Afghan Documents Donated to Johns Hopkins SAIS

by Laurence on 5/3/2005 · 1 comment

Fred Starr has negotiated a donation of Roseanne Klass’s books, papers and documents relating to Afghanistan for the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, which will be housed at the Johns Hopkins library. These might be a treasure trove for researchers. Here’s the announcement:

The Rosanne Klass Collection on Afghanistan and the Soviet-Afghan War

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns
Hopkins University gratefully acknowledges a gift from Ms. Rosanne Klass
of New York of her archives and collection on Afghanistan and the
Soviet-Afghan War. Ms. Klass, an internationally-recognized expert in
the field, founded and headed (1980 – 1991) the Afghanistan Information
Center at Freedom House.

In addition to books and journals, her massive archive contains
ephemera of all kinds, published and unpublished, in many languages and
from many sources: manuscripts, notes, reports, posters, video
cassettes, press clippings, records of two major NGOs, and rare and even
unique documents. Internationally, it is one of the largest such
collections in private hands. This is an extraordinary gift to the
scholars of SAIS, and is particularly relevant to the work of the
Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS’ internationally renowned center
for the study of  the Greater Central Asian region of which Afghanistan
is the heart..

Rosanne Klass lived and taught in Afghanistan, and has been following
events there for more than four decades and has written widely about
them. In 1978 she predicted the Soviet invasion. She is the author and
editor of two books on Afghanistan; Afghanistan — The Great Game
Revisited is the standard one-volume reference on the war. She has also
written for many publications, including Foreign Affairs, the New York
Times, Asia, and Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan, and has lectured widely
in the U.S. and Europe. In 1980, she joined Freedom House and
established the Afghanistan Information Center; it became the chief
non-governmental source of information on the war for journalists, the
media, and the public, and an independent resource consulted by members
of the Senate and House and offices of the Pentagon, the White House and
the State Department, and the UN, several European and Asian
governments, and many Afghan Resistance organizations and leaders. A
founder of the Afghanistan Relief Committee in 1979/80, she served as
its vice president for programs (1980-1996). Her personal and
professional history and networks of connections uniquely positioned her
to collect information of all kinds and develop the collection that is
coming to SAIS.

When asked why she chose SAIS to receive her collection, Ms. Klass
said, ” I wanted these materials to be in a permanent repository where
researchers will have access to them. And I wanted that repository to be
an institution in which scholarship has not been politicized or ossified
– one that encourages fresh, independent thinking. These materials,
especially the ephemera collection, offer many generally unknown and
unexamined issues, waiting to be discovered and assessed by non-academic
researchers – writers, journalists, policy mavens, government officials,
historians, economists and others, as well as students and academic
scholars. Johns Hopkins is a distinguished institution that seemed to be
particularly appropriate in both its vigorous intellectual approach and
its accessible location.”

Dr. Frederick Starr, Chairman of the Central Asia-Causasus Institute
joins Dean Einhorn in expressing his appreciation for the gift of the
Klass Collection to SAIS and Johns Hopkins. “The immense inherent
value of this collection is further enhanced by the luster of Rosanne
Klass’ own discerning and insightful writing on Afghanistan.” 
Ms. Klass will be a visiting research associate with SAIS, Johns
Hopkins University during academic year 2005-2006.
The School and the University are grateful to Judith Hernstadt (also of
New York) for introducing Ms. Klass to SAIS and for helping to generate
private funding to sustain the collection.  Ms. Hernstadt has made a
leadership commitment to publicize, transport and maintain the
collection at Johns Hopkins.

The Klass collection will be maintained by the university’s Milton S.
Eisenhower Library located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore. The
collection will be accessible to scholars throughout Johns Hopkins as
well as to scholars from other institutions for use in the special
collections department at the Eisenhower library. Inquiries about
accessing the collection may be directed to Ms. Margaret Burri, (410)

The Milton S. Eisenhower library and its collections at the Hutzler
Reading Room, the Garrett Library and the George Peabody Library
comprise the Sheridan Libraries of the Johns Hopkins University.
SAIS is one of the country’s leading graduate schools devoted to the
study of international relations.  Located along Embassy Row in
Washington’s Dupont Circle area, the school enrolls more than 500
full-time graduate students and mid-career professionals and has trained
more than 11,000 alumni in all aspects of international affairs.

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{ 1 comment }

Rosanne Klass June 5, 2006 at 11:18 pm

Dr. Frederick Starr was not involved in negotiating the donation of my archives on Afghanistan and the Soviet-Afghan War to SAIS. Searching for a distinguished, well-located depository that would make them available to scholars and non-academic researchers,I approached SAIS myself. However, the Central Asian-Caucasus Institute certainly helped to make SAIS a very appropriate depository, and Dr. Starr has been most welcoming.

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