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Annual Report of the Slavic Division for 1941

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

The Slavic Division is a library unit for collecting and administering Slavic books for reference service, without a strictly defined scope of their classes. The fact that many classes and fields were well represented in the Division's nucleus, the Yudin Collection of Russian books acquired by the Library in 1907 1, served, to some extent, as an impetus for the subsequent development of the said collections in the same classes and fields of Russian books. Although theoretically all the subjects in all the Slavic languages and all the Slavica in other languages are conceivable in a scope of Slavic collections, the Slavic Division, in its actual efforts for expansion, has always been handicapped by several factors, as the lack of funds for purchase of books, the inadequateness of its staff for the multiplicity of its functions, the limited shelving space, etc. Short-handed, short-spaced and short-moneyed, the Division could not even dream of ambitious plans for its development because it would be a case of building castles in the air.

The deficiencies of the equipment, therefore, considerably limited the scope of the classes and fields which were deemed such important in the Division's holdings as to warrant their further development though on a small scale. They are Philosophy and Religion, History and Auxiliary Sciences, Social and Political Sciences, Fine Arts, Belles-Lettres and Bibliography — all, or almost all, in Russian. The Russian holdings of the Division in other classes and fields have been increased to a lesser extent.

Several other important and large Slavic holdings of the Library, not limited to the Russian language alone, are either administered by its other special divisions (as, Documents, Law, Manuscripts, Maps, Music, Periodicals, Rare Book Room, Smithsonian), or are classified in its General Classification which is under the administration of the Reading Rooms.

One might naturally ask, why, then, the Library of Congress should maintain special division to administer its books in some specified language, as Chinese, Japanese, Semitic and Slavic, and does not distribute the said books throughout its General Classification by the subjects? This might be explained, probably satisfactorily, that the main objective of library work is a comprehensive reference service, and the requirements of such service necessitate the subdivision of a large central library into several practical operating reference units, the more, the better, along with technical processing units. It might also be added that the proper coordination and balance between reference and processing units should be regarded as another important prerequisite of a better and efficient reference service.

Although the Slavic Division is a reference library unit, it would lack one of some important prerequisites for a satisfactory reference service — the proper care and arrangement of its collections and catalogs — if it were not for the constant and persistent technical processing, however simplified, of its books by its small staff, to keep them in library-like, doing away with their store-like, condition. For, the Processing Department still does not have a sufficient staff to process the Slavic Division's books of which hardly more than 1,000 titles were catalogued by the Catalog Division during the last four years and cards were printed for not more than 800 of them.

The staff of the Slavic Division, however, is also, and always has been, inadequate to the size of its collections and their annual increases, as well as to the multiplicity of its functions which combine the processing work with reference and reading room service. The Division's already large stock of unrecorded and poorly arranged materials is, therefore, increasing, and only the sight memories of the members of its staff make the said stock fairly serviceable and useable.


During the fiscal year of 1940–1941 the Slavic Division issued about 11,000 items (books, periodicals and newspapers) to readers for use on the premises of the Library (not only on the premises of the Division) and about 600 items - for outside use, including the materials lent to other libraries through the inter-library loan system .2

The Slavic Division has no study rooms. Occupants of individual desks and study rooms elsewhere in L. C. borrow the Division's books which are entered above in the statistics of the materials issued for use on the premises of the Library.

The Union Lists, the Union and other catalogs were used extensively by the staff. Readers seldom consult them, not having sufficient time to get acquainted with their use.

A considerable number of reference inquiries were answered by the Division during the year by correspondence, but the exact statistics of them were not computed. It would be safe to assume, however, that, including the letters referred from other divisions — in these cases the Slavic Division furnishes but either the materials, or the information for replies — about 800 inquiries were answered by the Division during the year through correspondence. Not having a typist on its staff, nor the time and the place to maintain a filing system, the Division is compelled to reduce its correspondence to an unavoidable minimum. Moreover, the same policy is dictated by the increased administrative correspondence, i.e. replies to, and comments on, numerous administrative memoranda and orders, and by a tremendous amount of extra work required by various projects.

