The Slavic and East European Resources and Facilities of the Library of Congress
Paul L. Horecky
Former Chief, European Division
(Originally published in Slavic Review, vol. 23, no.2, June 1964, pp.309–327. This article is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States.)
Although, before the First World War, Slavic affairs received but little attention in the United States, libraries were in this respect somewhat ahead of the times and started building their collections at a relatively early juncture. It is true that in 1901 Herbert Putnam, then Librarian of Congress, found that the Library proper could count only 569 Russian and 97 Polish books among its own holdings. The Russian collection, he commented, "has few of the original authorities, and is weak in modern descriptive works. On the history of Russia and on the Crimean War [there are] only a few of the principal authorities." Yet pursuant to an act of Congress passed in 1866, the Library held in deposit, though not in ownership, a more substantial if not very appreciable set of publications which had been received by the Smithsonian Institution in exchange for materials supplied to learned institutions in East and East Central Europe.
The real starting date of a more systematic buildup of the Library's collections was 1907, when the private library of some 80,000 books of Gennadii Vasil'evich Yudin arrived at the Library of Congress, packed in 500 crates which had traveled for several months from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia across European Russia and to Hamburg. Yudin was a colorful man and a successful merchant who had amassed a sizable fortune in liquor distilleries, gold mines, and real estate ventures, which was augmented by large winnings in government lotteries. Parenthetically, in a brief autobiographic sketch, Yudin once remarked that he did not share the then prevailing Russian opinion that "working in the liquor business on a large scale in an honest way for 40 years is derogatory," and he added, with approval, that Chancellor Bismarck had once stated in conclusion of his speech to the Reichstag, "Ich bin selbst ein Schnapsfabrikant" [I'm a distiller myself]. Since his youth Yudin had shown a consuming interest in books, and much time in his mature years was given to book-collecting and bibliophilism. By selling his famous collection to the Library of Congress for so nominal a sum as to make the acquisition virtually a gift, Mr. Yudin wished to contribute to closer relations between Russia and the United States and to make his library accessible to the "world of science," for, as he put it, he did "not know a more honored place for it than the American national library."
The particular strength of this collection lies in Russian history, literature, and bibliography, including the important works of Russian historians and critics, from Tatishchev and Karamzin to Soloviev and Kliuchevsky, complete works from Kantemir to Chekhov and Korolenko, and full sets of Russian bibliographical journals. Also included is a veritable wealth of Russian government documents and society publications, such as the Sbornik of the Imperial Russian Historical Society, the Chteniia of the Moscow Society of Russian History and Antiquities, the Russkaia starina, and the Istoricheskii vestnik. Of special historical interest are manuscript materials on Russian explorations of the Pacific Ocean and Pacific Coast and on Russian settlers of the North American west coast and of Alaska.
A few footnotes may be added to the history of the famous Yudin library, which no longer exists as a separate unit, having been absorbed to a large extent by the general collections. Lenin, in a letter written during his exile in Siberia in March, 1897, commented: "Yesterday I went to the local and famous library belonging to Yudin, who welcomed me and showed me his book treasures. He gave me permission to study in the library. . . it is a remarkable collection of books. . . . I hope I shall be able to use them for the references necessary for my work. . . ." It is perhaps a tribute to the significance of this collection that even today its history continues to attract the attention of historians and bibliographers. In recent years several studies have been published in the Soviet Union which, while adding some new details to the otherwise well-known story, unfortunately are marred by occasional excursions into the realm of propaganda and fantasy. Thus one author in discussing the background of the acquisition of the collection by the Library of Congress claims that this "operation, a sort of intelligence maneuver, was carried out with impunity by the American agents" under the auspices of Mr. Herbert Hoover and that Mr. Yudin "became willy-nilly a participant in the crime against the Motherland and the people."
Since these beginnings, the Library's Russian and East and East Central European collections have made rapid strides owing to extensive acquisitions efforts. At the end of the First World War a substantial collection of Russian materials particularly rich in emigre publications was donated by the Embassy of the Russian Provisional Government. In 1931 a portion of the Winter Palace Library of Tsar Nicholas II, consisting of more than 2,000 volumes on Russian administrative, military, and social history, was put up for sale by the Soviet government, and the Library of Congress eventually succeeded in purchasing them. Many books in this unique collection are de luxe copies in sumptuous bindings especially made for presentation to the tsar. Others represent rare administrative and legal documents, often of a semiconfidential nature, which throw light on political developments during the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. Between the two World Wars and particularly in the wake of World War II, a vast network of exchanges was developed which ensures the receipt from Soviet and East European areas of a multitude of important documents and materials issued by governmental agencies, as well as by scholarly and academic organizations. As a result, nearly 1,250 exchange agreements are currently in effect, and a widespread system of book dealers and supply agencies ensures the purchase of wanted materials — all in the interest of expanding the collections and keeping them up to date. Private donations and transfers from government agencies also contribute to the steady influx of materials. Thus the 93,000-item collection of the former United States Legation in Riga, chiefly composed of reference books and files of periodicals and newspapers, was received by the Library.
