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Overviews of the Collections

Lithuanian Collections at the Library of Congress

Regina Frackowiak,
Reference Specialist

Overview

The Lithuanian collections at the Library of Congress are the largest in the Americas and probably the largest outside of Lithuania. Because the Lithuanian materials are included in the Library's general collections and in the special collections of various divisions, it is difficult to determine how many titles or volumes the Library has. A rough estimate indicates that there are about 25,000 volumes from or about Lithuania. This estimate comprises nearly 15,000 monographic titles, including multi-volume works, and about 1,000 serial titles, which usually consist of multiple volumes.

The current growth rate (2014) for monographic titles is about 250 per year; about 200 of these come from Lithuania and 50 from other countries. Of the nearly 15,000 monographic titles in the collections, over 9,200 are published in Vilnius and about 1,250 are published in Kaunas. A few are published in other Lithuanian cities: about 130 in Klaipeda and about 60 in Siauliai, with much smaller numbers in other locations.

Slightly more than 60 percent of these monographs are in Lithuanian, almost 13 percent in Russian, 11 percent in English, and 9 percent in Polish, with smaller percentages in German, French, and other languages. Although the overall percentage of books in Lithuanian is slightly more than 60 percent, the average for book receipts in Lithuanian from the 1970s to the present is about 70 percent. During the Soviet period, the percentage of monographs in Russian was much higher than it is today, whereas the percentage of monographs in English is much higher now than during Soviet times.

In addition to items from or about Lithuania proper, there are many works subsumed under the "Baltic" subject heading, including, for example, the term "Baltic states" and "Baltic Sea region." About 3,000 pertinent monographs in this category do not even use the word Lithuania as a subject heading.

Language and Literature

Daniel Klein: Grammatica Litvanica. . .  (1653) Image courtesy of Vilnius University Library via the European Library
Daniel Klein, Grammatica Litvanica et
Compendium Litvanico-Germanicum

(1653). The Library of Congress
possesses the 1957 reprint. (Courtesy
of Vilnius University Library via the
European Library
)

The Library's collections include the 1957 reprint of the first Lithuanian grammar by Daniel Klein, Grammatica Litvanica et Compendium Litvanico-Germanicum = Pirmoji Lietuvių Kalbos Grammatika (1653), and the dictionary by Georg Heinrich Nesselmann, Wörterbuch der Littauischen Sprache (1851), as well as the more current edition by Alexander Theodor Kurschat, Litauisch-deutsches Wörterbuch. Thesaurus linguae Lituanicae (1968-73). The most important works by the following linguists and literary historians are in the collections: Kazimieras Būga, Jonas Jablonskis, Vytautas Ambrazas, Jonas Balkevičius, Leonardas Dambriūnas, Janis Endzelins, and others. The Library also owns the two most extensive linguistic bibliographies: Lietuvių kalbotyra and Weronika Kubicka, Języki Baltyckie; bibliografia = Baltic Languages; Bibliography.

The following current linguistic periodicals are available: Acta Baltico - Slavica; Baltistica; Gimtoji kalba; Kalbos kultūra; Kalbotyra; Lietuvių kalbotyros klausimai; Literatūra ir kalba; and Studi Baltici. The Library holds collected works by outstanding Lithuanian authors: Jonas Aistis, Albinas Baranauskas, Bernardas Brazdžionis, Liudas Gira, Faustas Kirša, Vincas Krėvė, Vincas Kudirka, Jonas Maironis, Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas, Salomeja Neris, Ieva Simonaitytė, Antanas Škėma, Simonas Stanevičius, and Antanas Strazdas. Also present are most of the belles-lettres (poetry, novels, and plays) authored by the younger generation of writers after World War II, published in Lithuania and abroad, as well as histories of Lithuanian literature, e.g. Kostas Korsakas, Lietuvių literatūros istorija (Vilnius, 1957), and Domas Velicka and Juozas Masilionis, Lietuvių literatūra; trumpas lietuviu literaturos istorijos kursas su chrestomatija (Chicago, 1960).

