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Russian Imperial Collection

Books from the libraries of the Russian imperial family.

Royal Russian family. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
View images from the collection

In the early 1930s, 2,600 volumes from the book collections of the Romanov family were purchased by the Library of Congress through a New York book dealer. Variously called the Winter Palace Collection, the Tsar's Library, and (more accurately) the Russian Imperial Collection, these elaborately bound volumes have been assigned, for the most part, to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The collection includes eighteenth- and nineteenth-century documents, biographies, works of literature, and military, social, and administrative histories, and reflects the reading interests of the imperial family and the types of publications they received as gifts. Books in English, French, and German are well represented, although the majority of the publications are in Russian. The volumes carry the bookplates of Alexander III, his wife Maria Fedorovna, Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Fedorovna, their son Aleksei Nikolaevich, and other family members.

Two other Divisions maintain significant portions of the original purchase. The music from the collection -- largely nineteenth century Russian scores -- has been integrated into the rare book collection of the Music Division and includes a presentation copy of the first edition of the full score of Glinka's Ruslan i Liudmila (1878), prepared as two volumes and bound with an added dedicatory leaf, and the 1894 edition of Rimsky-Korsakov's first opera Pskovitianka. The 1931 Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress highlights the most important music items.

The Law Library received copies of military laws, laws regarding the abolition of serfdom, revisions of civil and criminal laws, and various texts on special legal subjects. The legal titles are listed in the 1931 Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress and are now part of the holdings of Russian legal sources and literature in the European Law Division.

Also see the webcast: Russian Imperial Bindings as Artifact and a Key for Reconstruction of the Imperial Libraries and related collections: Yudin Collection: Publications relating to Russian history, bibliography, and literature, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; pictorial material; papers of the Russian American Company


Digitized Materials from the Russian Imperial Collection

Stri e lki Imperatorskoĭ famili

Bogdanovich, E. V., 1829-191 Stri e lki Imperatorskoĭ familii. S.-Peterbur: Tip. R. Golike ..., 1899.
Page Turner - Bibliographic Information

Chin tserkovnyĭ, kotoryĭ vo vremę Vysochaĭsheĭ Egō Īmperatorskagō Velichestva koronatsīi do sobstvennagō Egō a věděnīę prinadlezthi

Russkaia pravoslavnaia t͡serkov. Chin tserkovnyĭ, kotoryĭ vo vremę Vysochaĭsheĭ Egō Īmperatorskagō Velichestva koronatsīi do sobstvennagō Egō a věděnīę prinadlezthi [S.l.: s.n., 1826]
Page Turner - PDF (10.34MB) - Bibliographic Information

Russko-iaponskaia voina


Russko-iaponskaia voina 1904-1905 goda / sostavil General'nago shtaba polkovnik V. Cheremisov, prepodavatel voennoi istorīi i taktiki v Kīevskom voennom uchilishchie.

Page-Turner - Bibliographic Information

Selected Images from the Collection



Strielki imperatorskoi familii. Istoricheskii ocherk (St. Petersburg, 1899). A history of the czar's regiment bound in a hussar's uniform with ribbons of the orders of St. Andrew and St. George.



This ornate pink volume probably belonged to Catherine the Great.

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  October 19, 2017
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