Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation
Da zdravstvuet mirovoi Oktiabr'! (Welcome the World October [Revolution]!), 1917–21, Rare Book Division.

The Russian Revolution: American Perspectives

The New York Public Library’s Russian materials are an important part of its rich collection on Slavic history. This display, guest-curated by CUNY professor Susan Smith-Peter, draws from these collections to take a look back at one of the most significant moments in Russian history 100 years ago.  

On November 6–7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party—led by communist revolutionaries Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky—overthrew the Provisional Government, the interim ruling authority that toppled the Tsarist autocracy in the earlier March Revolution. Known as the November Revolution (or the October Revolution due to the old Julian calendar then used in Russia), the events laid the foundations of what would become the Soviet Union, which would last until 1991.

The items on display introduce some of the Americans who both observed and participated in the revolution. Left-wing socialist John Reed wrote the definitive eyewitness account, Ten Days that Shook the World, and took part in Bolshevik Party activities. On the center-left was Bessie Beatty, who supported the Provisional Government but became sympathetic to the Bolsheviks. On the center-right was U.S. Ambassador David Francis, who rejected the Bolsheviks. These are just a few of many who, while demonstrating a wide range of perspectives, brought the importance of the Russian Revolution to American shores. 

Click here for information on the related symposium to be held November 18.

November 8th, 2017 - November 19th, 2017 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building


Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, and Jonathan Altman.