For the same reasons there was no time to compile any bibliographies. In fact, there has never been time for the Division to compile bibliographies, or to undertake some useful and serious research, because it has long been, or rather always, badly under-staffed for the multiplicity of its functions and for the proper handling of the materials accumulated on its shelves. The yearly increases of the Division's holdings, without corresponding increases of its personnel, only aggravate the problem of maintaining a library in the Division and not merely a stock room.

From the numerous administrative reports and memoranda prepared by the Chief of the Slavic Division, but not by his assistants, during the year the following may be mentioned as for the time (usually, it was overtime, i.e. the time beyond the 39 hour working week) they have consumed and for the importance of the matters they have referred to:

  (1) My plans of books purchases for the Slavic Division during the fiscal year of 1940–1941 and the minimum cost of effecting them — dated August 13, 1940, and addressed to Mr. David C. Mearns, for the Reference Department.

  (2) The Annual Report for the fiscal year of 1939–1940, compiled by the first week of September, 1940, and turned over to the Librarian's Office.

  (3) The materials in the Slavic Division which are printed on disintegrated paper — dated September 12, 1940, and addressed to Mr. Alvin W. Kremer, the Keeper of the Collections.

  (4) Memorandum to the Librarian, dated September 21, 1940, in reply to Special Memorandum No. 15.

  (5) Photographic prints and negatives which are in the care of the Slavic Division — dated September 27, 1940, and addressed to Mr. Verner W. Clapp, the Administrative Assistant to the Librarian.

  (6) Collections of the Slavic Division — dated September 30, 1940, and addressed to Dr. Jerrold Orne, Fellow of the Library of Congress.

  (7) The cataloged, classified and otherwise recorded materials in the Slavic Division — dated October 14, 1940, and addressed to the Librarian.

  (8) The services rendered by the Slavic Division to the public — dated November 4, 1940, and addressed to Dr. R. D. Jameson, the Administrator of Consultant Service.

  (9) Memorandum to the Librarian, dated January 8, 1941, in reply to Special (confidential) Memorandum No. 19.

  (10) The project of the reorganization of the Slavic Division as set forth in the two memoranda of Mr. F. Whitfield, Fellow of L.C., dated January 17 and 24, 1941, and the memorandum of Mr. David C. Mearns, Superintendent of the Reading Rooms, dated January 25, 1941 — all the three memoranda addressed to the Chief Assistant Librarian. My memorandum commenting on this project was dated February 25, 1941, and addressed to the Chief Assistant Librarian.

  (11) Plan for removing irreplaceable materials — Memorandum to the Librarian, dated March 17, 1941.

  (12) Progress of defense work in the Slavic Division — Memorandum, dated March 28, 1941, and addressed to Dr. J. Orne, Special Assistant to the Librarian.

  (13) The final report on the Defense Project as executed in the Slavic Division, dated April 23, 1941, and addressed to Dr. J. Orne, Special Assistant to the Librarian.

  (14) Memorandum to the Librarian, dated May 2, 1941, in reply to Special Memorandum No. 39.

  (15) Memorandum to the Chief Assistant Librarian, dated June 6, 1941, on the Instructions of the Librarian about Office and Inter-Office paper work.

  (16) Memorandum to the Chief Assistant Librarian, dated June 8, 1941, on the Proposed Table of Contents for Staff Manual.

  (17) Revised Draft of a Statement on the Slavic Division to be included in the third edition, 1940, of American Universities and Colleges — dated June 9, 1941, and addressed to Mr. David C. Mearns, the Superintendent of the Reading Rooms, for the Reference Department.

  (18) The services performed by the Slavic Division during the month of May, 1941, — dated June 15, 1941, and addressed to the Chief Assistant Librarian.

  (19) Ditto — for June, 1941, compiled June 30, but typed and dated July 2, 1941.

Changes or revisions of policy, new procedures etc.

There were no changes or revisions of policies, no new procedures, routines etc. in the Slavic Division during the year because the Division is badly under-staffed and physically unable to effect any substantial changes either in its services or in the maintainance of its collections. The Chief of the Division strongly feels that 48 days of his own time devoted to the official business during the year and only 14 days of the annual leave used by him by bits can serve as a sufficient evidence thereof.

