Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS126/1
TitlePapers of Alexander Kerensky
Extent1 box
DescriptionPublished and unpublished material written by Alexander Kerensky, together with recordings of some of his speeches and of interviews with him; articles about his life and including obituaries; and some personal papers including a small number of letters from his former wife, Olga Kerensky and copies of family photographs
ArrangementArranged in six series, comprising published writings; typescript and manuscript writings; published writings about him; recordings of interviews and broadcasts; correspondence; and photographs
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryAlexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was born on 22 April 1881 in Simbirsk. He was the son of Fedor Mikhailovich Kerensky, a high school headmaster who was appointed Director of Education for Russian Turkestan in 1889 and moved his family to Tashkent. Kerensky went to St Petersburg University in 1899 to study for an arts degree. He changed to law after one year and practised as a lawyer after he qualified. He married Olga Lvovna Baranovsky (daughter of Lev Baranovsky) in July 1904 and they had two sons, Oleg, born in 1905 and Gleb, born in 1907. He gained a reputation for his work as a defense lawyer taking only political cases, particularly in the area of human rights and became a national figure after being jailed without trial for his protests over the Lena Goldfields Massacre in 1912.

Kerensky was a member of both the Soviet and the Socialist Revolutionary party. He joined the Russian Labour Party and was elected to the Fourth Duma in 1912. He had a tubercular kidney removed in August 1916, which seriously affected his health for the rest of his life.

When the Tsar abdicated on 13 March 1917 Kerensky was appointed Minister of Justice in the Provisional Government, he subsequently became Minister for War. When Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov leader of the Provisional Government resigned from office in July 1917 Kerensky succeeded him as prime minister.

Supported by the Allies, who tried to make the Provisional Government adopt his policies, General Lavr Kornilov attempted a counter-revolution in August 1917. Lacking substantial support in Russia, all Kornilov achieved was to de-stabilize the country, bringing Lenin out of hiding.

Following the Bolshevik take over of the Winter Palace in November 1917 Kerensky continued to try to bring about democracy in Russia, he also spent time in Finland. He left Russia on a mission to London and Paris in May 1918. He moved to France where he led the campaign against the communist regime in Russia. This included editing the Russian newspaper, Dni, published in Paris and also Berlin.

Kerensky's marriage to Olga had broken down before he became a member of the Provisional Government. He and Olga divorced in Paris in 1939. Kerensky lived in Paris until 1940, and subsequently married Lydia Tritton (d. 10 April 1946). When Germany occupied France in 1940, they emigrated to the United States. Tritton and Kerensky married at Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, USA.

Kerensky eventually settled in New York City, where he had rooms on the fifth floor of Senator Kenneth and Mrs Helen Simpson`s brownstone house at 109 E91st Street. Alexander Kerensky died in New York on 11 June 1970.

Publications by Alexander Kerensky;

The Prelude to Bolshevism : The Kornilov Rising (1919)
The Catastrophe : Kerensky's Own Story of the Russian Revolution (1927)
The Crucifixion of Liberty (1934)
The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: documents, Volume 1: Robert Paul Browder and Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky (1961)
The Kerensky memoirs : Russia and History's Turning Point (1965)

Related archival collections
Harry Ransom Centre, University of Texas at Austin, The Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky Literary File consists of 466 photographic prints by unidentified photographers. It includes images of Kerensky throughout his life, both alone and with others. There are also images of his first wife Olga Lvovna Baranovskaya and their sons, his second wife Lydia Ellen Tritton, and various other family members, as well as a number of views of Tashkent. The archive also contains letters, MSS, diaries, files, clippings, family correspondence and details about various emigre organizations and their publications as well as photos.


    Some of our most significant collections