The history of Lithuanian literature and criticism is represented by works of authors: Jonas Aistis, Mykolas Biržiška, Vaclovas Biržiška, Kostas Doveika, Vytautas Galinis, Leonas Gineitis, Vytautas Kubilius, Jonas Lankutis, Jurgis Lebedys, Regina Mikšytė, Ričardas Pakalniškis, Adolfas Sprindis, and Janina Žėkaitė. Anthologies, almanacs, and yearbooks on literature and arts, published in Lithuania proper and abroad since the early 1950s, are well represented. Collections of Lithuanian folklore in the original language and in translation are quite extensive, including works by Jonas Balys (who was employed by the Library of Congress from 1956 to 1981), Jadvyga Čiurlionytė, Antanas Juška, and Zenonas Slaviūnas. Memoir literature is well represented and includes works by Juozas Audėnas, Kipras Bielinis, Liudas Dovydėnas, Kazys Grinius, Steponas Kairys, Mykolas Krupavičius, Jonas Petruitis, Stasys Raštikis, Stefanija Rūkienė, Rapolas Skipitis, Vaclovas Šliogeris, Martynas Yčas, and Konstantinas Žukas.

History, Social Sciences, and Science and Technology

The Library's collection of materials on the history of Lithuania is quite robust. Many books were purchased in August 1954 from the heirs of Petras Klimas, Lithuanian historian and diplomat.

Examples of some important works in history, social sciences, and science and technology are: Akty, published in 39 volumes by the Vilenskaia Komissiia dlia Razbora i Izdanii za Drevnikh Aktov starting in 1865; Friedrich Georg von Bunge, Liv-, esth- und Curlandisches Urkundenbuch Nebst Regesten (1853); Theodor Hirsch, Max Töppen, Ernst Strehlke, Scriptores rerum Prussicarum (1861); Maciej Dogiel, Codex diplomaticvs Regni Poloniae et Magni Dvcatvs Lithvaniae (1758); Ignacy Danilowicz, Skarbiec diplomatów papiezkich, cesarskich, królewskich, ksiazecych; uchwal narodowych, postanowien róznych wladz i urzedów poslugujacych do krytycznego wyjasnienia dziejów Litwy (1860); and Augustin Theiner, Vetera monumenta Poloniae et Lithuaniae gentiumque finitimarum historiam illustrantia maximam partem nondum, edita ex tabulariss vaticanis deprompta collecta ac serie chronologica disposita (1860). Material on Lithuanian mythology and religion can be found in Stanislaw Rostowski, Litvanicarum Societatis Jesu historiarum provincialium pars prima (1768), and Wilhelm Mannhardt, Letto-preussische Götterlehre (1936). The following current historical periodicals are available: Istorija; Lietuvos istorijos metraštis; Tautos praeitis; and Lietuvių tautos praeitis. The Library has numerous historical monographs, including some older and rarer works: Maciej Dogiel, Limites Regni Poloniae & Magni Ducatus Litvaniae, ex originalibus ex exemplis authenticis descri & in lucem editi (1758); Bronius Dundulis, Napoleon et la Lithuanie (1940); Oskar Halecki, Ostatnie lata Swidrygielly i sprawa wolynska za Kazimierza Jagiellonczyka (1915); Stanislaw Kutrzeba, Akta unji Polski z Litwa, 1385-1791 (1932); and Jozef Wolff, Senatorowie i dygnitarze Wielkiego Ksiestwa Litewskiego (1885). Several works on cultural history should also be mentioned: Jonas Basanavičius, Rinktiniai raštai (1970); Mykolas Römeris, Litwa: studyum o odrodzeniu narodu litewskiego (1908); Antanas Milukas, Aušros 40 m. Sukaktuvėse 1883-1923 (1923); Mykolas Biržiška, Iš mūsų kultūros ir literatūros istorijos (1931); and Stepas Vykintas, Litauens Werden und Schaffen (1938).

Many monographs about local history contain historical and ethnographic material covering the whole country or selected localities. Some examples are: Bronius Kviklys, Mūsų Lietuva; Peliksas Šinkūnas, Kėdainių miesto istorija; Vincas Vileišis, Tautiniai santykiai Maž. lietuvoje ligi Didžiojo karo istorijos ir statistikos šviesoje; Jonas Totoraitis, Sūduvos Suvalkijos istorija; and Adolfas Šapoka, Senasis Vilnius; Vilniaus miesto istorijos bruožai iki XVII a. pabaigos.

