The National Library of Russia
The National Library of Russia
Our library
Collections
Catalogues
Services


Home page > Collections > Manuscripts > Russian Archive Collection

Russian Autograph Documents

The creation of a "Depot of Manuscripts" in 1805 marked the beginning of what was to become the Manuscript Department of the Public Library.

A letter from Empress Catherine II to Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich
A letter from Empress Catherine II to
Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich
A charter issued by Grand Prince Ivan Vasilyevich of Moscow (Ivan the Terrible)
A charter issued by Grand Prince Ivan
Vasilyevich of Moscow (Ivan the Terrible)

Two centuries of efforts by prominent scholars, writers, administrators and librarians who worked within these walls —Alexei Olenin, Ivan Krylov, Konstantin Batiushkov, Vladimir Odoevsky, Modest Korff, Vladimir Stasov, Nikolai Schilder, Nikolai Marr, Maxim Gorky, Anatoly Lunarcharsky and others — brought together many notable eighteenth- to twentieth-century examples of memoirs, diaries and travel notes (even an incomplete inventory of them occupies two volumes). These materials represent the largest and most comprehensive archive collection of its kind in Russia. They document social, economic, political, and cultural aspects of the country's life.

An autographed photograph of Fiodor Chaliapin. 3 September 1906
An autographed photograph of
Fiodor Chaliapin
Anna Akhmatova. Sonnet
A page from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short story One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich carrying the author's dedication to Anna Akhmatova
A page from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short story
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

The department possesses about half a million items from the personal archives of more than 1,300 Russian public, political and state figures, writers and scholars, composers and actors, artists, architects and military commanders. The names speak for themselves. One can find autograph papers, documents, drawings and other visual material relating to Peter the Great, Generalissimo Suvorov, Field-Marshal Kutuzov and Admiral Nakhimov, Catherine II and Nicholas II, almost all Russian writers from Vasily Trediakovsky and Mikhailo Lomonosov to Anna Akhmatova and Victor Astafyev, and great cultural figures — the artists Ivan Kramskoi and Ilya Repin, the sculptor Mark Antokolsky, the architect Vasily Stasov, the choreographer Mikhail Fokine, the bass Fiodor Chaliapin and many more. The National Libraty of Russia has extensive material relating to the House of Romanov.

Even today the stocks of the department are still expanding. At the moment there is a particularly strong influx of items from outside Russia. Among those who have recently donated their own material to the National Library of Russia are Prince Gagarin, Baron Nolde and the Nobel-Prize-winning poet Joseph Brodsky. Recent acquisitions also include the personal archives of the poet Victor Sosnora, the writers Lidia Chukovskaya and Anatoly Chepurov, the literary critics Vladimir Admony and Efim Etkind, the collection of Velemir Petritsky.

Back to top
 
© The National Library of Russia, 2000-2017