ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: G-16
Biblioteka Rossiiskoi Akademii nauk (BAN)
Nauchno-issledovatel'skii otdel rukopisei
[Scientific Research Division of Manuscripts]
Head: Irina Mikhailovna Beliaeva (tel. 328-08-81)
Total: 80 fonds; ca. 20,920 units; 5th–20th cc.
Greek MSS—287 units (5th–20th cc.); Latin MSS—ca. 1,500 units (10th–20th cc.); maps and drawings—ca. 1,400 units (18th–20th cc.); Slavonic-Rus' parchment MSS—195 units (11th–16th cc.)
Originally based on the personal library of Peter the Great and his family, the Manuscript Division has developed into one of the most valuable manuscript collections in Russia with over 16,000 medieval manuscript books. In addition to those in Slavic languages, there are many Greek and Latin manuscript books and others of Western origin, as well as a variety of other prerevolutionary manuscript materials, along with a very rich geographic section.
The core of the Manuscript Division is a Basic Collection which includes several sections—materials acquired before 1900, a “New Collection” (Novoe sobranie) of materials acquired between 1900–1934, a Northern Collection (manuscripts acquired by V.I. Sreznevskii, 1901–1915, from the Northern Region of Russia), the Collection of Current Accessions (acquired after 1935), and also several collections acquired in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that retain the names of their collectors—F.A. Tolstoi, the Vorontsov family, I.N. Zhdanov, F.A. Vitberg, N.E. Onchukov, P.A. Syrku, A.I. Iatsimirskii, N.P. Likhachev (part of his collection), G.D. Filimonov, A.L. Petrov, A.S. Petrushevich, I.I. Sreznevskii, S.G. Stroganov, A.A. Dmitrievskii, N.F. Romanchenko, M.I. Uspenskii, and others. A separate group consists of manuscripts that were collected by various institutions—the journal Russkaia starina, the Arkhangel'sk Repository of Antiquities (Drevlekhranilishche), the Arkhangel'sk Theological Seminary (Arkhangel'skoe sobranie), the Archeographic Commission, the Petersburg Archeological Institute, the community of Old Believers of the Pomor'e Accord in St. Petersburg, the cathedral church of Velikii Ustiug (Ustiuzhskoe sobranie), the Old Believer (Edinovercheskaia) Church in St. Petersburg, and the Aleksandro-Svirskii, Solovetskii, and Tikhvinskii Uspenskii Monasteries.
Represented in the Basic Collection are various types of Slavonic-Rus' manuscripts—chronicles, including several unique fifteenth-century chronicle texts—the Ipat'ev, the Radziwill, and two Novgorod I and IV (fragmentary) chronicles, several volumes of the “Litsevoi svod” that was compiled under Ivan IV; annals, chronologies and chronological codices—“Paleia Tolkovaia,” the “Vremennik” of George Amartol (Georgios Amartolos), the “Ellinskii letopisets” (the Hellenistic Chronicler), the Chronograph of Ioann Zonaras, and others; genealogical registry books (stepennye, rodoslovnye and razriadnye knigi); codices of historical collections; juridical documentary registers; literary compositions of all genres (originals and translations from Byzantine authors); bilingual and multilingual dictionaries, alphabet primers, phrase books, grammars, and others. Included are Bulgarian, Serbian, and Cyrillic Moldavian-Wallachian manuscripts.
Of particular note is the Petrine Collection from the library of Peter I and his family, especially his son Aleksei Petrovich, with manuscript books of the seventeenth century of historical and hagiographical content by well-known writers. There are also manuscripts of the eighteenth century on history, military arts, geometry, fortifications, architecture, shipbuilding, and navigation that were compiled by order of the emperor, many with his autographs and handwritten notes. These have been joined by manuscripts from the collections of his entourage and contemporaries—Jacob Bruce (Ia.V. Brius), J.W. Pause (I.V. Pauze), Feofan Prokopovich, Andrejs Ostermann (A.I. Osterman), V.N. Tatishchev, and others.
Within the Collection of Current Accessions it is worth mentioning several important manuscripts of a documentary character from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, describing events of Russian and world history, writings of foreigners about Russia, artistic and scientific works by A.D. Kantemir, M.V. Lomonosov, A.P. Sumarokov, Molière, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and others, and also manuscripts of medical content.
