Annual Report of the
Slavic and Central European Division for 1956
(For the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1956)
In Fiscal 1956 the Division experienced a substantial extension of the geographical area of its responsibility. In addition to the Slavic world, Albania, Hungary and Rumania, the Division was entrusted by the Library's Administration with the development of the collections and the performance of reference work relating to Germany, Austria and Finland. On March 6, 1956, the name of the Division was changed to Slavic and Central European Division by General Order No. 1605.
I. ACQUISITION OF MATERIALS
Because in the past year the countries of the Soviet bloc have generally adhered to a policy of placing severe restrictions on the free flow of information, the procurement of materials from this area had to face formidable odds. At times ingenious devices and secretive operations were required to obtain even quite innocuous publications which could not be had openly and directly. The partial lifting of the Iron Curtain brought about a certain change in this situation during the year under review. Perhaps as harbingers of moderately relaxed export policies in countries within the Soviet orbit, certain types of printed materials made their appearance which for one reason or another had hitherto been considered in various portions of Central and Eastern Europe as some sort of state secrets. Thus, a trickle of economic geographies, Who's Who type publications, directories, bibliographies of periodicals, and even a few statistical publications began to arrive along with a good number of periodical titles, either new or known to have been published but barred up to now from circulation abroad. It is not bare of a touch of irony that some of these materials are even newcomers to the domestic book markets of Eastern Europe, where the unavailability of reference aids -- motivated by some kind of secrecy fixation -- had backfired to the point where librarians and researchers were deprived of the basic reference tools essential for the performance of their work. For instance, after many years of a statistical blackout, a statistical work entitled, The National Economy of USSR, was recently published in Russian in Moscow. No sooner did the news flash reach this country than inquiries from all sides began to keep the Divisional telephones busy. The callers were assured that the Division had already taken steps toward the speedy acquisition of this work on microfilm. Photostat reproductions are now available in all needed areas. Similarly, the Polish Statistical Yearbook for 1955 is now on the Library's shelves for the first time in a good many years.
However, most significant from the point of view of the Library's procurement operations, was the fact that Knizhnaia letopis', the Soviet national bibliography, along with other bibliographical tools, has become available on a regular basis. This change has not only greatly enhanced the recommending facilities of the Division but has placed the Library's current acquisition policy in the Soviet field on a solid foundation. At present, at the request of the Director of the Processing Department, the Chief of the Division, besides making recommendations from Knizhnaia letopis' within the Division's sphere of subject responsibility, also acts as a reviewer and coordinator of selections made in other areas in the Library as well as by an outside Government agency. This entails establishing priorities, deciding which items should be purchased and which secured on exchange, and proposing new exchange possibilities. Another tangible benefit derived from the receipt of Knizhnaia letopis' is that the Division is now able to make a quantitative and qualitative analysis of book publishing activities in the U.S.S.R. and of the adequacy of the Library's receipts of Soviet materials in various subject categories.
A multitude of new tasks were added to the Division's normal workload in connection with the preparation and the follow-up of Mr. Malia's visit to the Soviet Union where he explored, as a temporary consultant to the Library, the procurement situation in the light of the relaxed Soviet policies governing the export of printed materials. During his stay in the U.S.S.R., Mr. Malia had the opportunity of sounding out quite a number of institutions both as to what they were prepared to supply on exchange and what they wished to receive in return. He advised the Library of his preliminary talks and findings in a series of reports, and it devolved on the Division to organize a detailed program of institutional exchanges. Specifically, the Division surveyed the Library's holdings of publications by many Soviet academic and other learned institutions which hitherto had been either unwilling to exchange materials or had released only a very limited amount of publications for export. Thus, as a result of these surveys, the Division was able to prepare a number of extensive and specialized lists of desiderata -- primarily of serial publications -- which comprised current materials as well as retrospective ones, back to the beginning of the Soviet regime. Institutions included in this survey were, for instance, the regional academies of sciences -- such as those of the Ukraine, Belorussia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaidzhan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- which shortly before Mr. Mailia's departure to the U.S.S.R. had been given permission by the Soviet authorities to negotiate directly with Western countries on exchange matters. Furthermore, there were various university libraries such as Leningrad, Kiev, Lvov, Minsk, Rostov, Erevan, Tiflis, Tashkent and Alma Ata, most of which were terrae novae in the field of exchange. It constituted a radical innovation in the transaction of these exchanges that the selection of materials was no longer left to the discretion of the Soviet exchange partners but was made by the Division's recommending officers based on the Library's actual needs and aimed at closing many important gaps in its collections. Generally speaking, the response of the regional exchange partners has so far been positive and rather satisfactory, and the Library has been able to strengthen substantially its holdings of U.S.S.R. learned publications. To illustrate this point: the Central Library of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, the publications of which had reached the Library in the past decade only sporadically if at all, completely filled a want list of 260 items missing in the Library.
