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Annual Report of the
Division of Slavic Literature for 1933

(From the report of the chief, Mr. N. R. Rodionoff)

Jul 31, 1933
Secretary's Office

The division has passed through one of the difficult years of its existence, when the growing interest of the public to Russia's problems and affairs created an increased demand for its reference service which had been considerably handicapped by a temporary decrease of the shelving and working space, as well as by a great reduction in the appropriations for the purchase of new Slavic material.


Principles. The principle of "active demand" for the books from the readers, being quite popular with libraries as a guide for the new acquisitions, cannot serve the division as a basis for its proper development, because the dealers, in nine cases out of ten, would not be able to supply us with the items which are not in the market, and which would necessitate a special search for them among private owners. The market in Russian books, both out of print and new, is very irregular, the stocks available for purchase are in quick and constant change, and the delayed orders very often do not deliver even recently published Russian books. In the Union of S. S. Republics it is now almost an unavoidable necessity to subscribe for books before their publication, if one would wish to acquire them.

Moreover, the usual demands come to the division not for the specified books, but for our suggestions of the sources pertaining to some special topic in which an inquirer happens to be interested. The variety of these topics, presented to the division by its users, is great, and the scope of our assistance expected by them is usually exaggerated. So we have to develop the division not by the items specified occasionally by the readers, but by the classes and categories of books which, being available in the market, answer our needs in the successful reference service.

Actual acquisitions. During the year 1932–33 the collections of the division were increased through purchase, exchange, transfer, and gifts by 866 books and 1,127 pamphlets, totaling 1,993 publications.

A few acquisitions, mostly rare and out of print Russian books, divided into groups as indicated, are worthy of special mention as follows:


  •  Druzhinin, V. G. Pisaniia russkikh staroobriadtsev (Writings of the Russian "Old Believers"). St. Petersburg, Imp. Arkheograficheskaia kommissiia, 1912.
  •  Matveev, Z. N. Chto chitat' o Dal'nevostochnoi oblasti (What to read on the Far-Eastern region). Vladivostok, 1925.
  •  Polienov, D. Bibliograficheskoe obozrienie russkikh lietopisei (A bibliographical review of the Russian chronicles). St. Petersburg, 1850.
  •  Skachkov, P. E. Bibliografiia Kitaia. Sistematioheskii ukazatel' knig i zhurnal'nykh statei o Kitae na russkom iazyke. 1730–1930 (A bibliography on China. A systematic index of books and magazine articles on China published in the Russian language in 1730–1930). Moscow, 1932. This is an outstanding work, covering the period of 200 years and presenting a complete bibliography on the subject in the Russian language for 1730–1930.
  •  Voznesenskii, S. Russkaia literatura o slavianstvie. Opyt bibliograficheskago ukazatelia (Russian literature on the Slavs. An experimental bibliographical index). Petrograd, 1915.

Missing parts of incomplete sets

The division was successful in acquiring very valuable documental material pertaining to Russia's history and economy, grouped in this category for report only. The securing of missing parts of our serial publications is a difficult and important task in the proper development of the division.

  •  Imp. Odesskoe obshchestvo istorii i drevnostei. Zapiski... (Imperial Odessa society of history and antiquities. Annals...). Volumes 1, and 23–30. Odessa, 1840–1912.
  •  Russia. Arkheograficheskaia kommissiia. Akty otnosiashchiesia k istorii Iuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rossii (Archeographic commission. Documents relating to the history of Southern and Western Russia). Volumes 6–9, and 11–15. St. Petersburg, 1869–1892. These volumes complete the division's set.
  •  Russia. Arkheograficheskaia kommissiia. Lietopis' zaniatii... (Archeographic commission. Annals of activities...). Volumes 13–19, 21–15, and 27–33. St Petersburg 1906–1927. Many outstanding researches in the history of Russia are published in this serial.
  •  Russia. Glavnyi shtab. Voenno-uchennyi komitet. Sbornik geograficheskikh, topograficheskikh i statisticheskikh materialov po Azii. (Chief military staff. Committee on military science. Collection of geographical, topographical, and statistical material on Asia). Issues 39–74, 76–78, 80, 83, and 86. St. Petersburg, 1890–1913. At head of titles: "Sekretno" (Secretly). This is a rare collection of the articles on Russia's neighboring states, regions, and provinces in Asia, written mostly by Russian intelligence officers of the Chief military staff as official reports on their various missions in those countries. For the students of Russian interests in Asia the publication is invaluable. The whole set should have 87 issues, of which the division still lacks 7.
  •  Russia. Morskoe ministerstvo. Materialy dlia istorii russkago flota (Ministry of the Navy. Material for the history of the Russian Navy). Volumes 16–17. St. Petersburg, 1902–04. These volumes complete the division's set. The last volume contains documents pertaining to the reorganization of the Russian Navy under Emperor Alexander I.
  •  Russia. Osoboe sovieshchanie o nuzhdakh sel'skokhoziaistvennoi promyshlennosti, Trudy miestnyky komitetov (Special conference on the needs of agriculture. Works of the local committees). Volumes 1–59. St. Petersburg, 1904–05. This conference (January 22, 1902, – March 30, 1905, old style), organized and presided by one of the most eminent Russian statesmen of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, namely Count S. J. Witte, holds an important place in the agricultural history of Russia. Count Witte, describing the work of the conference in his "Memoirs" (an English translation of which was published in this country in 1921), pointed out the significance of a vast contribution to Russian economic literature left by the said conference in "The Works of the local committees" and in the well-digested systematic material relating to various sides of Russia's economic life.

