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Russian Theater in the Early 20th Century
Material from the National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg

The early years of the 20th century saw the appearance of many new theaters in Russia, as well as an increase in theater audiences and in the activities of professional critics. Theater collectives and experimental theaters flourished throughout Russia, inventing new and highly individual expressive forms and bringing aesthetic elements of symbolism to the Russian stage. The leading role in these innovations belongs to Meierkhol'd who at that time directed his Theater-Studio on Povarskaya Street in Moscow and the Komissarzhevskaya Theater in St. Petersburg. Thanks to Meierkhol'd the repertoire policy of the imperial theaters of St. Petersburg changes radically. In Moscow the Studio is opened as part of the Moscow Art Theater (later becoming MKhT-2), as well as the Chamber Theatre and in St. Petersburg the futurists show their first theater experiments on stage. All of these theater collectives clearly expressed their own creativity and specific aesthetics.
The Russian symbolists published the journal Vesy ( The Scales, 1904-1909) and Zolotoye Runo ( The Golden Fleece, 1906-1909). These magazines looked at the problems of the "new" theater as a reflection of Philosophical or mystical conceptions about life. These publications were succeeded by the monthly Apollon (1909-1917). Apollon reacted to the more important happenings on the scenes of the capital and provincial towns, but most pages was taken up by articles of an analytical nature, devoted to special problems of the theater: decorations, costumes, scenic movement/plasticity, acting schools.
A specific position was taken in by the journal that was published in the Studio of Meierkhol'd: The Love for three oranges: The Journal of Doctor Dapertutto (Petrograd, 1914-1916). This journal published the cultural chronicles and reports of the acitivities of Meierkhol'ds Studio and also poems of contemporary poets. For three seasons (1912/1913 - 1914/1915) Moscow saw the publication of a monthly of theater art: Masks. All magazines are characterized by excellent artistic content and feature contributions from leading writers, poets, literary and artistic critics, such as M.Voloshin, V.Meierkhol'd, V.Bryusov, L.Andreev, A.Blok, F.Sologub, M.Kuz'min, A.Akhmatova, N.Efros; and are illustrated by famous artists such as A.Benois, A.Korovin, K.Somov, A. Golovin and L.Bakst.

The Importance of the Collection
The Collection includes small editions aimed at professionals and mass publications intended for a general audience. These periodicals provide a detailed picture of metropolitan and provincial Russian theater, and reflect cultural life in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Their pages include theater repertoires, reviews, sharp-tongued articles, documentary materials, librettos, announcements and advertisements. The publications did not limit themselves simply to covering social issues, but also dealt with professional problems, such as the relationship between theaters and their sponsors, or the poor living conditions endured by provincial actors. This collection is a unique source for a wide range of scholars in the fields of history, cultural studies, theater history and sociology, and provides a unique opportunity to savour the distinctive atmosphere of the period revered as Russia's Silver Age.

Main Topics
• Russian culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
• Daily life and entertainment in pre-revolutionary Russia
• Theater in capitals and in the provinces
• Modernism
• Futurism

Subject Areas
• Slavic Studies
• History of Culture
• Art History
• Theater

Various Authors & Editors

Screen and Stage: The Russian Cinematographic and Theater Press, 1889-1919
Material from the National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg

This collection contains a wide range of information on various forms of mass culture and performance art in pre-revolutionary Russia:
• Cinema
• Theater
• Theater of miniatures
• Cabaret theater
• Circus
• Operetta

The collection includes unique material such as records of the repertoires, biographies of the actors, examples of audience reactions to performances.

Urban Mass Culture at the Turn of the 20th Century
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Russian urban culture was enriched by new leisure activities and entertainments. In addition to the existing fair booths for the commoners, popular festivities for the middle classes, and opera, ballet, and theater for the upper classes, other kinds of mass entertainment appeared, for example, circus, sports contests, and horse-races, along with cinema, cabaret, and theaters of miniatures, which became a new mass passion. The cabaret turned out to be a serious competition for the traditional theater. Since cabaret performances were accessible to the general public and their content was quite intelligible, they won audiences from the theater and attracted leading actors and other personnel.