The experiences gained from Mr. Malia's assignment prompted the Chief of the Division in February 1956 to present a memorandum stressing the advantages which would accrue to the Library from having its own representative in Moscow. He wrote in part:
. . .This Library representative should be a career
librarian who knows our procedures and operations,
is familiar with our demands, works for the Library,
is paid by the Library, is loyal to the Library,
and who through his operations in Moscow would be
able to increase his prestige and professional
standing within the Library. He would certainly
cooperate with the Publications Procurement Officer
but primarily he would look after the interests of
Congress. Thus, we would get books and not microfilms as is repeatedly the case at present. We
would get them speedily and not, as is often the
case now, after considerable delay, and, last but
not least, we would get a much wider coverage. . . .|
The recommendations submitted in the memorandum met with the Librarian's approval. The question of the appointment of the Library's representative in Moscow is at present in the stage of exploratory negotiations with the Department of State.
To cope with the new exchange situation, a special East European Exchange Section was established in the Exchange and Gift Division. This unit implemented exchange recommendations of the Division and was regularly advised with regard to contacting new exchange partners and requesting special types of materials. In this connection, it should be kept in mind that despite a certain liberalization of Soviet exchange procedures, various categories of publications continue to be difficult of access. Thus, on the occasion of the presence in this country of various delegations from the U.S.S.R., the Division prepared and submitted to the Exchange and Gift Division lengthy want lists in such specialized fields as automation, housing and construction in the Soviet Union. Also, for some time, the Office of Strategic Intelligence of the Department of Commerce has acted as a clearing house for requests from the Soviet Union for U.S.A. publications. This office sees to it that a quid pro quo of U.S.S.R. publications unavailable in U.S. is received in return for requested U.S.A. publications. It has been a continuing and time-consuming function of the Division to select for the above-mentioned office titles of strategically important Soviet publications wanted in return.
B. Other East and Southeast European Countries
An analogous pattern of new and enlarged acquisition possibilities through exchange and purchase was noticeable also with regard to the other Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe. There was an upsurge in the number and volume of incoming commercial catalogs and lists, and various exchange partners came out of their previous isolation and expressed interest in exchanging publications with the Library. Considerable advances were achieved in regularizing exchange contacts and placing them on a strictly selective basis. For instance, in connection with an official Czechoslovak proposal that a broad exchange arrangement be instituted between LC and the University Library in Prague, the Division worked out provisions for such an arrangement, which if implemented, may simplify and improve the present procurement of Czechoslovak materials and possibly reduce their cost. Likewise, at the Division's initiative, the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences undertook to provide in return for the Library's printed catalogs an equivalent value of publications listed in the Czechoslovak national bibliography and selected by LC. To the extent to which the manpower situation permitted, the Division had endeavored to promote a flexible and dynamic procurement program by surveying from time to time the current intake of periodicals and newspapers and by testing the adequacy of exchange receipts of East European government publications.
The Division has also made it a point to initiate and maintain close contacts with a variety of western institutions specializing in East and Southeast European studies such as the Center of International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge, the Council for Economic and Industry Research, the Human Relations Area Files, Inc., the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences in Winnipeg, the Russian Institutes at Amsterdam and Stockholm, the Czechoslovak Foreign Institutes at Leiden and London, the Institute for the Study of the U.S.S.R. in Munich, and the Johann Gottfried Herder-Institut in Marburg. These efforts brought to the Library valuable research materials which ordinarily would not be available commercially and would not be received as copyright deposits.
Strengthening essential sectors of the Library's retrospective collections in the East European domain was a steady preoccupation of the Division's recommending officers. The scope of these activities can be discussed only by way of exemplification. A scrutiny of Rumanian bibliographical and library source materials for the period between the two World Wars brought to light that the Library's holdings in these fields are quite fragmentary. Detailed want lists for exchange procurement of these items were prepared by the Division. Up to now East European exchange partners were, as a rule, not prepared to supply pre-Communist materials from their duplicate collections. However, in the year under review, the Division began on an experimental basis to prepare want lists of Polish and Czechoslovak retrospective materials to be requested on exchange, and should the results be encouraging, it is planned to extend this practice to other areas.
C. Special Acquisitions
Purchases accounted for the acquisition of signal retrospective items. Thus, the Library continued in the past fiscal year to develop at quite advantageous financial terms an outstanding collection of rariora bearing on the cultural, political and religious history of Bohemia between the 16th and 18th centuries. Foremost among these Bohemica is the Kralická Bible (Kralice Bible), a preeminent religious and cultural relic which has remained a standard of the Czech language and orthography up to recent times. Other noteworthy items of this collection include enactments of the Bohemian Diets between 1581 and 1797. Shortage of manpower and the pressure of other duties have so far precluded the preparation of a detailed account of this collection for the Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions and the arrangement of an exhibition of these cultural treasures. The itinerary of Colonel Webb's U.S.I.A. mission to Europe in the spring of 1956 included a visit to Warsaw. Before departing, he graciously offered his assistance in the procurement of Polish materials, and the Division worked out a list of retrospective materials which were particularly needed to fill lacunae in the Library's pre-World War II collections. As a fruition of these efforts, the Library secured several important items such as: complete or nearly complete sets of Rocznik Krakowski (1898-1938), Kwartalnik Historyczny (1896-1939), Slavia Occidentalis (1921-1938) and the rare Słownik Geograficzny Królewstwa Polskiego (Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland, 16 v., Warsaw, 1880-1902).
