Guide to the Research Collections



An approximate total of 31,000 volumes in the Roman alphabet and 1,200 volumes in the Cyrillic alphabet (in the Slavonic Division) cover this subject area. Table 4 illustrates the distribution and growth of the collections since 1941.

TABLE 4. Growth of the Collections of the History of Other European Countries

Balkan States (as of 1904)
Roman alphabet1,4002,585
Cyrillic alphabet400800
Scandinavian Countries4,2007,400
Turkey in Europe (as
of 1904)
Roman alphabet1,2001,805
Cyrillic alphabet300400

The 1899 Billings Classification Schedule is still used for Turkey in Europe and the Balkan States; as a consequence certain archaisms will be found in the sections dealing with the history of Eastern Europe, to which the twentieth century has brought such continued political change.

Materials relating to the countries considered here constitute good working collections. They are less noteworthy than those pertaining to Great Britain, France, or Germany.

It is important to note that only countries for which there are notable collections of materials are considered in the following descriptions.

The public document collections materially strengthen the holdings of general historical literature for each of the countries considered here. The printed historical collections of general and local documents and archives are strong for certain countries. Historical periodicals and society publications provide important related sources, as do geographical, archaeological, and other materials from various subject areas of the collections.

The major resources for the study of those countries in which the Balto-Slavonic languages are used are found in the Slavonic Division. Although the holdings in the Cyrillic alphabet relating to Albanian, Greek, and Rumanian history are not strong, there are good resources in Cyrillic for Bulgarian history (500 volumes), Yugoslavian history (200 volumes), and Turkish history, with particular emphasis on the Russo-Turkish wars (400 volumes).

The Balkan States


This strong collection of approximately 900 volumes contains a number of printed historical collections, such as the Acte si documente relative la istoria renascerei Rom&acerc;niei (1888-1909) and Baron Hurmuzaki's Documente privitore la istoria rom&acerc;nilor (1876-1938), as well as general works which have appeared since the last century. This historical literature is supplemented by the publications of the Academia Romàn[abreve], including its Analele.

Government documents held include the official gazette, Buletinul oficial, and statistical publications, in addition to publications of the Comitetul Geologic and other governmental institutes. Other Rumanian government publications are unevenly represented; they are perhaps most extensive for the period before World War II. The Desbaterile of the Senatul (1874-1932) and of the Adunarea Deputatilor are present. Refugee groups are represented by such publications as the Cronica romaneasca (1950-57) of the National Committee for a Free Europe.


Some 300 volumes in the Roman alphabet in the general collections deal with Yugoslavian history; these are supplemented by 1,000 volumes in the Slavonic Division in the Cyrillic alphabet covering all disciplines (some 200 being specifically historical), with a representation of the four languages of the country: Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, and Albanian. Participation by the library in the PL-480 program for Yugoslavia for several years after 1968 has proved a valuable source of acquisitions in research materials of very high quality. Among other items are the publications of the Slovenska Akademija Znanosti in Umetnoski, Lublana, in various fields, including history.

Materials for the period before 1918 on the states and regions now part of Yugoslavia may be located in the card catalogs under such headings as "Croatia" and "Dalmatia." Other materials on the partisans, the government in exile, and similar topics are located under the heading "World War, 1939-1945-Free and Resistance Movements."

Government documents received from Yugoslavia are primarily statistical, although there is a strong run of the official gazette, Slu&zbreve;beni list, under various titles since 1919. The Zbornik dokumenata of the Vojnoistoriski Institut of Belgrade is available in its various tomes.


The collection relating to Belgium, numbering approximately 4,900 volumes, is not systematically complete, but may be used to good advantage in research. It includes general histories, a large group of printed historical collections, and a note-worthy collection of periodicals and society publications relating to general and local history. Reprinted archives and documents, and inventories of such materials, are well represented. Participation in the Farmington Plan has helped to strengthen the resources in all areas of Belgian history. For the period preceding Belgian independence in 1831 materials are found in the historical literature of the Netherlands and France.

The German occupation during World War I is covered in an extensive collection which includes the public documents issued at Le Havre, and a complete file of La Libre Belgique published surreptitiously during the war. There is also material on the German occupation of World

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War II and the free and resistance movements. The library continues to collect comprehensively in Belgian history.