Cinema
By this time the large wave of modernism swept across Europe and affected practically all aspects of life, including new public leisure activities and entertainments. Cinema turned out to be the perfect instrument to mold mass culture. Although the popularity of the screen was all pervasive, the universality of its artistic language was limited by the lack of sound. To compensate this, a number of means were used, varying from imitating and parodying films to combining film performances with ballet, theatrical, or musical sketches in one program. A skillfully staged effect of actual presence was also practiced, for example during the tour by Max Linder - the French "king of the screen" - to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev in December 1913. The intense drama of the film came to a sudden end when the main character made a live appearance, stunning and disconcerting the audience.

Cabaret and Variety Theaters
Cabaret and variety theaters appeared in Russia in the 1900s, and provided an ideal setting for artistic experiments. At the end of February 1908, the Bat cabaret theater ( Letuchaia Mysh') opened in Moscow under the direction of Nikita Baliev; six months later, The Distorting Mirror ( Krivoe zerkalo) parody-theater founded by Aleander Kugel' and Nikolai Evreinov opened its doors. These experiments were such a success that they immediately became the fashion. Soon, dozens of similar ventures appeared not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in Odessa, Kiev, Khar'kov, Baku, Rostov-on-Don, Vladivostok, and many other cities. In 1912, there were 125 cabaret or variety theaters performing original sketches and programs every evening in Moscow and St. Petersburg alone. Cabaret mania swept through both literary and artistic circles. Suffice it to mention such famous cabarets of Moscow futurists as Stray dog ( Brodiachaia sobaka) and The Pink Lantern ( Rozovyi fonar'). The symbolist poet Fyodor Sologub intended to open his literary cabaret. Mikhail Kuzmin and Vladislav Khodasevich enjoyed writing musical and theatrical items for cabaret programs. Vasilii Kachalov, Ivan Moskvin, Ol'ga Knipper-Chekhova, and even Konstantin Stanislavskii himself did not mind appearing on the stage of Baliev's theater. Although cabaret culture in Russia remained formally close to its original European concept, it had its own roots. Its stylistic and artistic originality was influenced by the living traditions of intimate gatherings of actors, named kapustniks - literally "cabbage pies", where the actors parodied the highbrow stage practices of the Malyi, Aleksandrinskii, Mariinskii, and Moscow Art theaters.

Mass Media on Popular Entertainment
Starting at the beginning of the 1900s, a large number of daily and weekly illustrated newspapers and journals were published in capitals and provincial cities throughout the Russian Empire. These publications contained the main news related to operetta, farce, variety shows, circus, sports, and other forms of entertainment, and provided insights into various occupations related to acting. When cinema and cabaret spread more widely, news about them was included in these periodicals, thus diversifying them even further.
Several professional publications (e.g., Actor ( Artist) and Actor's Diary ( Dnevnik Artista)) already appeared at the end of the 19th century. They reflected a complex panorama of theater life in the main cities and in the provinces, and carefully recorded all significant premieres, current repertoires, artistic stage tours, innovations, the actions of censors and local authorities, the switching of actors to another stage, etc. Like cinematographic periodicals (e.g., Elektra - the one-off newspaper for cinema, theater, arts, and literature aficionados that appeared in Moscow in 1909), practically all these titles were short-lived. Hardly any of them survived more than a few seasons, and even the most successful lasted only until the new performing arts in the old Russia came to an end. Worth mentioning are Artistic world. Journal for variety theaters, circus, sports and cinematography ( Artisticheskii mir. Zhurnal teatrov-var'ete, tsirka, sporta i sinematografa) (Moscow, 1912-1918), Review of St. Petersburg cinemas, skating rinks, and theaters ( Obozrenie SPB. kinematografov, sketing-ringov i teatrov) (St. Petersburg, 1912-1917), and Theater and cinema. Weekly illustrated publication ( Teatr i kino. Ezhenedel'noe illiustrirovannoe izdanie) (Odessa, 1915-1919).

Historical Value of the Publications
The historical value of these publications can hardly be overestimated. The researcher will find in them unique and still poorly explored material, including records of the repertoires of cabaret theaters and their evolution, as well as the history of various one-man theatrical undertakings and the biographies of the participants. They also contain examples of audience reactions to cabaret performances. Cinema historians will also profit from this valuable material. The publications will help them to define the functional role of cinema in cabaret practice, to establish the similarities and differences, and to better understand various aspects of the evolutionary esthetic convergence of theater and cinema, and analyze their mutual influence.