Special Projects

The three projects were carried out in the Division during the year, all adding a tremendous amount of extra work to the regular routine duties of the members of its staff; the projects are: (1) The continuation of the work for the second edition of the Union List of Serials referred to in the Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1940, p. 215; (2) the Emergency Preservation Project; and (3) the Project of Messrs. Whitfield and Yakobson, Fellows of the Library, of removing from the Slavic Division the majority of its collections to other divisions and of bringing afterwards some Slavica from other divisions to the Slavic Division.

The Union List of Serials.

The compiling of up-to-date information [on] the Slavic Division's serials and periodicals, which are to be recorded in the second edition of the Union List of Serials, was continued under the same heavy pressure of time limits set by its Editors which was characteristic in carrying out this project during the preceding year. Although the work for the greater part of the Division's alphabet of the titles of periodicals and serials was completed during the year, by inserting the revised entries for over 2,000 titles (which represent about 35,000 issues) in the Checking Edition of the Union List, the last eight characters of the said alphabet are to be wrought off during the current fiscal year.

The work on this project should of course be regarded not only as a special service rendered by the Division to the public, but also as an important enlargement of its Apparatus, the project being a big bibliographical enterprise and a development of one of the Division's special catalogs at the same time. The major work on this project was done by Mr. W. L. Joukowsky, of the Slavic Divison's staff.

The Emergency Preservation Project.

This project consisted of the selection, marking and listing of the books in the Division which are to be removed to storing shelters in case of emergency. Over 3,000 volumes have been selected from various classes, mostly for their reference value, aiming at the preservation of a little Russian workable reference library for the serious research. The collection thus selected was recorded by over 1,000 entries made out in shelf-list order, in abbreviated form and in transliteration of the Russian characters into the English. The project was executed jointly by the staff of the Division and two Fellows of the Library, with their typist, or by six persons in total. All the six persons spent 316 hours of the Library's time on the project. In addition, the Chief of the Division spent 60 hours of his own time on the project and each of the two Fellows — 22 hours.

Messrs. Whitfield's and Yakobson's project.

About 1,300 volumes were selected by the authors of the project, recorded by an assistant of the Division and removed to Deck 41 which is under the administration of the Reading Rooms. The project was approved by the Chief Assistant Librarian and is apparently to be continued during the current fiscal year. Since the comments and recommendations of the Chief of the Slavic Division on this project have been disregarded, and the project leaves the selection of materials for removal from the Slavic Division to the discretion of its authors, it would be appropriate to incorporate their statement thereupon in the Report of the Librarian, with the reserve that the Chief of the Slavic Division is not a party to the said statement.


The Slavic Division extended every possible assistance to the Main Reading Room and the Photoduplication Service in locating the Slavic materials in the Library requested either for inter-library loans or for photo-reproduction. On the materials which are not in the Library of Congress the Division furnished the data, whenever available from the Union Lists and the Union Catalog, as to in what other American libraries the materials in question could be found. A constant cooperation of the Slavic Division was also rendered to the Card Division, in connection with the preparation of the new edition of the Union List of Serials. There were no calls for the Division's services from the governmental agencies, although the Government employees of professional groups frequently borrowed the materials from the Slavic Division for their official researches and were served by the Division with bibliographical assistance.

A long list (about 500 titles) of Bibliography of the American Possessions was turned over to the Chief of the Division for checking and was checked by him personally (with the sacrifice of a very considerable portion of his Annual leave) not only against the Library's of Congress catalog and uncataloged holdings, but also against the Union Lists and the Union Catalog. It was really an exacting bibliographical research and it would be appropriate to note, in this connection, that the Chief of the Division received a letter of acknowledgment for this work, dated December 18, 1940, in which the correspondent, Mr. Nathan Habib, Associate Editor of the Project of Bibliography of the American Possessions, stated as follows: ". . . I want to thank you for your kind cooperation in this matter."

There were several other extensive lists of various Russian materials which were turned over during the year to the Slavic Division for checking and were checked against the Division's catalogs and the uncataloged stocks, as, for example, (a) a long list (about 450 titles) of periodicals and serials made out by the Hoover War Library, (b) a long list of various publications sought by a large private research project having its offices in the Annex of the Library of Congress, (c) lists comprising about 1,000 titles of the publications offered to the Library to the Library by various dealers for purchase.

