Hoover Archives Acquires Steven Grant Papers

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hoover Archives has acquired the papers of Steven Grant. Grant joined the United States Information Agency’s Office of Research in 1980. In 1982 he was appointed Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Moscow, where he worked until June 1985.

Most of this collection relates to public opinion polling in the late Soviet period through the early 1990s. This material is significant because it throws light on the emergence of professional Western-style sociology and public opinion polling in the USSR. Sociology as a field had been crushed under Marxist dogma, with a partial re-emergence only in the late 1950s-1960s. There is also some correspondence with ordinary Soviet citizens and refuseniks, as well as sociologists such as Boris Grushin and Boris Doktorov.

 

In addition to the purely sociological material, one box contains samples of Soviet humor: mainly political jokes and anecdotes in the form of clippings as well as printouts. There is also a small set of unrelated collected material: primarily photographs from the Second World War and political ephemera from the late 1990s. One video tape contains a documentary on Boris Grushin. An audio cassette contains an interview with a man purporting to be Stalin’s bodyguard; also included is criticism of the interview by Svetlana Allilueva (Stalin’s daughter). There are three records containing spoken word recordings by Lenin, Lunacharsky and Gorky, as well as a sample of Soviet humor by Victor Shulman.

The Steven Grant papers form an excellent complement to the Boris Grushin papers, Ivan London papers, Alex Inkeles papers, and the Audience Research series of the RFE/RL corporate records, all of which focus on public opinion polling and sociological research in the USSR and Russian Federation.