Denissoff family papers, 1715-1985.
Collection Number: 3866

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


Denissoff family papers, 1715-1985.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Collection Number:
The collection includes letters from Russian Czars and noblemen, records of sales and purchases, wills and legal documents, letters from serfs and peasants, and various documents pertaining to Russian history. Also Denissoff family genealogical chart.
Denissoff family.
1.8 cubic feet.
Collection material in English


Denis Iliin, the ancestor from whom the Denissoffs trace their descent, left his home in Novgorod because of religious persecution during the reign of Alexis (1645-1676) and settled in Five Huts, a village in the Don region. During Peter the Great's expedition to the Black Sea (1696), he stopped at Five Huts and ordered Denis and several of his fellow Cossacks to join the expedition. Peter was favorably impressed by Denis, and rewarded him for his brave conduct during the attacks on the Azov fortress. Subsequently, Denis was made Ataman (chief) of the Cossacks in the region. Originally independent frontiersmen, the Cossacks became an important and privileged element in the Imperial Russian Army as the Empire expanded. The Denissoff family remained prominent in military service throughout the 18th and 19th centuries; Il'ia Fedorovich Denisov (1718-1792) distinguished himself in the war against Prussia (1756-1763), and received a gold medal from the Empress Maria-Theresa. Fedor Petrovich Denisov (1732-1803) participated in numerous campaigns during the reign of Catherine the Great, who made him a general of cavalry and gave him the title of Count and 1,200 serfs along with various awards. Adrian Karpovich Denisov (1763-1841) took part in the historic march of Marshall Suvorov across the Alps and retired at the rank of Lieutenant General in 1825. Vasilii Avksentiievich Denisov (1788-1829) pursued Napoleon's army beyond the Rhine in 1812. Although the family is most noted for its military service, Vasilii Il'ich Denisov has a most distinguished civil career as a Senator and a member of the State Council. His son Il'ia left Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. With the death of Il'ia Denisov in 1971, these family papers passed to his son, Basile A. Denissoff.


In 1981 Cornell University Library received this collection as a donation from Basile A. Denissoff. The collection consists of five bound volumes, translations of certain documents, a map folder containing blueprint of a vodka distillation plant, the manuscript memoirs of Basile Denissoff's father Elie, and other documents. The five bound volumes contain documents relating to the military service of family members; documents related to property and serfs; birth, death, and marriage certificates; financial documents; documents related to the philanthropic activities and social life of the family; the Denissoff family genealogical chart, and miscellaneous papers. Included in the collection are letters signed by Prince Potemkin, Prince Alexander Suvorov, and a letter signed by Catherine II (Catherine the Great) awarding Il'ia Fedorovich Denisov (1718-1792) the Order of St. Vladimir. The earliest document in the collection is a bill of sale for a Tartar servant girl dated 1739. There are also many maps and records which describe the property holdings of the family before, during, and after the emancipation of the serfs by Alexander II in 1861. Two bound volumes of lists of people entering the armed forces, published in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1776 and 1796, also came with the collection and have been catalogued separately.


Two Volumes: Spisok Voinskomu Departamentu i nakhodiashchimsia v statie pri voiskie, v polkakh, gvardïi, v arstillerïi e pri drugikh dolzhnostiakh generalitetu i shtab-ofitseram ... 1776, 1796 Rare Books DK171.7 .S75


Cite As:

Denissoff family papers, #3866. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Iliin, Denis.
Denisov, Ilia Fedorovich, 1718-1792.
Denisov, Fedor Petrovich, 1732-1803.
Denisov, Adrian Karpovich, 1763-1841.
Denisov, Vasilii Avxentevich, 1788-1829.
Denisov, Vasilii Ilich.
Denisov, Ilia.
Denissoff, Basile A.
Soviet Union -- Politics and government.
Soviet Union -- History.
Serfdom -- Soviet Union.
Peasants -- Soviet Union.
Form and Genre Terms:

Box 1
Volume I: "The Denissoff Family from their origins until Captain Vasilii Avsentiievich, 1776-1825." 214 pages, in Russian And French
Box 2
Volume II: "Elie Denissoff - Colonel, 1817-1904." 511 pages, in Russian and French
Box 3
Volume III: "Vasilii Il'ich Denisov -- Member of the Senate of the Russian Empire 1863-1917." 503 pages, in Russian and French
Box 4
Volume IV: "Elie Vassilievich Denissoff - Secretary to the Prime Minister of the Interior, 1893." 529 pages, in Russian and French
Box 5
Volume V: "Three centuries of the Denissoff Family: Since its Beginnings Under the Rule of Tsar Alexis Michailovich until the end of the Emperor Nicholas II's Reign." 127 pages, in Russian and French
Box 6 Folder 1
The Denissoff's Cossacks of the Don and Members of the Russian Nobility, Basile A. Denissoff
Box 6 Folder 1
Invitation to Dedication of Book Publication for The Denissoff's Cossacks of the Don and Members of the Russian Nobility, Basile A. Denissoff
Box 6 Folder 2
Reminiscences of Past Years and Theological Notes, Elie Denissoff
Box 6 Folder 3
Translations of documents: Volume I, page 32; Tome I, page 56a.
Box 6 Folder 4
Photograph of document in Volume I (a will), page 113
Box 6 Folder 5
Photograph of Dipoloma of Il'ia Vasiliievich Denissoff from Volume IV, page 15
Box 6 Folder 6
Photographs and Postcards from Tome I
Box 6 Folder 7
Documents from end of Tome I on exhibition of Denissoff collection at Arnot Art Museum
Box 6 Folder 8
Documents from end of Tome I
Box 6 Folder 9
Documents from front of Tome I
Box 6 DVD-121
Untitled DVD
Mapcase Folder 1
Map of Denisov Estate near Kushchevka, from Volume III, p.264
Mapcase Folder 1
Broadside with picture
Mapcase Folder 1
Blueprint of vodka distillation plant
Mapcase Folder 1
Sign: "The Denissoff Papers"