It goes without saying that the postwar developments which made imperative a rapid expansion of the store of knowledge concerning the area under review have given a powerful impetus to the growth of the Library's related activities. Organizationally, this trend was reflected in the establishment of the Slavic and Central European Division, in 1951, as a specialized area reference and bibliographic center, with simultaneous responsibilities for selecting for acquisition all types of printed material in the humanities and social sciences. Thus the last decade witnessed the development of a consistent and coherent procurement program for the entire Slavic and East European domain, with equitable emphasis on all the countries situated in this area.
At the turn of the 1950s the Library resources, probably the largest in the field outside the USSR, had grown to considerably more than 300,000 volumes of books, 16,000 periodicals, and 1,400 newspapers. These holdings are augmented at the annual rate of some 21,000 books, 5,000 current periodicals, and 450 current newspapers. At a conservative estimate, almost every fourth book published in East Europe now finds its way to the Library's shelves. Such a ratio would appear to be rather satisfactory, considering the fact that quite a few current publications on the book market of Eastern Europe are of narrowly local or ephemeral nature or represent unaltered re-editions, translations, and the like. And, above all, this level of coverage should ensure a representative, though necessarily selective, body of relevant information on the whole spectrum of knowledge published in this area, excluding clinical medicine and technical agriculture, which are not within the perimeter of the Library's acquisitions interests.
Paul H. Buck, distinguished scholar and director of Harvard's university libraries, remarked that "a well-selected collection can be more useful than one in which laborious excavation must penetrate mountains of trash in order to reach significant material." But about one century earlier, John Longdon Sibley, another librarian of Harvard, also said: "What is trash to me may be the part of the Library which will be the most valuable to another person." Here are the two sides of the coin — how to develop balanced collections by achieving the precarious state of equilibrium between "too much" and "too little." Attainment of the ideal goal would seem to presuppose not only the skill of gauging with precision the current demands made on the collections by a varied clientele but also the talent of clairvoyance to visualize demands to be made many years hence. In developing the Library's Slavic and East European collections, those who recommend materials endeavor to come as close as possible to the goal of satisfying the needs of the Congress and the government at large, as well as those of the scholarly community and the general user.
An important function of the Library's collection under review is to preserve and reflect, as far as possible, representative parts of the written and printed records of the cultural heritage of the peoples and societies concerned. Of necessity, only a few examples of the pièces de resistance of the past can be introduced here at random.
Antedating by almost one and a half centuries the earliest known native description of Russia by Kotoshikhin is an early travel account by Baron Sigismund von Herberstein, who as an envoy of the Emperor Maximilian I and Charles V visited Russia in 1516 and 1526 in order to mediate between Poland and Muscovy, then at war, and to win their support for action against the Turks. This fascinating document, of which the Library possesses the German edition published in Vienna in 1557, is remarkable not only as a handbook of encyclopedic reach for the Russia of that period, but also as an important source of information about the 1497 judicial code of the Grand Duke Vasilii, the first code of laws enacted in Muscovite Russia. Relics from the infancy of Russian printing are the Apostol (Acts of the Apostles) of 1564, the first dated and signed book in Muscovite Russia, printed by Ivan Fedorov and Peter Timofeev, official printers of Ivan the Terrible, who ordered the "Tsar's Printing Court" to be built in Moscow for the publishing of religious books; and the Ostrog Bible of 1581, also originating from the Fedorov press.
Particularly strong are the Library's collections in legal materials. Encompassing collections of statutes (Sobranie uzakonenii, Svod zakonov), court reports, annotated codes, and treatises on law and legal history. Noteworthy among them are Polnoe sobranie zakonov rossiiskoi imperii, in 202 volumes and 42 portfolios of drawings, spanning the period from 1649 to 1913; several thousands of pamphlets representing rulings of the sovereign and the government; decrees by the Empresses Elizabeth and Anne; and the first law book printed in Russia, in 1649, the Code of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in its first and second editions — a milestone in the codification of Russian laws. In the category of curiosa, mention should be made of the world"s smallest Russian book, a miniature copy of Ivan A. Krylov's Basni, printed in 1856 in St. Petersburg. Though measuring only 15/16 inch by 1 3/16 inches, it is typographically so well executed — largely because of lettering in gold used to increase the visibility — that good eyes can read it without the help of magnifying glasses. Russian manuscript materials include the records of the Alaska Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church; manuscripts relating to John Paul Jones, "the first American naval officer to set a tradition of victory" (as he is apostrophized in the Encyclopedia Americana), at the time when he was a rear admiral in the Russian Navy under Catherine the Great; and some of the papers of George Kennan relating to his visit to Russia in the 1880s. Making a leap in time to the more recent past, we find a collection of letters written by Maxim Gorky to the Russian poet and literary critic Vladislav Khodasevich in the early 1920s, when Gorky preferred to stay at a comfortable distance from the Soviet Union, in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Italy. Rachmaninoff devotees may like to know of the large collection of manuscripts, letters, and memorabilia presented to the Library in 1950 by the composer's widow.