So large was the influx of retrospective materials in the East and Central European fields that by March 1956 funds earmarked by the Reference Department for the purpose were depleted. For a while the Division was, therefore, confined to purchasing a few categories of Russian materials which could be paid for from the Babine Fund. Careful and judicious consideration was given at all times by the Division's staff to purchases which involved the expenditure of larger sums. For example, the first Russian Bible printed in Ostrog in 1580-1581 offered for $1,000 was not purchased because it is already represented at the New York Public Library, Yale and Harvard. Instead, it was thought preferable to concentrate on retrospective materials which were inadequately represented in American collections. It was this motivation which prompted the recent purchase for $300 of the complete 61-volume set of Ljubljanski Zvon (1881-1941), one of the leading Slovenian cultural journals. Increasing reliance was placed on recommending the procurement of microfilms whenever procurement in kind was unfeasible or uneconomical. Thus, LC credits with other American libraries resulting from the Russian Duplicate Exchange Program were used for securing microfilms of more important Slavic newspapers and serials missing in our collections.
D. Central Europe
The blanket order receipts from the German Federal Republic and the "German Democratic Republic" (East Germany) were compared with the entries in the respective national bibliographies and important items found missing were recommended for acquisition. In the case of Austria only a rather limited number of additional items had to be requested. The list of West German periodicals subscribed to or received on exchange was revised to meet present needs; a similar review of Austrian periodicals is nearing completion. In recommending retrospective German materials special attention was paid to filling gaps in the Library's biographical publications and ad hoc materials such as symposia in honor of outstanding personalities or publications in commemoration of special events which are often privately printed and are not available for general distribution through commercial channels at the time of their release. This Division was also instrumental in initiating exchanges with German institutions.
E. Summary of Acquisition Trends
In summation it can be stated that one side of the ledger registered these factors: 1) An extension of the area assignment; 2) A substantial growth in the volume of exchange operations; 3) An increased volume of national bibliographies, dealers' catalogs, lists, etc., which is evidenced by the fact that in 1956 the Division scrutinized 1,107 pieces of these materials as compared with 768 in 1955; and 4) Additional procurement assignments. On the other side of the ledger, however, no real changes occurred with regard to the Division's personnel facilities. It goes without saying that this imbalance has presented the Division with very grave problems.
II. ORGANIZATION OF MATERIALS
At the present time the Division's responsibilities extend over 14 countries and at least 19 languages, not counting publications in West European languages focused on the area. Considering the small size of the professional staff and the press of current and undeferrable duties in reference, acquisition and bibliographical work, it would be a physical impossibility for the Division to keep close tabs on each and every sector of the pertinent collections as thoroughly and searchingly as it might be desirable. Pending this state of affairs the Division has no recourse but to avail itself of the services of temporary consultants who, freed from other duties, are able to concentrate on the survey of specifically circumscribed sectors of the Library's East European holdings with a view to evaluating them and recommending measures regarding their organization and future development.
In 1956 the Division continued to rely upon a consultant program of that type. Professor Jaroslav B. Rudnyckyj, Head of the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba, was appointed at the Division's recommendation as a temporary consultant for the Library's Ukrainian collections. Dr. Rudnyckyj's background as a leading Ukrainian scholar and bibliographer, coupled with his intimate knowledge of Ukrainian collections in the U.S.A., Canada and Western Europe, made him particularly eligible for this assignment. During his two months' service in the Library, he surveyed in detail pre-and post-revolutionary Ukrainian collections and reported his findings in a comprehensive report. This report specifies the strengths and weaknesses of the holdings and points to ways and means of improving their coverage and serviceability. Dr. Rudnyckyj also prepared a desiderata list indicating possible new sources of procurement. His conclusions as listed below are a clear refutation of unsubstantiated criticisms emanating from certain Ukrainian quarters in this country to the effect that the Library did not give full attention to the Ukrainian field:
|There is no doubt that the Library of Congress
has one of the most extensive collections of Ukrainian
in the Western World, thus the possession of one or
another item by a similar institution does not affect
the status of its collection; secondly, the Library of
Congress can easily fill the gaps in its collections
with microfilms and in pursuing a carefully directed
acquisition policy, become the leading center of
Ukrainian in the West.|
In March 1956 the Library's administration also approved another proposal of the Division that Dr. Charles Jelavich, Assistant Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley and a specialist on the history of the Balkans, be appointed as a temporary consultant for a six-week period in fiscal 1957. Specifically, his assignment consists of 1) surveying the Library's holdings; and 2) reviewing in the Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions the Library's unique collection of early Bulgarian books (1806-1875), the so-called Plotschev Collection which, acquired in 1949, has so far not been processed. This collection includes many rarissima which are not represented in Bulgaria's libraries.
