Main content

Vladimir B. Grinioff papers on Tale of a Whistling Shrimp


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Vladimir B. Grinioff was born on November 25, 1911 in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) Russia, the son of Boris (born 1887) and Olga (born 1890) Grinioff. The family immigrated to the United States in 1917 and settled in the Washington, DC area. Grinioff attended Western High School where he appears to have been very active, participating in the school newspaper, the Breeze, the chess club, and the fencing club; playing the piano; and winning awards for oratorial contests. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1933; at American University, graduating with the Masters of Arts degree in 1940 and writing his thesis on "Ivan Pososhkov and his 'Book on Poverty and Wealth:' Economic Opinions of a Russian Merchant of the Reign of Peter the Great;" and Catholic University.

In 1940, Grinioff worked as an assistant statistician for the Federal Reserve Board and in 1946, he was working for the State Department in the Economic Section of the Division of Research for Europe. At the time of his engagement to Kathryn M. Murphy, an archivist at the National Archives, (after 1957), he was "a consultant on Russian-American affairs for the United States" ("Archivist to Marry" article).

In 1957, Grinioff published Tale of a Whistling Shrimp which was later titled The Banker's Daughter. This book is a satirical historical fiction detailing life under Communism in Russia. It follows the tale of a banker who is forced to cover his tracks and clear his family's name after his daughter makes socially dangerous statements about the Communist Party.

Grinioff died on December 4, 2001.

Works Referenced:

"Archivist to Marry," article from unidentified publication, undated.

United States Department of State. Register of the Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1947.

This collection contains the original manuscripts, a revised manuscript for the copy editor, galley proofs, and drafts of cover art for Vladimir B. Grinioff's Tale of a Whistling Shrimp. The material dates between 1956 and 1957.

According to Grinioff's letter at the time of gifting the collection, he enjoyed working with his editor Mrs. Beulah Harris, stating that "a good editor is an author's best friend." Grinioff describes the evolution of this book:

After some arguing back and forth the manuscript was altered and retyped for the copy editor ... At this point, the author thinks he is all done and the manuscript is perfect. Then he sees the galleys and faints ... the paragraphs seem too long or too short. The transitions are terrible. The punctuation all wrong. The eye does not slide along the lines, but bounces along like a car with a flat tire -- more revisions.

Grinioff's original manuscript is annotated largely in pencil, in what appears to be two separate hands (one of which is Beulah Harris's) with typed notes occasionally suggesting edits. The revised manuscript for the copy editor is heavily corrected--although these corrections appear to be more technical in nature, relating largely to spelling and punctuation. The galley proofs (two versions) are again corrected. The cover art drafts consist of the cover text and design adhered to translucent paper. These manuscripts provide insight into the stages of creation of this book.

Gift of Vladimir B. Grinioff, 1961.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge
Finding Aid Date
2017 April 6
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Cover art drafts, 1957.
Box 1 Folder 1
Galley proofs (two edited versions), 1957.
Box 1 Folder 2-3
Original manuscript, 1956.
Box 1 Folder 4-7
Revised manuscript, 1957.
Box 1 Folder 8-12

Print, Suggest