In the field of Ukrainica, the Library is one of the leading repositories in the Americas. The strength of these materials, which began to reach the Library sporadically around 1870 and were augmented by some important items in the Yudin Collection, centers principally on history, literature, periodicals, and newspapers. In the latter category, particular reference should be made to a full set of Kievskaia starina for the years 1882–1906, to files, in varying completeness, of Kievlianin, Ukrainets, Osnova, Pravda (published in Lvov from 1869 to 1877), and the newspaper Kievskoe slovo (1899–1900). Among the oldest Ukrainian books in the Library are the ecclesiastic works, Euchologion albo molytvoslov ili trebnyk, edited by Peter Mohyla, Metropolitan of Kiev, and published in 1646, and Myr s Bohom (1669), a handsomely adorned Church Slavonic manual for confessors, instructing them on religious and legal matters connected with the imposition of church penalties. It was prepared by Innocentius Gisel, who was abbot of the Kiev Lavra Monastery, rector of its academy, and from 1656 to 1683 head of its press — the only one then existing in the Ukraine. Besides numerous works of Ukrainian writers and men of letters, the Library harbors an array of rara related to Taras Shevchenko, the great poet and artist. In commemorating in 1961 the centenary of his death, the Library of Congress displayed in an exhibit, inter alia, a rare edition of his famous collection of poems Kobzar', the first edition of his poem "Trizna," and the earliest known translation of his poetry into English, which appeared in the 1868 opening issue of the Alaska Herald in San Francisco.
In the 1950s the Library was fortunate enough to bring together into a rather unique collection Czech rarities which throw a revealing light on the Czech Renaissance and also on the succeeding century. One of the first imprints comes from the press of Mikuláš Konáč z Hodíštkova, the first Prague book printer in the sixteenth century to be influenced by the early Renaissance. This well-preserved volume, of which only one copy is recorded, bears the imprint (in translation) "Prague, at the White Lion, 1525," which is a reference to the name of the building where this printing shop was set up. This little book deals with an affirmation of a compromise arrangement, known under the name of the Compacts (Compactata), which were concluded in 1436 between the great ecumenical Council of Basel and the Hussite representatives. Other outstanding items in this collection are believed to be on the shelves of only a very few libraries outside Czechoslovakia. Kalendár hystorycký, by the humanist scholar Daniel Adam z Veleslavína, is a general history in calendar form issued by the famous press of Melantrich (whose original Czech name was Jirí Cerný Roždálovský) and is recognized as a valuable source of the cultural and political history of the sixteenth century. Last but not least, the 1596 one-volume edition of the Czech Brethren's Kralice Bible (Kralická Bible) is considered by many perhaps the most perfect Czech translation of the scriptures and has remained for centuries a model of Czech orthography and classical language. No less an authority than Comenius (Jan Amos Komenský) — until his death in 1670 bishop of the Unitas in exile — commented on it as follows: "As yet there are few nations that could listen in their native language to their sacred prophets and apostles speaking in words so truthful, sincere, and clear." Quite different elements of the Library's Czechoslovak resources are illustrated by a fine collection of manuscripts, monographs, and serials which, donated by Thomas Capek, a noted American-Czech author, provide interesting documentation of the history of the immigration of Czechs to the United States, their settlement, and the various facets of their life in the new country.
An unusual record of the cultural history of the Bulgarian people for the period of their national awakening from 1806 to the 1870s is provided in another of the Library's specialized collections. The extensiveness of this record becomes apparent if it is realized that of an estimated total of 1,800 books published during these seven decades in modern Bulgarian, some 40 per cent are available in this collection. It includes the Kyriakodromion , or "Sunday book," by Bishop Sofronii of Vratsa, the first book in modern Bulgarian, printed in 1806 in an edition of 1,000. Since the Old Church Bulgarian text of the Bible was no longer generally understood at that time, this book of sermons for religious occasions served to keep Biblical knowledge alive. To leaf through the pages of these 700-odd books is to gain a revealing insight into one facet of the Ottoman rule over the Bulgarians: none of these books was printed in Sofia, and hardly any of them were printed elsewhere in Bulgaria. They were turned out by the printing presses of Bucharest and Odessa, Kiev and Prague, Budapest and Smyrna, Vienna and London, Moscow and Belgrade. The Turks even preferred to have Bulgarian books printed in Constantinople rather than to let Bulgarians do the job at home. The specific holdings of the collection can be ascertained by consulting the Library's copy of the standard bibliography for this period by Valeri Pogorelov, Opis na starite pechatani bulgarski knigi, 1802–1877, in which the available items are noted.
Turning to another landmark in the intellectual development of the Balkan area, we should point to the 1483 Missale Glagoliticum, to which the Croats refer as the first Croatian printed book. Acquired for the Library of Congress in 1930, by Act of Congress, as part of the so-called Vollbehr Collection of 3,000-odd incunabula, this item is believed to be the best preserved of ten extant copies. An outstanding feature of this copy is a full-page woodcut of the crucifixion by an artist established as Jorg Breu the Elder. Neither printer nor publisher of the book has been traced as yet.
Introductiorium Copendiosum . . . (and these are only the first two words of a very long title) printed in Krakow in 1506, probably by Jan Haller, is of considerable interest as a specimen of early printing in Poland. It also contains the first known mention of America in Polish literature. In this treatise on astronomy, Jan Glogowczyk, also known as Glogoviensis, a professor at the Academy of Krakow, elaborated on a widely known medieval text originally prepared by Sacro Bosco, an English mathematician who taught at the University of Paris toward the end of the twelfth century. Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz and Konrad Wallenrod in their first editions are other prominent items in the Polish collections, which are strong in publications by Polish learned institutions, in history, law, mathematics, and literature.
