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Annual Report of the Slavic Section for 1924

Report by P. A. Speek, in charge, for the year ending June 30, 1924.

Slavica: Accessions. The number of books in the Slavic Section has been increased by about 1000 volumes by purchase and gifts, while a large order for publications from Russia, embracing about 1000 volumes, 89 of these being periodicals, is pending. Among the material received from Russia informative publications, especially of a political and historical character, predominate. Among the gifts, representing 50 titles, the most noteworthy are: sets of the Russian Orthodox American Messenger, in Russian, a bi-monthly, for 1909, 1922, and 1923, containing articles on the Russian immigrants here and especially on the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada, and presented to the Library by Archpriest Leonid J. Turkevich — this publication has been issued for 25 years; the Library has already collected complete sets for 12 years, while a country-wide search is being made for the volumes for the remaining 13 years; works in 16 titles on the languages of the aboriginal peoples in Alaska and in Northern Siberia by Dr. Waldemar Jochelson of the American Museum of Natural History, presented to the Library by the author; the publications issued by the Russian People's University in New York, in 10 titles, presented by Professor S.A. Vassiliev; and the Moscow Isvestiia and Ekonomicheskaia Zhizn' for 1922 and 1923 presented by the Products Exchange Corporation in New York.

The modern Slavica, sought by the Section, is of four distinct groups: 1) Publications issued in Russia during the war and revolutions to date, Soviet publications at present predominating. These publications are difficult to get. For instance, an inquiry was made in Moscow, through a book dealer in New York, in regard to 745 titles in a specially prepared list. The answer was that only 228 titles, which is only about 1/4 of our inquiry list, are available in Moscow; 2) Russian publications issued outside of Russia, in most cases by Russian political refugees — opponents of the Communists. These publications are easily available through Russian book stores in New York, Berlin, and other centers of the Russian emigres and the Library is in possession of the most important publications of this group: 3) Russian publications issued in the United States and Canada. Although these publication belong to the group last quoted, yet owing to their special importance to our Library, they might be put into a separate group. The Section has adopted a policy of collecting these publications in as great numbers as possible in order to possess informative sources for the history of Russian immigrants in America. A beginning in this direction was made by the Section during the year, especially in connection with the bibliographical work on Russian literature on Alaska in the Library made by Mr. M. Z. Vinokouroff, assistant, who has already collected bibliographical information in regard to about 2,000 titles. 4) Slavic publications issued in the Slavic countries outside of Russia — in Finland, Czecho-Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Although exchange of official publications with these countries was established years ago, the Library receives publications from these countries rather irregularly as yet. The same is true in regard to representative private publications from these countries.

Attempts have been made to secure bibliographical information in regard to the literature of non-Slavic peoples and countries in the Union of the Soviet Republics, for instance, Yakut, Tartar, and Kirghiz publications but so far without success. The Section has only grammars, dictionaries, and certain amount of folklore publications in Russian in regard to the language and literary expressions of these peoples. In the coming year these attempts will be renewed.

Technical work. During the year over 1200 volumes have been bound and about 600 volumes have been prepared and are waiting for binding. The rough classification has been continued. The greatest need of the Section is technical work — detailed classification and cataloging, and also preparation of newspapers for at least a temporary binding. This work is now going on in the Section, although slowly owing to the lack of sufficient number of workers. All newspapers in the original Yudin Collection and the newspapers acquired during the last two or three years need to be bound as soon as possible, because of the rapid deterioration of the poor paper of which these newspapers are made, especially during the war and revolutions.

Demands upon the Section. The interest of readers in Russian scientific investigations, research, and discoveries was pronounced during this year also. Aside from a number of the Russian specialists who have immigrated to this country, many of the native American students of Russian affairs, who have mastered Russian so for that they can read Russian material in their specific field quite freely, have sought and received assistance of the Section. In much the same way the executive departments, especially the Departments of State, Agriculture, and Commerce, have been assisted, while translation of text and letters was made for the members of Congress, and in a number of cases for the readers in the Library.

The other divisions of the Library, especially the Music and Accession Divisions, have been continuously assisted by the Section in the matters of Slavic publications.

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  February 16, 2017
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