It is quite surprising that the checking of numerous lists is usually overlooked among the library services, although it is a typical library function consuming a tremendous amount of the time required for consulting various catalogs, lists, records, indices, tables of contents of periodicals and serials (in search of the articles, as it was in the case of the checking of Bibliography of American Possessions mentioned above, which contained not less than 40 percent of magazine articles) and — the worst of all — for examining the stocks of uncataloged materials. In many cases the checking of bibliographical lists proves a very exacting and complicated research.

Since the cooperation mentioned above usually consumes great amounts of the Chief's of the Slavic Division own time and the habitual and excessive overtime work proves very damaging to his health, he has no plans for further cooperation. Receiving no cooperation from anybody, but being unpardonably optimistic, he still hopes to get some cooperation from the Administration of the Library in his efforts to improve the physical and moral working conditions in the Slavic Division.


The work for the second edition of the Union List of Serials, mentioned above, may be regarded as a big new, bibliographical enterprise and, at the same time, as a development of the Division's most complicated special catalog, namely, the Catalog of temporary entries for its periodicals and serials, which contained, by the end of the fiscal year, about 3,000 revised and new title entries, with the records for about 46,000 issues. Over 2,000 more entries will soon be added to the catalog, with the records for about 27,500 issues, and the catalog will thus contain about 5,000 entries, with the records for about 73,500 issues of periodicals and serials.

Besides developing this special catalog, the Division continued to develop its Catalog of temporary author or title entries for its non-periodical and non-serial publications and to do an elementary technical processing work with its holdings. Thus about 2,700 new author entries were made out in longhand and filed. The Catalog of Temporary Entries for non-Periodicals and non-Serials contained about forty-two thousand entries by the end of the year.

Other processing operations were also performed by the Division during the year, as follows: about 1,500 titles were temporarily classified; about 2,300 pieces were plated, labeled and marked with call numbers; about 8,900 pieces were arranged on the shelves; for its Union Catalog of Some Slavic Holdings in Some of the American Libraries the Division received during the year 5,244 cards and filed the most of them. The said Union Catalog contained about fifty-five thousand entries by the end of the fiscal year.

The lack of the force which would enable the Division to make the proper shelving of its collections and the proper care of its catalogs as routine operations is the most staring deficiency in its organization and the heaviest draw-back to its reference service.

Besides the above mentioned three special catalogs maintained by the Division, i.e. (1) Temporary Entry Card Catalog for the Division's Periodicals and Serials, (b) Temporary Author Card Entries Catalog for its non-Periodical and non-Serial Publications and (c) the Union Catalog of Some Slavic Holdings in Some of the American Libraries, the Division has one general catalog, namely, Printed author, title and subject card entry Catalog, representing but a small portion of Slavic holdings of the entire Library of Congress, including about 8,000 titles, or about 10,000 volumes belonging to the Slavic Division. The entries for this catalog have been produced and supplied by the processing units of the Library.

Material processed

Thus the Division has the three catalogs which represent approximately the following stocks of its partially processed holdings:

  (1) Special catalog of temporary entries for periodicals and serials, comprising over 4,000 entries for about 60,000 (sixty thousand) issues, or numbers, or parts, but not volumes. Only about 1,000 entries have been temporarily classified by the staff of the Slavic Division.

  (2) Special catalog of temporary entries for non-periodical and non-serial publications, comprising about 41,000 entries for about 51,500 pieces (books and pamphlets). Almost all the entries have been temporarily classified and about 45,000 pieces have been temporarily bookplated, labeled and marked with call numbers — all by the staff of the Slavic Division.

  (3) General catalog of printed entries, comprising about 13,000 entries for about 8,000 titles, or about 10,000 pieces — all have been permanently classified, bookplated, labeled and marked with call numbers by the staff of the Classification Division. It is obvious, however, that this catalog has not been sufficiently developed with the title and subject entries. Besides, many of its entries need to be thoroughly revised and reprinted.

In total, therefore, the Slavic Division had, by the end of the fiscal year, about 58,000 entries for about 53,000 titles, or about 121,500 pieces of its printed materials, as if the said pieces were computed immediately upon their delivery to the Slavic Division and before congesting periodicals, serials and sets into bound volumes.

Material in need of processing

Estimated by the same method, the materials which would be on hand in the Slavic Division on June 30, 1941, would have amounted to about 172,500 pieces 3.

