Sergei Dmitrievich Sazonov was imperial Russia’s foreign minister from 1910 to 1916, making these papers a rich resource for the study of the events leading up to and involving Russia in the First World War. The majority of the papers consists of Sazonov’s memoirs, published in Russian, French, and English in 1927 and 1928. In processing of the collection we discovered material that had not appeared in print, including the final chapter. In addition, a typescript originally listed as a draft of the English translation of the memoirs turned out to be by a British war correspondent, Robert Wilton. Entitled “Behind the Scenes in Russia,” it describes Wilton’s experiences with the Russian army in 1914–17; it was the unpublished precursor to Wilton’s Russia’s Agony (New York, 1918), describing the Russian revolution.
Thorough processing revealed the names of all Sazonov’s correspondents and sorted out their cards and letters. A separate office file was created for documents relating to Russian foreign policy during the First World War, which includes significant materials on the attempt to establish Russian control over Constantinople and the Straits (Istanbul, the Bosphorus, and Dardanelles).
Among the curios that Hoover holds is Sazonov’s leather briefcase, embossed with the words Minister of Foreign Affairs.