The article draws on the personal fund of Ivan P. Yuvachev, member of the revolutionary organisation Narodnaya Volia, political convict and hard labourer, who eventually became a religious writer and memorialist. His literary heritage – unlike his son’s, the absurdist poet Daniil Kharms – has long remained forgotten. Basing on the biographical method, we elucidate the difference of self-expression of a writer in his texts designed for publication and his ego-documents. Our analysis aims at showing that his memoirs and essays uncovered Yuvachev’s external biography, while his private texts – his diaries and personal correspondence – are more pertinent to reveal his creed, particularly the idealism that constituted the core of his personality. This raises the question of the writer’s preserving the documents which concerned his private life. Our hypothesis is that Yuvachev was deliverately constructing his personal archive, ready to the fact that in future his life and destiny would become known in every detail.