Rashit Yangirov, Moscow
Muslims in Russia

Muslims in Russian History
Muslim peoples played an important role in the creation of the multinational Russian state. The process took several centuries and was completed only when Central Asia was annexed in the 1860s. Russian power had confronted a huge Muslim world, and the Muslim question became one of the major factors in both the internal and the external policy of Russia's tsars. According to the first general census (1897), by the end of the nineteenth century the Muslim population amounted to approximately 14 million, representing almost 11 percent of the total population of Imperial Russia.

The Muslim Question
The attitude of the Russian state to the Muslims changed more than once. Down to the time of Peter the Great, Russian policy combined the merging of the Muslim elite with the top of Russian society, with the forced, gradual Russification and Christianization of the general population. Starting with Ekaterina II, all-Russia imperial policy changed from that of suppressing the Muslims to that of legitimizing them. When Alexander III became tsar in 1881, he started to pursue a policy of the increased administrative prosecution of religious nonconformity, and discrimination against non-Christians (including Muslims), thus increasingly separating Muslims from Russian society.

The Wind of Change
New forces entered public life at the beginning of the twentieth century. In Russia, there was a powerful outburst of Muslim nationalism, based on religious reformism, traditionalism, and liberal ideas. During the First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907, there were great changes in the state and in society linked to the creation of the State Duma (parliament), the proclamation of civil freedom, and the possibility to form political parties and alliances, and to relatively independently express political opinion. It was then that the traditional worldview was shaken and the foundation for the secularization of the social conscience was laid.
The Union of Muslims of Russia ( Ittifak-Al-Muslimin) - which was created at the 1905-1906 congresses of Muslim representatives from throughout Russia - became the Muslims' most powerful political organization. The Union survived until 1917 and had branches in the lands along the Volga and in the Crimea, the Urals, the Caucasus, Siberia and Turkestan.
This period saw an increase in the number of Muslim intellectuals searching for their national identity. The Muslims of Russia showed a great interest in the legacy of the past, in their national roots, and in their spiritual, religious, and ethnic traditions. Periodicals widely discussed the understanding of the Muslims’ cultural heritage and of the East-West problem.
During and shortly after the February and October Revolutions of 1917, nationalist movements grew rapidly. Finding themselves with a degree of freedom they had formerly thought impossible, many in Russia - including Muslims - were for the first time able to clearly express their problems and the ways to solve them. After they took power on October 25, 1917, the Bolsheviks started to pursue a national policy that in reality never considered the true interests of the Muslims. Thus, the Muslims' attitude toward the new authority worsened dramatically. From the summer of 1918 onward, most Muslims felt negative toward the Soviet authorities and the communists who restricted their religious freedom.

The Muslim Press
Until the first Russian revolution (1905-1907), the problems of Russian Muslims were extremely poorly reported in the Russian press. This is why Muslim public figures time and again tried to obtain permission to publish their own newspapers and magazines. The Buku paper Kaspij was the first Muslim paper to be printed in Russian (1881). Its publisher was an Azerbaijanian politician, Ali-Mardan Topchibashev. He was the first deputy of the State Duma and one of the Muslim leaders in the Russian Empire. Kaspij was published by Muslim journalists for Russian readers. The revolution led to the appearance of many periodicals, including Muslim ones, of numerous ideological persuasions: from monarchist to socialist, and from patriotic to "pan-Turkist" and "pan-Islamist."
These publications were intended to acquaint the Russian and European public with the problems of the Muslims of the Russian Empire, and represented the interests of various groups within the Muslim community. They published official orders related to the Muslim population, documents, resolutions, appeals made by Muslim congresses, the protocols of sessions of Muslim organizations, materials on the most urgent problems of the Muslim population, reviews, letters from Muslims, etc. The notion was spread in society that the Muslim press, especially in 1909-1912, was thoroughly infected by the "viruses" of pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism. For example, the Parisian magazine Musul'manin ( Muslim), which was printed in Russian in 1908-1911, was considered a locus for the distribution of these ideas, as were the St Petersburg publications V mire musul'manstva ( In the Muslim World) and Mususul'manskaia gazeta ( Muslim Newspaper).
After the collapse of the monarchy in March 1917, many Muslim papers and magazines appeared, including some in Russian. The most precious and the rarest is News of the All-Russian Muslim Council. It was published in Petrograd in the second half of 1917 by the All-Russian Muslim Council, the highest executive body of the country's Muslim population. The Council comprised such well-known and established representatives as Zakhid Shamil, the grandson of Imam Shamil. Zakhid Shamil was a journalist, a member of the editorial board of the Petersburg magazine Book Chronicle, and an officer in the Chief Administration of Press in Petersburg.

