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Reference Sources on Romanian History

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In approaching Romanian history students and scholars must be aware of some important aspects. First of all the knowledge of the language of this region is essential, since the most useful materials are in Romanian. Then, one has always to keep in mind the circumstances in which works by Romanian scholars were written and published during the communist era. These aspects are valid for almost every Eastern European country, but especially for those, which, like Romania, tend to focus on particular subjects or periods, and don’t present a wide range of guides to bibliographies, historiographical bibliographies or bibliographies of bibliographies. This kind of information is mostly randomly distributed inside the specific subject bibliographies, encyclopedias and dictionaries themselves, thus making difficult to be oriented in the sea of resources.

The first original works that appeared on the territory of actual Romania were written starting from the XIV century in Church Slavonic, which was the official language of the state and the church. Other languages were used for the official correspondence with foreign leaders: Latin, Greek, Hungarian, and Turkish. The first official documents written in Romanian are dated 1484-’85. The first historiographical works were also written in Church Slavonic. These were letopese written in Moldavia between the XV and the XVI centuries. The oldest historiographical work appeared in Moldovia and is known under the Romanian title Letopisetul zis de la Bistrita. It covers the period between 1359 and 1506. Other important historiographies for that time are Letopisetul zis de la Putna and Cronica ruso-moldovebeasca sau cronica anonima. Students and scholars interested in that period should consider archival sources. For example Catalogul Manusciptelor Romanesti (Editura Academiei Romane, 1907) gives a thorough account of the Romanian manuscripts held by the Romanian Academy of Science. Repertoriul manuscriselor de cronici interne (sec. XV-XVIII) privind istoria Rominiei (Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romine, 1963) aims to list manuscripts dealing with Romanian history, written between the XV and the XVIII centuries, held in the archives and libraries of 17 Romanian towns, and written in 9 different languages. This repertoire includes medieval chronicles (but also historical narratives in form of poems) dealing with every kind of historical fact concerning Romania.

The first printed texts appeared on the Romanian territory at the beginning of the XVI century, but still were not written in Romanian. The first texts ever published in Romanian appeared around the half of the XVI century, and were religious texts, like catechisms and the Evagenlium. The best sources to look for this kind of information are the retrospective bibliography Bibliografia romaneasca veche 1508-1830 and its supplements and integrations, like the article “Contributiumi la bibliografia veche” by A.Filimon, published in the journal Dacoromania, V (1927-’28), pages 601-604, or the work by D.Poenaru Contributii la Bibliografia Romaneasca Veche (Tirgoviste: Muzeul Judetean Dimbovita).

For modern Romania, Bibliografia istorica a Romaniei can be considered the most complete bibliography. Its second and third volumes are meant as retrospective bibliographies including monographs and articles devoted to the Romanian country and the Romanian people in the XIX century. While the first, fourth and following volumes cover the achievements of Romanian historiography from 1944 to 1999.

The second half of the XX century seems to be well covered also by foreign bibliographies like the American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies , and the European Bibliogragraphy of Soviet, East European and Slavonic Studie s. The Soviets published a bulletin under the title Novaia literatura po Rumynii (1968-1991). The Bulgarian Academy of Science published a bibliography of Balkan Studies called Bibliographie d’etudes balkaniques (1966-1988). This bibliography can be integrated using Repertoire d’etudes balkaniques 1966-1975 , which aims to include the works left out by the bibliographical bulletin.

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Guides and Historical bibliographies

Istoria Romaniei. Ghid bibliografic. Bucuresti: Biblioteca Centrala Universitara, 1968. 519 p.

U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 016.9498 T594i

This bibliographical guide to Romanian history was compiled by the Central University Library in Bucharest to satisfy the instructional and educational needs of faculty and students. It appears as a selective guide to documents on Romanian history. It is clearly divided in two parts: the first one includes bibliographies, encyclopedias and dictionaries, while the second part is actually a list of selected works (both monographs and articles) about major periods and subjects in Romanian history. Particularly rich is the section devoted to current and retrospective bibliographies, since here are taken into consideration bibliographies not only to history, but also to many other fields of human knowledge.

The second part is organized by subject: ancient history, medieval history, modern history, and contemporary history. Within this rough division, there are more detailed subdivisions. The last section of the guide includes a list of recommended works generically devoted to Romanian culture. At the very end of this bibliography scholars can find two useful appendixes: a list of periodical publication related to history and a list of centers focusing on historical research.

