Russian Imperial Corps of Pages: An Online Exhibition Catalog

Russian Imperial Corps of Pages: An Online Exhibition Catalog

Imperial Corps of Pages Building, St. Petersburg, ca. 1858. Lithograph after a drawing by J. Charlemagne.

The Imperial Corps of Pages. The Corps of Pages was a privileged military school reserved for sons of noblemen and high-ranking officers. It was founded in October 1802 by Alexander I in St. Petersburg. Except by personal appointment of the Emperor or as a son of a Major-General killed in action, admission was only by a difficult competitive examination. Only the sons or grandsons of those in the top three levels of the Table of Rank were eligible to apply. All graduates were assigned to the imperial regiment of their choice.  A small percentage of graduates entered the diplomatic or civil services.

From its inception until 1917, the Corps graduated 4,505 officers. An additional 200 were unable to complete their education because of the revolution. The school was disbanded on the order of Alexander Kerenskii, War Minister of the Provisional Government, in June 1917.

About the Exhibition.This online exhibition catalog contains selections from the Columbia University Libraries exhibition on view in Butler Library from December 1, 2002 to February 28, 2003, timed to coincide with celebrations of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.

The exhibition featured objects drawn from the Imperial Corps of Pages collection held by Columbia's Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture, one of the world's most extensive repositories of Russian materials outside Russia.

About the Collection. The Imperial Corps of Pages collection was acquired by Columbia University over a period of more than twenty years (1957-1982). The collection consists of unusual photographs, lists of graduates, paintings, etchings, newsletters, and printed mementos belonging to the Imperial family and the Corps of Pages. The bulk was purchased during 1957-1971 from the Union of Pages, the émigré alumni organization founded in 1920. Almost 400 photographs, chiefly of students and graduates of the Corps of Pages, and school life ephemera, as well as a few photographs of Nicholas II, were donated to the Archive in 1982 by Alexei Mozhaiskii.

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Exhibit Curator

The exhibition was prepared by Tanya Chebotarev, Curator of the Bakhmeteff Archive, and Marvin Lyons, Executive Secretary of the Vorontsov Palace and Corps of Pages Memorial Trust.

Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /