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PROKOFIEV, Lina (1897-1989)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2217 LP
Held at: Serge Prokofiev Archive
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Full title: PROKOFIEV, Lina (1897-1989)
Date(s): [1920-1987]
Level of description: Subfonds of The Serge Prokofiev Archive
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Extent: 7 large boxes
Name of creator(s): Prokofiev | Lina | 1897-1989 | soprano | wife of Serge Prokofiev


Administrative/Biographical history:

Lina Prokofiev began life as Carolina Codina, born in Madrid on 21 October 1897. Her maternal Polish grandfather had held an important government post in Russia and spoke both Russian and Polish fluently. Lina herself became an adept linguist and so was at ease in cosmopolitan circles. Both her parents were singers, and Lina was trained by her mother to pursue the same career. When Lina was still a girl, her father brought the family from Spain to Cuba, and then to New York. Lina first met Serge Prokofiev in December 1918 following his New York symphonic concert debut at Carnegie Hall. Married in Bavaria in October 1923, they soon moved to Paris which became their main residence until the spring of 1936, when Prokofiev moved his family to Moscow. Lina's existence became particularly precarious when Prokofiev left her during the war in 1941, when he was evacuated from Moscow along with numerous artists, including Mira Mendelson, a young writer who would become his second wife in 1948. The Soviet authorities regarded their separation with a suspicion which was all the more heightened by her regular contacts with Western diplomats following World War Two. Early in 1948 she was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in labour camps. She was released in 1956 following the general amnesty after Stalin's death, though she was unable to leave the Soviet Union until 1974, when she returned to Paris. During her last years she devoted her considerable energy to promoting her husband's work.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Lina Prokofiev, [1920-1987], including personal material such as copies of letters written by Serge Prokofiev; copies of correspondence between Lina's family and Prokofiev, [1931-1938]; copies of financial material, 1929-1935; correspondence and official papers relating to Lina's attempts to leave the Soviet Union and later to remain in Europe, [1973-1978]; personal correspondence of Lina, 1974-1989, with correspondents including her children and grandchildren, authors writing books on Prokofiev and Lina, and musical societies and orchestras requesting permission to perform Prokofiev's works; business correspondence, [1977-1985], regarding the setting up of the Serge Prokofiev Foundation and the collection of archival material, as well as legal matters relating to the Prokofiev estate and Lina's autobiography; papers relating to Lina's visit to the USA in 1976-1977, including schedules, correspondence, press cuttings and programmes; material relating to Lina's performance as the narrator in Peter and the Wolf at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, 1984-1985; family photographs. The collection also includes transcripts from taped interviews with Lina covering topics such as her family background, the early life and musical training of Serge Prokofiev, Prokofiev's composing methods, health, politics and relationship with his children, the public reception of Prokofiev's music, Lina and Prokofiev's courtship and marriage, and life in Soviet Russia; texts of articles and broadcasts by Lina, [1982-1984], on topics including Prokofiev's relationship with Stravinsky, and the writing of Romeo and Juliet and the Third Piano Concerto; articles by various authors relating to Prokofiev, [1976-1977, 1980-1982]; pamphlets, press cuttings and articles relating to Prokofiev's life and work, and to performances of his music, [1975-1987]; copies of the Moscow News, 1934-1935; and pamphlets, published works and cassettes concerning Christian Science.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
French, Russian, English, German

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:

By appointment only. Some private correspondence is closed to the public. Please contact the Curator for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the Curator.

Finding aids:


Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in the Serge Prokofiev Archive by Oleg Prokofiev in various accessions from 1994 onwards.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Serge Prokofiev Archive also holds the papers of Serge and Oleg Prokofiev and Christopher Palmer.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Biographical information provided by NoŽlle Mann, Curator of the Serge Prokofiev Archive.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2002

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