Materials for the study of local history appear primarily in periodicals and society publications; there are relatively few separate works. Certain important collections are present, such as the Recueil des anciennes coutumes de la Belgique issued under the auspices of the Commission Royale pour la Publication des Anciennes Lois et Ordonnances de la Belgique. Periodicals contain both historical studies and reprinted documents and archives and are supplemented by important holdings of cartularies. The publications of Belgian learned societies and academies often have sections devoted to the study of local history, archaeology, topography, and related topics.

There is a great deal of material both governmental and societal for the former Belgian Congo; see chapter 48 of this Guide.

Public Documents

The holdings of Belgian public documents are adequate, and include important files, among them a complete series of statutes. Holdings of treaties are incomplete; the official gazette Moniteur belge is fairly complete from 1831 to date; and the files of parliamentary proceedings of both chambers are good. There is also a substantial file of the Almanach royal officiel from 1840 to 1939.

A quarto volume of Belgian broadsides and other materials published at Liège from 1775 to 1823 relates to Belgian affairs and reflects the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period.

Holdings of provincial publications are generally weak. Municipal publications are fairly well represented, with a good collection for Antwerp after 1900. A bound volume in the Manuscripts and Archives Division records in Latin and French all the deeds (chartes) of Hainaut from 1200 to 1534 and of Mons from 1410 to 1483.

The Netherlands

This collection of approximately 9,700 volumes contains works of interest to the student of national and local history, but is of more importance for its relation to Dutch colonial history in America. It is rich in histories and other publications of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Large historical collections include publications such as De Vrije Fries of the Friesch Genootschap te Leeuwarden, and the Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden. General histories and works of travel are well represented; periodical and society publications dealing with Dutch history and archaeology are also present. Annuals and yearbooks, including the eighteenth-century Nieuwe Nederlandsche jaarboeken, are an interesting feature. An important newspaper, the Amsterdamsche Courant, is present in a substantial file covering the years 1748 to 1881.

A collection of 20,000 Dutch pamphlets purchased in 1896, for the most part contemporaneous with the events which they describe, relate to the affairs of various European countries during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As the Lowlands were the theatre of many wars-- especially those of Louis XIV--the Dutch writers became important observers of international affairs at this period. The collection provides an especially rich source for Dutch history during the Wars of Independence, 1572 to 1648.

Archaeological publications include sets such as the Publications of the Société Historique et Archéologique dans le Duché de Limbourg; collections of documents and archives are represented by compilations such as the Archives ou correspondance de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and many works of a similar nature.

The library maintains this collection as a current research facility; there is much material on the German occupation of Holland during World War II, and on the postwar period.

The colonial interests of the Netherlands are well represented, with the collections reflecting the lessened importance of the subject in this century. Although the more specific items are entered in the card catalogs under headings established for the territories concerned ("East Indies, Dutch," "East India Company," "Curaçao"), much is also found under the general heading of Dutch history.

Materials for the study of Dutch local history appear in periodicals, local society publications, and separate works. Participation in the Farmington Plan has helped to strengthen this and other areas of Dutch history. The resources for Friesland are notable, especially in connection with the library's holdings in the Frisian language (principally linguistic and belletristic in nature), and an unusual collection in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of 106 bound volumes of the resolutions of the Frisian states from 1584 to 1793, together with scattered volumes from 1517 and registers for part of the period covered.

Public Documents

The collection of public documents is both rich and extensive. For international relations the file of treaties, Recueil des traités et conventions, is complete from 1813. Publications of national scope are generally complete and include the parliamentary proceedings, Verslag der Handelingen (1814/15-); the official gazette Nederlandsche Staats-Courant (1813-); and the session laws, Staatsblad (1813-). There are extensive files of departmental reports. In subject materials, statistical and meteorological publications are especially numerous.

The holdings include fifteen quarto volumes of Dutch broadsides published at Amsterdam covering part of the period of French domination (1795-1831), and collectively titled Amsterdam, Staats-Publicatiën. Although these items deal with Dutch affairs from the rise of the Batavian Republic to the beginnings of separation between Holland and Belgium, they are also interesting for their reflection of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period.

