A General Description of REECA Resources in Memorial Library

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Overview of the REECA Studies Collection

The policy of the Slavic Area Studies Department of Memorial Library is to acquire material of research value published in all Slavic and East European languages and covering subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Wisconsin's collection on the region is considered one of the best in the country, and every effort has been made to support it at a time of rising costs and budgetary constraints. Slavic, East European, and Central Asian holdings in Memorial library now total over 555,000 volumes, approximately ten percent of the 5.8 million volumes of the the General Library System. Over 470,000 of these volumes are in vernacular languages of the regions and 85,000 are in English or other West European languages. Memorial Library has been collecting materials from the region since the early 1920's, and intensive, systematic collecting began in the late 1950's. During these years, comprehensive blanket orders for Russian current materials provided excellent collections, which have been supplemented with extensive retrospective purchases and exchanges. In addition to single-volume monographs, 2,300 journals and newspapers from the region are currently received. Memorial Library subscribes to forty vernacular newspapers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia in hard copy, including twenty-seven in Russian, four in Polish, one in Serbo-Croatian, one in Tatar, one in Uzbek, and four in Kazakh, plus three in English. Three newspapers in Latvian and Lithuanian and one in English are received through exchanges with Baltic libraries.

Brief History of the Department of Slavic Languages and the Russian Area Studies Program at UW-Madison

The Department of Slavic Languages

The Department of Slavic Languages was founded fifty years ago as the Department of Polish, when Polish-American leaders and legislators succeeded in getting money allocated from the state budget for the creation of a new department at the University. Instruction in the Polish language was first offered in 1936, and has continued to be offered since that time. The first chairs of what was then a one-teacher department were Witold Doroszewski (1936-1937) and Josef A. Birkenmajer (1937-1939). Edmund Zawacki, the first person to be awarded a doctoral degree in Slavic Languages in the United States (Harvard University, 1941), was appointed as the third chairman of the department and continued in this position until 1960. With Zawacki as the head of the department, the Department of Polish was renamed the Department of Slavic Languages (1942), and offered courses leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Russian. In the years following, additional languages were added, including Old Church Slavic, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Czech, and the Turkic languages, Tatar, Kazakh, and Uzbek. The library has supported the faculty research and curriculum of the Slavic Department by collecting materials in the literature and linguistics of these countries .*

For more information on the Slavic Department, see the Slavic Department Home Page.

The Russian Area Studies Program

The Russian Area Studies Program was officially begun in 1958 under the direction of Michael Boro Petrovich, a professor of Russian and Balkan History. It is a multidisciplinary program offering a Russian Area Studies Certificate to graduate students admitted to M.A. or Ph.D. programs in a specific academic discipline. Early on, the Program received a grant from the Ford Foundation, which helped the Program to become established at the University. Its faculty are those who teach in disciplines relevant to the Program; instruction in the disciplines of Slavic and East European Languages, Literature, History, Political Science, Economics, Law, Sociology, Anthropology, and Musicology have been available to students of the Certificate Program since its inception. More recent additions include Journalism, Communication Arts, Geography, and Central Asian History. The General Library System and other campus libraries have had to expand its collecting in these areas as they have developed.*

In 1994, in the context of the recent breakup of the USSR and the end of communism in Eastern Europe, the Russian Area Studies Program combined with the Central Asian Studies Program to form the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA). For more information on CREECA, see the CREECA Home Page.

*For additional information on the the Department of Slavic Languages and the Russian Area Studies Program, see the pamphlet issued on the 50th anniversary of the Department of Slavic Languages in 1986, entitled "The Department of Slavic Languages and The Russian Area Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin--Madison," housed at the University Archives, located in the basement of Memorial Library.

Michael Boro Petrovich Reading Room, Room 212 Memorial Library

In October 1993 the Michael B. Petrovich Reading Room in Memorial Library officially opened. The reading room is named after a gifted teacher and distinguished professor of Balkan and Russian history known throughout the state for his creative outreach activities. Basic reference works on the Slavic, East European, and Central Asian countries, including bibliographies, serial indexes, library catalogs, archival guides, statistical handbooks, census material, encyclopedias, and language dictionaries are to be found in Room 212. The 4,056-square-foot facility also has an extensive English-language reading library on Russia and Eastern Europe assembled from the late Professor Petrovich's personal collection. Recently, the collection in Room 212 has been expanded by a generous gift of 2,200 books on Russian literature of the 19th century from the personal library of Prof. J. Thomas Shaw. Numerous complete collected works of classical Russian writers, along with a comprehensive collection of the series Biblioteka poeta, serve as backup copies to those in the stacks.

Resources on Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus

The collection of materials from Russia and the former Soviet Union totals more than 250,000 items, including a large collection of microforms. This collection is maintained through standing and blanket orders, and through exchanges with some 150 libraries in the area, including the national libraries and libraries of the Academies of Sciences of these countries. Exchanges with libraries in provincial Russia have recently been expanded to include such cities as Cheboksary, Ekaterinburg, Ivanovo, Izhevsk, Perm', Rostov-na-Donu, Tomsk, Tver, and Ufa. Although the bulk of these materials are collected in Russian, the library also houses a sizable collection of Ukrainian materials (19,500 items), as well as small collection of publications from Belarus. In addition, standing orders for out-of-print Russian publications of the 18th and 19th centuries in Russian history and culture are maintained.