Last but not least, the Hungarian collections of the Library of Congress, the largest outside Hungary, offer an extensive coverage in particular of Hungarian parliamentary and statistical publications, works on Hungarian government and politics, history, literature, language, and linguistics.
Among the oldest Hungarian possessions are the so-called Nekcsei-Lipócz Bible, a fourteenth-century illuminated manuscript; first or early editions of the works by the fifteenth-century historians, Johannes Thuróczi, Italian-born Antonio Bonfini, and the Humanist Johannes Sambucus (Zsámboki); seventeenth-century travelogues describing the country's struggles against the Ottoman Empire; and first editions of works by Louis Kossuth, Count Stephen Széchenyi, and others.
Collecting resources of such magnitude is of course no pursuit per se. To the user confronted with a plethora of materials of all types, their mere presence would be of little avail, and he would be hard put to find the needed book, periodical, or newspaper among all the collections. Or, to use a simile in reverse, he cannot see the trees for the forest. He needs guides and blazed trails. In short, the raison d'être and the ultimate purpose of library resources lie in their accessibility, exploration, and utilization. For this reason a number of general bibliographic, research, and locational aids for the Library's Slavic and East European collections will be mentioned briefly.
The Cyrillic Union Catalog, an invaluable bibliographic aid for research use on this area, comprising over 700,000 cards housed in the Library of Congress, will become available in the near future in microprint form. Initiated by and carried out with the cooperation of various bodies devoted to the promotion of East European Studies and library affairs, this project is an interesting pioneer venture in advanced photocopying techniques by which a massive card catalog can be telescoped into several containers of microprints, which can be read with the help of a hand viewer. It is exciting to think of this revolution in techniques for the dissemination of the printed word, which permits capturing the contents of thousands of trays — originally taking up large rooms — in just a small set of volumes that probably can be placed right on one's desk. This catalog will record for the researcher materials in Cyrillic type (Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian) held in the Library of Congress and reported by 185 other major research libraries in the United States and Canada, with coverage up to 1956. Besides serving as a tracing and finding aid, this catalog should provide a maximum of bibliographic control because of its comprehensive arrangement in three separate files — by title, by author's name, and by subject. The entries are transliterated according to the Library of Congress system, and English translations of the titles for post-1917 publications (except for belles-lettres) are provided.
Also located in the Library of Congress is the Slavic Union Catalog, which is being kept current and can therefore be used to advantage for publications received or reported after the 1956 cutoff date of the Cyrillic Union Catalog. For the period before 1956 it contains only those parts of the Cyrillic Union Catalog which record authors and titles — the latter only if listed therein as main entries.
In an attempt to advance the frontiers of knowledge about significant East European research materials beyond the confines of North America, the Library has developed over the last decade a program which seeks to microfilm catalogs of important Slavic and Baltic collections in Europe. Among microfilmed catalogs so far secured are those of the Helsinki University Library, the Bibliotheque de Documentation Internationale in Paris, the Istituto Pontificale Orientale in Rome, the Ryska Institutet in Stockholm, the British union catalog of Russian publications in the National Central Library in London, and others. Helsinki University was a depository library for publications in tsarist Russia and consequently has sizable collections.
A record of post-World War II books and periodicals issued in and also outside the Soviet Union in Russian and other languages used in that country and received by the Library of Congress and by major research libraries in the United Stated and Canada is presented in the Monthly Index of Russian Accessions. This useful research tool lists publications in seventeen subject classes, the periodicals with tables of contents translated into English. Titles of books and periodicals are given in the original form in transliteration, along with their English translations. Other serviceable features of this list include elaborate subject indexes to the monographs and articles listed in the main body, annual cumulative lists of pertinent periodicals, and a monthly list of cover-to-cover translations of Soviet journals (along with price and subscription information). This index provides a unique source of information because it constitutes, to all intents and purposes, an inventory of a very substantial part of research materials of that type available in the United States of America.
The East European Accessions Index, with an analogous coverage of ten countries of East Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia) was published from 1951 through 1961.
As pointed out previously, the Cyrillic Union Catalog comprises only publications in Cyrillic type. The two accessions indexes, while being free of that limitation, concern themselves only with materials acquired by American libraries in the post-World War II period. This would seem to leave a bibliographic vacuum not only for older Latin alphabet publications in Albanian, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, Polish, Rumanian, Slovak, Slovenian, and the Baltic languages, but also for the often very important body of information printed in a variety of languages outside East Europe but relating to that area. Fortunately, there are several research tools which fill this gap at least in part. Those who are doing research in the Library of Congress are in a position to use the National Union Catalog, which, with its alphabetically arranged file of 14,000,000 cards for pre-1952 imprints, represents the central register of library materials in the United States, both inside and outside the Library of Congress.
A printed version of this catalog entitled The National Union Catalog: A Cumulative Author List is now available for imprints from 1952 to date. Compiled by the Library of Congress and published in monthly issues and quarterly, annual, and quinquennial cumulations, this catalog now lists all monographic titles (including those in the Cyrillic alphabet) which are cataloged by the Library of Congress or reported by major research libraries in the United States and in Canada. Materials represented by Library of Congress printed cards only are recorded in the printed multivolume author catalogs which have been published over the years under varying titles.
