Early Printed Books

Stock: 8783 items
Last updated: July 2013

Early Printed Books — is a collection of books printed before 1830 stocked in RSL. It embraces electronic copies and facsimile editions of most prominent books of high cultural, scientific and historical significance.

The collection currently features books printed in early Slavonic printing houses in Poland, Montenegro, Walachia, Venice and Prague, including the Ochtoekos (Book of Eight Tones) printed by Schweipolt Fiol in Krakow. There is also a range of the 18th century editions printed by Moskovsky Pechatny Dvor (Moscow Printing House).

A full and comprehensible range of most significant 18th century legislative and state documents and descriptive works includes: 

  • Manifests, acts, statutes, tariffs adopted during the reign of Czar Peter I, Czarina Anna (Anna Ioannovna), Elisabeth (Elisaveta Petrovna) and Catherine II.
  • Statistics records, geographic and topographic descriptions of regions, provinces and towns (compiled by I. Lepekhin, P. Pallas, P. Rychkov). 
  • First editions of most significant records and studies in Russian history and culture: annals, treaties, books of heraldry, ’Early History of Russia’ by M. Lomonosov, ’History of Russia from the earliest times’ by V. Tatischev, ’History of Russia from early times’ by M. Scherbatov, the Dictionary of writers by N. Novikov and other rarities.

Recent Acquisitions

Собрание портретов россиян, знаменитых по своим деяниям воинским и гражданским, по учености, сочинениям, дарованиям, или коих имена по чему другому сделались известными свету.

A collection of portraits of the Russian people, celebrated for their military or civil labours, studies, literary works, talents or those whose names became known to the world for other reasons, in chronological order, according to the year of their departure; Complemented by their brief biographies./ Published by Platon Beketov. — Moscow [the print-house of Semen Selivanovsky], 1821—1824.

The book by a collector, art patron and publisher P. Beketov (1761—1836) is based on his renowned collection of portraits. This most complete and effigially valid pool of portraits of the celebrated Russians was Beketov’s crown jewel. He engaged an artist N. Sokolov and an experienced book engraver I. Rozanov to train his bonds A. Osipov, F. Alexeev, K. Anisimov, A. Afanasyev, M. Vorobyev, A. Grachev, F. Kasatkin and some others in engraving. This unconventional team subsequently engraved over 300 plates copying the original items of the collection. Most of the collection was soon ruined by Moscow fires of 1812, which inhibits the value of the edition.