A Guide to the Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings, 1946-2010 Bliznakov, Milka T. Papers and Architectural DrawingsMs1991-025

A Guide to the Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings, 1946-2010

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1991-025


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

©2017 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Courtney Dowse and Samantha Winn Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings, 1946-2010
Physical Characteristics
26.0 cu. ft. 31 boxes; 6 oversize; 4 artifacts
Bliznakov, Milka T., 1927-2010
The majority of materials in this collection are written in English and Bulgarian. Additional materials are in German, French, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese.
Milka Bliznakov was a Bulgarian architect, architectural historian, and professor who practiced in Bulgaria, France, and the United States. The collection consists of her publications, research, correspondence, professional documentation of her practice, conference participation materials, teaching materials, and documents related to her involvement as the founder of the International Archive of Women in Architecture.

Administrative Information

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings, Ms1991-025, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings Collection was donated to the IAWA at Special Collections in 2002 by Dr. Milka Bliznakov. Additions were made to the collection by Milka Bliznakov and Donna Dunay in 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2015.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Milka T. Bliznakov Papers and Architectural Drawings was completed in February 2016. Additional materials were donated in March 2016

Biographical Information

Milka Bliznakov was born in Varna, Bulgaria in 1927. She attended the State Polytechnic Institute of Sofia and graduated with a master's degree in architecture in 1951. Bliznakov began practicing architecture in Bulgaria in 1952. In 1959, Bliznakov moved her practice to France. Two years later, Bliznakov emigrated to the United States.During her first years in the United States, Bliznakov worked as an architect and studied Soviet architecture. She earned her Ph.D in architectural history from Columbia University in 1971. She taught at the University of Texas from 1972-1974, where she co-founded the Institute of Modern Russian Culture.

In 1974, Milka Bliznakov became a professor at Virginia Polytechnic Insitute and State University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where she taught in the urban design program. Bliznakov became an authority on the Russian avante-garde and constructivism movements. In 1985, Bliznakov worked with the Virginia Tech University Libraries and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies to establish the International Archive of Women in Architecture. She served as the chair of the IAWA Board of Advisors from 1985-1993. Milka Bliznakov retired in 1998 in conjunction with the establishment of the Milka Bliznakov Prize. The Milka Bliznakov Prize is awarded annually to those whose research furthers the knowledge of women's contributions to architecture and design. Bliznakov continued to acquire and donate works to the IAWA until her death on November 4, 2010.

Scope and Content

This collection documents the activities of Milka Bliznakov (1927-2010), the founder of the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) and former chair of its board of advisors (1985-1993). It contains personal materials, including biographical information and personal correspondence. This collection also contains materials documenting Milka's prolific career as an architect and a professor emerita at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Some significant topics represented in these files are avante-garde architecture; Russian constructivism; futurist architecture in the Soviet Union; the history of Bulgaria and Bulgarian architecture; and women in art and architecture. In addition, this collection contains unique documents about the destruction of architectural structures in Croatia during the Bosnian war; Federal Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) reports on Soviet concentration camps; and detailed drawings and and project plans for Soviet infastructure. This collection also documentsd the proceedings of organizations and conferences attended by Milka Bliznakov such as L'Union Internationale des Femmes Architectes (UIFA), the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), and the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (AAASS). Materials are largely textual, comprising of correspondence, memoranda, minutes and agendas, legal materials, clippings, publications, reference files, blueprints, and maps. Among other formats scattered throughout the collection are photographs, negatives, and artifacts such as plaques. This collection also includes detailed drawings and specifications from Milka Bliznakov's architecture practice.


This collection is arranged into five broad series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Faculty Papers, Major Projects, and Art & Artifacts. Within each of series, materials are arranged according to original order and chronology. Where original order was not clear, processing staff used the Standard Series for Architecture and Landscape Design Records as guidance.

Separated Material

Two volumes were returned to the Library of Columbia University. The following books were separated from the collection to be cataloged for the Rare Book Collection:

Watkins, R.N. The Ideal Communist City. New York: Braziller, 1968.
Lloyd, P. & Collie, K. San Francisco: a guide to recent architecture. London: Ellipsis, 1997.
Markelin, U. Profiles: Pioneering Women Architects from Finland. Museum of Finnish Architecture, 1983.
Use of Tradition in Russian & Soviet Architecture , guest edited by Cooke, C. & Kudriavtsev, A. Architectural Design journal, v. 57, no. 7/8. London: Architectural Design, 1987.
Brumfield, W.C. Reshaping Russian Architecture: Western Technology, Utopian Dreams. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Somaya, B., Mehta, U., & Hecar Foundation. An Emancipated Place: the proceedings of the conference and exhibitino held in Mumbai, February 2000. Mumbai : Hecar Foundation, 2000.
Kuperus, M., & Meinsma, H.C. Architectes. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Thoth, 1990.
Boutelle, S.H. & Morgan, J. Julia Morgan, Architect. New York : Abbeville Press, 1988.
Poem about Trees. (ISBN: 9785090245890),
The American Glossary of Architectural Terms .
Illustrated Garnsey.
La Realidad Sovietica.
Construction and Reconstruction of Towns.
Working Architectural Studios I-Design Department of the Moscow Soviet.
Working Architectural Studios II-Design Department of the Moscow Soviet.
Russian Formalism.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Container List

Series I. Personal Papers
Scope and Content

This series includes Milka Bliznakov's biographical information, personal correspondence, travel, photographs, and other personal documents. Noteworthy objects include a video cassette on Milka Bliznakov, a stock certificate, and correspondence regarding the destruction of Croatian architecture during the Yugoslav Wars.

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Series II. Professional Papers
1926, 1960-2009
Scope and Content

This series consists of correspondence, writings, presentations, associations and committees, awards, research notes, reference files, and other professional works by Milka Bliznakov. These materials reflect Milka's work as a professor and architectural historian at Virginia Tech, as well as her broader network of women in architecture through the IAWA. Other noteworthy items include Milka's portfolio of work and exhibition posters collected from events.

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Series III. Faculty Papers
Scope and Content

This series consists of faculy papers such as administrative materials, course materials, research notes, and reference files. While most of the series consists of materials from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, there are some materials from the University of Colombia. The content in this series expands from 1974-1996.

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Series IV. Major Projects, 1946-1983
Scope and Content

This series consists of Milka Bliznakov's architectural records for various residential projects. Content in this series extends from 1946-1983.

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Series V. Art & Artifacts
Scope and Content

This series consists of art and artifacts donated to the Milka Bliznakov collection. Within this series, there is a metal file cabinet containing contact information. The cabinet contains contact information of Milka's friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues. In addition, there are two large, framed awards and a t-shaped wooden utensil for drawing purposes. One of the awards is dated in 2007, but the other awards are not dated.

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Series VI. Additional Donations
This series comprises research files, correspondence, and articles sent by Dr. Milka Bliznakov to Dr. Anna P. Sokolina, IAWA honory advisor and 2017 Bliznakov Scholar. Sokolina donated these materials to the IAWA in March 2016.
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Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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