Skip to Main Content

American Relief Administration in Soviet Russia

By: Bertrand Patenaude & Simon Ertz

Hoover Institution Library Materials: Search Strategies

Our library collection contains several hundred publications that document the 1921 famine in Soviet Russia and the ARA’s work to alleviate it. Many of the titles related to the famine can be found through a subject search on SearchWorks for Famines > Soviet Union. A subject search for Famines > Russia (the Soviet Union was founded only in December 1922) yields additional titles. Hence, the titles listed below represent only a small part of our relevant library materials.

On SearchWorks, long lists of search results can be narrowed down to a desired time period, language, and other criteria. Also, please note that the search query suggestions linked above are limited to “Hoover Library.” Removing this limit will include search results from other Stanford libraries that may hold additional items of interest. For further instructions and tips on how to explore the Hoover Library Collection, please consult the separate online guide The Hoover Institution Library Collection.

ARA Publications

The ARA Bulletin, which appeared between 1919 and 1926 in two series, contains contemporary articles documenting the activities of the ARA in Europe and Russia. Series 1 appeared in 1919 in 22 numbers. For the ARA relief efforts in Soviet Russia, Series 2 (“Second Series”) is most relevant. It appeared in 45 numbers between 1920 and 1926. 

The Hoover Library copy requestable through SearchWorks is missing no. 29 (Series 2). A second, complete copy of the Bulletin can be seen at the Reading Room upon request on-site.

In addition, all volumes of the ARA Bulletin (Series 1 and 2) are available digitally through websites of other institutions. A compilation of links to available digitized issues is available from Morningside University. The website of the Hathi Trust also shows an almost complete list of digitized issues.

Titles Documenting Foreign Famine Relief (mostly in English)

Henry Beeuwkes, American Medical and Sanitary Relief in the Russian Famine, 1921-1923. (1926). Beeuwkes was Medical Director with the ARA and is featured in the ARA archival records. Also available online. – Includes maps; photographs; background on medical practices, food conditions, government response in Russia; information on famine related diseases; tables and infographs; details of ARA medical relief plan, operation, personnel, supplies, preventative measures.

Frank A. Golder and Lincoln Hutchinson, On the Trail of the Russian famine. (1926). Also available online. Note that the papers of both Frank Golder and Lincoln Hutchinson are at the Hoover Institution Archives (see above).

Harold H. Fisher, The Famine in Soviet Russia, 1919-1923: The Operations of the American Relief Administration. (1926). Also available online. Chapter 18 deals with medical relief; appendices include tables about medical relief.

League of Nations, Secretariat. Health Section, Report on the Health Situation in Eastern Europe in January 1922 (1922) – Includes information on the health situation across Eastern Europe at the same time. Includes map showing epidemic hospitals.

Soviet Russia Medical Relief Committee, Medical Relief Work in Soviet Russia (1921) – Booklet, includes reproductions of documents.

S. Vykhodt͡sev, Pomoshchʹ inostrant͡sev golodai͡ushchim deti͡am Povolzhʹi͡a [Foreigners’ Relief for the Starving Children of the Volga Region] (1922) – Includes table with data showing the extent of ARA relief provided to children.

Leon Trotsky, Petli͡a vmesto khleba : zapiski kapitana Gregori o "sverzhenii krasnogo rezhima v Vengrii" : kak amerikant͡sy spasai͡ut golodai͡ushchikh: L. Trot͡skiĭ o missii Guvera [The Noose Instead of Bread: The Notes of Captain Gregor on the “Toppling of the Red Regime in Hungary:” How the Americans Save the Starving. L. Trotsky on the Mission of [Herbert] Hoover] (1921) – Lev Trotskii, at that moment still a highly influential political leader, talks about how the real motive of the United States in helping Russia is to undermine the new, revolutionary power.

Titles on the Famine, Its Causes, and Its Consequences (in Russian):

Petrogradskiĭ gubernskiĭ otdel statistiki: Kratkiĭ obzor selʹsko-khozi͡aĭstvennogo proizvodstva Petrogradskoĭ gubernii po dannym perepiseĭ 1919 i 1920 g.g.: materialy k predstoi͡ashcheĭ posevnoĭ kampanii [Petrograd Region Statistics Department. Brief Survey of Agricultural Production in the Petrograd Region [guberniia] Based on Data from the 1919 and 1920 Censuses: Materials for the Upcoming Sowing Campaign] (1921) – Includes diagrams showing the significant decline of sowing area in the region between 1917 and 1920 (ahead of the sowing campaign for the agricultural year of 1921). Gives a number of reasons for the difficult economic situation of the peasants–to some degree mistakes of the [Bolshevik] procurement apparatus, but mostly the destruction of the four years of (Tsarist) war.