A Unique Source
Practically all these publications have yet to be thoroughly studied and are practically unknown to foreign researchers. Nevertheless, they are a unique source. They provide familiarity with a very heterogeneous and unknown world that lasted for more than 50 years, namely from 1861 to 1918. Materials published both at the center and on the periphery reflect the picturesque palette of life of Muslims in the Russian Empire, as well as the positions of the public and political figures of different layers of Muslim society.
This collection presents works written by and about Muslims. It includes publications that present the point of view of outsiders regarding the Muslim press. Inorodcheskoe Obozrenie (Foreigners' Overview, a supplement to Pravoslavnyj Sobesednik [Orthodox Collocutor]) is a publication about Muslims in Russia. In addition to articles of a missionary character about Muslims, it contains translations and annotations of numerous Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers. The publications made an essential contribution to the process of overcoming the old religious and national estrangement of the Muslim population.
In the pages of these editions, for the first time on such a scale, intelligent arguments were presented in support of rejecting national self-isolation, the need to familiarize other peoples with Muslim achievements in the fields of science, culture, industry, and agriculture, and the idea of the mutual understanding between and the cultural rapprochement with all peoples.
The discussion was directed at both Western and Russian culture, and showed a significant understanding of the need to become familiar with the achievements of a world civilization. The publications strengthened progressive tendencies by responding forcefully to current political events. The value of this heritage is especially clear now that the historical and spiritual past of Muslims in Russia is being actively reconsidered.

Various Authors & Editors

Early Russian Cinema, Part 1
Russian Cinematographic Press (1907-1918)

Cinema in late-imperial Russia
In a quantitative sense Russia's cinematographic press comprises a modest segment of the general stream of the Russian periodical press at the beginning of the 20th century. However, in the dynamic of its development, the tempo of its reproduction and distribution, it far outstripped publication of all other contemporary genres and directions, and in this fact alone vividly reflected the general popularity of cinema in Russian society. In view of the fact that the documents connected with the history of the early Russian cinema and the overwhelming majority of materials on film have not survived up to this time, these publications constitute a unique collection of testimonials about the general and particular characteristics of the Russian cinematographic press of the 1900s and 1910s.

The art of the new age
The pages of these cinematographic publications have preserved for history not only the first examples of cinema theory, but also a very wide range of reflections of the artistic consciousness of the art of the new age. They chronicled all the variety and individual details of the cinematographic life of the Russian capitals and provinces, recorded consecutively the growth of cinematography in the cultural life of the country. The publications dedicated to the screen carefully documented the dynamic of the development of film production and distribution, traced the actions of the authorities in controlling screenings and noted all other accompanying factors and circumstances affecting the establishment of the new art.

The collection
Examining these sources, the researcher can reconstruct the film repertoire and assemble almost a complete list of domestic and foreign films shown on screens in Russia; he will find in them a detailed description of pictures, reviews by critics, censored materials, etc. In addition, they contain extremely valuable information about other forms of contemporary entertainment culture - the theater of miniatures, cabaret and music hall.

Various Authors & Editors

The Yearbook of the Imperial Theaters

The Yearbook of the Imperial Theaters is a matchless source of material on theater life in Russia, published by the Directors of the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg during the period 1892-1915. The Yearbook contains general essays on Russian and foreign theatrical art, critiques of performances and accounts of the actors and repertoires of the Imperial Theaters in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Chronicles of theater life, obituaries, anniversary essays and reports of the activities of the Theater and Literary Committee are also recorded.

The periodical was edited in turn by A. Molchanov, S. Diagilev, P. Gnedich and N. Driezen. When Diagilev became Chief Editor of the Year Book of the Imperial Theaters in 1899, he changed its format and invited the best artists from the artistic group Mir Iskusstva to provide illustrations. A new era in the history of this periodical began when Baron Driezen became editor in 1908. Driezen invited contributions from scholars and top theatrical journalists, such as M. Voloshin, V. Briusov, A. Vengerov and A. Koni, and critics E. Stark, Iu. Slonimskaia and N. Efros.

