Guide to the Research Collections



The history of revolutionary movements, the Revolution of 1917, and the rise and progress of the Soviet Union are thoroughly covered in the library's holdings in materials in the Cyrillic and Roman alphabets. Every effort has been made to secure the important works of Russian émigrés and representative periodicals. Documentation is not restricted to books, but includes pamphlets, periodicals, clippings, and other ephemeral material. Such "n.c." (not separately cataloged) material is represented only by subject cards in the Public Catalog and division catalogs. The hundreds of uncataloged titles relating to the Soviet, such as leaflets and pamphlets in various languages, volumes of newspaper clippings, and an extensive though incomplete file of Rosta, the mimeographed bulletin of the Ryska Socialistika Federativa Soviet-republikens Telegrambyrå of Stockholm, are of interest to the specialist. Works relating to the political theory of the USSR form a very rich collection. Complete holdings of the important Krasnyi archiv: istoricheski zhurnal (1922-41) exemplifies the periodical and society materials available in the collections.

The John Reed collection presented in 1935 consists of material published chiefly in 1917-18. Supplementing the letters of Catherine Breshkovskaya in the Kennan collection (described in the section on significant collections--above--in Imperial Russian history) are 174 letters from her to a Brooklyn resident (1923-34), discussing aid to Russian refugees. The papers of the social reformer and Positivist William Frey include correspondence with Russian liberals and revolutionaries. American communists, and others. The Emma Goldman collection (1917-28) and the Norman Thomas papers (1916-68) include material of interest to students of Soviet history.

Public Documents

Holdings of public documents from the Soviet Union represent an accumulation of all materials available through normal channels of purchase, gift, and exchange. The library receives the Stenograficheski otchet (1939-) of the Supreme Soviet and the official gazette Verkhovnyi sovet vedomosti (1938-), among other materials. Statutes form a considerable if scattered group, consisting mostly of bound volumes of laws in specific fields such as labor accidents or criminal law.

Holdings of public documents for the member republics of the Soviet Union parallel those for the central government. The library receives the proceedings of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukraine, for example, and also has a large number of individual statutes ranging in time from those published by the Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee in 1919 and 1920, through the laws of the German-occupied Ukraine during World War II, to those of the present. Materials relating to Armenia, Georgia, and the Altaic-speaking peoples of the USSR represent a particular collecting interest of the library. The library receives the official publications of the Communist Party and the local governments of most of the republics of the Soviet Union. Except for the Baltic countries, Belorussia, and the Ukraine, where these publications are in the vernacular, these gazettes are received in Russian-language versions. Particular strengths are noted below.


The file of the Estonian official gazette, Riigi Teataja, is complete from its beginning in 1918 until 1940. The library has received the party and government publication Rahva Hääl since 1959. The proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly, 1919-20, are complete; parliamentary proceedings commence with the second parliament, 1923, and run through 1940.


The collection of Latvian public documents is very extensive until 1940. It includes the parliamentary proceedings from 1918; the legislative journal Likumu un Ministru Kabineta Noteikumu from the beginning (July, 1919), and the official gazette, Valdibas Vestnesis (1922-40, complete). Since 1957 the library has received the Latvian Communist Party and Council of Ministers publication Cina.


The official gazette, Vyriausybes &Zbreve;inios, is complete from 1918 to 1940. The proceedings of Parliament (meeting as the Constitutional Assembly, 1920/22) are complete until 1927, when that body was dissolved. The library currently receives Tiesa, the Communist party publication.