Although the entries are not annotated, we find this guide valuable because it includes both monographs and articles, in Romanian and in foreign languages.

a sample entry from Istoria Romaniei

Craciun, Ioachim; Lupu, Ioan. Istoriografia Romana in 1921-1922. Repertoriu bibliografic, in Anuarul Institutele de Istorie Nationala, II, 1923, pp. 405-506. Istoriografia Romana in 1923-1924. Repertoriu bibliografic, in Anuarul Institutele de Istorie Nationala, III, 1924-1925, pp. 772-929. Istoriografia Romana in 1925 si 1926. Repertoriu bibliografic, in Anuarul Institutele de Istorie Nationala, IV, 1926-1927, pp. 481-730.

U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 949.8 C62a.

This bibliography was published in three parts in the journal Anuarul Institutele de Istorie Nationala. It covers the years from 1921 to 1926. It includes both monographs and articles. One interesting aspect of this bibliography is that it aims to cover not only history, but also the so called auxiliary sciences (archaeology, genealogy, heraldry, numismatics, and iconography), and the sciences in direct relationship with history (travel accounts, biography, and histories of institutions and societies). It also covers separately various issues that can be related to history: political issues, history of social classes, constitution, agrarian issues, church, army, arts, commerce, philosophy, geography, literature, folklore, typography and theater. Moreover, it has a bibliography of historical reviews written in those years. The list of the journals, Romanian and foreign, of the monographs, almanacs and other annual publications that the bibliographers took into consideration is fairly long. The bibliography is accessible through an author index, a cumulative name, title and subject index, and a detailed table of contents. The third part has a beautiful introduction by Ioachim Craciun on Romanian Bibliography.

Hienz, Hermann. Bibliografia operelor separate si articolelor istorico-filologice, cari au aparut dela 1919-1924 in limba germana si se refera la teritoriul si locuitorii Romanieni, in in Anuarul Institutele de Istorie Nationala, III, 1924-1925, pp. 931-988.

U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 949.8 C62a.

This bibliography includes monographs and articles written in German and dealing with Romania. The period covered is 1919-1924. The author takes into consideration both Romanian and foreign journal, newspapers, almanacs, and calendars. Unfortunately, this bibliography has no index and no table of contents, thus making it not comfortable to use. For a general orientation keep in mind that the materials are structured like in the other bibliography contained in this journal, and described above. For more information about German documents dealing with Romanian history, see also Romanii in periodicele Germane din Transilvania.

Deutsch, Robert. Istorii si stiinta istorica din Romania. 1944-1969

Editura Stiintifica: Bucuresti, 1970, 677 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference 016.9498 D489i

The aim of the work is to give a detailed image of Romanian historical studies in the years between 1944 and 1969. It can integrate the first volume of Bibliografia istorica a Romaniei. The bibliography includes four sections: historical science, history of Romania, universal history, other branches of the historical science. It includes monographs and articles. It is not annotated. The table of contents is a good access point to this work; it can be searched also through an author index, a name index, and a geographical name index.

a sample entry from Istorii si stiinta istorica din Romania


Subject bibliographies

Al doilea razboi mondial si Romania. O bibliografie, Iasi: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste Romania, 1981, 214p.

U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 016.9405334 B988a

This is a subject bibliography devoted to World War II and especially to the role played by Romania in the years between 1939 and 1945. It includes 3000 titles. This work is valuable because, although it focuses primarily on the second world conflict, it includes a lot of references to more general bibliographies of bibliographies, catalogs, retrospective and current bibliographies, chronologies, encyclopedias and dictionaries, historiographies, atlases, films, guides to archives, memoirs, and biographies. It includes titles in Romanian and in foreign languages. Apart from the table of contents, the only access point is an author index.

a sample entry from Al doilea razboi mondial si Romania

Contributii bibliografice privind unirea Transilvaniei cu Romania

Institutul de studii istorice si social-politice de pe linga C.C. al P.C.R., Biblioteca Centrala Universatara Bucuresti, 1969, 647 p.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 016.94984 C768

This an annotated historical bibliography with special focus on the unification of Transylvania and Romania in 1918. It includes 2268 titles, both monographs and articles.

a sample entry from Contributii bibliografice privind unirea Transilvaniei cu Romania

Ceausechu, Ilie; Mocanu, Visile, Romania in razboiul pentru independenta nationala – 1877-1878. Contributii bibliografice

Bucuresti: Editura militara, 1972, 231 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference (Slavic) 016.949802 C32r

