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Yudin Collection

Publications relating to Russian history, bibliography, and literature, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; pictorial material; papers of the Russian American Company

Gennadii Vasil'evich Yudin (1840-1912), a wealthy Siberian distiller and amateur bibliographer, developed one of the finest personal libraries in the Russian Empire. Collecting extensively in the fields of Russian bibliography, history, and literature, Yudin accumulated significant holdings of provincial gazettes, early editions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary works, early Russian-language imprints, and Russian literary and historical magazines. From his home near Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, he was able to procure local publications that had escaped the attention of the major Russian libraries and so amassed an unparalleled collection on his native region. Many contemporaries were impressed by the scope of the Yudin library, among them Lenin, who used the Collection while exiled in Siberia from 1898. The Yudin collection was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1906 and forms the cornerstone of the Library's present Russian-language resources. Although the 80,000 volumes have been absorbed into the general collections, the original handwritten inventory can be consulted in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division and is also available on microfilm. Sergius Yakobson's article, "An Autobiography of Gennadii Vasil'evich Yudin," in the Library of Congress Quarterly Journal, v. 3, February 1946, p. 13-15, includes a biographical statement by Yudin and information on his library.

Scores of rare imprints from the Yudin library are housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division and form the greater part of the division's eighteenth-century Russian-language holdings. Alexis Babine's account of the Yudin library highlights such valuable items as the first edition of A. N. Radischev's critique of serfdom Puteshetvie iz Peterburga v Moskvu (A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow) (1790)); Irtysh (1789), the first magazine published in Siberia; a Slavonic ABC book issued in Rome in 1753; and the first Russian geometry book (1725). These are listed, without indication of provenance, in Eighteenth Century Russian Publications in the Library of Congress: A Catalog (Washington: 1961. xvi, 157 p. Z2502.U5), prepared by Tatiana Fessenko. Rare nineteenth-century books include the earliest edition of Dostoevskii's first published novel Biednye liudi (Poor People) (1847) and one of the few copies of the first edition of the medieval poem Slovo o polku Igoreve (Song of Igor's Campaign) (1800) to escape the burning of Moscow in 1812.

Also see Digital Collections of Yudin materials: Slavic Books

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  December 10, 2012
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