Sources on the economy of Lithuania during the inter-war years are represented by periodicals published by the Ministry of Finance and the Statistical Bureau of Lithuania; see the titles listed below in the section "Serial Publications." There are additional titles worth mentioning: Economic and General Bulletin; Wirtschafliche Informationen; and Volkswirtschaft. For agriculture see Metraštis [Annals] of the Ministry of Agriculture. Statistics are provided in Antanas Musteikis (ed.), Lietuvos žemės ūkis ir statistika; Jonas Barbauskas, Pirmasis Nepriklausomos Lietuvos dešimtmetis; and Ten Years of Lithuanian Economy. Sources on finance and the economy are also included in the serials Lietuvos Banko biuletenis; Liaudies ūkis; and Lietuvos ūkis.

Serial Publications

Official state publications issued by the Lithuanian Statistical Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bank of Lithuania are well represented in the Library of Congress. The following titles are worth mention due to their rarity: Vyriausybės žinios; Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes; Archivum philologicum; Lietuvos praeitis; Lietuvos ūkis; Lietuvos ūkis ir rinka; Mūsų senovė; Mūsų žinynas; Praeitis; Švietimo darbas; Tauta ir žodis; Tautos ūkis: volkswirtschaft; Policija, lietuvos policijos menesinis laikraštis; and Žemėtvarka ir melioracija.

Several serial publications of the University of Lithuania in Kaunas are in the collections as well: Humanitarinių mokslų fakulteto raštai; Tauta ir žodis; Humanitarinių mokslų fakulteto leidinys; Darbai ir dienos; and Archivum philologicum. Most of the serial publications and series of the University of Vilnius and the Academy of Sciences of Lithuania are part of the collections, including such titles as Iš lietuvių kultūros istorijos; Iš mokslų istorijos Lietuvoje; Lietuvių liaudies menas; Lietuvos architektūros klausimai; Kraštotyra; Muziejai ir paminklai; Darbai (ser. A, B, C); and Mokslo darbai.

Also present are many serials issued as subseries under the general title Lietuvos TSR aukštųjų mokyklų mokslo darbai, with subseries: Biologija; Chemija ir cheminė technologija; Elektrotechnika ir mechanika; Ekonomika; Filosofija; Geografija ir geologija; Istorija; Kalbotyra; Literatūra; Menotyra; Pedagogika ir psichologija; Statyba ir architektūra; Teisė; Ultragarsas; and Vibrotechnika. The Library holds the publications of the Lithuanian Catholic Academy (Rome), the Baltisches Forschungsinstitut (Bonn), the Institutum Balticum (Königstein), as well as publications of the following U.S. institutions: the Institute for Lithuanian Studies, the Lithuanian Institute of Education, and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies.

In recent years the Library has filled gaps in its runs of Lithuanian newspapers, cultural and literary weeklies, and periodicals published in independent Lithuania, such as Akademikas; Naujoji Romuva; Židinys; and Vairas. This has been possible thanks to the Cooperative Microfilming Project between the National Library of Lithuania and the Library of Congress, coordinated by the European Division. The retrospective periodicals collection is constantly growing as a result of this collaboration, further described in a link given in the Related Pages section at the end of this article.

Two Lithuanian-language daily newspapers, both published in Chicago, have been microfilmed: Draugas and Naujienos. Some other titles that were microfilmed in-house or purchased as microform include: Komjaunimo tiesa; Literatūra ir menas; Sovetskaia Litva; Tarybinis mokytojas; Tiesa; and Kurier Wilenski.

View of Vilnius during World War I
View of Vilnius during World War I.
(Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)

The Lithuanian Presence in America

Recent literature about Lithuanians living in the Western Hemisphere is well represented in works by Aleksas Ambrose, Kazys Baronas, Jurgis Brizgys, Joseph Končius, Antanas Kučas, Vincentas Liulevičius, Algirdas Margeris, Stasys Michelsonas, Jurgis Papečkys, Antanas Petrika, Ignas Sakalas, Kazys Šidlauskas, Vytautas Sirvydas, Leonardas Šimutis, and Pranas Ulevičius. A few older publications should also be mentioned: Kazys Gineitis, Amerika ir Amerikos lietuviai (1925); Petras Ruseckas, Pasaulio lietuviai (1935); Stasys Vitaitis, Susivienijimo lietuvių Amerikoje auksinio jubiliejaus albumas (1936); and Antanas Milukas, Amerikos lietuviai XIX šimt. 1868-1900 (1938). Several monographs have been published by Catholic parishes, convents, etc., founded and maintained by Lithuanians in the United States. There are also local almanacs about Lithuanians in Chicago and in California, as well as directories, such as the biographical directory Amerikos lietuvių vardynas (1953), the organizational/biographical directory Pasaulio lietuvių žinynas. Lithuanian World Directory (1953), and a largely revised and re-arranged version from 1958, Pasaulio lietuvių žinynas, that adds English text and new biographical information, but leaves out biographical information found in the 1953 version for persons deceased or no longer holding positions.

