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Inventory of the Meryle Secrest collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biographical Note
  • Arrangement Statement
  • Separated Materials

  • Title: Meryle Secrest collection
    Date (inclusive): 1928-1994
    Date (bulk): 1994
    Collection Number: 2001C50
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English with some items in Russian
    Physical Description: 1 manuscript box, 2 CD boxes, 1 card file box (1.7 linear feet)
    Abstract: Sound recordings, notes, writings, clippings, and photographs relating to Svetlana Allilueva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, compiled by Meryle Secrest as working materials for an unfinished biography of Allilueva. Includes recorded interviews with Allilueva conducted in 1994.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Secrest, Meryle, collector


    Collection is open for research.
    Use copies of all sound recordings in this collection are available for immediate access. For access to video recordings or motion picture material during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Meryle Secrest collection, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2001.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Meryle Secrest collection contains sound recordings, notes, writings, clippings, and photographs compiled by Secrest as working materials for an unfinished biography of Svetlana Allilueva. Included are Secrest's taped recordings of her interviews with Allilueva as well as her handwritten notes regarding the interviews. Also included are news clippings about Allilueva, Joseph Stalin, and Russia, photographs of Allilueva and her family, copies of autobiographical works by Allilueva, and copies of works translated by Allilueva related to her father, Joseph Stalin.
    Svetlana Allilueva, also known as Svetlana Alliluyeva, Svetlana Stalina, and Lana Peters, was the youngest child and only daughter of Joseph Stalin and his second wife, Nadezhda Allilueva. In 1967, she defected to the United States after denouncing the Soviet Union, causing an international uproar. She briefly returned to the Soviet Union in 1984 after denouncing the United States, but eventually came back to the US. Allilueva passed away in 2011 in Richland Center, Wisconsin at the age of 85.

    Biographical Note

    Meryle Secrest is an award-winning biographer, mainly of artists and other prominent figures in the art world. She was born on April 23, 1930 in Bath, England. She was educated there, but later immigrated to Canada with her family. Secrest worked as a journalist for the Hamilton News in Ontario, where she was named "Most Promising Young Writer" by the Canadian Women's Press Club. In 1964, Secrest began writing profile interviews for the Washington Post, but left in 1975 in order to write books full-time.
    Secrest's catalog of published works includes biographies of Frank Lloyd Wright, Salvador Dali, Stephen Sondheim, and Elsa Schiaparelli. She has received several awards for her work, including the American Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Award in 1999 and the Presidential National Humanities Medal in 2006. Her biography Being Bernard Berenson was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Awards. In 2007, she published an autobiography titled, Shoot the Widow: Adventurers of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject.

    Arrangement Statement

    Materials are not organized into series; however, similar items have been grouped together.

    Separated Materials

    The book The Long Shadow: Inside Stalin's Family by Rosamon Richardson has been transferred to the Hoover Library.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Allilueva, Svetlana, 1925-
    Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953.
    Defectors--Soviet Union.
    Sound recordings.