Tatarskai͡a A.S.S.R. (R.S.F.S.R.) Narodnyĭ komissariat zemledelii͡a, Obzor dei͡atelʹnosti Narkomzema A.T.S.S.R. v uslovii͡akh goloda, za period s l-go i͡anvari͡a po 1-e okti͡abri͡a 1922 goda [Tatar Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic, People’s Commissariat for Agriculture. Survey of the Activities of the People’s Commissariat for Agriculture of the Autonomous Tatar SSR under the Conditions of the Famine during the Period from January 1 through October 1, 1922] – Includes photographs showing agricultural scenes and practical agronomical experiments as well as diagrams visualizing the development of harvests and agricultural production over time, the reduction of sown area in 1921, a comparison of agricultural assistance dispensed by the Tsarist Zemstva administrations in 1913 with that rendered by Narkomzem in 1922, etc.

L.A. Vasilevskaia, Kniga o golode: populi͡arnyĭ mediko-sanitarnyĭ ocherk [The Book on Hunger/the Hunger Book: A popular medical-sanitary outline] – 3rd, significantly corrected and expanded edition (1922).

V.M. Kogan, ed., O Golode. Sbornik statei [On Famine: A Collection of Articles] (1922) – Collection of scholarly essays in three volumes. Titles of essays in the individual volumes: 1.1 The physiology of food/nourishment, 1.2. The pathology of malnourishment/hunger; 2.1. Food surrogates from a medical point of view, 2.2. Famine bread, 2.3. Food from animal waste; 3.1. Hunger diseases, 3.2. Morbidity and mortality in times of famine.

Iskhak Kazakov, ed., Bich naroda: literaturno-nauchnyĭ illi͡ustrirovannyĭ sbornik [The Scourge of the People: An Illustrated Literary-Scholarly Collection] (1922) – Almach with articles by medical professionals, artists, public figures, etc. Includes diagrams and charts, including one that shows the share of the population in the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Republic fed by the ARA and other organization.

Golod [The Famine/Hunger]supplement to émigré serial Russkaia Mysl’, Sofiia (1921). Contains contributions by various émigré authors, including Petr Struve.

Rossīĭskoe obshchestvo Krasnago kresta, Golod 1921-1922: sbornik [The Famine of 1921-1922: A Collection] (1923) – Collected volume/almanach on the famine with a variety of contributions. Published in New York by émigré group "Russian Society of the Red Cross." Includes multiple illustrations and artwork.

Sergei Semenov, Golod: roman-dnevnik [Famine: A Novel and Diary] (1922) – Two different editions available: one, two.

Aleksandr Neverov (ill. by A. Baranskii), Mishka Dodonov: povestʹ dlia detei [Mishka Dodonov: A Tale for Children] (192?) – One consequence of the social breakdown caused by the famine and the preceding Civil War was the presence of several million homeless children and youths in the early 1920s. This novel tells the story of such a “bezprizornik”—a young boy who leaves his starving/dying family behind to fend for himself during famine. Another edition of this novel appeared under the title Tashkent – gorod khlebnyi [Tashkent–a City Rich in Bread] in 1923 and was republished more than a dozen times as well as translated into several languages in subsequent years and decades. Aleksandr Neverov, the author, died already in December 1923. This edition includes many illustrations by graphic artist A. Baranskii.

Titles on Soviet and Foreign Responses to the Famine (in Russian)

T͡Sentralʹna komissii͡a po borotʹbi z naslidkamy holodu, God borʹby s golodom, 1921-1922: cherez delegatov VII-go Vseukrainskogo s"ezda sovetov vsem trudi͡ashchimsi͡a otchet [The Central Commission for the Struggle with the Consequences of the Famine, A Year of Fight With the Famine, 1921-1922: A Report to All Toilers, [Delivered] Through the Delegates to the VII All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets] (1922) – Account of the anti-famine measures taken by the Soviet government, especially in Soviet Ukraine. Includes photographs.

R.S.F.S.R. Narodnyĭ komissariat po prodovolʹstvii͡u. Informat͡sionno-izdatelʹskiĭ otdel, God borʹby s golodom: uchastie Narodnogo komissariata po prodovolʹstvii͡u v dele pomoshchi golodai͡ushchim [Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, People’s Commissariat of Procurement. One Year of Fighting the Famine: The Role of the People’s Commissariat for Procurements in Providing Relief for the Starving] (1922) – Includes table showing the ARA’s share in providing food to the population among foreign relief organizations.