The author catalog may be the indicated research tool when individual authors or organizations, such as a museum or an academy of sciences are known: yet in other instances the investigator may be in search of, let us say, recent French, British, and German books on economic conditions in Poland. The tool which permits such a subject approach is the printed Library of Congress subject catalog (Library of Congress Catalog. Books: Subjects), a continuing and cumulative printed catalog which since 1950 has provided a basic subject control over a substantial portion of the world's current output of significant books. In realization of a dream of scholars for more than fifty years, the Library of Congress initiated in 1962 The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. The first volume reproduces 7,300 catalog cards describing holdings of some 400 repositories, which include also manuscripts of interest to Slavic research.
Finally, I should mention the Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions (title shortened to Quarterly Journal in January, 1964), where one can find annual reports on publishing developments in, and the highlights of acquisitions from, East and East Central Europe and, from time to time, articles on special collections relative to that area.
Another sector of the Library's activities is directed toward the development and preparation of more specialized bibliographical and reference tools which aim at assisting the scholar and student of East European affairs in a purposeful exploration of library resources. I should like to single out for a thumbnail sketch some such publications of relatively recent date or continued timeliness. Dealing as they do with more current materials, which are in constant flux, they cannot escape the fate — endemic to such bibliographies — of becoming outdated and requiring constant revision to keep abreast of the never-ceasing flow of publications. (A selective, itemized list of pertinent Library of Congress bibliographies and reference aids appears at the end of this article).
Serial Publications of the Soviet Union, 1939–1957 is a bibliographic checklist recording serial publications known to have appeared in the USSR in 1939 or later, with itemized Library of Congress holdings and locational symbols for other American and Canadian libraries where these titles are available. Work is in progress for the preparation of a second edition which will extend the scope to all USSR periodical titles published since 1917, of which some 20,000 will be included. Similarly, bibliographic control over Soviet newspapers is provided by Newspapers of the Soviet Union in the Library of Congress (Slavic, 1954–1960; Non-Slavic, 1917–1960), which lists bibliographic information and itemized holdings for newspapers regardless of language. This aid updates and supplements, to some extent, the earlier Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian Newspapers, 1917–1953, in which some 860 newspapers in the possession of the Library of Congress and other major research libraries in this country are recorded. Investigators interested in the ever growing reservoir of periodicals devoted to East European affairs and published primarily in French, English, and German both in and outside Eastern Europe may use with profit the bibliography entitled East and East Central Europe: Periodicals in English and other West European Languages. It may be surprising to find in this volume a listing, as of 1958, of more than 600 titles, including abstract and translation journals, and this total is sure to have grown since. A substantially revised edition reflecting the flux and mobility so characteristic for this sort of publication is to appear soon.
Other bibliographic compilations aim to facilitate access to specific areas or topics of East European studies. Thus, two general bibliographies on Estonia and East Germany, respectively, present selected recent writings, chiefly in English, on sociopolitical, economic, and cultural conditions in these areas. In the topical group, the Library of Congress has issued over the past decade or so quite a few bibliographies covering a wide range of theses and including Guide to Soviet Bibliographies, Study and Teaching of Slavic Languages, Soviet Geography, and Geography of Yugoslavia. Latin America in Soviet Writings, 1945–1958, by analyzing the Soviet postwar publications output on Latin America, graphically reflects the swiftly growing Soviet interest and involvement in that area. A continuation of that study, which no doubt would reveal an accelerated pace in this development, is now under consideration.
The Library has a unique collection of rare Russian imprints for the eighteenth century, an extremely important era in Russia's political and intellectual history. This collection, which includes writings by Novikov, Radishchev, Derzhavin, Karamzin, Kheraskov, Fonvizin, Sumarokov, and others, is estimated to exceed one-sixth of Russia's total book production between 1708 and 1800 and compares favorably with the world's largest collections of that time, both inside and outside Russia. To make accessible to scholarship a coherent inventory of this printed record of publications in the new alphabet (grazhdanskii shrift), a bibliography entitled Eighteenth Century Russian Publications in the Library of Congress: A Catalog, was compiled and released for distribution in 1961.
Students of East European affairs, confronted with the often puzzling task of "decoding" and understanding the spate of abbreviations for organizations, institutions, and so forth, which are so rampant nowadays in East European texts, may appreciate the information offered in a series of separate publications on Bulgarian, Czech and Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, and Yugoslav abbreviations which give these acronyms their full version in the original languages and the corresponding English translation.
A new series of bibliographic guides to area studies was initiated with the publication in 1963 of Rumania: A Bibliographic Guide. Its first part offers a selective evaluative survey of books, articles, and periodicals on the main facets of life and activities in the present and past of that country; a detailed bibliographic listing of the publications thus reviewed is offered in the second part. An analogous pattern is followed in a country guide on Bulgaria, now in progress. Finally, the outstanding recovery staged by East European research in Germany in the post-World War II period and its essential contributions to the knowledge of East Europe are the subjects of another study which was prepared for the Library of Congress by Professor Peter Scheibert of Marburg University, for the time being as an internal reference aid.
