The Georgian Collections in the Library of Congress
Georgia has been represented in the collections of the Library of Congress
since its inception. The library of Thomas Jefferson was purchased by
Congress in 1815 after the destruction of the original collection during
the War of 1812. Jefferson was keen on the sources of antiquity which
were replete with mention of the land of Colchis, the home of the princess
Medea and of the famed Golden fleece.
Eustathios" from Sakartvelos Samotxe,
St. Petersburg, 1882
(Near East Section)
Contemporaneous with the creation and growth of the Library of Congress
was the Russian conquest of the Caucasian peoples in the first half of
the nineteenth century; this caused a rise in academic interest in the
peoples of these lands. Scholarly works about them and of their literary
and historical products were produced in a wide array of European languages.
Many of these reside in the general collections of the Library of Congress.
Materials published in the Georgian and related Kartvelian languages,
however, were few until the creation of the Near East Section in 1945,
which has custody of them.
Academic publications from the era of the Soviet Republic of Georgia
(1921-1991) were routinely gathered as part of the Library’s ongoing
and ever increasing efforts to collect and document vital records of
this period. Georgian publications in the Library were relatively few
in number, however, until 1992 when an area specialist was named and
systematic collecting of Georgian language materials began. This fortuitously
coincided with the creation of an independent Republic of Georgia and
with the burgeoning and blossoming of publications in the languages of
all the peoples of Georgia fostered by this new freedom.
This combination of free press and staff to guide the growth of the
collections has led to a doubling of the vernacular Georgian collections
housed in the Near East Section. Along with academic periodicals and
state newspapers, the major publications on the historical religious,
political, cultural past and present of Georgia are now routinely acquired.
A special attempt to document this watershed era in the history of the
Georgian people is also being made by gathering ephemera-pamphlets, Non-Governmental
Organization (NGOs) reports, and similar materials. Additionally, at
the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Library possesses all commercially
available microfilms of Georgian language materials, including historical
newspapers which were published in Tbilisi, the administrative capital
of the three Transcaucasian republics of the Russian Empire.
The section welcomes and encourages use of all these materials by offering
briefings for groups and individuals and outreach programs for those personally
or professionally studying Georgica. Strong working relationships are also
cultivated with governmental and library institutions in the Republic of Georgia
as well as exchanges of materials.
Many of the Library’s reading rooms and custodial
collections possess vital records for those studying Georgia. The Geography
and Map Division possesses a broad selection of both historical and contemporary
maps; the Law Library has collected the newly promulgated laws of the
Republic as well as its official gazette; the Motion Picture, Broadcasting
and Recorded Sound Division has added to its already impressive collection
of renowned Georgian cinematography; the Microform Reading Room houses
the microfiche set on Georgian Architecture; the Rare Book and Special
Collections Division as well as the general collections possess a staggering
number of the memoirs of travelers through the region from early modern
Through purchase, donation, exchange and other avenues of acquisition, the
Library’s collections of Georgica continue to grow.
If you would like to inquire about the use of the Georgian collections of the
Library of Congress, to be placed on a mailing list for our programs, or to
help in the acquisition of Georgian materials. Contact information is given
on the previous page.
For a more complete and illustrated narrative on this collection, see the chapter
and Georgia” from the Library of Congress Near East Collections:
An Illustrated Guide.
"St. Eustathios" from Sakartvelos
Samotxe, St. Petersburg, 1882
(Near East Section)