Assuming that our method of computation is correct and the computation itself is approximately correct, the stock of uncataloged and unrecorded materials should, therefore, be estimated at about 172,500 minus 121,500, or fifty-one thousand pieces, or about 29.5 percent.

For a superficial characterization of this stock, it should be noted that the stock consists of approximately 8,000 extra copies, covered by about 6,000 titles, of the publications which have already been cataloged or recorded; of about 13,500 pamphlets, with the same number of titles; of about 16,000 books, covered by 15,500 titles; and of about 13,500 issues of periodicals and serials for which the Division entries, comprising about 1,000 titles, will be completed and turned over to the Editors of the second edition of the Union List of Serials by the time this report will be sent to the Government Printing Office.

To secure a fair and unbiased appraisal of these data, it should be taken into consideration that the Slavic Division (1) is primarily a reference, but hardly a processing, unit, as it appears from the Classification Sheets of the members of its staff; (2) has not had catalogers on its staff since 1930; (3) has always been badly under-staffed; and (4) has always been necessitated to perform a great variety of functions which are summarily recorded in the Reports of the Librarian of Congress.

It should also be noted that, since the ultimate goal of the Processing Department is to have all the holdings of the Library represented by catalogs of printed card — author, title and subject — entries, almost all the collections of the Slavic Division are to be regarded as materials in need of the proper processing because (1) for the greater part of its processed materials the Division has but short temporary — author or title — entries, written in longhand, and (2) even the Division's General Catalog of printed card entries should be thoroughly revised and many of its entries — reedited and reprinted.

The most urgent processing operations, in which the Division badly lags because of the lack of the staff, are, of course, the proper shelving of its collections and the proper filing of its catalog cards. Approximately 25,000 pieces of printed materials await for the proper shelving and a stock of about 6,000 cards await for the proper filing in the Slavic Division.

Maintenance and Administration of the Collections

The stock of materials which was sent by the Division to the Bindery during the year amounted to 7,502 pieces, to be bound in 1,434 volumes. There were about 300 pieces for rebinding and repair in the said stock. Although at this writing the Division has received but about 1,000 bound volumes from the Bindery, the remainder will be returned in a few weeks and long before this report will be published. Except 69 volumes bound in quarter bindings, the stock was and is to be bound in full bindings.

The Division has hardly more than 20 books kept in boxes for better preservation and no materials preserved by any other special device.

The Emergency Preservation Project

is referred to above, under Service.

Special changes

There were no special changes in the Division during the year.


The acquisitions policy, if any, was pursued for the Slavic Division in 1940–1941 by the two Fellows of the Library, regarded as specialists in Slavic languages, literatures and the history of the Slavic peoples. They undoubtedly will furnish the Librarian with their statements on this point, for incorporation in his annual report. Since the Chief of the Slavic Division, under the new administrative set-up, has not had the authority to define the scope of the future collections which are to be housed in the Division, or even to advise on the said scope, he obviously does not have the authority to pursue any policy of acquisitions. Moreover, one thousand dollars allotted for the purchase of Slavic materials in 1940–1941 not only for the Slavic Division, but for the Library at large, was too small an amount to keep the two above mentioned Fellows busy making out their recommendations. Unfortunately, the suggestions of the Chief of the Division made to the Reference Department by his memorandum of August 13, 1940, on the urgency of scouting the American book market for Slavic materials (because of the catastrophical [sic] dwindling of their supplies from Europe due to the war) were disregarded up to the end of the fiscal year, and only 80 books, with the combined value of about $150.00, were delivered to the Slavic Division from the Division of Accessions during the year, although the entire amount allotted for purchase of Slavic materials was apparently encumbered. It is quite obvious that if eighty-five percent of our orders fail to deliver the books expected on them, the cost of making and sending out those orders should be added as an overhead to the cost of the acquisition of books delivered on the rest, or fifteen percent, of our orders. For, the more ineffective orders have been sent out, the higher is the cost of the acquisition of materials on the effective ones.

