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You are here: Home Slavonic Library About the Slavonic Library (SL) Book Collection of the SL The Library of V. N. Tukalevskii

The Library of V. N. Tukalevskii

VV. N. Tukalevskii – the founder of the Slavonic Library

The Russian journalist, bibliographer, economist and philologist Vladimir Nikolaevich Tukalevskii (1881–1936) left the Bolshevik Russia in 1918. He managed to take with him his entire library containing all the printed documents that he had gathered during his life. After his arrival in Prague, Tukalevskii offered this collection for free to the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the ‘foundation stone’ of the Russian Library, whose establishment in 1924 he initiated.

The library of V. N. Tukalevskii contained around ten thousand books. These were complemented by hundreds of titles of magazines and newspapers, thousands of separate copies of magazine articles, miscellaneous clippings and archival materials. The collection of Russian newspapers from 1905–1925 purchased from Tukalevskii by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Slavonic Library in 1927 comprised a total of 995 titles of various degrees of completeness, including 42 diaries from the March and November revolutions. Besides documents on current political issues, the library had materials concerning the Russian cooperative system (for instance the professional journal Vestnik melkogo kredita), economy and agriculture, but also history and Russian linguistics. Tukalevskii likewise collected books by Russian writers of the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

A unique part of the collection is a group of 187 posters from the First World War, the revolutionary year of 1917 and the beginning of the civil war in Russia. They are true witnesses of the events: many of them show traces of having been removed directly from where they were affixed in Saint Petersburg. The posters map the internal political course of the First World War in Russia and the main political reversals of 1917. Election posters from the summer of 1917 are richly represented. A poster with the text of the decree on peace of 26 October and a poster with the text of the decree on the provisions of the Council of People’s Commissars of 27 October have been preserved as well. From the period of the civil war, Tukalevskii collected 19 anti-Bolshevik posters issued in Reval (Tallinn) at the end of 1917.

In the Slavic Library, one can further find a part of Tukalevskii’s personal written legacy. The materials deposited in 42 archival boxes contain documents from 1865–1936 related mainly to Tukalevskii’s activities in agricultural cooperatives from 1905–1916 (editorial materials, reports, minutes etc.). The collection of documents from the Finnish period is relatively large as well. The Prague period and V. N. Tukalevskii’s work are represented in the collection only sporadically. Czech researchers may be interested in the group of materials concerning the Moscow Trial against the Trotskyists and Tukalevskii’s accusation of cooperation with the Gestapo. More information on the collection of these documents is available here.

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