About the Digital Collection »
This collection of photographs of daily life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is drawn from the personal papers of Robert L. Eichelberger and Frank Whitson Fetter, two ordinary Americans who found themselves in an extraordinary place and time.
Eichelberger (1886-1961), a career military officer, was stationed in Eastern Siberia during the Russian Civil War (1918-1921) alongside other members of the American Expeditionary Force, which was sent to protect the world from Russian Communism and Japanese militarism.
Fetter (1889-1991), a professional economist, toured southern Russia in the summer of 1930, during the height of the force-draft industrialization and collectivization campaigns that accompanied the promulgation of the First Five Year Plan (1928-1932).
Both men left unique photos of their encounter with ordinary individuals of the self-proclaimed first socialist country in the world. Their images of life in the Soviet provinces between the World Wars reveal an agrarian, multi-ethnic country, still reeling under the impact of the revolutionary forces unleashed at the beginning of the 20th-century.
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