Annual Report of the
Division of Slavic Literature for 1930
(From the report of the chief, Mr. Rodionoff)
Received Jul 22, 1930
During the year 1929–1930 the collections of the Slavic Division were increased through purchase, exchange, and transfer by 2,006 books and 4,479 pamphlets, totaling 6,485 publications.
Annual purchases of books for the Slavic Division were based on the same idea which was predominant in the preceding years, i.e., to answer a demand on the part of the users of the Slavic Division for contemporary literature, especially in the classes of belles-lettres, fine arts, and history.
Among the new acquisitions may be mentioned the works of Aldanov, Aronson, Briusov, M. A. Bulgakov, Bunin, Chirikov, Doroshevich, Dostoevskii, Esenin, Grevs, Gurko, Khodasevich, K. N. Leont'ev, Mintslov, Muratov, Oertel, Osorgin, Polner, Rozanov, Shestov, Shmelev, Shul'gin, Slezkin, Count V. Sollogub, Stanislavskii, Princess Tenisheva, Tyrkova-Williams, Zaitsev, and Zoshchenko.
In an endeavor to collect all works of Rozanov, "the greatest writer of his generation," as Prince D. Mirsky calls him (Cf. Contemporary Russian Literature by Prince D. Mirsky, New York, 1926, p. 172), the Slavic Division purchased two books of Rozanov, namely, Apokalipsis nashego vremeni (The Apocalypse of Our Time) in its original, very rare edition of 1917, and Opavshie list'ia, t.2 (Fallen Leaves, v.2) in its recent reprint (The Division already was in the possession of the first volume of this remarkable work).
In the subclass of the history of Russian literature as noteworthy acquisitions may be mentioned: Professor I. M. Grevs' extensive and profound study of I.S. Turgenev's relations to Madame Viardot-Garcia, under the title of: Istoriia odnoi liubvi (The History of a Love), Moscow, 1928; T. Polner's book of the same character on Count Leo N. Tolstoi, under the title of: Lev tolstoi i ego zhena. Istoriia odnoi liubvi (Leo Tolstoi and His Wife. The History of a Love), Paris, 1928.
Probably the success of Emil Ludwig's (the well-known German biographer of famous personages) literary biographies, i.e. biographies in the form of a novel, prompted Russian writers to undertake the publications of a series of similar biographies of some famous Russian men. To this class belongs the biography of the Russian poet A. S. Pushkin (1799–1837) written by Mrs. A. Tyrkova-Williams, under the title of: Zhizn' Pushkina (The Life of Pushkin), Paris, 1929. The Slavic Division acquired the book of which only the first volume, covering the life of the poet to 1824, has appeared.
Another important recent contribution to the studies on Pushkin is the book of the well-known Russian poet V. Briusov, under the title of: Moi Pushkin (My Pushkin), Moscow, 1929. This book is also among the new acquisitions of the Slavic Division.
A literary biography of another famous Russian poet, G. R. Derzhavin, written by V. Khodasevich, appeared recently in the journal Sovremenyia zapiski (Contemporary Annals), published in Paris, France. The Slavic Division, being a regular subscriber of the said journal, has received this remarkable work of V. Khodasevich who himself is a well-known Russian poet and critic.
A Russian edition of the reminiscences of K. Stanislavskii, the Russian dramatic actor and director of the Moscow Art Theatre, under the title of: Moia zhizn' v iskusstve (My Life in Art), Leningrad, 1928, also may be noted among the new acquisitions of the Slavic Division. The American edition of the book in English already has been in the possession of the Library for some time.
The most interesting works dealing with the fine arts in Russia that were added to the Slavic collections during the year are: Russkie goroda razsadniki izkussive" (Russian Towns as Nurseries of Art), v. 1, by B. von Ebing, edited by Igor Grabar; P. Muratov's Drevne-Russkaia ikonopis' v sobranii I. S. Ostroukhova (Ancient Russian Icon Paintings in the Collection of I. S. Ostroukhov), Moscow, 1914; Professor N. P. Kondakov's and Count I.. Tolstoi's Russkiia drevnosti v pamiatnikakh izkusstva (Russian Antiquities in the Works of Art), vls. 1–5, St. Petersburg, 1889–1899; Princess N. K. Tenishev's Emal' i inkrustatsiia (Enamel and Incrustation), Prague, 1930.
Pursuing the collection of the best books on famous Russian artists the Slavic Division purchased two monographs on A. I. Kuindzhi and I. E. Riepin. The book on A. I. Kuindzhi written by M. P. Neviedomskii (with a supplementary contribution by I. N. Riepin) and published in St. Petersburg, 1913, is a de luxe edition with many reproductions in colors of Kuindzhi's paintings. The book on I. E.. Riepin by S. Ernst, published in Leningrad, 1929, gives a very precise account of Riepin's life, but without reproductions of his works. These two stories of poor boys of a very humble origin struggling their way to the heights of great geniuses are as fascinating as fairy tales.
Among the year's acquisitions of the Slavic Division in the class of history the recent work of the well-known Russian historian P. N. Miliukov, Rossiia na perelomie (Russia in the Crisis), vls. 1–2, Paris, 1927, may be noted. The work deals with the bolshevist period of the Russian revolution. The Library had already secured the German translation of the book.
The international book exchange continued to supply the Slavic Division during the year with many important publications. The publications received by the Division from this source are of all kinds (encyclopedias, monographs, periodicals, pamphlets, etc.), and belong to all branches of the Library's classification. As noteworthy acquisitions may be mentioned almost all important Russian journals in history, economics, and political science, and three Russian encyclopedias.
Transfer of Russian publications from the Libraries of the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and from the Semitic Division of the Library of Congress also supplied the Slavic Division during the year with a number of books, pamphlets, and old periodicals.
Members of Congress, Executive Departments of the Government, other
Divisions of the Library, research workers, and the general public, increased their
demands for the Slavic Division's reference service during the year, and inquirers
several times expressed their appreciation therefor. Although these demands were
met within certain limits based on the Library's practice in reference service, this
function of the Slavic Division steadily added to the labors of the Division, whose
principal task is the description of its contents. The increased demand for the
Division's reference work is partly due, first, to the lack of Russian employees in
other divisions of the Library to which some of the Slavic Division's reference work
properly belongs, and, in the second place, to the growing interest of America in
Russian affairs and problems.
During the year 9,845 new author-entries were added to the card catalogue of the
Division, representing a much larger number of volumes catalogued; and about 4,000
titles belonging mostly to the class of Russian belles-lettres were classified.