Originally, The Yearbook of the Imperial Theaters was issued once a year, but later became irregular. From the 1893-94 season onwards, supplements were published in addition to the main issue. From 1909, there were several issues a year (up to seven) plus supplements. In total there were 28 issues with 38 supplements in the period 1894-1906, and 44 magazines issues dating from 1909. The magazine closed in 1915. Despite attempts to revive the Yearbook in the early Soviet years, only one issue, prepared in 1920, came out in 1922 under the title Yearbook of the Petrograd State Theaters, but there were to be no further issues.

Edited by Boris Belenkin

Anti-Semitism and Nationalism at the End of the Soviet Era

Over a thousand pieces of material evidence (leaflets, newspapers, posters, documents, photographs) documenting anti-Semitism and nationalism in the Soviet Union.

Various Authors & Editors

Anti-Soviet Newspapers

Civil War
The collapse of the Tsarist regime and the Provisional Government in 1917 left a power vacuum in the former Russian Empire. In the resulting chaos, a number of both real and shadow governments emerged. These ranged from centralist (Bolsheviks, Whites) through separatist-nationalist (Ukraine, Cossack Hosts, Transcaucasian Republics) to peasant-anarchist (Makhno) governments. Although the Bolsheviks had no trouble seizing power in November 1917, they managed to consolidate their new position only after several years of bitter struggle in a major civil war with the counterrevolutionary forces referred to as the "White Movement."

Miraculous survival
Until recently, the sources that could shed new light on Russia's civil war period (1918-1922) were not available to researchers. Because of the instability and constantly changing conditions of the civil war, it was impossible to collect the numerous volatile, short-lived newspapers, which were constantly appearing and disappearing. Daily papers meant for mass consumption were sent to the front line, and over it into the enemy's territory. Once read, they were used either to roll cigarettes or to bind feet, and consequently disappeared without trace.

In the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1950s, there were "ideological purges" of the newspaper stocks held by Soviet libraries. During these purges, many of the White Movement press items that had miraculously escaped destruction were now destroyed, because they were regarded as ideologically harmful and superfluous. Those that were not destroyed were withdrawn from scholarly circulation and packed away in special depositories. All information about them was proscribed, which is why none of the larger archives or libraries possesses a complete list of titles or sets of the White Movement press of the period. This makes any copy of a newspaper - let alone whole sets - of the utmost importance.

Unique Collection
The collection is unique in that its contents reflect all aspects of life in that stormy period, which was replete with revolutionary upheavals and civil strife. The variety of material published in these newspapers is astounding. Alongside material reflecting political issues and the burning topics of the day, the collection presents the widest range and variety of newspapers, from those carrying marriage announcements to a batch titled "On the way: News from Chairman of Revolutionary Council Trotsky's Train." This latter newspaper was dubbed "anti-Bolshevik" after Trotsky's rift with J. Stalin. The IDC collection contains official civic and military documents from the White Movement executive organs, central and local news, news from the civil war fronts, information about the activities of regional and local administrations, and press releases from credit, industrial, and cooperative stablishments and savings banks. Juxtaposed with these are facts about everyday life, reflecting the work of various charitable societies and organizations, theatrical performances, concerts, and other major and minor cultural events. Interspersed with these is a very wide range of advertisements. Thus, the collection will provide researchers with not only a rich store of materials to examine, but also the opportunity to make new discoveries.

Literary Treasures
The collection contains lots of material dealing with belles-lettres and literary criticism that holds indispensable information yet to be assessed by literary critics and scholars. Many prominent Russian politicians, scholars, and writers who later lived in exile, published their works in the newspapers of the period. For example, the well-known writer A.I. Kuprin published the newspaper The Prinevsky Krai; N.V. Ustrryalov - the ideologist of the Smenovekhovstvo - was in charge of the Russian Press Bureau under Admiral A.V. Kolchak's government, and also actively cooperated with a number of White newspapers in Siberia; the fathers of the "White Idea" - namely N.N. Lvov and V.V. Shulgin - were active in the south of Russia; and B.A. Suvorin was the publisher of The Evening Time, the largest White newspaper in southern Russia.

A number of widely known writers and poets - for example, Vs. Ivanov, M. Voloshin, Teffi, A.V. Amphiteatrov, and A.T. Averchenko - published their literary pieces and essays in various White newspapers. These newspapers also contain a great variety of drawings, caricatures, and chastushkii (two- or four-line ditties on some topical or humorous theme).