Reference Works and Bibliographies

Reference and bibliographic works include the following encyclopedias: Lietuviškoji enciklopedija (Kaunas, 1933); Lietuvių enciklopedija (Boston, 1953); and Mažoji lietuviškoji tarybinė enciklopedija (Vilnius, 1966). All the important bibliographies are present, including Jonas Žilius, Suskaita arba statistika visu lietuviszku knygu, atspaustu Amerikoj nuo pradzios lietuviszkos Amerikon emigracijosiki 1900 metu (1900); Sil'vestr Baltramaitis, Sbornik bibliograficheskikh materialov dlia geografii, etnografii i statistiki Litvy (1891); Vaclovas Biržiška, Lietuviu bibliografija (1924); and Antanas Ulpis (ed.), Knygos lietuvių kalba (1969).

Periodicals on library and bibliographic matters are also available, including Knygos; Bibliografijos ir kritikos žurnalas; Bibliotekų darbas; Knygų lentyna; Bibliotekininkystė ir bibliografija; Lietuvių išeivių spaudos metrašti; and Knygotyra.

Most of the Library's printed Lithuanian materials are located in the general collections and are accessible via the European Reading Room and other reading rooms in the Jefferson and Adams buildings. Some printed materials will be accessible only through reading rooms focused on special collections. For instance, books on Lithuanian law or music will be found in the Law Library or the Performing Arts Reading Room, respectively. The online catalog record for a specific item will note which reading rooms provide access.

The European Reading Room is the access point for the Lithuanian reference collection, which includes approximately 300 volumes of dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, histories, biographical directories, bibliographies, and other reference sources pertaining to Lithuania. There are also approximately 100 volumes in the Baltic reference section that treat the Baltic area as a whole. The European Reading Room has custody of current Lithuanian newspapers and periodicals. In addition, the reading room has a large collection of retrospective Lithuanian newspapers on microfilm.

The Library's collection of about 20 Retrospective Telephone Directories from Lithuania is available for researchers upon request in the European Reading Room (see link at the end of this description for a list of the directories).

The Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room is the access point for most printed materials produced prior to 1801 or considered rare for other reasons (other specialized reading rooms, e.g., the Law Library or the Performing Arts Reading Room, also hold rare materials). Some examples in the Library's holdings include A new account of Poland and Lithuania, describing their governments, palatinates, provinces, religion, language, habits, festivals, marriages, funerals, climate, rivers, salt mines, and other rarities: their forces, coins, revenues, general and particular diets, priviledges of their nobility, interregnum, and ceremonies in the election of their new king; with a brief relation of what pass'd after the death of their late king Sobieski, to the coronation of the present king; to which is added, a new description of Swedeland, Livonia and Courland (1702); Jane Daniel Hoffmann, De typographiis, carvmqve initiis et inerementis in regno Poloniae et magno dvcatv Lithvaniæ cvm variis observationibvs rem et literariam et typographicam vtrivsq; gentis aliqva ex parte illv-trantibvs (1740); Maciej Dogiel, Limites Regni Poloniae & Magni Ducatus Litvaniae, ex originalibus ex exemplis authenticis descri & in lucem editi (1758); Konstytucye Seymu extraordynaryinego w Warszawie roku MDCCLXVII (1768); and Stanislaw Rostowski, Litvanicarum Societatis Jesu historiarum provincialium pars prima (1768). Interesting and unique is a collection (laminated for preservation) of 15 titles (totaling 111 issues) of underground newspapers that were published in Lithuania during the German occupation, covering the period from October 1942 to early April 1944.

The Manuscript Reading Room provides access to unpublished materials that focus on Americana, but include Lithuanian-American connections, such as the two described below.

  • Tasker Howard Bliss papers, 1870-1930, a collection of 496 containers of business correspondence, diaries, intelligence reports from the U.S. military attaché in Petrograd, maps, memorabilia pertaining to Russia, and the situation in Lithuania and other areas at the time of the Russian Revolution.
  • Balys Gajauskas correspondence 1982-2000, a collection of the Lithuanian political activist, legislator, and Soviet political prisoner; includes a miniature letter from him to Max M. Kampelman, U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Madrid, Spain (1980-1983), concerning human rights in Lithuania.

