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Regional family libraries in the early 20th century: towards methodology of establishing the fact of existence (on example of Podillia province)

Journal: Manuscript and Book Heritage of Ukraine: Archeographic Studies of Unique Archival and Librarian Fonds (Vol.23, No. 23)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 139-153

Keywords : Podillia province family library book estate landowner source basis.;

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The aim of the research is to describe one of the ways used to register the fact of a particular family library’s existence on the eve of World War I. The methodology of the research presupposes the use of historical and archival heuristics combined with bibliological methods. Integrated use of these methods allows to bypass the deficit of sources and to establish the fact that the family collection really existed. The scientific novelty. When studying the family libraries of the past, bibliologists dedicate attention to those collections, fragments and catalogues of which have been preserved till nowadays. They realize that such collections were far more numerous in the past, but the researchers are usualy impeded by lack of sources. Due to the cataclysms of both World wars, the Ukrainian revolution (1917-1921), and the Soviet library policy a large share of collections and documents disappeared. As a rule, such library would be formed in middle-sized (ranging from 101 to 500 hectares) and large size (more than 501 hectares) estates, the owners of which had sufficient financial capabilities of creating and stocking the libraries. Since the documents on landownership have been preserved far better than those concerning library collections (taking into account that estates changed owners), there is a chance to single out estates, in which owners lived through generations and administered affairs by themselves, through the analysis of landownership in Podil province of the second half of the 19th century till the beginning of the 20th century. The comprised list of potential library owners allows to work directly with the archival fonds of notaries and district courts, household documentation as well as singling out documents for personal use such as memoirs, diaries, and correspondence. In such a way, new opportunities appear to study family collections in a straightforward fashion. Conclusions. Using Podillia province as the example, the research established that the quantity of family libraries on the eve of the World War I could have amounted to 390, however, researches are only aware of 162 collections.

Last modified: 2020-01-28 17:58:07