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Annual Report of the Slavic Section for 1929

Report for the fiscal year 1928–1929. Revised and submitted Aug 27, 1929

During the year 1928–1929 the collections of the Slavic section were increased through gift, exchange, transfer and purchase by 2839 books and 2767 pamphlets, totaling 5606 publications.

A number of interesting additions covering different fields came through exchanges from the New York Public Library. Notable among them was a facsimile edition of the Gospels entitled Evangelia slavice quibus olim in regum Francorum oleo sacro inungendorum solemnibus uti solebat ecclesia Remensis, vulgo Texte du Sacre, ad exemplaris similitudinem descripsit et edidit J. B. Silvestre. . . Evangelia latine vertit eandemque interpretationem latinam e regione adjecit B. Kopitar . . . Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1843. The original parchment manuscript of the work, in Cyrillic and Glagolitic scripts, was in part prepared by the monks of the Emmaus monastery, Prague, in 1395. Later it was taken by the Hussites to Constantinople and there purchased by Cardinal Charles of Lorraine who in 1574 presented it to the Cathedral of Rheims. As a mysterious oriental manuscript, it was for years used at the coronations of the French kings, and its Slavic origin was disclosed in France only by Peter the Great who visited Rheims in 1717.

From the same library was received an edition of another Slavonic version of the Gospels, Quattuor Evangeliorum versionis palaeoslovanicae Codex Marianus glagoliticus. Characteribus cyrillicis transcriptum edidit V. Jagic, St. Petersburg, 1883. The original Glagolitic manuscript of the work was brought to Russia from the Mount of Athos monastery of St. Mary by a Russian scholar, Victor Grigorovich, in 1846 and about forty years later published by the Russian Academy of Science in its present Cyrillic form.

Suprasl'skaia rukopis' (Codex Suprasliensis), St. Petersburg, 1904, edited by Serge Sever'ianov, represents another valuable item for the study of Slavonic philology received from the New York Public Library. Its original, a work of the X and XI century scribes, was found some hundred years ago in a Suprasl monastery (Bielostok County, the government of Grodno) by Professor Bobrovski of the University of Wilno. In course of time parts of the manuscript fell into the hands of three different owners, the Lyceum Library of Laibach, A. F. Bychkov, of St. Petersburg, and the Library of the counts Zamoiski in Warsaw. The present edition of this ancient Cyrillic monument of church Slavonic language offers it to the public for the first time in its entirety.

A valuable addition to its collections was secured by the Slavic section from the New York Public Library in Venelin's Vlakho-bolgarskiia ili dako-slavianskiia gramoty, sobrannyia i ob"iasnennyia na izhdivenii Imperatorskoi Rossiskoi Akademii (Valaco-Bulgarian or Dako-Slovenian charters collected and annotated under the suspices of the Imperial Russian Academy), St. Petersburg, 1840, — an interesting record of Bessarabian influences on the original Bulgarian language in which the documents in question had been written.

In the class of material relating to the history of Russia that was acquired through exchanges with the New York Public Library must be mentioned a set of Soloviev's Istoriia Rossii s drevnieishikh vremen (History of Russia from its earliest epoch), in 30 volumes, forming a welcome addition to the editions of this famous work already in the Library of Congress; Kolokol, — izbrannyia stati A. I. Herzena (1857–1869) (The Bell: selected articles of A. I. Herzen), — a Geneva reprint (1887) of this early tocsin of the Russian revolution sounded by a famed political theorist outside of Russia; Viestnik Narodnoi voli (Messenger of the People's will), nos. 1–4. Geneva, 1883–1885; and Viestnik russkoi revoliutsii (Messenger of the Russian revolution), nos. 1–3, Geneva, 1902–1903.

The Slavic section was fortunate in securing during the year several publications Slavianskaia kirillovskaia paleografiia (Slavonic Cyrillic palaeography), Leningrad, 1928, — an outstanding modern work on the subject; A.A. Shakimatov's Sintaksis russkoga iazyka (Syntax of the Russian language), Leningrad, 1925–1927, — a highly creditable contribution to the study of the Russian language; I.A. Lopatin's Goldy amurskie, ussuriiskie i sungariiskie (The Golds of Amur, Ussuri and Sungari), Vladivostok, 1922, — an extensive and exhaustive ethnographic, social and economic study of this tribe of the north Asiatic aborigines; and Iubileina kniga na grad Sofiia (1878–1928), Sofia, 1928, — giving a history and description of the capital of Bulgaria from the beginning of her independent existence down to the present time.