Structure of the Collection
The term "anti-Soviet newspapers" embraces all the newspapers containing anti-Bolshevik propaganda published in the territories controlled by the Whites and the Reds in the period 1918-1922. In accordance with the character of its materials, the collection can be divided into three parts.

The first, and largest, part contains 405 White Movement newspapers. This is the periodic press of different White Guard governments, along with press items from various military and civic organs, establishments and organizations of anti-soviet orientation. Also in this category are most newspapers published in the territories that were controlled by White Movement governments. Such newspapers, which on the whole were either neutral to the White governments or showed some respect for them, were delegated to the care of the special depository for the simple reason of having been published in the territories controlled by the Whites. Practically all the newspapers of the White Movement governments are represented in the NLR collection.

The second part, though smaller (287 titles), is also of extreme importance: it comprises the newspapers that were published in the territories controlled by the Soviets but which were opposed to the "Bolshevik commissars state," though some of them supported the idea of keeping the Soviets "without Bolsheviks," and were extremely critical about some of the Bolshevik government's decisions. These included Social Revolutionary (SR) newspapers, newspapers that were dubbed "petty-bourgeois" by the Bolsheviks, and anti-Bolshevik newspapers with different Russian Social Democratic Labor Party affiliations. The "petty-bourgeois" newspapers were primarily meant for various categories of service providers (e.g., small shopkeepers, cooks, etc.), and paid little attention to the "class struggle" or the glorification of the power of the People's Commissars; in fact, they simply ignored this power.

The third, and smallest, part (six titles) comprises émigré newspapers published by Russians in Harbin, China.

Provenance
The history of this collection is connected with the name of N.V. Iakovlev (1891-1981), a well-known literary scholar and a participant in S.A. Vengerov's Pushkin Seminar. In 1919, the Russian (Omsk) government of A. Kolchak created the Temporary Bureau of the Book Chamber and appointed Iakovlev as its director. In Omsk, on August 1, 1919, Iakovlev called for people to collect and preserve any and all printed material, "since the events we are living through have world-wide significance." The result is the world's largest collection of regional White Movement newspapers and leaflets. In 1920, the collection was taken to Petrograd and handed over to the custody of the Petrograd Book Chamber. When, later in the same year, the capital was moved to Moscow , the collection was transferred to the Russian Public Library (now the NLR).

Finding aids
A catalogue of this collection - Nesovetskie gazety 1918-1922. Katalog sobraniia Rossiiskoi natsional'noi biblioteki. Sankt-Peterburg: Rossiiskaia natsional'naia biblioteka, 2003 - was completed by Prof. G.V. Mikheeva and published by NLR. The catalogue provides an alphabetical list of newspapers' indexes of personal names and places of publication. It is available together with the microfiche collection.

Researchers who are interested in the regional spread of the newspapers can get this information from the regional subdivisions of the newspapers in the collection, which groups newspapers territorially (i.e., those published in southern Russia, Siberia, etc.). This list is available on the IDC website.

The National Library of Russia
The National Library of Russia St. Petersburg (www.nlr.ru) is one of the world's largest libraries: its collection numbers more than 32.8 million items, 6 million of which are written in a foreign language. The library possesses one of the largest collections of White Movement materials. Until recently, these newspapers were sealed in a special depository at the NLR and were unavailable to researchers. Until now, neither facsimile nor any other type of reproduction of these

Various Authors & Editors

The Archive of the Moscow Printing House

Everyday life in Muscovite Rus'
The archive of the Moscow Printing House is a unique source of information on the history of book printing by the Eastern Slavs, as well as on the significance of printed books in Muscovite Rus' and Petrinian Russia. It provides valuable insights into the way in which books were produced and traded, allowing researchers to establish the paper and the typeset used, and the construction of certain tools and devices. The collection contains data on book stocks and the number of books in circulation, on editions that were not kept, the price of new books, their preparation for printing, the geography of book sales, and the buyers of different types of an edition. The data on the residence and social status of the buyer were almost always recorded in receipt books. The copybooks can even be used to trace the history of each individual edition prepared by the Moscow Printing House.

Gold mine for scholars
At the same time, the collection is a gold mine for scholars studying the social, political, or economic history of seventeenth-century Russia, or more specifically, the history of the Russian Church. It contains huge amounts of information on the restoration of the economy after the Time of Troubles, uprisings, and epidemics in the 17th century, and information on merchants, both Russian and foreign, from whom these or those goods were bought. There are even details of the salary and other payments made to workers of a Printing House, who often were paid in kind, rather than in money. Even more intriguing is the information it contains on such seemingly mundane matters as the yearly prices for bread and salt over several centuries.