The Russian Underground Collection is a singular collection of pamphlets and illegal materials from 19th- and early 20th-century Russia, known as Vol'naia pechat'. Memorial Library has a number of other important collections of materials on Russia and the former Soviet Union, including a collection on Cossacks, the Prince Romanovskii Collection (the library of a high Russian bureaucrat), and a rich collection of Pushkiniana, reputed to be the best in the U.S. In addition, the library holds an extensive collection of samizdat materials from the 1970s and early 1980s, a good collection of unofficial newspapers from the former Soviet Union dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s, and a substantial collection of newspapers from the former Soviet republics from the late 1980s. The library likewise contains a significant collection of emigre materials published abroad after the Revolution.

The Granick archival collection deserves special mention, as it is a truly unique body of materials encompassing the entire region. It consists of eighteen boxes of primary source material used by Professor Granick in his works on management practices in socialist economies, including his numerous interviews with socialist managers in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China. Extensive materials on Russian art have been collected since 1964 and are stored in the Kohler Art Library.

Resources on East Central Europe

Materials on Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republics total approximately 95,000 volumes. The library has almost 60,000 holdings in Polish in both hard copy and microfiche. The collection was begun by Witold Doroszewski and Jozef Birkenmajer, the first chairs of the Department of Slavic Languages, then called the Department of Polish. The Public Law-480 program for Poland provided the library with many important books and periodicals as gifts through the Library of Congress. Later acquisitions include including a collection of Polish Solidarity materials.

Memorial Library holds most of the major Czech, Slovak, and Polish scholarly periodicals in the social sciences, history, and literature. Resources on the Czech and Slovak Republics consist of some 25,000 items. The Hungarian collection includes approximately 10,000 volums and is particularly strong in history and literature. Active exchanges have been conducted with the libraries of the Academies of Sciences and the national libraries of the countries in these regions.

Resources on the Balkans

Materials on Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania, modern Greece, and the former Yugoslavia comprise some 85,000 volumes. The total library holdings in Romanian number approximately 20,000 volumes, while Bulgarian materials number approximately 15,000, and resources on the former Yugoslavia total some 45,000 volumes. The Albanian and modern Greek collections are smaller. Recently, in support of the Land Tenure Center's Albania Project, the library has been collecting materials in Albanian. These South-Eastern European collections have been maintained largely through exchanges with the national libraries and the libraries of the Academies of Sciences of these countries. In addition, many books and journals were obtained from Yugoslavia through the Public Law-480 program. Memorial Library contains the works of most of the major writers of Romania, Bulgaria, and the former Yugoslavia, and the major works of history on this region. Scholars of Serbian history are particularly well-served by the Komadinic Collection in Balkan social and political history. This collection includes publications and pamphlets of peasant, socialist and other radical movements of the last half of the nineteenth century up until World War II. It consists of some 7,000 items, mostly in Serbo-Croatian, and is based on the private library of Milan Komadinic (1882-1944), the founder and organizer of the zadrugarstvo, an early society of cooperatives in Serbia. The collection was further developed by Slobodan Komadinic (1912-), the son of Milan Komadinic, and was subsequently purchased by the library. The collection is housed in the Department of Special Collections, on the ninth floor of Memorial Library.

Resources on Central Asia and the Caucasus

The Library's holdings from the Central Asian region numbers at approximately 10,000 volumes, and focuses on history, politics, and literature. The library has been acquiring Russian-language materials about and from Central Asia for many years. In response to curriculum expansion the library has begun to acquire materials in Tadzhik, and in the Turkic languages of Kazakh, Uzbek, Azeri, Tatar, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, and Uighur. The Central Asian Studies Program serves to coordinate course offerings and research in Central Asian studies on campus. Materials relating to Armenia and Georgia are not collected for research purposes; vernacular materials are avoided, with the exception of dictionaries. Since the arrival of Professor of History, Kemal H. Karpat, materials in Turkish have been collected and number some 20,000 volumes.

Resources on Baltic Countries

The library has been steadily collecting Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian materials over the past two decades. Lithuanian materials number approximately 10,000, Latvian materials -- 7,500, and Estonian -- almost 3,000 titles, with many of the major titles in Latvian and Lithuanian literature and history represented. Valters Nollendorfs, Professor of German Literature, and the late Valdis J. Zeps, Professor of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Linguistics, have been responsible for the acquisition of Latvian emigre books for Memorial Library. The Baltic Studies Center, headed by the late Valdis J. Zeps, has been responsible for a couple of publications on linguistics of the Baltic countries.The department of Special Collections houses the Alfred E. Senn Collection, a collection of Lithuanian materials consisting of 132 volumes, mostly in Lithuanian, from the period of independence, 1920-1940. Alfred Erich Senn, the son of Professor Alfred E. Senn, has added to the collection materials documenting the independence movement of Lithuania, 1972 to date. The acquisition of materials from these countries continues through exchanges with their libraries.

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