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

Наказ Eя Императорскаго Величества Екатерины Вторыя самодержицы всероссийския данный Коммиссии о сочинении проекта новаго уложения. — Санкт-Петербург: При Имп. Акад. наук, 1770.

Instruction (Nakaz) by Her Imperial Highness Catherine the Second, the Sovereign of Russia, given to the Commission on creating the proposition of the new Statute. — St Petersburg: Academy of Science, 1770. — [8], 403 с.; 4°.

Making up the ’Nakaz’ (Instruction) Catherine II was driven by the need for a new Statute to replace the predecessor, adopted as long ago as in the 17th century and obviously out-of-date for the moment. In 1766 she called for a Committee representing all social classes and estates to design the new Statute. In the Instruction to the committee members (compiled mostly on the basis of works by Montesquieu, Beccaria and Justy) the empress laid out her vision of the Russian legal system along the lines of the Enlightenment social philosophy.