Discussing future consultant plans and requirements of the Division, the Chief commented in a memo to the Reference Department dated March 28, 1956 as follows:
|As for the future, first consideration should
be given to a Consultant on the Library's Rumanian
collections. . .Such a consultant should not only
survey and evaluate the Rumanian holdings but determine possibilities of improving them through the
microfilming of materials available on this side of
the Iron Curtain. . .For instance, I know of extensive
specialized collections in Paris and in Freiburg,
Germany, and there may be others which haven't come
to my attention.|
We also need a series of manuals on various
areas and on different subjects. Such manuals
would describe, evaluate, interpret and, so to
speak, publicize the various collections of the
Library under the purview of this Division. They
should orient the user of our collections and at
the same time provide him with advanced information
on their strengths and weaknesses prior to his
coming to Washington. . .Incidentally, it seems to
me that in some instances regular members of the
Library's staff should be entrusted with the
preparation of such manuals, and for this purpose
they should be accorded the temporary status of
consultants. . . .
B. Participation of the Regular Staff of the Division
In fiscal 1956 the Division's staff was again called upon to take an active part in the organization of the Library's Central and East European collections.
Virtually thousands of incoming textbooks were scrutinized by the Division's staff with a view to determining their disposition and the degree of cataloging which they should receive.
On other occasions the Division's staff was asked to render assistance in various specific assignments. For instance, at the request of the Reference Department, the Division undertook on behalf of the Music Division to prepare an inventory of about 1,400 unprocessed broadcast recordings impounded by the American Army in Germany in the Second World War. This collection consists of records used for broadcasting by German radio stations and of monitored foreign broadcasts in 20 different languages. This material was listed by the Division's staff chiefly by countries and broadcasting agencies and, whenever necessary, explanatory notes were added identifying persons and events related to the recordings. Since these items throw an interesting light on Nazi propaganda techniques, recommendations were made by the Division that the inventory be made accessible to our wartime allies. Also, as an outcome of the survey, it will be possible to duplicate for preservation such materials as are of historical interest.
Previous experiences of the Central European Specialist in the field of captured German documents enabled the Division to assist the Library Administration in questions relative to the custody of such materials. At the request of the Processing Department, an appraisal was made of the files of the former Institute for the Exploration of Central Asia (the so-called "Sven Hedin" Reichsinstitut fuer Innerasienforschung), which in the early 1940's belonged administratively to the SS establishment. This survey revealed the desirability of transferring this collection to the Departmental Records Branch in Alexandria. The Division also investigated the pros and cons of the proposal which the Records Branch made to the Library that certain captured German documents presently in the custody of the LC Manuscripts Division be added to the Alexandria depository. The findings were embodied in a memorandum to the Reference Department along with recommendations for the microfilming of selected groups of materials.
Precious custodial and storage space was taken up in the Library by over one thousand boxes deposited by the U.S. Army a decade ago and containing an estimated 240,000 books of former German Army (Wehrkreis) libraries. An analysis and evaluation of this body of materials was undertaken by the Division at the request of the Chief Assistant Librarian. Following an examination of what were thought to be representative samples, the Central European Specialist arrived at the conclusion that the informational value of these materials would not warrant the cost and labor required for their processing and custody. Consequently, he suggested the possibility of entering into negotiations with the Bonn government concerning the return of these libraries. He also recommended that a number of boxes containing printed materials which were looted by the Nazis in France be transferred to the French government as their legal owner.
III. USE OF MATERIALS
A. Service to Congress
Requests from the Hill have become a regular feature of the Division's reference service. In fiscal 1956 substantial assistance was rendered by the Division's staff in various projects of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, including the reviewing of a staff study on Soviet Political Treaties and Violations, and the preparation of materials pertaining to the Proceedings of the Twentieth Party Congress in Moscow which are to be released as a committee print. Also reviewed were parts of the report of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy on Engineering and Scientific Manpower in the United States, Western Europe and Soviet Russia, and a chronology of World Communism for the last one hundred years, prepared by the Legislative Reference Service at a senatorial request. The Division also participated in the preparation of the second edition of the survey of Soviet Technical Assistance in Non-Communist Asia to be issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
A study on the construction of hydroelectric generating facilities in the USSR since the end of World War II, prepared by the Division's Chief in cooperation with Dr. John K. Rose of the Legislative Reference Service, was printed in the Congressional Record of February 29, 1956 (pages 3166-3174). Another extensive survey, focused on the mineral resources and the mineral production of the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Rumania, was prepared by the Chief of the Division and will be incorporated in a report to be published by the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Letters of commendation were received by the Division Chief from the House Majority Leader, John W. McCormick of Massachusetts, and from Senator Carl E. Mundt of South Dakota.
On numerous occasions the staff answered specific Congressional reference calls pertaining to such topics as shifts in Communist ideology and tactics, Soviet techniques of reporting news, the situation in East Germany, social and cultural developments in the Soviet Union and little known biographical data on minor Soviet officials. It also prepared translations of East European texts.
B. Other Reference Service
Five years ago the Division was in its infancy, a newcomer to the Library and practically unknown outside the Library confines. It can be reported, not without a sense of satisfaction, that since then the Division has evolved into an established East European reference center whose advise and assistance are regularly sought by a wide clientele in this country and abroad. A multitude of agencies belonging to the three branches of the Government have come to avail themselves of the Division's services whenever the need arises. Frequent inquiries are received from institutions of learning and research, scholars and students, representatives of the press and individuals in practically every state of the Union. Beyond that, as indicated by a cursory examination of the incoming correspondence, the Division's "reference perimeter" extends over a geographic area which comprises Bulgaria, Canada, Ceylon, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.S.S.R.
