Контакты Библиотеки Конгресса с Россией: прошлое, настоящее и будущее

The Russian Connection at the Library of Congress: Past, Present, and Future

Контакти Бібліотеки Конгресу з Росією: минуле, сьогодення і майбутнє

Ирэн М. Стеклер

Библиотека Конгресса, Вашингтон, Округ Колумбия, США

Irene M. Steckler

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA

Ирен М. Стеклер

Бібліотека Конгресу, Вашингтон, Округ Колумбія, США

Рассказывается об истории формирования русскоязычного фонда Библиотеки Конгресса и истории развития контактов Библиотеки с российскими (советскими) партнерами начиная с 1906 г., когда Библиотека приобрела книжную коллекцию сибирского купца Г. В. Юдина, по настоящее время. Особое внимание уделяется двусторонним проектам, реализованным после 1990 г. и находящимся в настоящее время в стадии реализации. Это выставка “Открытые тайны из российских архивов” (1992), проект “Встреча на границе” и программа “Молодые лидеры России”. Эти инициативы исследуются в историческом, политическом и культурном контексте.

The paper deals with the Library of Congress Russian Collection development history starting from the purchase of the private collection of the Siberian merchant G. V. Yudin in 1906 to present. The history of LC contacts with Russian (Soviet) partners is highlighted as well. The considerable attention is given to bilateral undertakings realized after 1990 and staying under realization at present. These are the 1992 exhibition, “The Revelations from the Russian Archives”, The Meeting of Frontiers and The Russian Leadership Program. These initiatives are discussed in historical, political and cultural contexts.

Мова йде про історію формування російськомовного фонду Бібліотеки Конгресу та історію розвитку контактів Бібліотеки з російськими (радянськими) партнерами, починаючи з 1906 р., коли Бібліотека придбала книжкову колекцію сибірського купця Г.В.Юдіна, і до сьогодні. Особливу увагу приділено двостороннім проектам, які реалізовані після 1990 р. і знаходяться в даний час на стадії реалізації. Це виставка “Відкриті таємниці з російських архівів” (1992), проект “Зустріч на кордоні” і програма “Молоді лідери Росії”. Ці ініціативи досліджуються в історичному, політичному та культурному контекстах.

Starting with Thomas Jefferson’s Library — which contained many foreign-language books, including one in Russian — the Russian collections grew steadily, if slowly at first. In 1906 the Library of Congress made a remarkably important acquisition by purchasing the private collection of the Siberian merchant and vodka maker, Gennadii Vassilievich Yudin. Mr. Yudin’s efforts to sell it to his fellow countrymen, including Tsar Nicholas II, had come to naught, and finally in desperation he advertised it in major American newspapers.

The head of the Library’s Slavic literature section, Mr. Alexis Babine, believed Yudin’s collection of over 80,000 volumes would be a solid foundation for building a major Russian collection, and quickly obtained the approval of then-Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam, with the support of President Teddy Roosevelt himself.

Over the Cold-War period, LC continued to collect Russica and contemporary writings, much of the latter coming from our formal exchange with the Lenin State Library. Eventually building and maintaining the collections led to institutional and professional ties with Russian libraries and librarians. Such ties were more limited, formal and had to be maintained through official channels than those that were able to develop in the late 1980s and 1990s.

In 1990 the Library established an acquisitions program in Moscow that focused initially on collecting the great multitude of “self-published” ephemeral materials that mushroomed after the opening up of Russian publishing. Simultaneously, our material exchanges expanded to provincial libraries, bringing in a wealth of here-to-fore unavailable provincial scholarly works and writings.

At the same time, cultural and professional ties grew at an exponential rate, fueled all the more by the world-renowned Slavist, James H. Billington, who was sworn in as the 13th Librarian of Congress in September 1987. A major bilateral event between LC and a Russian institution became pretty much a yearly occurrence, and gradually increased to several such events and growing exchanges with people as well as materials.

This paper will focus on these bilateral undertakings, giving considerable attention to some of the major projects, such as the 1992 exhibition, “The Revelations from the Russian Archives,” and the more recently congressionally funded programs, The Meeting of Frontiers and The Russian Leadership Program. Continuation of these programs and prospects for the introduction of new ones will also be considered.

This discussion will explore as well the historical, political and cultural dimensions, including some heretofore unrevealed aspects, of these bilateral endeavors, which ultimately have greatly enriched the Library of Congress and its Russian partners and, more importantly, advanced a deeper understanding and appreciation between the Russian and American people.