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Slavic and East European Library

2ND FLOOR | MAIN LIBRARY | 217.333.1349

Collection Highlights

  • Russia and FSU
  • Czech and Slovak Republics
  • Former Yugloslavia
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Exhibits

  • There are several collection highlights of note.  Along with the extensive periodical holdings of nineteenth century titles, the library owns the 562 microfilm reels of the opisi of the Communist Party Archives, the catalog of the Russian National Library (Saltykov-Shchedrin) on microfiche, the Prague Spring microform collection, the Polish Independent Publications microform collection, the GULAG Press, 1920-1937 microfiche collection, the Beloe Dvizhenie: Katalog Kollektsii Listovok (1917-1920 gg.) on microfilm, all the biographical archives published for the countries in our area by K.G. Sauer, the microfilm collection of 18th century Russian publications based on the Svodnyi Katalog, as well as most of the archival guides referenced in Patricia Grimsted’s voluminous archival writings. These specific items are representative of the richness of the collections here at Illinois.  If you are planning a research trip abroad, your time there will be more productive if you spend some time here scouting out which of your sources already exist in the U.S. or determining from archival guides which repositories will prove the most useful. 

    General descriptions of  holdings in each of the countries of the area follow.      Russia and the former Soviet Union. The Library holds approximately 190,700 volumes in the languages of the former Soviet Union, plus another 58,465 or so volumes on Russia and the former Soviet Union in other languages. Coverage is good in all areas of the humanities and social sciences. Pre-Revolutionary publications are well represented; Soviet imprints of the 1920s and 1930s somewhat less so. The collection is most comprehensive for the period from 1950 onward; standing orders, blanket orders, and exchange programs with Russian and other republic libraries have resulted in the acquisition of many provincial publications not generally exported. There is a good collection of books and journals published in Russian and Ukrainian outside the Commonwealth of Independent States, including the imprints of émigré publishing houses.

    The Library has about 99,818 additional volumes of Russian and Ukrainian titles in microform, including most serials of importance that are not available in the original.  There are also long runs on microfilm of some 155 newspapers in Russian, Ukrainian, and Estonian, including both pre-Revolutionary and Soviet titles.   The library has complete runs of the most important 19th and 20th century Russian periodicals and newspapers on microfilm, microfiche, or in the original.  Other significant holdings include near-complete collections of Russian books from the 17th and 18th centuries from major Russian repositories, and Russian book, periodical, and newspaper collections from the Hoover Institution, Harvard University, Columbia University and Library of Congress.
    Since 1977, the Slavic and East European Library has cooperated with the Slavic Department of the Helsinki University Library by selecting and microfilming scarce 19th and early 20th century book in the Helsinki collection and making them available to the international scholarly community.  Other important personal collections include the Elias Czaykowsky collection of Ukrainian Culture and the private scholarly library of noted Russian historian George Vernadsky. 

    Czech and Slovak Republics. Total holdings come to about 48,344 volumes.  Illinois has nearly all of the major Czech and Slovak scholarly periodicals in history, literature, the social sciences, philosophy, and art, with good coverage of religion as well.  The literature collections, about 9,350 volumes, include complete editions of all important authors and nearly all of the standard critical and bibliographical works.  There are more than 9,950 volumes on Czech and Slovak history and politics, including many complete runs of historical journals and collections of published documents, in addition to standard monographs.  The history of Czechoslovakia to 1948 finds extensive coverage and includes good holdings of the contemporary periodicals, as well as many complete runs of historical, literary, political and philological journals from the 19th century.   The I. Perlstein Collection of Czechoslovak Book Design contains approximately 750 volumes of limited, signed bibliophile editions of Czech literature from the 1920s and 1930s and is housed in the Rare Book Room.  

    The Former Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav collections total about 41,425 volumes.  They include complete sets of nearly all of the publications of the Yugoslav Academy and its various historical and literary document series, and good coverage of the Serbian Academy.  Slovenian periodical holdings are strong.  Altogether there are more than 1,200 Yugoslav serial titles.  Current publications are received on blanket orders which are in effect for all countries of Eastern Europe.  Law is among the subjects that have received particular emphasis.   

    Poland. The Polish collection has about 49,494 volumes.  There are about 11,425 volumes in Polish literature including standard collected editions of the major authors and a fairly complete selection of literary history and criticism. 10,175 volumes are in Polish history; holdings in Polish law are substantial.  Retrospective periodical holdings are extensive in most fields, but there are fewer complete runs of journals in the Polish collection than in the Czech and Slovak and former Yugoslav collections.

    Hungary. The Hungarian collection numbers approximately 23,990 volumes.  It contains standard reference works and a representative selection of works in most disciplines.  The monographic literature is strongest in the history of Hungary up to 1918.  The library also possesses an excellent collection of official documents and law books.  There are, for example, the complete records of the Hungarian diet and parliament from 1790 to 1944 and nearly 2,500 items on all aspects of Hungarian law published before 1918.  The periodical and serial collections on history, literature, and language are strong.

    Bulgaria. Bulgaria is represented by extensive retrospective periodical runs including most of the Academy and university publications.  Of the 13,755 volumes on Bulgaria, about 3,700 are devoted to literature and 4,450 to history and related fields.

    Romania. The Romanian collection numbers approximately 15,830 volumes.  Besides a basic collection of bibliographies and reference aids, there are significant holdings in history, language, literature, and law.  For history there are numerous general histories, monographs, and collections of sources, especially for the period from about 1800 to 1945 and for Transylvania.  The periodical collection contains the major publications of the Romanian Academy and its institutes since 1914. 
    In language and literature there are most of the major histories and descriptive works and a comprehensive collection of periodicals.  The library currently receives almost all significant national and provincial periodicals.  

    Exhibits. There have been a number of exhibitions drawing on the collections of the University of Illinois Slavic materials. One such exhibition, "The Survivors" highlighted the many rare materials in the library.