Passing to the nature and contents of reference questions and problems, it can be said that they are equally far-flung in area and subject. Generally speaking, they focus on every conceivable branch of knowledge relating to the cultural, political and socio-economic setup, present and past of the U.S.S.R., all of East and substantial parts of Central Europe. Small wonder that such a vast scope of inquiry taxes not only the ingenuity of the Division's microscopic professional staff but also their sense of improvisation, requiring them to transcend the fields of their specialization and to become ad hoc experts in demography, geography, economics, statistics, education, the arts, and so forth.
A few examples may illustrate the type of reference work which the Division was called upon to perform. The White House was advised regarding creditable and up-to-date books and magazine articles on Yugoslavia and the history of American-Soviet relations. The intricacies of Soviet population statistics were interpreted for a Justice of the Supreme Court. A representative of the Air Force Map Service, interested in setting up a Hungarian collection, was assisted with regard to current monographic and periodical literature on geodesy and cartography. A Congressman was supplied with information on the shale oil industry in Estonia and the power resources and the hydroelectric power stations of the Baltic States. For awhile the Division found itself in the front line of the cold war in Washington, D.C. In a televised appearance, members of the then visiting Soviet delegation of journalists and writers made misleading statements on restrictions allegedly imposed in the U.S.A. on the availability of translations of Soviet literary materials. At the request of the President of the National Press Club, the Division set to work and supplied ammunition, including a list of English translations of Russian novels and plays, as well as statistics showing that the Library held works written even by several members of the delegation. The data were used to refute publicly the delegation's incorrect allegations.
A noted New York writer and attorney, who intended to investigate personally in Moscow the question of royalties for U.S.S.R. translations of American writers, received detailed information on the structure of book publishing in the U.S.S.R. and on Russian translations of American writings and vice versa. Upon his return he forwarded to the Division Chief a preliminary report stating inter alia: "I have been promised by high officials a list of American works recently published in Russia, consideration of my original proposal for the establishment of a machinery to place their books before American publishers for translation and publication, and to get information and payment with respect to the publication of U.S. authors' works in Russia." More on the light side was the request by a defense agency for Russian names for male Siberian huskies. The prospects for a solution of this assignment looked rather gloomy at the beginning, but they brightened up considerably when it turned out that the Library's store of knowledge covered even this rather peripheral topic; the location of a book published in Moscow in 1947 and dealing in full with Siberian huskies enabled the Division to suggest to the agency a number of names by which that canine species are habitually called. This example also goes to show that there comes a time of usefulness even for a book which prima facie may look quite marginal.
The enlarged area responsibility of the Division occasioned an increase in the reference work dealing with Central Europe. Inquiries in this domain were concerned, for instance, with American loans between 1924 and 1936 to the heavy industry of the Ruhr area, German-Swedish relations after World War I, and the organization of the police system in Bavaria and Wuerttemberg-Baden.
There are three factors which are perhaps particularly characteristic of reference work in the East European field: 1) The intense interest of Government and private research in the latest political, economic, social and cultural developments in this area; 2) The erratic shifts and turns which often make yesterday's information stale and outdated and cause information to be found in monographic literature to lag behind the news; 3) The complete absence for this area of certain types of general reference aids -- which would be freely accessible in Western countries -- renders the process of fact finding far more laborious. To alleviate these handicaps the Division began a few years ago to develop an up-to-date East European reference file primarily of selected references to articles in important magazines and reviews of the Western World. This file has been continually kept up to date and expanded in line with foreseeable demands, and the substantial amount of labor devoted to the development of this reference tool has proved to be a most profitable investment.
In concluding this discussion it may be appropriate to quote two out of a considerable number of letters expressing appreciation for services rendered by the Division. Mr. J. Manuel Espinosa, Chief of the Professional Activities Division of the Department of State, having inquired about European scholars in the field of Russian language and literature, acknowledged the information supplied by the Division as follows: "The Department deeply appreciates your interest in its international exchange program. Your recommendations will undoubtedly be of great help to the American embassies overseas. . . ." And the Chief Librarian of the University of Toronto Library had this to say in connection with his request for information about the proceedings of the West German Parliament: "The specific details you gave will enable us to order the documents and without your help we had no assurance that the set offered was what we actually wanted. We appreciate very much your courtesy and cooperation."
C. U.S.I.A. Project
In the spring of 1956 a special project -- this time on Latin American themes -- was added to the chores of the Division. The purpose of the project was to identify for the U.S. Information Agency all monographs and periodical articles published in the Soviet Union on Latin America. In accordance with the terms of the contract, the work was to progress in reverse chronological order, i.e., starting with 1955 publications; as many years and materials were to be screened in descending order as the funds earmarked for the purpose would permit. Although the contract was signed by the Librarian early in February 1956 the necessary funds were transferred by the agency to the Library only in the second half of March, which left slightly more than three months for the execution of the project. Nevertheless, by June 30 the three members of the project had succeeded in completing a card index of 1,155 titles based on a detailed screening of 3,520 issues of bibliographical publications, monographs and periodicals and covering all 1948-1955 imprints. As for subject matter the entries revealed the intense interest shown by the Soviets in political developments taking place in Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Guiana, Mexico and Venezuela. Favorite topics of Soviet authors were, for instance, the trade unions of Latin America, various minority groups, especially the Slavs, the "peace movement" and, in particular, the so-called "exploitation of Latin America by the monopolistic capitalism of the United States." Needless to say, the Soviet reader gets only a one-sided and slanted picture of the political, economic and cultural life south of the Rio Grande. Predominant among translations into Russian were works by pro-Soviet Latin American authors such as those by the Stalin prize winners, Jorge Amado (Brazil) and Pablo Neruda (Chile) and significantly The Geography of Hunger by Josúe de Castro (Brazil) which appeared in two separate translations. The results of the project proved to be of such value to the U.S. Information Agency that its continuation and extension to other areas in now under consideration.
