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Overviews of the Collections

Moldovan Collections at the Library of Congress

Grant Harris
Chief, European Division

The Library of Congress possesses more than 6,500 titles, comprising more than 11,000 volumes, from or about Moldova. Most of the titles are single or multi-volume monographs, but many periodicals and annuals are also present. The majority of items are in the general collections, but additional materials can be found in special collections pertaining to maps, microfilm, rare books, music, prints and photographs, law, and folk life. Subjects throughout the humanities, social sciences, and sciences are represented. Agriculture and clinical medicine are more comprehensively covered by the National Agricultural Library and the National Library of Medicine, respectively.

The majority of the Library's materials concerning Moldova were published in Moldova or its immediate predecessor, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR). Some 70 percent of the collections were published during the years of the MSSR, 1940 - 1991. Over 4,000 of the titles - more than half of the collections on Moldova - are in the Russian language, primarily during the MSSR years, when Russian became the primary print language. The secondary print language during those years was what the Soviets called Moldovan, which was essentially Romanian but written with Cyrillic letters rather than the customary Latin alphabet; the Library possesses between 350 and 400 such titles in Moldovan using Cyrillic letters.

Besides the Russian and Cyrillic Moldovan materials mentioned above, the Library possesses more than 1,300 titles pertaining to Moldova in the Romanian language, published in either Moldova or Romania. More than 300 other titles are in English, with a few hundred additional titles in German, French, Turkish, Gagauz, Ukrainian, Hungarian or other languages.

One fourth of the materials have been published since 1991, when Moldova gained independence. At present, 150 or more titles are being added to the collections each year, primarily through purchase. Romanian-language titles have predominated since 1991.

Although few of the Library's related holdings were printed prior to 1940, there are materials of interest published then as well, particularly from western or Russian sources.


Thomas Jefferson's personal library, acquired by the U.S. Congress in 1815, included a monumental work by Dimitrie Cantemir, Prince of Moldavia - - Histoire de l'Empire Othoman... (Paris, 1743). That copy was among the many volumes from the original Jefferson Collection destroyed in a calamitous fire in the U.S. Capitol on Christmas eve, 1851. Subsequently the Library replaced the title and obtained a copy of the English version, The History of the Growth and Decay of the Othman [sic] Empire (London, 1734). Cantemir composed this history in Latin during the years 1714-1716, while in exile as an advisor to Peter the Great. It was published only posthumously, first in English, after his son took the manuscript to London. It is the first substantial history of the Ottoman Empire in any European language, and it remained the preferred text for the next century.

Three other important works by Prince Cantemir are also housed in the Rare Book Reading Room: Kniga Systima. St.-Petersburg, 1722. Discusses the Moslem religion.

Historisch-Geographisch- und Politische Beschreibung der Moldau, nebst dem Leben des Verfassers und einer Landcharte. Frankfurt, 1771.

Hronicul Romano-Moldo-Vlahilor. Iasi, 1835-1836. Composed during the last years of Cantemir's life, it remained in manuscript form for more than a century. Because he had sided with Peter the Great in 1711 in an unsuccessful attempt to repel the Ottoman presence, the work could not be published in Romanian territories until the Turkish stronghold had weakened. It is Cantemir's history of the Moldovans, Wallachians and Transylvanians, stressing their common Latin origins.

The Rare Book RR also possesses copies of several other early works which describe Moldovan territories:

Latomus, Sigismund. Jacobi Franci Relationis historica continvatio, Jacobi Franci Historische beschreibung aller denckwurdigen historien, so sich hin und wider in Europa, in hoch und nider Deutschland, auch in Franckreich, Schott und Engeland, Hispanien, Hungarn, Polen, Siebenburgen, Wallachey, Moldaw, Turckey, ... Franckfurt am Mayn, 1615.

Carra, Jean-Louis. Histoire de la Moldavie et de la Valachie. Avec une dissertation sur l'etat actuel de ces deux provinces. Jassy, 1777.


The Law Library possesses a large number of volumes from Moldova, including historical works such as the following:

  • Regulamentul organic. A set of regulations put into effect in 1831 in Wallachia and in 1832 in Moldova, under the supervision of the Russian General Kiselev, effective through 1848.
  • C. Hamangiu. Codul civil (1934), a nine-volume study of Romanian civil code covering the years 1868-1927.
  • C. Hamangiu. Codul general al Romaniei (1909), covering all codes, regulations and statutes of Romania during the years 1856-1900.
  • Codul Calimach (1954, critical edition), the civil code of Moldova from 1817 to 1865.

The Law Library also receives the official gazette from Moldova.


The Library possesses microfilm of the following Russian-language newspapers from Chisinau:

  • Sovetskaia Moldaviia. Microfilm for the years 1947-1991 is available in the European Reading Room under shelf number 791.
  • Nezavisimaia Moldova. This paper succeeds the above-mentioned Sovetskaia Moldaviia. Microfilm from its beginning year of 1991 through at least 1999 is available in the European Reading Room under shelf number 3836.
  • Drug. Microfilm is available for April 1, 1906 through June 30, 1907 in the European Reading Room under shelf number 2854.
  • Molodezh' Moldavii. Microfilm is available for Sept. 6, 1958 (one issue only), and Jan 1, 1962 through December 31, 1965 in the European Reading Room under shelf number 790.

LC possesses microfilm holdings for the following Romanian-language newspaper from Chisinau:

  • Moldova suverana. As of mid 2002, LC had received microfilm for the years 1995-97 only, available in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room under shelf number 3818. Attempts are being made to obtain microfilm from its beginning in 1990 to present.


The Library of Congress possesses retrospective telephone directories, both residential and organizational, for Chisinau/Kishinev and Balti/Beltsy, as well as a more comprehensive organizational guide for 1925, the Romanian-language Anuarul "Socec" al României-Mari.


The Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress published in 1995 an extensive handbook entitled Belarus and Moldova: Country Studies. The Moldovan chapters cover the country's history, geography, economy, society, transportation and telecommunications, government and politics, and national security.

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  February 23, 2017
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