Hélène Iswolsky Collection Guide

Hélène Iswolsky Collection

Collection Guide


Personal papers of Hélène Iswolsky (1896-1975), known as one of the leading intellectual lay persons among the Russian emigre communities in the West and founder of "The Third Hour," an ecumenical movement in the U.S.
University of Scranton. Center for Eastern Christian Studies
Hélène Iswolsky
Date Range
9 boxes
English, Russian, French

Access and Use

Digital Access

A small number of photographs and documents from the collection have been digitized and are publicly available online.

Physical Access

The collection is open for research. Physical materials may be browsed by appointment in the Reading Room of the University Archives and McHugh Special Collections.


Items in the University of Scranton Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections may be made available to visiting researchers to support research, scholarship, education, and private study under an assertion of fair use (17 U.S.C. 107). The University of Scranton respects the intellectual property rights of others and does not claim any copyright interest in these materials. It is your responsibility to determine the ownership and status of copyright in any materials you may wish to use beyond fair use, and obtain the permission of the copyright owner, if needed. Individuals or organizations holding additional information about the copyright status of items in this collection are invited to contact the University Archives staff at archives@scranton.edu.

Preferred Citation

[Item Title], [Folder], [Box], Hélène Iswolsky Collection, McHugh Special Collections, The University of Scranton. [Reference URL for digital objects]

Linked Data

VIAF Personal Names

VIAF Corporate Names


Administrative/Biographical History

Hélène Iswolsky (1896-1975) was known as one of the leading intellectual lay persons among the Russian emigre communities in the West. She was the daughter of Alexander Izvolsky, a Russian diplomat who was the last Tsarist Ambassador to France. Iswolsky grew up in Japan, Denmark, Russia, and France. After her conversion to the Catholic faith she became an ecumenist, dedicated to healing the rift between the Eastern and Western churches. Iswolsky founded "The Third Hour," an ecumenical movement in the United States. While living in France she worked for Emmanuel Mounier's journal Esprit and attended the gatherings of Jacques Maritain and Nicholas Berdiaev. Exiled Russian president Alexander Kerensky helped her and her mother escape to America during the Nazi occupation of France. She was a close friend of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains primarily Hélène Iswolsky's personal papers, including her manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs.

System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged in 9 boxes.


Collection Inventory (PDF)

Box 1

  • Personal Archive Listing
  • Correspondence from Nicholas Berdiaeff
  • Correspondence from Alexander Kerensky
  • Correspondence from Anna Evreinoff
  • Correspondence from Dorothy Day
  • Correspondence from Julien Green
  • Correspondence from Lankjaer (Denmark)
  • Correspondence from Karl Stern
  • Correspondence addressed to Fr. Feodor Wilcock
  • Rare Correspondence

Box 2

  • Letters/Correspondence 1940s
  • Letters/Correspondence 1950s
  • Letters/Correspondence 1960s

Box 3

  • Letters/Correspondence 1970s

Box 4

  • Book Reviews and Articles
  • "Reka Vremen (Iz Vospominanii)" manuscript
  • "The Fateful Years" manuscript
  • "Vladimir Soloviev and Russian Literature"
  • Russian Literature course materials
  • Materials from the Berdyaev Colloquium, February 26, 1960
  • "The Russian Writer in Exile" talk, October 19, 1956
  • Contract with Les Editiones Internationales for memoir of Alexander Iswolsky
  • Miscellaneous articles
  • Miscellaneous journals (in which appear articles of or direct reference to H. Iswolsky)
  • Journals - The Commonweal

Box 5

  • "The Role of Vladimir Soloviev in Russian Literature"
  • "The Holy Spirit in Russian-Orthodox Devotional Life"
  • "Vassily Yanovsky- Novelist, Scientist, Philosopher"
  • Professions of Faith
  • St. Nicholas Church in Brussels
  • Radio programming (materials prepared and delivered by H. Iswolsky for the Russian radio talk show from the Russian Institute of Fordham University)
  • Honor Convocation at Seton Hall College
  • Genealogies
  • Miscellaneous Notes
  • Soloviev Symposium Paper

Box 6

  • Journals in which appear articles of or direct reference to "The Third Hour"
  • Miscellaneous Manuscripts
  • Vladimir Varshaviskii
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mailing List
  • "The Third Hour" Papers/Correspondence

Box 7

  • Personal Documents

Box 8

  • Personal Documents

Box 9

  • Photographs of Hélène Iswolsky, her family, and her friends

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the McHugh Special Collections from the University's Center for Eastern Christian Studies after it closed in 2003.

Processing Notes

Originally processed by the Center for Eastern Christian Studies prior to being transferred to the McHugh Special Collections in 2003.