Along with this bird's-eye view of the collections and of bibliographical and locational facilities of the Library of Congress, students of East European affairs may find some other services of interest. Of course, all of the operations discussed here are vast and complex and are the result of concerted efforts by many units and areas within the Library, such as those concerned with the acquisition, the processing, the organization, and the utilization of materials. For example, the Law Library, Manuscript, Map, Music, Prints and Photographs, Rare Book, Serial, and Science and Technology Divisions are also concerned with, among other things, East European affairs, either by virtue of the subject matter or the type of material within their domain. The Slavic and Central European Division, mentioned previously, has the specific and explicit assignment of covering areas indicated by its name. In addition to its bibliographic activities this division offers through its area experts specialized reference services, in person or by correspondence, and maintains the Slavic Room, which has a reference library and various other informational facilities in support of public reference service. Also the Division maintains card files of recent and current articles on East Europe contained in selected West European-language periodicals.
The Library's Card Division, originally established to produce cards for the Library's own catalogs, in response to widespread demand has made these cards generally available for sale. Through these activities a worldwide business has developed which in the fiscal year 1963 sold more than 41,000,000 printed cards to 14,700 subscribers for an amount exceeding $2,400,000. Cards can either be ordered by the numbers as found at the right lower corner of the card reproduced in the aforementioned printed catalogs, or they may be ordered for any well-defined subject. Finally, the Library's Photoduplication Service produces photocopies of materials in the collections of the Library of Congress. Only recently the filming of Knizhnaia letopis' for the years 1907–46 was concluded. This project was based on the Library's almost complete file, which was supplemented by a few missing issues secured for the purpose from other institutions. Also microfilmed were such Russian periodicals as Kommunist, Sovetskaia kul'tura, and Krasnaia zvezda. An extensive project of cooperative microfilming, completed in 1956, involved thirteen newspapers, including Komsomol'skaia pravda, Trud, and other titles. In this connection, reference is made to the Library of Congress publication Newspapers on Microfilm, now in its fourth edition and listing more appreciable runs of domestic and foreign newspapers available in American and Canadian libraries.
The reader has now come to the end of a lightning tour of 270 miles of bookshelves — for this is the distance which according to official information sheets constitutes the total length of the bookshelves housing the Library's collections, which all along the way are liberally interspersed with material in spheres of Slavic and East European interest. To be a passenger on the journey through the realm of the printed word is a rewarding experience, full of a sense of discovery and exploration.
Library of Congress Publications in Aid of USSR and East European Research
Selected Bibliographies and Reference Works (Excluding Science and Technology)
Bulgarian Abbreviations: A Selective List. Prepared by Konstantin Z. Furness. 1961. iii, 326 pp. Intended to aid readers in ascertaining the meaning of abbreviations which often occur in current Bulgarian texts. Each entry contains the Bulgarian and the transliterated abbreviation as well as the expansion in Bulgarian and in English.
A Check List of Foreign Newspapers in the Library of Congress. Compiled under the direction of Henry S. Parsons. 1929. vi, 209 pp. Titles are arranged alphabetically by countries, each subalphabetized by places of publication. Includes coverage of East European area. Bibliographical data and Library of Congress holdings are provided.
Current National Bibliographies. Compiled by Helen F. Conover. 1955. v, 132 pp. Annotated bibliography of national bibliographies for all types of published materials. Contains section on the USSR and Eastern Europe.
Czech and Slovak Abbreviations: A Selective List. Edited by Paul L. Horecky. 1956. v, 164 pp. Lists abbreviations, with their expansions and English translations, for terms used in Czech and Slovak publications since World War II. Entries are chiefly for governmental, political, economic, cultural, and social organizations; in some instances they represent commonly abbreviated general terms.
East and East Central Europe: Periodicals in English and Other West European Languages. Compiled by Paul L. Horecky with the assistance of Janina Wojcicka. 1958. v, 126 pp. An annotated bibliography of current periodicals primarily in English, French, and German; within this language limitation, coverage includes periodicals which deal with the peoples and countries of East and East Central Europe as well as with the ethnic groups originating from this area, periodicals issued in these countries, and pertinent abstracting and translation journals. Title and entry index.
East European Accessions Index. September, 1951–1961. A monthly record of post-World War II monographs and post–1950 periodical publications with imprints from or in the languages of Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia. Lists publications received by the Library of Congress as well as by other major American research libraries. Arrangement in the first part is by country, and within each country by seventeen subject classes. Entries are given in the original language together with a translation of the title or a descriptive annotation in English; tables of contents are translated into English for selected periodicals. The second part consists of a subject index to articles and monographs listed. Cumulative annotated list of periodical and newspaper titles arranged by country and subject are included in the December issue of each volume.
Eighteenth Century Russian Publications in the Library of Congress: A Catalog. Prepared by Tatiana Fessenko. 1961. xvi, 157 pp. The arrangement is alphabetic by author and, if authorship is not established, by title. "Very rare" and "rare" books are marked by asterisks. Illustrations.
Estonia: A Selected Bibliography. Compiled by Salme Kuri. 1958. iv, 74 pp. Lists primarily titles in English, but also in French, German, and Estonian. Arranged by subject with an author and title index.