Annual purchases of the Slavic section have filled some more or less noticeable gaps in its collections and have contributed towards keeping the Russian literature portion of the section as much up to date as possible. To this class belong acquisitions of books on the fine arts in Russia. As one of the most noteworthy of them may be mentioned Igor Grabar's Istoriia russkago iskusstva, Moscow, 1910–1917. The author, himself a painter and an architect of note, has given in five large quarto volumes, profusely illustrated, a very complete history of art in Russia, having in many respects blazed the trail for his investigation and accomplished his task in a manner unprecedented in Russia. His chapters on wooden structures, both religious and civil, in the north and south of Russia, will be a revelation to many a student of art and of the national spiritual concepts of Russian masses. To Igor Grabar's editorial labor belongs a series of illustrated monographs of Russian artists — Russkie khudoshniki; sobranie illiustrirovannykh monografii, — four of which were added to the Library during the past fiscal year, representing the life work of Vrubel, Levitan, Sierov and Riabushkin.

Of other works dealing with the fine arts in Russia that were added to the Slavic section collections a special mention should be made of D. A. Rovinski's Obozrienie ikonopisaniia v Rossii do kontsa XVII vieka (Icon painting in Russia to the end of the XVIIth century), St. Petersburg, 1903; N.P. Kondakov's Ikonografiia Bogomateri (Icons of our lady), v.1–2, St. Petersburg, 1914–1915, and his Ikonografiia Gospoda Boga i Spasa nashego Iisusa Khrista (Icons of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, St. Petersburg, 1905; N.V. Pokrovski's Drevniaia Sofiiskaia riznitza v Novgorodie (The ancient Sofia sacristy in Novgorod), Moscow,1912–1913; N.N. Sobolev's Naboika v Rossii (Hand printed textiles in Russia), Moscow, 1912; V.A. Vereshchagin's Russkaia karikatura, St. Petersburg, 1911–1913; N.V. Kukolnik's Kartiny russkoi zhivopisi (Russian paintings), St. Petersburg,1846; Russkaia ikona (The Russian icon), v.1–3, St. Petersburg, 1914–, a serial edited by S. Makovskii; and Starye gody (Old times), v. 1–91, St. Petersburg, 1907–1916, — a magazine devoted to fine arts.

To the last year's list of modern Russian writers the Slavic section added during the fiscal year 1928–1929, the names of Amfiteatrov, Berezovskii, Chetverikov, Erenburg, Inber, Lukash, Melgunova-Stepanova, Mstislavskii, Muratov, Nagrodskaia, Nazhivin, Ognev, Panferov, Remizov, Roshchin, Sverchkov and Tynianov.

The Slavic section throughout the year continued to render its cooperation to other divisions of the Library, — Accessions, Catalogue, Law, Legislative reference, Map, Periodical, Smithsonian, — whenever its language and other assistance were required. An especially welcome piece of work was thus done by the section in connection with the list of Russian newspapers prepared for publication by the Periodical division of the Library.

Chief attention the section was constantly devoted in the description of its contents. This work brought an addition of 13,066 new author entries to the section's card catalogue during the past fiscal year, representing a somewhat larger number of volumes catalogued. With about 12,000 volumes catalogued during the preceding year and some 7,000 items catalogued before that, the past year's work of the Slavic section has placed at its service more than30,000 titles ready for immediate reference and use. Nearly all of the catalogued material has been classified and shelved. The rapid and timely distribution of this material on shelves has been made possible through the addition to the section's staff of a special assistant without whom the time of the regular experienced assistants would have been unavoidably taken from their work and the progress of the section's work retarded.

The class in elementary Russian, organized by the assistant in charge of the Slavic section in the early part of 1928, was continued during the fiscal year 1928–1929.

Respectfully submitted
Assistant in charge, Slavic section

July 18, 1929


Report on needs

In the course of the fiscal year 1928–1929 a number of needs became felt in the Slavic section. Chief among them were those of binding and dusting the books and of painting the quarters occupied by the Yudin Collection.

Nearly all publications in Russian and other Slavic languages come to the Library in paper covers owing to the long established continental European practice of leaving the matter of binding to purchasers of books. In application to the Slavic section this practice caused last year, as it did in former years, a delay in timely use of books and an undesirable wear and tear of them in handling due to the fact that the Library bindery finds it impossible to accept as a rule more than fifty volumes a month. Out of the total of more than 5,000 new accessions only about 700 volumes were bound during the past fiscal year. In order to prevent inconvenience to the section's patrons and for purposes of general orderliness, the monthly quota for the Slavic section should be doubled, if not trebled or quadrupled.

Assistants of the Slavic section, handling thousands of books during the year have experienced much inconvenience and discomfort from dust accumulations on books, have had to give their costly time to removing it when especially offensive, and have suffered from inhaling it. These great accumulations of dust are due to the fact that during the past two years, and apparently for many years before, the Slavic section collections were not properly and sufficiently dusted. In order to prevent the ill effects from dust on books, on their users and on the staff, it is recommended that the lower floor of the Slavic section be dusted at least twice a year and the upper floor at least once a year.

The long years during which the Slavic section occupied its quarters begin to tell on their appearance. A new coat of paint would add much to the section in looks and improve its lighting, especially when natural light is at a premium. An application of a coat of paint to the walls and the ceiling of the section is therefore respectfully recommended.

Respectfully submitted.
Alexis V. Babine,
Assistant in Charge, Slavic Section

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