Among the reference aids issued by the Division, a selective list of Polish Abbreviations (1953) proved to be an unqualified success. Since the first edition is nearly sold out, a second edition becomes necessary. The revised and enlarged list, now in preparation, will comprise close to 2,000 abbreviations.
Also in other Central and East European countries, the use of abbreviations for common terms and designations has gained increasing currency in the postwar years. It is the purpose of a selective list of Czech and Slovak Abbreviations to assist in the identification of well over 2,500 abbreviations of governmental, political, economic, cultural and social bodies by listing their full names and English translations. Completed in fiscal 1956 this compilation is scheduled for publication in early fall 1956.
Geography of Yugoslavia; A Selective Bibliography, compiled by Professor Borivoje Z. Milojević of Belgrade University, was projected and edited by the Division and released in December 1955.
Under the administrative and editorial direction of the Division, Dr. Salme Kuri is preparing for publication this fall Estonia; A Selected Bibliography. This is the first of an intended series of basic bibliographies on the Baltic area and the need for a publication of that sort is demonstrated by the following comment by Congressman James T. Patterson:
. . .I recently took upon myself the task of acquiring certain late and current information about
the unfortunate Baltic States, particularly about
that northernmost country that borders the Baltic
Sea -- Estonia. Searching vainly through the gigantic catalog of out Library of Congress, I was unable to find a single bibliography on publications concerning the Baltic states that would provide me with a shortcut to the information that I sought and needed. . . .|
Reports prepared by the Division's area specialists and covering the Library's more significant accessions from and about Eastern Europe have become annual features of the LC Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions. An eleven-page report on Hungarica appeared in the May 1956 issue and an extensive account of publishing and procurement developments with regard to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia is scheduled to be published in the August issue of the Journal. The staff also contributed to the Library of Congress Information Bulletin notes on significant receipts, publishing and library events in the area.
In fiscal 1956 the Chief continued to serve on committees charged with formulating policies for and supervising the execution of three major bibliographical undertakings in the Library, i.e., the Cyrillic Union Catalog, the Monthly List of Russian Accessions and the East European Accessions List.
Lack of manpower caused the following projects to remain inactive in the year under review: 1) Manual of the Slavic and East European Collections of the Library of Congress; 2) Survey of Slavic Studies in Germany; and 3) Selective Bibliography of Books in West European Languages on Lithuania.
IV. EXTERNAL RELATIONS
In the interest of keeping abreast of publishing and research in the Central and East European area, the Division maintained close liaison with the scholarly community engaged in these pursuits.
The Chief of the Division continued to serve on the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council which in 1956, as in previous years, contributed effectively to the development of the Library's Slavic program. The Chairman of the committee, Professor Cyril E. Black of Princeton, complimented the Library by referring to it as "the headquarters of Slavic and East European scholarship in the United States." At the end of the fiscal year the American Council of Learned Societies expressed to the Chief its appreciation of his service on the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies and invited him to continue for another year. An extensive microfilming program of catalogs of Slavic collections, initiated as the result of the Chief's survey of West European libraries, yielded tangible results in fiscal 1956. The microfilms secured by the Library with the support of Ford Foundation funds include the catalogs of the Bibliothèque Slave, Paris; University Library, Basel; Foreign Office Library, London; International Labor Office Library, Geneva; and others. Negotiations are pending with the Istituto Pontificio Orientale in Rome and the National Central Library in London which houses Great Britain's Russian Union Catalogue. During the Summit Conference at Geneva, the U.S. delegation was advised by the Division on matters pertaining to the normalization of the exchange of publications with the Soviet bloc.
The Division had repeated opportunities to assist visiting scholars from the U.S. and abroad, such occasions led to the establishment of fruitful and stimulating contacts. Thus, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, two French scholars, R. P. Henri Chambre, Director of Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris and Jean Train of the École Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes at Paris, visited the U.S. last fall in order to study the organization of various Slavic and East European area programs at universities in this country for the purpose of applying the experiences gained to the initiation of similar programs in France. The Division's staff was in a position to supply these scholars with a wealth of pertinent information.
Upon the resignation of Dr. Krould, the winding up of the Library's Consultants Program was assigned to this Division. Under this project two surveys by foreign authors have been readied for publication by the Library: The Humanities in Austria by Dr. Paul Feyerabend and Social Psychology in Western Germany by Professor Curt Bondy of Hamburg University. The two remaining manuscripts, Youth in Western Germany, 1950-1955 by Professor Bondy and Contemporary German History in German Postwar Writing by Dr. Paul Kluke, Secretary General of the Munich Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte, are expected shortly.