This bibliography includes 1400 titles (monographs and articles) dealing with Romanian Independence War in 1877-1878. It is divided into four parts: theoretical works, monographs, and memoirs; articles from specialized journals; articles from general journals; subject, and author indexes, and a list of indexed publications. Entries are usually not annotated, but, in case of relevant publications, the entries include a table of contents or a sort of summary of the item.

a sample entry from Romania in razboiul pentru independenta nationala

Gollner O., Anul revolutionar 1848 in principatele romane; O contributie bibliografica

Cluj: Tipografia “Carte Romaneasca”, 1934, 17 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference 016.949801 G58a

This is a brief bibliography listing publications about the year 1848 in Romanian history. It includes also some publications in French and in German. The bibliography resulted from the researches that the author did for his doctoral dissertation.

a sample entry from Anul revolutionar 1848 in principatele romane

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Historical Encyclopedias

Enciclopedia arheologiei si istoriei vechi a Romaniei

Bucuresti: Editura Enciclopedica, 1994, vol. 1 (A-C).
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference (Slavic) 949.8003 En16

a sample entry from Enciclopedia arheologiei si istoriei vechi a Romaniei

This encyclopedia aims to cover all aspects of Romanian history from the first appearance of man in the region up to the 10th century. It is meant as an implementation of Dictionar de istorie veche a Romaniei published in 1976. It is a good place to find quick information on archaeological topics: it offers information on towns and regions, main discoveries and monuments, interpretation of facts. Most of the entries are followed by a bibliography.

Alexandrescu, Ion; Bulei, Ion; Mamina, Ion; Scurtu, Ioan. Enciclopedia de istorie a Romaniei

Bucuresti: Editura Meronia, 2000, 507 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference (Slavic) 949.8003 En161

Like most encyclopedias, this work is meant as a source of information for a large public. It contains general information on Romanian modern history (1859-2000), and addresses in particular issues of political and socio-economical life. It especially focuses on the history of the Romanian parliament, government, and political parties. It includes important data on demographics. It also aims to reflect the evolution of many territorial and administrative organizations. The encyclopedia is organized thematically and can be accessed only through the table of contents at the end of the work.

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Historical dictionaries and chronologies

Dictionar de istorie veche a Romaniei (Paleolitic – sec. X)

Bucuresti: Editura stiintifica si enciclopedica, 1976, 625p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference (Slavic) 949.801 D561

This historical dictionary includes concise articles on topics related to Romanian history from the paleolithic till the 10th century. It is meant as a reference source to find rapidly brief definitions and explanations of historical terms.

Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa Marcel; Historical Dictionary of Romania

Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, c1996, 310 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian Reference (Slavic) 949.8003 T724h

As the previous one, also this dictionary gives brief information on key persons, places, events, and institution in Romanian history. But, unlike the precedent, it covers a much more long period of time: all Romanian history from the Roman occupation till today. This work is especially useful for people beginning their study of Romania: apart from the dictionary, it includes some valuable tools, like a historical chronology, a list of rulers in Romania, and a brief introduction with information on geography, population, and economy. It includes a fairly long selected bibliography (pages 230-310) for further readings in English and in other languages.

Totu, Maria, Barbati ai datoriei 1848-1849. Mic dictionar

Bucuresti: Editura militara, 1984.
U of I Library Call Number : Main Stacks 949.8020922 T641b

The year 1848 plays an important role in Romanian history, since it was the year of the Romanian democratic revolution. This dictionary gives biographical and bibliographical information on all the most important personalities involved in it. It also includes a brief selective bibliography on the event.

a sample entry from Barbati ai datoriei 1848-1849

Dutu, Alesandru, Armata Romana in al doilea razboi mondial (1941-1945). Dictionar enciclopedic

Bucuresti: Editura enciclopedica, 1999.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 355.009498 D955a

This dictionary includes 1300 terms related to military operations and battles in which the Romanian army took part during World War II. It includes 217 biographies of commanders and 244 biographies of war heroes.

a sample entry from Armata Romana in al doilea razboi mondial (1941-1945)

Chronological history of Romania

Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedica Romana, 1974, 607 p.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 949.8 G44c1974

“The aim of this book [is] to relate the history of the Romanian people in a concise form of a chronological hand-book, a guide to serve the specialists and students, as well as the public interested in one or another aspect of Romanian history and civilization” (v). This chronology covers Romanian history from the ancient times up to the beginning of 1974. The work includes a list of voivodes, kings, presidents and prime ministers presented in chronological order. It also presents data on Romania’s participation in UNO and other international organizations. Everything is made easily accessible through a detailed subject and name index.