Dutch provincial and local documents are outstanding. For the provinces, the Notulen, Verslagen, and Provincialbladen are particularly noteworthy; as an example, the Notulen of Zeeland, published yearly since 1587, is complete.


Manuscripts useful in the study of Dutch history are of some importance, particularly for the period of American colonial history. There is much concerning the Netherlands in the papers of Dutch families of New York State, including patronship deeds, business papers, account books,

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and signatures of such Dutch notables as Peter Minuit and Peter Stuyvesant. The Hardwicke collection contains transcripts of English diplomatic correspondence of the early seventeenth century relating to the Netherlands; the Bancroft collection contains similar material for the eighteenth century.

The Scandinavian Countries

At one time this collection rivaled the more important university collections in the United States, and is still strong, especially in works in the Scandinavian languages. There are some 1,000 entries relating to Swedish history in the Public Catalog; Danish and Norwegian history each receive approximately 500 entries, and Finnish history 400; Iceland, which is classified with Denmark in the Billings schedules, receives 100 entries. In its selection of general works the library has, for the most part, chosen the important treatises, particularly the comprehensive historical works published during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Printed collections relating to Scandinavian history and to individual countries may be evaluated as follows: general works, excellent; Sweden and Iceland, very good; Denmark, Norway, and Finland, good.

Periodical and society publications are perhaps the most important feature of this subject area. Among them are the Historisk Tidsskrift, issued by the Danske Historiske Forening since 1840; the Danske Magazin (1794-); the Mémoires of the Société Royale des Antiquaires du Nord (Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift Selskab), 1866 to date, and the various series of its Aarbøger from their commencement; the Kulturen; en årsbok of the Kulturhistoriska föreningen för södra Sverige, under various titles (1885-); the Samlingar of the Svenska fornskrift-Sällskapet (1844-); the Skrifter of the Norwegian Kjeldeskriftfondet (1858-1931); and the Meddelanden of the Swedish Riksarkivet (1875-). There are also the various publications of the Kungliga Vitterhets-, Historie-och Antikvitets-Akademien, Stockholm. The list might easily be extended by other general titles, as well as by those of national scope, and by still others relating to local history. In content these publications are varied. They contain reprinted archives and documents, historical and archaeological articles. The amount of historical writings in the publications of Scandinavian general learned societies and academies is small; science and natural history are the fields more often emphasized.

Description, travel, and social life as aspects of history are well covered; the holdings are strengthened by works classified with geographical materials. Royal biographies include interesting items relating to Gustavus Adolphus, Christina of Sweden, and other rulers.

Important subjects related to history include the Norman periods of invaded countries: works on this topic are usually classified with the history of the country, as in the case of England. Materials on Scandinavians in America are administered by the American History Division and located in the card catalogs under headings such as "Norwegians in the U.S.," and "New Sweden."29 The Brooklyn newspaper Nordisk Tidende at one time aided the library in collecting these materials; the holdings of this newspaper extend from 1925 to the present, with a scattered file before that time.

There is an interesting group of materials on the Vikings, although the library has not systematically collected literature on this subject; the excellent collection of materials relating to Iceland was substantially increased by purchase in 1934.

Public Documents

The holdings in this section are generally strong, with unusually strong subject holdings in statistics. The legislative proceedings--Sweden's from 1867, Norway's from 1814, Denmark's from 1849, Iceland's from 1845, and Finland's from 1809-are essentially complete. The official gazettes of Iceland, Stjórnartidindi (1875-), and of Denmark, Statstidende (1941-), are complete.

The collection is strong in the reports of legislative committees and commissions. Of special interest are the Greenland Commission reports currently received, and a number of items from the Faeroe Islands which add to the holdings in the Faeroese language.

Extensive holdings of law include the Swedish Svensk för fattningssamling from 1825; the Norwegian Love from 1814 (with a small break); and the Danish Lovtidende from 1871. These session laws are supplemented by a fair collection of compilations containing earlier laws, and by holdings of codes.

