William C. Brumfield Photographs of Russian Architecture

Comprising of over 10,000 images taken by Tulane Professor of Slavic Studies and decorated historian William C. Brumfield, this collection is a detailed and extensive archive of photographs depicting Russian architecture and street scenes from 1970 through the 2010s. From the first trips to Russia and Central Asia in the early 1970s to recent trips across Siberia, Professor William C. Brumfield’s field research and photographic work has documented religious and secular structures in cities and the countryside, and across cultures.

Showing preservation and decay, with views of buildings now lost, under construction, and restored, all carefully documented. The material includes not only major monuments such as palaces, state buildings, cathedrals, churches, synagogues and mosques, but also a street-by-street documentation of buildings within the pre-revolutionary boundaries of cities such as St. Petersburg. The many thousands of photographs in the collection have been scanned in the TIFF format and are all precisely identified (via Photoshop Fileinfo) by address and date of the photograph. This specificity allows a correlation with major cultural topics in architecture and the arts, including literature, music (opera, ballet, symphonic) and the visual arts. In the broadest sense the audience for this web archive includes anyone interested in urban culture.

The Brumfield Collection is closely related to numerous major publications including: Gold in Azure: one thousand years of Russian architecture (1983), A History of Russian Architecture (1993, second edition, 2004), Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture (1991), An Architectural Survey of St. Petersburg, 1840-1916: Building Inventory (1994), Lost Russia (1995), and an architectural heritage series, beginning in 2005, for sites including: Totma, Vologda, Irkutsk, Tobolsk, Cherdyn, Kargopol, Velikiĭ Ustiug, Solikamsk, Chita, Solovki, and Buriatiia. The main collection of this work (over 150,000 items) is held on a server at the National Gallery of Art. William Brumfield retains all usage and permissions rights.

Remarkable for both their documentary value and the artistic eye with which they were made, these photographs are a portion of a larger body of work (150,000+ images) held by the National Gallery of Art and have been used in significant publications over the past few decades. 

This several-month-long project required the coordination of many units, and was spearheaded by Madeleine Wieand with assistance from colleagues across Howard-Tilton Memorial Libary and beyond. Riley Marsh assisted with metadata compilation and task automation, Jane Feigel provided invaluable metadata and controlled vocabulary guidance, and Sean Knowlton and Alan Velasquez assisted with quality control. Students who worked on compiling metadata include Macy King, Charleston McClean, Xavier Ridgely, Jeffry Vdovin, among others.

View the collection here: https://digitallibrary.tulane.edu/islandora/object/tulane:brumfield_stpb

Published: 8/30/2023