Rezachevici, Constantin, Cronologia critica a dominilor din tara Romaneasca si Moldova. a. 1324-1881

Bucuresti: Editura Enciclopedica, 2001.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Romanian/Moldovan Reference (Slavic) 949.80099 R339c vol. 1

This is the first volume of a chronology of leaders in Romania and Moldova. The complete set will include 4 volumes. The first volume includes three centuries XIV-XVI. The chronology is a critical one, that is it includes references to original documents and a brief bibliography. With the book circulate 3 genealogical trees.

Musat, Mircea; Ardeleanu, Ion; Progress and Revolution in Modern Romania. A Chronological History of the Romanian Working-class and Communist Movement 1893-1980

Bucharest: Editura stiintifica si enciclopedica, 1981.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 949.802 M971p

Although written from a defined ideological perspective, this work can be useful to students who don’t read Romanian. It gives concise, but very clear descriptions of the main events in Romanian working-class history.

a sample entry from Progress and Revolution in Modern Romania

Stefanescu, Domnita, Cinci ani din istoria Romaniei. O cronologie a evenimentelor decembrie 1989 – decembrie 1994

Bucuresti: Editura Masina de scris, 1995.
U of I Library Call Number : Main Stacks 949.8032 St32c

This chronology was compiled using newspapers and journals appeared between December 1989 and December 1994, as well a some books with documentary character. It’s a description, in chronological order, of the most important social and political events, which took place in Romania in the mentioned period. This work also includes some useful appendixes. There’s a name index.

a sample entry from Cinci ani din istoria Romaniei

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Periodical indexes

Most of the works already listed include both monographs and articles. Usually they present a list of indexed periodicals. For example the second volume of the Bibliografia istorica a Romaniei has a list of indexed periodicals which expands on 20 pages. These lists can give you an idea of how many periodicals were taken into consideration by the work in your hands. Another point in evaluating these lists is to see if they comprehend the main publications of the Historical Section of the Romanian Academy, like Memoriile Sectiunii Istorice (from 1886/87 published the lectures of this section), Bulletin scientifiques de la Section Historique, Studii si cercetari (from 1912), Etudes et recherches, Melanges de l’Ecole Roumaine en France and Diplomatarium Italicum (these two periodicals were published under the auspices of the Romanian Academy). For the period after 1949 consider if the following periodicals are indexed: Revista istorica, Studii si cercetari de istoria veche, Revue Roumaine d’historie, Revue des etudes sud-est europeennes, Archeologia Moldaviei, Ephemeris Napocencis. For a complete list of the journals published by the Romanian Academy of Science, along with a table of content of the latest issues, check the site of its publishing house, Editura Academiei Romane.

Scholars may find it useful to look also in some general sources. For the beginning of the XX century, a good source could be the Osteuropaische bibliographie: the volume for 1922 has a rather extensive section for Romania, in which are listed also some articles specifically devoted to historical issues. For the second half of the century there are some general works where scholars can find references to Romanian history: the American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies, in the section devoted to history, covers also Romania; the European Bibliography of Soviet, East European and Slavonic Studies has a section devoted to Romania, and within it to Romanian history. These bibliographies include both articles and monographs, but the items listed for Romanian history consist mainly of articles.

Listed below are two periodical indexes, that can be useful in historical research.

Pervain, Iosif; Ciurdariu, Ana; Sasu, Aurel, Romanii in periodicele Germane din Transilvania. Bibliografie analitica

Bucuresti: Editura Stiintifica si Enciclopedica, 1977 (vol. 1), 1983 (vol. 2).
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 016.3252498 P43r v.1 + v. 2

This index in two volumes (1778-1840 and 1841-1860) is an analitical bibliography of the journals published in Transylvania in German language. This work is very important for scholars and students interested in the pre-modern period and in the first phase of Romanian modern history. It includes information on the social, political, and economical life in Transylvania, Moldovia, and Romania. It is relevant also for general cultural issues and for literature. Each entry contains either a translation of the German title or a brief annotation. The work is accessible through two indexes: personal name index and geographical name index.

a sample entry from Romanii in periodicele Germane din Transilvania

Rusu, Dorina N, “Cercetari istorice” 1925-1947. Bibliografie

Bucuresti: Editura Stiintifica si enciclopedica, 1982.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 949.8 R929c

This is an index of the historical journal “Cercetari istorice.” It includes articles, reviews, cronical notes, and necrologies that appeared in the journal. Entries are annotated. There are three indexes: author index, index of reviewed authors, index of reviewed journals.

a sample entry from "Cercetari istorice" 1925-1947