In addition, materials relating to Lithuania are included in The Captured German Documents Collection, which comprises 350,000 pieces and dates mostly to the inter-war and World War II period. The finding aid to this microfilmed collection is organized by source of documents; there is no index by country.

The Law Library has nearly 400 monographic works pertaining to Lithuania and law. It also holds runs of about 40 serials concerning Lithuanian law. Among its early works on laws and statutes pertaining to Lithuania are Constitvcye Wielkiego Xiestwa Litewskiego (1661 and 1685), Konfederacja Generalna Omnivm Ordinvm Regni, et Magni Dvet (1632), and Svffragia Woiewodztwy Ziem Koronnych y Wielkiego Xiestwa Litewskiego (1669). Collections of laws include Alfonsas Merkys (ed.), Lietuvos istatymai (1922); Kazys. Šalkauskis (ed.), Civiliniai įstatymai (1933); and Alfonsas Žiurlys (ed.), Lietuvos TSR įstatymų (1956). The more current legal materials at the Law Library include the official gazette Valstybės žinios (1993- present).

Council House of Kaunas, from Album of Lithuanian Views . . . (1915-1920?)
Council House of Kaunas, from Album of Lithuanian
Views
(Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)

The Geography & Map Reading Room provides access to maps, atlases, and other cartographic materials pertaining to Lithuania. The collection comprises more than 225 cataloged records of maps of Lithuania and Lithuanian cities and regions from the 18th century to the present; some records include series with multiple maps. In addition, at least 135 maps are uncataloged, ranging from the 18th century to the 1960s, and many of these are arranged according to subject (e.g., agriculture, military, etc.). Finding aids and directories to atlases containing maps in the Library of Congress collection are available on site.

Interesting examples include Tobias Conrad Lotter, Magnus ducatus Lithuania in suos palatinatus et castellanias divisa, non solum accuratissime delineata, sed etiam plurimis in aliis mappis omissis locis aucta [1778?], and Job Mayer, Map of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania (1770s).

The Performing Arts Reading Room provides access to collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials.

Some interesting examples include Pius Buksnaitis, Folk Dances of Lithuania; Adolfas Sabaliauskas, Lietuviu dainu ir giesmiu gaido; printed music such as Melodje ludowe litewskie zebrane przez 's.p.ksiedza Antoniego Juszkiewicza; opracowywane przez s.p. Oskara Kolberga i. 's.p. Izydora Kopernickiego; a ostatecznie opracowane, zredagowane i wydane przez Zygmunta Noskowskiego i Jana Baudouin'a de Courtenay (1900); and archival manuscript material such as the Jascha Heifetz collection, 1802-1987.

The Prints & Photographs Reading Room serves as an access point to photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. Pertinent to Lithuania are 95 lots of prints and photographs, some consisting of dozens or even hundreds of prints, photographs, drawings, lithographs, or slides of individuals, musical or other groups, or places in Lithuania or involving Lithuanians in the United States. Many of these images are accessible online. In addition, that reading room also contains other finding aids for locating additional materials. An interesting example from this collection is the Album of Lithuanian Views, 1915-20, Mainly of Vilna.

The American Folklife Center serves as an access point to materials in all formats documenting the cultural diversity of America. This is the most extensive collection of Lithuanian folklife materials outside of Lithuania. It consists of hundreds of discs, tapes, and cassettes of Lithuanian songs, instrumental and band recordings, choral presentations, Lithuanian radio broadcasts, and recorded interviews with Lithuanian singers and musicians, many recorded in the 1930s and 1940s in New England, the Middle Atlantic states, and the Midwest. Some of the most interesting materials are found in the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection 1976-1981. Other collections regarding Lithuanians are described in the online Finding Aids to Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture: Lithuania Collections.

Additional resources

Jonas P. Balys. "Lithuanian Materials Available in the Library of Congress," in Lituanus, vol. 20, no. 4, 1974, pp. 32-41. Mr. Jonas ("John") P. Balys, an important Lithuanian folklorist, worked as a librarian at the Library of Congress from 1956 to 1981.

John P. Balys. "The Baltic States: A 10-Year Survey," in Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions, vol. 20, no. 1, December 1962, pp. 80-92. Describes publications from and about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania published between 1952 and 1961.

Related pages on the Library of Congress web site:

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  February 23, 2017
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