The Slavic and East European Collections contains over 300,000 volumes, both in vernacular languages of the area and in Western European languages. East European-language holdings are about 56% Russian, 13% Polish, 8% Czech and Slovak, 10% Serbian, Croatian, and Serbo-Croatian, 5% Ukrainian and Belorussian. The remaining 8% consists of Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian, and other Eastern European languages. The overall collection grows by more than 10,000 items per year.
Cornell's holdings are strongest in Russian language and literature
and emigre literature, closely followed by Slavic linguistics, Russian
history, and Russian and East European economics. Polish, Serbo-Croatian,
Czech and Slovak materials are well represented. Area language materials
addresss a wide range of subjects, from economics and ethnography to child
development and city planning.
Slavic humanities and social science materials are integrated into Olin
Library. There, a Slavic Studies seminar room houses a core reference
collection on current issues of about 100 journals on literature, linguistics,
history, government, and economics. Materials on Russian music are
housed in the Music Libarary,
and materials on architecture and city and regional planning are housed
in the Fine Arts Library.
The Fine Arts Library has one of the country's strongest Russian architecture
collections, as well as an extensive slide collection. Early Russian
architecture was a keen interest of A.D. White, and an important strength
in the personal collection he gave to the Library. Nikolai A. Troitsky,
a Russian architect who emigrated to the US after World War II and served
as Cornell's Slavic librarian in the 1960s, greatly augmented the Russian
Another remarkable individual whose efforts enriched Cornell's collections was Alexis Babine, who came to Cornell from Russia to study history in the 1890s. Babine worked his way though Cornell by working in the Library, organizing the fledgling Russian holdings. Later he served as first Slavic librarian at the Library of Congress, building collections to enhance Slavic studies research for the nation.
Our list of individuals is incomplete without Vladimir Nabokov, who taught Russian literatrue at Cornell in the 1950s. His research and teaching needs, authority in his field and fame as a novelist all inspired significant improvement in Cornell's Russian literature collections, as well as the creation in 1963 of the Russian Literature department.
Of late, academic research interest in the political, social, and economic affairs and transitions of this region has increased, and the Library has incresed its holdings of needed social science materials. Groundwork for this type of research at Cornell was laid by the Committee on the Soviet Studies of the 1970s, which fostered interdisciplinary research and by the Slavic and East European Program established in the late 1980s. In 1989, a new major in Russian and East European Studies was inaugaurated.
Two new archival collections respond to these emerging research interests. The first collection, developed by a sociology faculty member, documents Hungary's democratic transition with a range of materials including two sets of interviews with key political figures in Hungary, conducted before and after the establishment of parliamentary democracy. After transcription and analysis are complete, a copy of the primary material and the analysis will be deposited in the Hungarian National Archives. Polish affairs are represented by a second collection comprising over 2,500 volumes published by the Polish resistance from 1970 to the present as well as leaflets, flyers, and posters of the Solidarity trade union's multiple factions. These contemporary collections take their place in Cornell's Archives among traditional collections such as the Denisoff Family papers, documents and letters from 1715-1985 from this prominent Don Cossack family. Those records include documents signed by Prince Potemkin, Catherine the Great, and Field Marshal Suvorov.
With these archival collections, currently published research mterials
in all formats, and solid historical collections, the Slavic and East European
Studies collections support the research and teaching needs of Cornell's
interdisciplinary academic community. Following their needs, the
Slavic and Eastern European Bibliographer is committed to maintaining and
developing a collection which is as strong as it is diverse.