The collection of the archeologist and art scholar G.D. Filimonov also contains some exquisite watercolor drawings of Russian cities, churches, and monasteries of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Graphic materials are also represented with albums of engravings and drawings of Dutch and Flemish artists of the seventeenth century, sketches of Petersburg in the epoch of Peter I drawn by the architect Christophorus Marselius, and others.
Materials gathered during archeographic expeditions are arranged in collections by territorial principle—the Kargopol, Viatka, Belokrinitskii Monastery, and the Dvina, Neman, among others. These contain manuscript books, manuscripts, engravings from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, and also Old Believer archives. The collection of V.G. Druzhinin has some unique autographs of elders of Old Believer communities, and also the seventeenth “Life” of Avvakum composed in the stockade of Pustozersk.
Manuscript cartographic materials (more than 1,400 units) include maps and atlases of Russia and foreign countries, and plans of cities and fortifications. There are also drawings of buildings, palaces, gardens, and ships, including architectural sketches of Domenico Andrea Trezzini, Jean-Baptiste Le Blond, Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli, A.K. Nartov, and others.
Foreign collections have been formed on the basis of the manuscript books of the Cabinet of Incunabula of BAN (1924–1931), which acquired part of the library of the Petersburg Roman-Catholic Theological Academy, and the collections of F.A. Tolstoi, S.G. Stroganov, and others. There are representative examples of Latin-alphabet manuscripts (10th–20th cc.) of religious, literary, and scientific content, including many on parchment and often illuminated, and many with autographs and marginalia by well-known scholars and historical figures. These include a wealth of materials for the history of many countries of Europe in the medieval and modern periods. There are religious service books (missals, psalters, antiphonaries, breviaries, and books of hours), historical and juridical sources (law codes, statutes, notarial documents, charters, and calendars), scientific works, artistic compositions, memoirs and biographical literature, and letters. There are compositions of ancient and medieval authors such as Archimedes, Cicero, Titus Livy, Pliny the Elder, Virgil, Ovid, Boethius, Saint Gregory the Great, Petrarch, Tycho de Brahe, and others. Within the collection are entomological drawings of the seventeenth-century Swiss artist Maria Sibylla Merian once owned by Peter the Great’s doctor-in-ordinary Robert Areskin (Erskine) and earlier held in the Kunstkammer. A significant part of the collection consists of manuscripts of foreigners who served in Russia from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, with materials they collected on history, geography, economics, culture, and everyday life.
Greek manuscripts (5th–20th cc.) come principally from the collections of the Russian Archeological Institute in Constantinople and the collection of A.A. Dmitrievskii. Among them are literary and religious writings (gospels, mineia, canonicals, psalters, and lives of saints, among others), dictionaries, grammar books, texts of historical and scientific content, and music scores (15th–19th cc.).
The division has a collection of ex libris of E.A. Rozenbladt and several collections of Russian lubok (wood prints) (late 17th–19th cc.). There are watermark collections gathered by P.N. Kartavov (18th–19th cc.), S.A. Klepikov, and G.A. Ensh (J. Jenss) (15th–20th cc.), including tracings and reproductions from manuscripts from various repositories.
Manuscripts are delivered to the reading room immediately after they are ordered.
For more details of working conditions see British guide: Using Archives and Libraries in the former Soviet Union (2010), p. 38, available electronically: http://www.basees.org.uk/down/UsingAr....
Inventories and scholarly manuscript descriptions for many of the manuscripts in BAN have been published, and are hence readily available for researchers. Manuscripts are listed in accession registers, in inventory and dated registers, and in card files, but these are usually not available to readers. There are opisi of collections, systematic readers’ and staff card catalogues (subject and alphabetical). There are selected indices to codices of varied contents and systematic cardfiles of watermarks from the albums of N.P. Likhachev and K.Ia. Tromonin. The card file of N.K. Nikol'skii (174,000 cards in envelopes) contains data on several tens of thousands of early Rus' manuscript books (11th–17th cc.); it was compiled for a dictionary of scribes, translators, and owners of manuscripts, based on de visu examination of manuscripts and bibliographic data on them (see g–718).
Limited specialized reference materials are available in NIOR; others can be ordered from the main library collections.
Xerographic copies are not prepared from manuscript books. Foreign scholars can order microfilms of manuscripts through inter-library exchanges.