The division has already had the digested systematic material published by the conference, but lacked these newly acquired 59 volumes of "The Works of the local committees."

Philosophy and religion

  •  "Dieianiia sviatykh apostel spisana sviatym apostolom i evangelistom Lukoiu" (The Acts of the Holy Apostles as recorded by the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke). Moscow, 1564. This folio, very skillfully executed and bound in contemporary full leather binding, with hand tooling, is in the Church-Slavonic, and, besides The Acts, contains the Epistles of St. James, St. Peter, St. John, and St. Paul, and the famous colophon which should be considered as the only authentic document pertaining to the actual beginning of Russian printing. The book has the woodcut frontispiece, representing St. Luke in the half-Gothic, half-Baroque frame, and 44 beautiful ornaments (woodcuts). All the titles and many capitals are printed in vermilion. It comprises 6 unnumbered and 261 numbered leaves, each full page having 25 lines.

    Printing begin in Russia in the sixteenth century, and among the early printed Russian books "The Acts of the Apostles" of 1564 is the first dated and the first signed by the official printers, the deacon Ivan Feodorov and Peter Timofeev from Mstislav, appointed to their positions by the famous Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, by whose initiative and order "The Tsar's Printing Court" was built in Moscow for the purpose of publishing religious books. "The Acts" was the first book printed in the Court. Feodorov and Timofeev succeeded in printing another book in the Court, namely "Chasovnik" (Horologion) in two editions, both of 1565, but not long after the publication of this book "The Tsar's Printing Court" was set on fire, and the printing press was partly destroyed by the reactionary element of Moscow's population. The printers themselves were compelled to flee abroad.

    The American reader may find an account of Feodorov's and Timofeev's achievements, both in Russia and abroad, in the article by E. V. Prostov, in The Library Quarterly, 1931, no. 3, under the title of: "Origins of Russian Printing." The above-mentioned colophon is cited in full by the author of the article in his own splendid English translation.

  •   Istoriia 'Pomorskikh otvietov'. Moscow, 1911.
    This is a history of the famous work by [the] Denisov brothers, a manuscript of which was purchased for the division last year and was described in the Annual Report for 1932 on page 224. The book is a gift of Mr. Israel Perlstein of New York City who sold us the MS, and contains, besides a history of the work, its first and only printed edition.


  •  Bielokurov, S. A. Snosheniia Rossii s Kavkazom. 1578–1613 g.g. (Relations of Russia with the Caucasus. 1578–1613). Moscow, 1889. This is a collection of historical documents.
  •  Priesniakov, A. E. Kniazhoe pravo v drevnei Rusi (The rights of the sovereign princes in ancient Russia). St. Petersburg, 1909.
  •  Seredonin, S. M. Istoricheskaia geografiia (A historical geography). Petrograd, Imp. Arkheograficheskii institut, 1916.
  •  Spiridovich, A. I. Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v Rossii (The revolutionary movement in Russia). Volumes 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1914–16. This work is based on the official records of the Corps of political police, of which the author was the chief.


As early as 1917 the development of this class of Slavic publications was officially urged (cf. the Report of the Librarian of Congress... for the year ending June 30, 1917, page 9). Since that time various obstacles to the proper development of the division in general and its class of Economics in particular have constantly arisen either outside, or inside the Library, and the task of securing the best Slavic, and especially Russian, economic literature, both out of print and new, still remains one of the most difficult for the division, while at the same time the most important. The irregularities of the market in these publications and the lack of money are the most powerful factors standing against our efforts to acquire the best Russian economic literature.

