galya Diment: I worked in the NYPL archives three years ago, and
back then I was allowed to see most of the archives (although not copy any
of it) and was told that if I wanted to publish any of the materials, I
needed a permission of Dmitri Nabokov. But I remembered, as I was
responding to Alexander's query, that since then DN asked to restrict an
access to one of the archives -- the message to this effect appeared on
Nabokv-L a month or so ago -- and, for some reason, what stuck in my
memory was that it was NYPL, rather than the Library of Congress. If I was
wrong, as Mr. Phillips suggests, my sincere apologies. The rest was
actually not different from the description Mr. Phillips provides.***
----------------------- From: Alexander Justice <justice@ucla.edu>

Dear Nabokovians,

Mr.Phillips asked me to forward this to the list. I imagine I could write
any number of papers about the disagreements over archives. I will
certainly keep it in mind if I undertake a PhD dissertation in the
History of Library, Archive, and Information Science.

> Dear Alexander Justice,
> As Curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library I
> just wanted to clear up for you (if I can) some information about the
> Nabokov Papers. You were given some false information from Galya
> Diment on NABOKV-L, I believe.
> In any case, in answer to your questions:
> a) The only access limits to Nabokov materials at the NYPL are to
> some (not even all) early Russian language items. These require the
> permission of Dmitri Nabokov. He has not, in my memory denied this
> permission yet. This material accounts for 1/50th of the Nabokov
> Archive housed at the New York Public Library.
> All other materials are freely accessible by scholars. Copies of
> unpublished materials can only be made with the permission of the
> copyright holder (as is the case not only with the Nabokov papers, but
> all the other 20th century materials held here).
> c) The New York Public Library owns the "physical" papers which are
> housed here in the Berg Collection (and a number of items still in
> Dmitri's possession). NYPL is an open and free institution and as it
> happens, the Nabokov papers are among the most heavily used here.
> Ownership of the intellectual property which resides in the Archive is
> held by the creator or his or her estate. In the case of materials
> written by Nabokov, the ownership of the intellectual property still
> resides with Dmitri and is excercised by his agent in the U. S., Nikki
> Smith, to whom we refer people with regularity.
> I hope this clears up things a little. Could you please do me a favor
> and send this to the NABOKOV-L for me? Thanks in advance.
> Rodney Phillips
> Curator, Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection
> of English and American Literature

Alexander Justice * justice@ucla.edu * Hollywood, California, USA

Graduate Student * Information Studies * UCLA