V. SPECIAL EVENTS
The year 1955 witnessed the observance of the centennial of the death of Adam Mickiewicz, Poland's great national poet and a valiant champion of his country's independence. At the Division's suggestion, the Library joined in the world-wide celebrations of this event by displaying its more conspicuous Mickiewicziana in an exhibit held between November 23 and December 4. The selection and description of the exhibit items were prepared by the Division's Polish Specialist in cooperation with the Exhibits Officer. Among the memorabilia on view were rare first editions and translations of Mickiewicz's works as well as several items showing his friendship with James Fenimore Cooper, Margaret Fuller D'Ossoli and other prominent contemporaries. Also shown were articles in early American magazines, including The New England Magazine, The Gentleman's Magazine and The North American Review, which bear proof of the American interest in the poet's artistic creation and in Polish culture. The exhibit drew laudatory comments from the press in this country, Western Europe and Latin America.
In connection with his consultant activities, Professor Rudnyckyj selected and assembled the pièces de résistance of the Library's Ukrainian collections. They were displayed to Library officials, representatives of the U.S. Information Agency and the Ukrainian press. The Chief Assistant Librarian directed that these items be incorporated into the collections of the Rare Books Division.
VI. ADMINISTRATION AND PERSONNEL
In the foregoing pages an attempt was made to present a condensed description and discussion of the Division's record of achievement in the past fiscal year and of some of its objectives in the future. Although the relationship between manpower and workload was previously touched upon in different contexts, the present section is perhaps the place to dwell on that question in some more detail.
The central problem of the Division was how to strike the often precarious balance between assignments and available staff. Between 1952 and 1956 the total of the Division's recommendations rose from 15,023 to 19,393 and reference inquiries from 3,600 to 8,074. As pointed out before, new functions and new areas were assigned to the Division. However, in the face of all these variables the Division's permanent staff remained a constant. Now as then the Division has only four permanently allocated positions; three of them professional (including that of the Chief who devotes one-half of his time to the Legislative Reference Service) and one clerical and administrative. Four additional positions (one subprofessional, one clerical and two specialists for Polish and Hungarian materials) are temporary or indefinite and financed through working funds or outside sources. The implications of this personnel situation can be summarized as follows: 1) Without the availability of four non-appropriated positions the Division would have been able to carry out only a portion of the assigned workload; 2) The temporary nature of 50 per cent of the positions creates an element of instability in the Division's operations and is detrimental to the morale of the employees concerned; 3) The mounting volume of work often puts staff members under heavy strain, compels deemphasis of certain functions and at times hurried performance in the interest of delivering the goods on time -- the more so since shortage of staff would seldom be accepted as a valid ground for not meeting deadline assignments. It might be added here parenthetically that the Division's work statistics include the time voluntarily given by some staff members who, as a rule, do not avail themselves of rest periods.
The Chief is profoundly aware of present budgetary limitations and most appreciative of the understanding and effective assistance which he has been privileged to receive from the Director of the Reference Department. But it is his considered opinion that a certain stabilization of the Division's manpower situation is very strongly indicated. In particular, the considerably increased volume of work resulting primarily from recent developments in the Soviet sphere and specifically from the addition of Central European affairs to the Division's responsibilities necessitates a review and a reorganization of the area coverage by the professional staff. Accordingly, proposals were made to the Reference Department in the spring of 1956 that the position of U.S.S.R. and East European Specialist be changed to Central European Specialist and that the position of Slavic Research Analyst be redescribed as East European Specialist. Simultaneously, the establishment of an additional position of a U.S.S.R. Specialist was recommended.
VII. PROFESSIONAL BUT NON-OFFICIAL ACTIVITIES
The past fiscal year the staff members displayed commendable initiative and zeal in engaging in a multiplicity of professional (extra-Library) pursuits in the diverse fields of their area and subject specialization. These activities encompassed services for professional organizations and their committees, participation in conferences and institutes, lecturing, preparation of book reviews and articles for scholarly journals and reference works, and the like. To itemize here the long roster of such contributions would take up precious space and also be repetitious since they were regularly reported in the LC Information Bulletin. Three staff members continued graduate course work, two in library science at Catholic University and one in international affairs at American University.
[The report is signed by Sergius Yakobson. Ed.]