Nevertheless the division succeeded in acquiring a few important publications in this class during the year, and some of them, besides the publications of "The Special conference on the needs of agriculture," described above, deserve a special mention as follows:

  •  Chechulin, N. D. Ocherki po istorii russkikh finansov v tsarstvonanie Ekateriny II (Outlines of the history of Russian finance in the reign of Catharine II). St. Petersburg, 1906.
  •  Got'e, Iu. V. Ocherk istorii zemlevladieniia v Rossii v 18 viekie (An outline of the history of land-tenure in Russia in the eighteenth century). Sergiev Posad, 1915.
  •  Kablukov, N. Ob usloviiakh razvitiia krest'ianskago khoziaistva v Rossii (About the conditions of the development of the peasant husbandry in Russia). Moscow, 1899.
  •  Kulisher, I. M. Ocherki iz istorii form promyshlennosti v Zapadnoi Evropie s 13 po 18 st. (Outlines of the history of the forms of industries in Western Europe from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century). St. Petersburg, 1906.
  •  Liashchenko, P. I. Zernovoe khoziaistvo i khliebotorgovyia otnosheniia Rossii i Germanii (Grain economy of Russia and Germany and grain commerce between them). Petrograd, 1915.
  •  Pecherin, Ia. I. Istoricheskii obzor rospisei gosudarstvennykh dokhodov i raskhodov s 1803 po 1864 god vkliuchitel'no (A historical review of the state budgets from 1803 to 1864 inclusive). In two volumes. St. Petersburg, 1896–98. This publication, based on the official material of the Russian Ministry of Finance, refers to the state budgets of Russia only.
  •  Pogrebetskii, A. I. Denezhnoe obrashchenie i finansy Kitaia (Money circulation and finance of China). Harbin, 1929.
  •  Setnitskii, N. A. Soevye boby na mirovom rynke (Soya beans in the world market). Harbin, 1930.
  •  Spravochnik po S. Man'chzhurii i K. V. Zh. D. (Directory of Northern Manchuria and the Chinese Eastern railway). Harbin, 1927.

Fine arts

  •  Uspenskii, A. I. Tsarskie ikonopistsy i zhivopistsy XVII v. Slovar' (Tsars' icon-painters and artists of the seventeenth century. A dictionary). Volumes 1–4, Moscow, 1910–16. This publication of the Moscow Archeological Institute has many fine reproductions of the old Russian icons, and all available data on the artists and their works are given with the utmost exactness in it.

Belles-lettres and history of literature

Separate works of the following Russian authors were acquired during the year in this group:

Buchinskaia (Teffi, pseud.), Bugaev (Andrei Bielyi, pseud.), Doroshevich, Erenburg, Fedin, Gornyi, Gumilev, Krasnov, Krymov, Kuprin, Merezhkovskaia (Zinaida Gippius), Merezhkovskii, Nabokov (Sirin, pseud.), Sergieev-TSenskii, Shmelev, and Sholokhov.


During the year 4,285 new author and title entries, including 761 special card entries for newspapers and periodicals, were added to the card catalogue of the division, and 4,265 titles were classified. About 7,500 numbers and issues of newspapers and periodicals were checked on the above-mentioned 761 new cards, and about 1,750 numbers and issues were checked on the card prepared previously. About 7,000 volumes were perforated, labeled, and book-plated, and 1,017 volumes were marked with call numbers on book-plates and labels.

The division received and properly distributed during the year 14,000 cards for the Union Catalogue of Slavic publications in American libraries.

1,100 volumes were prepared for binding and sent to the bindery by the division during the year.

The division's reference service continued to be one of its important functions, for the great majority of its users do not specify the books in their requests, but usually ask us for bibliographical information on certain topics, and expect us not to limit our assistance to the division's and the Library's of Congress holdings, nor to the publications in Slavic languages only.

To our visitors we render this service, of course, orally, giving them suggestions and material for the compilation of the titles and the reference pertaining to their particular subjects. In our answers to correspondents, when their inquiries are not sufficiently precise, we avoid the compilation of long lists of references, giving only a few most important items.

From many topics on which the division's reference service was sought during the year the following few may illustrate their great variety and the predominant interest of our readers in Russia's past as well as her present:

  •  Agricultural history of Russia.
  •  Agrarian socialism in Russia.
  •  Economic conditions in the Union of S. S. Republics (various fields: agriculture, commerce, transportation, labor, food supply, etc.)
  •  The five-year plan.
  •  Russian explorers of Asia and their books.
  •  Russian expansion on the Pacific.
  •  Russia's state debts.
  •  The status of labor in Russia prior to 1917.
  •  The Russian icons and icon-painting.
  •  The Russian ballet.
  •  The Russian expansion and policies in Central Asia.
  •  F. Dzerzhinskii, the founder and organizer of the political police in the Union of S.S. Republics.
  •  Catherine I, Empress of Russia. Her origin and biography.
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