The collection contains excellent files of the publications of some Scandinavian cities, such as municipal council proceedings; among them are Aarhus byraads forhandlinger (1900-), Göteborgs stadsfullmäktige handlingar (1898-), and Bergen's Innstillinger ... med bystyrebeslutninger (1876-1935). Copenhagen and Frederiksberg are strongly represented, with files generally dating from the 1860s. Holdings of the publications of Oslo and Stockholm are generally weak for the earlier periods; there are some series for the nineteenth century, but many important files commence only about 1920.


The Hardwicke collection in the Manuscripts and Archives Division contains miscellaneous papers relating to Swedish history of the first half of the eighteenth century; the Bancroft collection includes transcripts of late eighteenth-century papers on Denmark from the Berlin archives.


The collection relating to Switzerland is not systematically complete, but has a number of outstanding features. The printed historical collections relating to general history are exceptionally strong; those relating to local history are less numerous. There are important collections of printed archives relating to both general and local history. Inventories of documents and archives of the various cantons are present.

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Works of description and travel are numerous. There are extensive holdings of nineteenth-century publications; among other materials are some excellent folio volumes of aquatint views. The library continues to buy on a limited basis books of photographic views as they are published. A small but important group of nineteenth-and twentieth-century guidebooks are found in the geography collections.

Periodical and society publications form an extensive group, relating to both general and local history. General historical series include the Bulletin helvetique (1798-1800), the Archiv für schweizerische Geschichte (continued as the Jahrbuch ), the Anzeiger für schweizerische Altertumskunde, and such current titles as the Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte and the Mémoires et documents of the Société d'Histoire de la Suisse Romande.

Local historical literature is not particularly strong in separate publications; the greater part of the material pertains to the cantons rather than to the municipalities, although there is a good collection relating to Zurich. For many cantons there are extensive files of periodicals and society publications, such as the Archiv of the Historischer Verein des Kantons Bern, Revue historique vaudoise, and Musée neuchâtelois.

Relatively little, other than travel literature, is found in other subject classes related to Swiss history. The publications of most of the academies and learned societies on general subjects are devoted to science and natural history.

Public Documents

The collection of public documents is not strong, although there are some important series. Treaties are well represented. Among administrative materials are the national and cantonal Staats-Kalenders. Holdings of such series as the parliamentary proceedings (the Amtliches stenographisches bulletin of the Bundesversammlung) and the official gazette (the Bundesblatt ), while fragmentary for the nineteenth century, are generally complete following 1900. Laws, both of Switzerland and of the cantons, are held in strength.

Important holdings of administrative reports, especially of the cantons, are present, including the Rechenschaftsbericht and the Staats-Rechnung. The files are not all complete, although some of them comprise long runs--for example, Bern Staats-Rechnung, commencing in 1863, is incomplete until 1888, complete after that date.

statistical publications are especially note-worthy.

Turkey (In Europe)

The Billings Classification Schedules locate materials for the study of eastern Turkey with Asian history; the stronger holdings are classified with European history and may be described as adequate. Materials in western languages and in Turkish are covered by some 1,200 references in the Oriental Division catalog, which unites the holdings; 400 volumes in the Cyrillic alphabet are found in the Slavonic Division. Among the western language holdings histories and works of travel predominate; a number of early works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of particular interest are in the Rare Book Division. Reprinted Ottoman Turkish documents and archives are found in the learned society journals and series which form a strong feature of the Oriental Division; there are also facsimile documents published in Rumania and Hungary. Histories of Turkey written in Turkish, such as those by Jaudat, are found in the division catalog under the heading "Turkish Literature--History." Related subjects of importance include the Crimean War and the Turco-Russian War (both classified with Russian history). Materials on the Gallipoli campaign and other matters concerning Turkey are to be found in the library's strong World War I holdings. There is a small but good collection related to Istanbul.

The materials on the Eastern European question are both extensive and important; the library has from its early years sought to secure all available literature on international disputes.30

Most of the Turkish documents currently received are statistical, but there is a file of the Turkish government gazette, commencing in 1834. The treaties are principally those of the Ottoman Empire and include the Recueil des traités de la Porte Ottomane avec les puissances étrangères (1864-1911).