You are here

Rare Books

Rare Book Division
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Curator of Rare Books

Princeton's rare book collections of Russian history and literature consist of approximately 200 volumes which are most notable for literary works. Most of the literature is original texts, however some highlights are notable English translations. Literature is classed Ex 3010 to 3030 and history is classed Ex 3400 to 3499. The Library also has an extensive Slavic language collection in the open stacks of Firestone.

Twentieth-Century Literature. Pre-revolutionary Symbolist poets and novelists are strong in this area and well represented by selected works of such writers as Konstantin Dmitrievich Balmont, Andrey Bely, Aleksandr IAkovlevich Briusov, Nikolai Alekseevich Nekrasov, Aleksei Remizov, Soloviev, and others. Most of the Symbolist writings are in Russian with the notable exception of the translation into English of Blok's masterpiece, The Twelve and Nekrasov's famous poem, "Red-nosed Frost" published in Boston in 1886.

Nineteenth-Century Literature. Pushkin is best represented. Several excellent translations of his poems are available, including the four-volume Eugene Onegin by Vladimir Nabokov, published in Princeton in 1964. There is also the six-volume collection of Pushkin in Russian (Moscow and Leningrad, 1936-38) of his poems, stories, tales, letters and dramatic works, edited by Oksman and Tsiavlovskii. Also interesting is a six-volume set of Tolstoy's works, ex-libris F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Russian History. The most interesting books in this section are observations of Russian life written by German, French, English and American travellers between the 16th and 20th centuries. One of the more recent accounts is Steinbeck's Russian Journal (New York, 1948) which is signed by the author. The collection has many editions in many languages of the two works by Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva.

Also of note are several unusual books such as a Russian grammar presented by F. Scott Fitzgerald to Zelda, an English translation of the Countess Sophie Tolstoy's autobiography, and the facsimile of a Russian gospel manuscript (11th century).

The Library also has a copy of the first English work on Russia, Giles Fletcher's Of the Russe Common Wealth (London, 1591) [(Ex) 1627.15.351].