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
Slavic and Central European Division
A. REFERENCE ACTIVITIES
|I. Reference Services:
|a. In Person:
|No. of times served:
|b. By Phone:|
|Library of Congress:
|c. By Correspondence:
||1. Letters & memos prepared:
|Library of Congress:
|2. Form Letters, Catalogs, etc. sent:
|Total, Direct Reference Services:
|a. Volumes||In Library:||-||-|
|b. Other Units||In Library:||-||-;|
|c. Call Slips Rec'd:||-||-|
|d. No. of vols. & other units reshelved:||-||-|
|e. No. of loan searches performed:||-||-|
|f. Special (non-acquisition) searches performed:||-||-|
* 1 bibliography on 1,155 cards
|III. Bibliographical Operations:*
|a. Items Screened
|b. Entries Compiled:
|c. Indexes prepared:
|d. Hrs on bibl. Work (a. thru c.)||2,119||3,828|
|e. Bibliographies completed:
|f. Bibliographies in process: ||5||7|
* See Table No. III for a list of titles.
|IV. Number of Special Studies Completed:*
|Total Special Studies Completed:||11||11|
* This figure includes 113 hours spent in translating 1,155 cards
* See Table No. III for list of titles.
|VI. Other Publications*
** This figure does not include a 164-page list of Czech and Slovak abbreviations ready for publication.
|VII. Photoduplication Activities
|a. Requests received||12||5|
|b. Items searched||22||47|
|c. Estimates prepared||-||-|
|d. Items supplied for reproduction||16||-|
|a. Reference conferences:
|b. Committee meetings:
|c. With trainees:
|IX. Guided Tours
B. ACQUISITIONS AND PROCESSING ACTIVITIES
* This figure includes 2,241 separate items selected in connection with a special project
|I. Acquisitions Activities
|Total titles examined:||240,312||524,979|
|a. Lists and offers scanned:
||1. Lists of ten or more items:
|2. Short lists or separate items:
|b. Items searched||8,015||16,801|
|c. Recommendations for acquisitioning:||1. By Purchase (PRs ___ )||21,681||19,393|
|2. Letters of solicitation prepared||-||-|
|3. By other means (memos)||-||918|
|Total titles recommended:||21,681||19,393|
|d. Items Accessioned:* ||-||-|
|e. Surplus items distributed:||From collections:||-||-|
|f. Man-Hrs. devoted to acquisitions activities (a thru e)||2,842||3,954|
** See Table II attached
|II. Processing Activities
|a. Items sorted or arranged|
(Materials screened for establishing processing priorities)
|b. Items catalogued:
|c. Other finding aids prepared:|| Specify:|
|d. Authorities established||-||-|
|e. Items or containers labeled||-||-|
|f. New items or containers filed or shelved||-||-|
|Volumes or items prepared for:||Binding:||-||-|
|Other treatment: ||-||-|
|h. Cards filed and arranged||10,785||26,851|
|i. Man-Hrs. devoted to processing (a thru h)||359||346|
SUMMARY OF SPECIAL STUDIES AND BIBLIOGRAPHIES
| || |
|I. ||Special Studies and Bibliographies Prepared (or Initiated) in the Division:|
| ||A.||Geography of Yugoslavia; A Selective Bibliography (Published)|
| ||B.||"Hungarica"(An article published in the Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions)|
| Bibliographical survey of Latin American Titles in 1946-1955 Soviet Publications (Completed for the U.S. Information Agency)|
| ||D. ||Czech and Slovak Abbreviations; A Selective List (Completed)|
| ||E.|| Report on Wehrkreis Libraries (Completed)|
|"Slavica (Except for the U.S.S.R.)" (An article prepared for the Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions)|
| ||G.|| Survey of Captured German Broadcast Recordings (Completed)|
| ||H.|| Survey of the Mickiewicziana in the Library of Congress (Completed)|
| Survey of the Mineral Resources and Mineral Production of the USSR and the Soviet Captive Countries (Completed for the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs)|
| ||J.||Estonia; A Selective Bibliography (In progress)|
| ||K.||Polish Abbreviations; A Selective List (Second Edition) (In progress)|
| ||L.|| Report on the Ukrainian Collections of the Library of Congress (In progress)|
| ||M.|| Bibliographical survey of Latin American Titles in 1956 Soviet Publications (Inactive)|
| ||N.|| Manual of the Slavic and East European Collections of the Library of Congress (Inactive)|
| ||O.|| Selected Bibliography of Books on Lithuania in West European Languages (Inactive)|
| ||P.|| Survey of Slavic Studies in Germany (Inactive)|
|II. ||Special Studies, Portions of Which Were Prepared in the Division:|
|Soviet Technical Assistance (Revised edition prepared for the Subcommittee on Technical Assistance Programs of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)|
| Report on Hydroelectric Developments in the U.S.S.R. Since World War II (Prepared for Congressman William A. Dawson of Utah)|
|III. ||Contributions to Bibliographies and Special Studies (Review, Revision or Bibliographical Sources):|
|Soviet Political Treaties and Violations (Issued by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security)|
| Proceedings of the 20th Party Congress (Prepared for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security)|
|Engineering and Scientific Manpower in the United States, Western Europe and Soviet Russia (Issued by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy)|
| ||D.|| Bibliography on the Soviet Zone of Germany (Prepared at Senatorial request)|
| ||E.|| Chronology of World Communism for the Last 100 years (Being prepared at Senatorial request)|
| ||F.||Social Psychology in Western Germany|
| ||G.||Humanities in Austria; A Report on Postwar Developments|
STATISTICS ON SELECTION AND RECEIPTS
|I. Total Items Screened and Selected by the Division
||Items Screened: ||240,312||524,979|
|Items Selected: ||21,681||19,393|
|Receipts of Materials in East European Languages
|Other East European Countries: ||5,698||9,163|
|Other East European Countries: ||1,783||2,230|