Foreign Language-English Dictionaries. Volume 2: General Language Dictionaries. Compiled in the General Reference and Bibliography Division. 1955. vi, 239 pp. Arranged alphabetically by names of the individual languages, dialects, or language groups. East European languages are covered.
Geography of Yugoslavia: A Selective Bibliography . Compiled by Borivoje Z. Milojevic. 1955. ix, 79 pp. Contents: Climatology. Hydrography. Geomorphology. Plant and animal geography. Human geography: general studies. Economic and transportation geography. Settlements, urban geography, and the origin of population. Political geography. Regional and physical geography. Historical geography and the history of geography. Author index.
Guide to Soviet Bibliographies: A Selected List of References. Compiled by John T. Dorosh. 1950. iv, 158 pp. Lists by subject classes separately published bibliographies issued in Russian, or relating to Russia, and available in the Library of Congress.
Hungarian Abbreviations: A Selective List. Compiled by Elemér Bako. 1961. iv, 146 pp. Covers mainly names of government agencies, public institutions, societies, industrial and trade enterprises, and other organizations. General abbreviations frequently used are also included.
Introduction to Europe: A Selective Guide to Background Reading. Compiled by Helen F. Conover. 1950. v, 201 pp. Annotated bibliography with material under each country divided according to the following categories: General. Historical background. Postwar political and economic scene. Culture. Includes author index.
— Supplement, 1950–1955. Compiled by Helen F. Conover. 1955. 181 pp.
Latin America in Soviet Writings, 1945–1958: A Bibliography. Compiled by Leo A. Okinshevich and Cecilia J. Gorokhoff. Edited by Nathan A. Haverstock. 1960. xii, 257 pp. Contents: Preface by Howard F. Cline. Foreword by Sergius Yakobson. General reference works. Anthropology. Art and architecture. Economics. Education. Geography and geology. Government and politics. History. International relations. Labor. Law. Literature. Music. Philosophy. Science and medicine. Social conditions. Travel. Sports and games. Theatre arts. Flora and fauna. Reviews. Subject and author index.
The Library of Congress Catalog. Books: Subjects. A subject bibliography of current works cataloged by the Library of Congress, and published quarterly with annual and quinquennial cumulations since 1950. The entries appear under alphabetically arranged specific subject headings. Works in languages using the Cyrillic alphabet which are represented by Library of Congress printed cards have been included since the commencement of publication.
Library of Congress Publications in Print. The latest edition was issued in March, 1963.
Monthly Index of Russian Accessions. April, 1948--. Lists Russian-language publications received by the Library of Congress and cooperating libraries. Publications printed in other languages of the Soviet Union are included when possible. Monographs and periodicals are listed under seventeen major subjects, with the periodical broken down according to more specific subdivisions. A subject index is provided in each issue. A cumulative author, subject, and periodical location index to the first three volumes is available as a separate publication. Beginning with Volume V an author index to monographs and a periodical location index are provided for each volume; they appear as appendixes to the first two issues of the subsequent volume.
The National Union Catalog: A Cumulative Author List. Lists, in addition to all printed materials cataloged by the Library of Congress, monographs of 1956 or later imprint date currently acquired by the major research libraries in the United States, and indicates the location of these titles. Published monthly, with quarterly, annual, and quinquennial cumulations, and continues, with an expansion to other libraries, the Catalog of Books Represented by Library of Congress Printed Cards in 209 volumes, and its continuation since 1948, the Library of Congress Author Catalog. Books published from 1952 through 1955 are listed in the 30-volume The National Union Catalog: 1952–1955 Imprints. Works in languages using the Cyrillic alphabet which are represented by Library of Congress printed cards have been included since the commencement of publication.
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, 1959–1961: Based on Reports from American Repositories of Manuscripts. 1962. viii, 1,061 pp. Compiled by the Library of Congress and published by J. W. Edwards, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan. Reproduces 7,300 catalog cards prepared during the years 1959, 1960, and 1961. An index of more than 30,000 names, a subject index, and a list of the entries reported by each of approximately 400 repositories, provide access to the information in this volume.
New Serial Titles: A Union List of Serials Commencing Publication after December 31, 1949. 1953–. Lists new serials received by the Library of Congress and cooperating libraries. The entries are coded by their subject content and also (though not manifest in the printed entries) by language and by country of origin. Appears in twelve monthly issues and in annual cumulations which have been in turn cumulated over five- or ten-year periods. New Serial Titles: Classed Subject Arrangement, a related monthly publication, lists new serial titles in subject sequence.
Newspapers of the Soviet Union in the Library of Congress (Slavic, 1954–1960; Non-Slavic, 1917–1960). Prepared by Paul L. Horecky with the assistance of John P. Balys and Robert G. Carlton. 1962. iv, 73 pp. This record of newspapers, available in print or on microfilm, offers for each title bibliographic information and itemized holdings. Indexes, by alphabet, language of newspapers and place of publication, are provided.
Newspapers on Microfilm. 5th ed., 1963. Compiled under the direction of George A. Schwegman, Jr. xv, 305 pp. A list of microfilm negatives and positives of more appreciable runs of domestic and foreign newspapers, about 16,000 entries, available in American and Canadian libraries or from the producer of the negative, in the United States or abroad. Arranged by place of publication of the newspaper.
