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Henry Fuller Collection on the Romanov Family

Identifier: Henry Fuller Collection on the Romanov family

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a range of material types from photographs and albums to correspondence, postcards, and print materials related to the Romanovs. Photographic material includes five albums that consist of photographs depicting the Romanov family on vacation, in the country, and posing for more formal family portraits during the pre-WWI period. Several albums also depict Soviet social life during the 1920s in Moscow, Russia. Correspondence consists of approximately one hundred and sixty-nine letters written between Anna Vyrubova and Henry Fuller starting in 1933 and spanning the next several decades until 1963 discussing topics ranging from a shared interest in art collecting to Fuller’s interest in collecting materials related to the Romanovs. There are also four handwritten letters in English from Empress Alexandra to Anna Vyrubova dating from 1905 to 1918 discussing travel, health, and struggles to cope with changing political climate in Russia. Other notable correspondents with Fuller and Vyrubova found within the collection include Maria Rasputin, Irene Princess of Prussia, and the Grand Duchess of Russia, Kira Kirillovna. Postcards depicting Russian landscapes span several decades from approximately 1920 to 1935. Other print materials include books, newspaper clippings, and various forms of ephemera related to the assassination of the Romanovs, and their life before the war.


  • 1905 - 1996

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Historical Note

Henry Melville Fuller (1914-2001); a successful stockbroker and philanthropist who graduated from Trinity College in 1938, went on to become a noted collector of 19th-century American art, and antique glass paperweights. Fuller also developed a lifelong fascination with the Romanov family beginning in his undergraduate years, first at Harvard College, and then at Trinity College, and went on to collect manuscripts, photographs, autographs, books, and prints throughout his life. Fuller focused his collecting activities on material originating with Emperor Nicholas II (1868-1917) and the Empress Alexandra (1872-1918) along with their five children. Along with his fascination with the Romanov Dynasty, he made numerous philanthropic contributions to art and history-related institutions. Notably, he obtained the personal correspondence from Anna Aleksandrovna Vyrubova (1884-1964), the lady-in-waiting and confidant to the Empress Alexandra who managed to flee from Russia and settle in Finland after the Russian Revolution. Vyrubova sold the correspondence due to financial hardship. In addition to the $39 million bequest made to Trinity College and his extensive personal collection relating to the last Russian Imperial Family, Fuller also donated forty-three million dollars and a collection of American Art worth over two-and-a-half million to the Currier Art Gallery in his native city of Manchester, New Hampshire, making it the largest non-profit gift in the state’s history. A smaller gift of four million dollars was made to the Manchester Historic Association.


7 Cubic Feet (2 records cartons, 2 medium clam shell boxes, 4 albums and 25 framed images)

Language of Materials



Henry M. Fuller (1914-2001); a stockbroker and philanthropist from Manchester, New Hampshire began collecting materials ranging from photographs to correspondence related to the Romanov family during his undergraduate studies at Harvard College and Trinity College (class of '38) in the 1930s. Fuller went on to obtain correspondence between the Empress Alexandra (1872-1918) and Anna Vyrubova (1884-1964), the lady-in-waiting who introduced the Empress to Grigori Rasputin, as well as to other members of the nobility. Vyrubova resided in Finland where Fuller began visiting her in 1933, and began acquiring material from her several years later. After several decades of collecting, he amassed approximately 400 photographs depicting everyday life of the Romanov family such as family outings, cruises, and picnics from Vyrubova. The collection also contains books published on the family, newspaper clippings related to the Revolution and Romanov family legacy, autographs of the Romanovs, and framed photographs of the family in more formal portraits. Along with collecting these materials, personal papers document the substantial donations of American Art Fuller gave from his personal collections to the art world, as well as monetary donations. The collection also contains articles, research, and publications from Fuller's time as a student studying Russian History.


The collection is arranged by material type. There are three series. Series I includes correspondence, Series II includes Photographs, Series III includes Personal papers and supporting materials of Henry Fuller.


Henry Fuller began acquiring materials related to the Romanov family in 1933 when he was a student at Harvard College. After learning of Anna Vyrubova's connection to the Romanov family he visited her in Finland where she had fled after the Revolution. His interest in becoming a collector began in his childhood when he started collecting stamps and autographs from British royalty.


Collection was authenticated by Nancy L. McGlashan, including letters and photographs donated by Henry Fuller in October 2002.

Guide to the Henry Fuller Collection on the Romanov family
In Progress
Kelsey Diemand. Revised by Peter Rawson and Michelle C. Sigiel.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018-07-03: Revised by Michelle C. Sigiel, July 2018.
  • Trinity Reporter, Winter 2002, page 10

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106