There was another obvious hindrance to the pursuing of any acquisitions policy in the Library of Congress, that is a complete uncertainty about a book distribution policy, if any, of the Processing Department. There probably were purchased by, and delivered to, the Library some more Slavic books during the year, but no one seems to know how they might have been distributed, what are the rules, if any, for distribution, how to trace the books and to make them available for reference use. It seems that the Processing Department has many authorities who decide what Slavic books should not be delivered to the Slavic Division. In regard to the acquisition of books originating abroad, especially in Europe, it should be clearly understood that, owing to the highly abnormal political and economic conditions in many parts of the world, we must make strenuous efforts in scouting the American book market and private collections and in simplifying our ways and formalities of purchasing quickly any material of cultural and reference value which might be found and purchased in this country. There is a very limited choice and no time for theoretical planning. Besides, good books hardly require complicated theoretical canons for their evaluation. We who have long been in the business of evaluating books by many standards are well equipped by our experience to recognize good books not only at sight, but by brief descriptions which we usually find in booksellers' catalogs and price lists.

The strength of the collection housed in the Slavic Division probably lies in a considerable development of its several parts. The major holdings in the Division may be briefly described by the Library of Congress classes, as follows:

  • Class A. Complete, or very large, sets of the leading Russian encyclopedias and dictionaries. Large sets of the most important Russian serials published during the last 150 years.
  • Class B. The works pertaining to Religion, especially to the History of the Greek Orthodox Church, prevail in this class. There are several large sets of well known and important serials and a large collection of monographs, comprising researches, biographies, descriptions of the churches and monasteries etc.
  • Class D. Complete sets of the published documents of several Russian archives, both governmental and private, and of the most important Russian historical serials published during the last 150 years, containing both source material and researches. Complete set of the Russian Chronicles, published by the Imperial Russian Archeographic [sic] Commission. A large collection of monographic literature, pertaining not only to the History of Russia, but to the History of other countries as well. A large collection of materials pertaining to the Local History of Russia.
  • Class H. Complete, or almost complete, sets of several important Russian serials, published in Russia and other countries. Considerable collection of materials pertaining to the Economic History of Russia. Monographs and researches of many leading Russian economists.
  • Class N. Complete sets of the most important Russian pre-revolutionary and large sets of some of the post-revolutionary serials. A large collection of monographic literature, pertaining mostly to the History of Russian Fine Arts, especially Painting, Icon-Painting, Architecture and Engraving. Many monographs of the lives and works of individual artists, Russian and Western European as well.
  • Class PG. The works of almost all the chief Russian novelists, poets, short-story writers, dramatists, critics and historians of literature for the last 150 years; among those works are many first, early and illustrated editions of the Russian classics. Many outstanding works of Ancient (the 11th – the 17th centuries) Russian Literature can also be found in this class in various editions. There are almost complete sets of the serial publications of the Russian Society of the Lovers of Ancient Writings.
  • Class Z. The works of well, and not well, known Russian bibliographers, published during the last 115 years, large sets of many serials, published during the same period, catalogs of various libraries, booksellers' catalogs, many bibliographies of various subjects and of the works of individual authors, etc.

Rare books can be found almost in each class of the Slavic Division's holdings. Its most interesting rare items are described in A. V. Babine's "The Yudin Library," a book published in 1905 by the Library of Congress, and in the Reports of the Librarian of Congress for 1930–1940.

The smallness of the collections of the Slavic Division is probably their main weakness. Moreover, one might surmise from the name of the Division that it contains all the Slavic holdings of the Library, while it virtually houses but a part of them, consisting mostly of Russian printed materials, and even so not all the Russian printed items belonging to the Library of Congress, but of not more than seventy percent of them. Although the Division houses one of the large collections of Russian books which can be found outside of Russia and offers to an investigator an impressive stock of materials for serious research, no investigator should miss an opportunity to examine the Slavic resources of the Library housed in its other divisions; nor should serious investigators overlook the existence of several other American large collections of Slavic materials which can be found at the New York Public Library and the Libraries of the Universities of California, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

It should be noted, however, that none of the American libraries can take pride in having as large a collection of Russian printed materials as that which is housed at the University of Helsinki, Finland. To get an idea of the smallness of the American Slavic collections, one may bear in mind that while the combined Slavic holdings of all the American libraries hardly exceed six hundred thousand items, each of the two large central Russian libraries, namely, the State Public Library in the name of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin of Leningrad (formerly the St. Petersburg Imperial Public Library) and the State Library in the name of V. I. Lenin of Moscow (formerly the Library of the Imperial Public and Rumiantsev Museum) contains over three million of Slavic printed and written items.