Polish Abbreviations: A Selective List. Compiled by Janina Wojcicka. 2nd ed., rev. and enl., 1957. 164 pp. Lists abbreviations, with Polish expansions and English translations, for terms used in Poland since World War II, particularly names of government agencies, societies, companies, and institutions. Some general abbreviations commonly used are also included.
Postwar Foreign Newspapers: A Union List. 1953. vii, 231 pp. The arrangement is by countries, including those in the East European area. For each country the titles are listed alphabetically, along with the customary bibliographical information and the holdings of the Library of Congress and reporting major libraries.
A Preliminary Checklist of Russian Dictionaries Published in the USSR, 1917–1942. Compiled by George A. Novossiltzeff. 1944. iv, 143 pp. The material is presented in three large groups. 1. Russian-language dictionaries. 2. General bilingual dictionaries. 3. Special bilingual dictionaries, arranged alphabetically, according to subject.
Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions. July/Sept., 1943—. (Title shortened to Quarterly Journal in January, 1964.) Published as a supplement to the Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress. Includes annual reports on acquisitions from the USSR and Eastern Europe, and occasional articles on special Slavic and East European collections.
Rumania: A Bibliographic Guide. By Stephen A. Fischer-Galati. 1963. viii, 75 pp. A selective bibliography of publications in Rumanian and other languages about Rumania in the past and present. The first part surveys the relevant titles for which the detailed bibliographic entries are given in the second part.
Russian Abbreviations: A Selective List. Compiled by Alexander Rosenberg. 2nd ed., rev. and enl., 1957. ix, 513 pp. Lists abbreviations in the Cyrillic and in the transliterated form, with their expansions and English translations. General abbreviations as well as those of governmental, political, economic, cultural, and social organizations are covered.
Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian Newspapers, 1917–1953: A Union List. Compiled by Paul L. Horecky. 1953. xi, 218 pp. Lists 859 Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian newspapers issued since January 1, 1917, within the territory of the present USSR and in the possession of libraries in the United States as of May, 1953. Holdings are listed separately by year, the degree of completeness being indicated by symbols. Material arranged by place of publication, and alphabetical index of title is included.
Serial Publications of the Soviet Union, 1939–1957: A Bibliographic Checklist. Compiled by Rudolf Smits. 1958. ix, 459 pp. Lists all serial publications known to have appeared in the USSR in 1939 or later. Gives Library of Congress holdings and call number of each publication and indicates other American and Canadian libraries having the serials in their collections. A subject guide to the serials and an index to corporate headings used are included.
Soviet Geography: A Bibliography. Edited by Nicholas R. Rodionoff. 1951. xx, 668 pp. In two parts. Part 1: U.S.S.R. — Geography by Subject. Part 2: Administrative, Natural and Economic Regions. Lists over 4,000 titles of the important works on the geography of the Soviet Union, most of which have been published since 1917. Contents: Part 1. Geographical science. General descriptions. Expeditions, explorations, and discoveries. Historical geography. Physical geography. Economic geography. Political and military geography. Atlases and cartography. Bibliography and biobibliography. Part 2. Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Karelian S.S.R. Baltic Constituent Republics. White Russian S.S.R. Moldavian S.S.R. Ukrainian S.S.R. Transcaucasian Constituent Republics. Kazakh S.S.R. Asiatic Constituent Republics. Author and subject indexes.
Statistical Yearbooks: An Annotated Bibliography of the General Statistical Yearbooks of Major Political Subdivisions of the World. Prepared by Phyllis G. Carter. 1953. viii, 123 pp. The USSR and East European countries are covered.
The Study and Teaching of Slavic Languages: A Selected List of References. Compiled by John T. Dorosh. 1949. vi, 97 pp. Partly annotated bibliography of publications suitable as material for the study and teaching of Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Church Slavic, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, White Russian, and other Slavic languages.
Yugoslav Abbreviations: A Selective List. Prepared by Ilija P. Plamenatz. 1959. v, 185 pp. Lists abbreviations, with their expansions and English translations, for Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, and Macedonian terms used in Yugoslavia since World War II, particularly names of government agencies, societies, and industrial and trade establishments.
For general information on Library of Congress collections see, inter alia:
Report of the Librarian of Congress . . . (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1865/66—);
Dan Lacy, "The Library of Congress: a Sesquicentenary Review. I. The Development of the Collections. II. The Organization of the Collections," Library Quarterly, XX ( July, 1950, and Oct., 1950), pp. 157–79 and 235–58; David Chambers Mearns, The Story Up to Now: The Library of Congress, 1800–1946 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 226 pp.; and Shirley Pearlove, comp., A Guide to Special Book Collections in the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1949), 66 pp.
At the time of writing this article, Paul Horecky was Assistant Chief of the Slavic and Central European Division of the Library of Congress. This article is an updated and somewhat revised version of a paper which was originally read at Indiana University and published in 1962 in Cahiers du Monde Russe et Sovietique. Mr. Horecky ackowledged permission to draw on these previous materials from the editor of that journal and from Professor Robert S. Byrnes, Indiana University.