The Davis Center Library recently digitized its Soviet Information Bureau Photograph Collection. Intended to document the reconstruction of the Soviet Union following World War II, these nearly 5,800 black-and-white photographs provide a stunning visual record of daily life, culture, and politics at the start of the Cold War.
Subjects range from famous historical figures, including Joseph Stalin and Dmitrii Shostakovich, to ordinary people from all parts of the USSR pursuing work and leisure. Commissioned by the propaganda arm of the Soviet state and intended for dissemination by foreign news agencies, most of the images bear reverse-side captions—often in English—identifying the location, subject(s), and photographer.
Thanks to a massive effort by REECA master's and Slavic Ph.D. students who transcribed and translated these captions, all text accompanying each image is fully keyword-searchable. The resulting digital resource is invaluable for teaching and research.
Ten must-see images from the collection:
Two children evacuated from Leningrad during the Siege are reunited with their mother. View full image detail.
Two generations of Buryat women read the newspaper Komsomol’skaia pravda. View full image detail.
Spectators at a soccer game. The caption reads: “This mass of ebullient Russians at a football game in Moscow demonstrates that people are the same everywhere. Put other clothes on them and we have a typical American baseball crowd." View full image detail.
From the series “Arming the Armless”: Prostheses allow this carpenter to engage in woodwork. View full image detail.
Shift superintendent Vladimir Gorlov works on the construction of Line 4 (the Filevskaia Line) of the Moscow Metro. View full image detail.
Soviet film star Ianina Zheimo smokes on the set of the film Cinderella (1947). View full image detail.
Uzbek athletes march in the 1945 Physical Culture Parade on Moscow’s Red Square. View full image detail.
A porcupine from the Moscow Zoo visits a classroom. View full image detail.
Morning exercises at Artek Young Pioneers’ Camp in Gurzuf, Crimea. View full image detail.
Celebrated lion tamer Irina Bugrimova during one of her circus acts. View full image detail.
Browse the entire Soviet Information Bureau Photograph Collection on HOLLIS Images.