Sources of acquisition

(a) Appropriated funds.


(b) Endowment funds.

Bequest of Alexis V. Babine: Yearly interest of $267.39 on Permanent Loan Fund of $6,684.74. There must be over one thousand dollars of un encumbered accumulated interest on June 30, 1941. The Accounting Officer ought to have the exact amount.

(c) Funds for immediate disbursement.

One thousand dollars were allotted for the fiscal year of 1940–1941.

(d) Gifts.

The gifts have been occasional, few and insignificant. All the gifts have been acknowledged by the Division of Accessions. It should be noted, however, that some rare Russian publications have been brought from Alaska by Mr. M. Z. Vinokouroff, of the staff of the Main Reading Room, who scouted prospective donors there, in behalf of the Library. Unfortunately, only 36 publications, out of a collection of about 400 publications brought by him, have reached the Slavic Division.

(e) Transfers and exchanges.

Transfers and exchanges, especially the International Book Exchange, have always been, and so were in 1940–1941, the main source of acquisition of Russian publications by the Slavic Division. Unfortunately, large stocks of insignificant materials and duplicates have usually been, and so were in 1940–1941, dumped on the premises of the Slavic Division from this source. The lack of the staff and shelf space make such stocks a real burden for the Slavic Division.

Important acquisitions in 1940–1941

(a) Collections.

No collection which might be regarded as very significant for its reference value was acquired by the Slavic Division in 1940–1941, although about two hundred of good out of print Russian books and over one hundred of issues of periodicals and serials long wanting in the Division's sets were transferred from the Library of the United States Department of State, via our Division of Accessions and the Division of Documents, together with a larger stock of insignificant and duplicating materials (i.e. copies of the publications which the Division already had).

(b) Individual pieces
Russian Belles-Lettres

In view of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Mikhail Iur'evich Lermontov (1814–1841), who died July 27, 1841, at the age of 26, the Division acquired a few rare and out of print items of Lermontoviana (to add to its collection of about one hundred of such items), viz.,

  • Lermontov, M. Stikhotvoreniia. Chast' IV (Poems. Part Fourth). St. Petersburg, 1844. This is the last part of the first posthumous edition of Lermontov's collected poems, which has long been wanting in the Division's set of parts 1–3 of this publication, acquired in 1907 from Mr.Yudin.
  • Lermontov, M. IU. Demon (The Demon). St. Petersburg, 1910. Illustrations by A. Eberling. A deluxe edition, with several plates (some in color) and a facsimile of the original manuscript of the famous poem.
  • Lermontov, M. IU. Kaznacheisha (A Cashier's Wife). Petrograd, 1913. Illustrations by M. Dobuzhinskii. One of 500 copies printed. Published by the "Kruzhok Liubitelei Russkikh Iziashchnykh Izdanii" (The Little Circle of the Lovers of Russian Fine Editions).
  • M. IU. Lermontov. 1814–1914. St. Petersburg, 1914. A brief anonymous biographical sketch of the poet, with illustrations, plates, facsimiles etc., published in 3,000 copies, not for sale, on the hundredth anniversary of the poet's birth, by the Committee on the Construction of the Monument to the poet at the School of Cavalry in the name of Emperor Nicholas I, at St. Petersburg. The poet was graduated from the said school in 1834. After his death the School founded and developed a museum in his name on its premises.

Of the recent publications on Lermontov, copies of which were acquired by the Division during the year, a copy of one may be noted, for its high reference value, namely:

  • Pakhomov, N. P. Lermontov v izobrazitel'nom iskusstve (Lermontov in Figurative Arts). Moscow–Leningrad, 1940. Published by the Academy of Sciences of the U. S. S. R. With numerous illustrations and plates (some are in color). The publication contains not only a thorough and comprehensive research on the subject, but also an extensive collection of reproductions of the poet's portraits and of the illustrations to his life and works.
History and Social Sciences

In these classes the following Russian publications, copies of which were acquired by the Division during the year, may be noted for their considerable reference value:

  • Avdeev, N., Vladimirova, V. and Riabinskii, K., compilers. Revoliutsiia 1917 goda. Khronika sobytii (The Revolution of 1917. A Chronicle of Events). In six volumes. Moscow–Leningrad, 1923–1930. The publication contains daily records of the most important events of the Russian revolution of 1917 and covers but one year.
  • Moscow. Kommunisticheskaia Akademiia. Komissiia po izucheniiu agrarnoi revoliutsii (The Communist Academy. The Commission on the study of the Agrarian revolution). Materialy po istorii agrarnoi revoliutsii v Rossii (Materials on the history of the agrarian revolution in Russia). In two volumes, comprising in total over 1,200 pages. Moscow, 1928–1929. This publication is an economic and statistical research, by several authors, on social and economic factors, as well as some effects, of the Russian agrarian revolution of 1917–1918. It covers several provinces of European Russia.
  • Akademiia Nauk S. S. S. R. Institut Ekonomiki (The Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. The Institute of Economics). Ekonomika sotsialisticheskoi promyshlennosti (Economics of socialistic industries). Moscow, 1940. This work, by several authors, is a very informative university text-book on the subject which has not been well studied outside of the U. S. S. R.
  • Atlas, L. V. Den'gi i kredit pri kapitalizme i v S. S. S. R. (Money and credit under capitalism and in the U. S. S. R.). Moscow, 1930.
  • Berezov, N. F. Razmeshchenie chernoi metallurgii S. S. S. R. (Geographical distribution of the production of ferrous metals in the U. S. S. R. ). Moscow, 1933.
  • Gozulov, A. I. Perepisi naseleniia S. S. S. R. i kapitalisticheskikh stran (The censuses of the U. S. S. R. and of capitalistic countries). Moscow, 1936. The subtitle defines this work as an experiment of historical and methodological characteristic of conducting censuses.
  • Liashchenko, P. I. Istoriia narodnogo khoziaistva S.S.S.R. (A history of the national economy of the U.S.S.R.). Moscow, 1939. Volume first, comprising 671 p., with 21 maps, and covering the period from the primitive communal mode of life up to the revolution of 1917. In regard to this volume, the title is, therefore, misleading because the volume contains a social-economic history of pre-revolutionary Russia. However, there has never been published such a large, compact, and at the same time comprehensive, course of social-economic history of Russia. The author is a well known Russian economist.
  • Mad'iar, L. Ekonomika sel'skogo khoziaistva v Kitae. Moscow, 1928.
  • Veingarten, S. M. Ekonomika i planirovanie chernoi metallurgii S.S.S.R. (Economics and the planning of production of ferrous metals of the U.S.S.R.). Moscow, 1939. A university text-book.

Plans for development of collections

The planning of development and of reorganization of the Slavic Division's holdings has been left by the Chief Assistant Librarian to the discretion of the two Fellows of the Library. The Chief of the Division has not been informed of the plan, but has been ordered to cooperate with its authors.


Changes and promotions. New positions.

No changes in the personnel of the Slavic Division were effected during the fiscal year of 1940–1941. The two Fellows of the Library participated in executing the Emergency preservation project, as briefly stated above and reported in detail by the Chief of the Slavic Division by his Memorandum of April 23d, 1941, to Dr. J. Orne, Special Assistant to the Librarian. Moreover, pursuant to their plan of reorganization of the Slavic Division's collections, the same Fellows eliminated about 1,300 volumes from the said collections. The eliminated publications were removed to the Deck 41 which is under the administration of the Reading Rooms.

Retirements and Deaths


Positions affected by military leave and temporary appointments or promotions




1Cf. Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1907. p. 20–24.  Back to text

2Statistics for the year were computed on the basis of the monthly average for May–June, 1941. A separate figure for inter-library loans is not available because the scheme for computing monthly statistics does not call for it. For the same reason, the statistics of the materials used for photo-reproduction are not available. I suggest that copies of L. C. receipts for photo-reproduction be regularly sent to the division which supplies the material for the given order. Copies of these receipts must indicate the origin of the materials used in each particular case and the number of the reproduced pages. Then we will be able to compute the exact statistics of the number of pages supplied by the Division for photo-reproduction during any given period of time.  Back to text

3Of this amount, about 67,500 pieces (parts, issues and numbers of sets, periodicals and serials), delivered unbound, were subsequently bound in the Library into about 14,500 volumes, which reduced the number of individual items in the Division by 53,000 pieces.  Back to text

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