The cradle of Russian book printing
The Moscow Printing House was founded in 1553 during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Because the first few books it published bore neither the date nor place of publication, the official beginning of book printing in Russia is put at 1564 – the year in which Ivan Fedorov and Petr Timofeev Mstislavets printed Russia's first dated book, an edition of the Apostol. The Printing House operated until 1571, when it was destroyed by fire. Ivan the Terrible then ordered the establishment of a new printing press at Aleksandrova Sloboda. Rebuilt in 1589 but destroyed during the Time of Troubles, the Moscow Printing House eventually emerged as the State's leading printing house. In the 1630s it employed some 120 people, and by the middle of the century this number had risen to 150. In 1721 it became the Moscow Synod Typography, which remained in operation until 1918.

Cultural and intellectual center
The Printing House performed a variety of important functions in the cultural life of seventeenth-century Russia. It helped to spread the official ideology and the liturgical revisions that would lead to the schism of the Orthodox Church. It also served as Russia's first bookshop, a book repository, and a training school for future book printers. In the course of the seventeenth century, the Moscow Printing House amassed an enormous library and printed a total of ca. 350,000 copies – an impressive figure by any standard. A vast number of books were on religious topics, such as Bibles, prayer books, and liturgical material. However, the Printing House also produced educational literature (readers, grammars) and juridical codices ( ukazy, decrees).

"Ordered by His Imperial Highness the Tsar, blessed by His Holiness the Patriarch"
The Moscow Printing House was a well-organized State institution that enjoyed the inviolable position of a monopolist: This was the only place in Muscovite Rus' were printed books were produced. The activities of the Printing House were supervised by the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, whose explicit permission was required for every book. Consequently, the title page of each one bore the words: "Ordered by His Imperial Highness the Tsar, blessed by His Holiness the Patriarch." The actual printing was invariably preceded by a service attended by the Patriarch. Determining the price of a book was left to none other than the Tsar, who was solemnly presented with the first copy.

Church history
The first printed Cyrillic books were not only the fruit of intellectual progress and enlightenment, but also the immediate product of historic decisions taken by Ivan the Terrible and his successors. The centralization of government and the need to regulate a number of religious matters induced the Council of Hundred ( Stoglavyi sobor) to issue a decree on the unification of church books – a goal that could only be achieved through book printing. The new technology gave the State an enormous advantage in imposing its religious and political views on the more unwilling elements of the population. Book printing was not only instrumental to the conversion of the Tatars in the recently reconquered Khanate of Kazan, but was also an important asset in the fight against religious dissent during the Time of Troubles. Moreover, Moscow book printing helped to preserve Slavic and national traditions outside Russia: The Slavic peoples of the Balkan were under Ottoman rule, while the territory of Ukraine and Belarus belonged to the Rechi Pospolita, where the printing of Cyrillic books was a complicated matter. Thus, Moscow book printing was vital to the entire Orthodox community.

The IDC collection
The archive of the Moscow Printing House consists of three parts – described in three inventories – comprising a total of 606 items from the period 1620-1722. The present collection contains 104 items (books detailing income and expenditure, inventory lists, etc.) that furnish meticulous information on the workers' wages, and the amounts paid for equipment and other material in the period 1620-1700. Most of the documents from this unique archival collection, which is held in the Russian State Archive of Early Acts (RGADA, fond 1182), are previously unpublished. This makes it a unique source of information for Slavists, historians, book historians, and medievalists. In the near future, IDC will make available archival materials from the eighteenth century, as well as the priceless library of the Moscow Printing house, which contains books printed by such trailblazers as Ivan Fedorov, Andronik Nevezha, and Nikita Fofanov.

Russian State Archives of Early Acts (RGADA)
The material comprising the present collection is stored in the Russian State Archives of Early Acts (in Moscow), which holds over 3.3 million documents covering more than nine centuries of Russian writing and book printing. The Archives contain documents issued by the highest government organs as well as those issued by the local authorities of the Russian empire up to the beginning of the nineteenth century. RGADA also stores the papers of the most prominent noble families of Russia, and various priceless collections of manuscripts and early printed books.

Various Authors & Editors

Various Authors & Editors