Treasury of the National library of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

By National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The fund of The National Library of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) holds books the age of which is estimated for hundreds of years. Their study allows us to explore the ways of the book to the coldest place in the world.

Brief Catechism for Teaching the Orthodox Christian Law to Youth, translated into Yakut: with the table for the civil print reading at the front (1819) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The publication of the first books in Yakut is closely connected with Christianization and mass baptism of the indigenous population of Yakutia. Before the baptism, the population was totally illiterate. Translation of liturgical books was the first impetus to enlightenment and education in general.

Therefore, the surviving first books in Yakut have not only cultural but also historical value.
The first book in Yakut dates from 1812 but it has not survived to this day. Two books survived to this day – “Brief Catechism for Youth Education to the Orthodox Christian Law, Translated Into The Yakut with The Table for Reading of Russian Type at The Front”, published by Irkutsk provincial printing-house in 1819 and 1821 in an edition of 500 copies. These publications contain the basic canons concerning beliefs, and the moral rules of the Christian life.

According to the definition of linguists-yakutologists this edition was intended not only for spreading the beginnings of Christian dogma, but also is the first Yakut primer.

Brief Сatechism, in Russian and Yakut (1844) by Michael Oshchepkov (translator)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

This is the fourth edition of “Brief Catechism in Russian and Yakut”, which differs from previous editions in a more detailed text with explanations in the form of questions and answers. The manuscript consisted of 25 pages in two columns: at the left - in Russian, at the right - in Yakut. So the publication was printed with parallel text.

The translator Mikhail Oschepkov received the blessing of the Holy Synod for the translation of the "Brief Catechism" into Yakut.
The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Innocent Veniaminov (2018) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The second half of the XIX century is characterized by the organization of focused effort on the translation of sacred, liturgical and instructive books in the languages of local nationalities of Yakutsk Oblast. The initiator and associate of the project was Innokentiy Veniaminov, John Popov in the world (1797-1879). I. Veniaminov is known not only as a missionary, but also as an educator, scientist, ethnographer and linguist. In 1853, being Archbishop of Kamchatka, Kurils, Aleutians, Innokenty established a Committee on the translation of sacred, liturgical and instructive books into Yakut. Thanks to the work of the Committee, from 1857 to 1858, 9 books were published in the Yakut and 2 books in the Tungus languages in the Moscow Synodal printing house. This was an event that has no analogues either in Siberia or in Russia in general.

On the Language of the Yakuts On the Language of the YakutsNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The classic work of Otton Böhtlingk, an outstanding linguist of the first half of the 19th century, is the first scientific description of the Yakut language. It was published in Volume III of Alexander Middendorf’s "Journey to the North and East of Siberia (1842-1845)" in three editions:

Edition I (1848) - Jakutischer text (Yakut text):
1) Dear Otto Nikolaevich!
2) Memories of Uvarovsky
3) Olonkho (the Yakut epic)
4) Riddles
5) Song of the girl who lives on the shore of the Finnish Gulf

Edition II (1849). Jakutisch-deutsches wörterbuch. (Yakut-German dictionary).
Edition III. (1851). Einleitung (Introduction of O.N. Betlingk). - I-IV p. Jakutische Grammatik (Yakut grammar).

On the Language of the Yakuts (1851) by O. N. BohtlingkNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

In the Introduction to his work, O. Böhtlingk wrote that he "rendered this service to linguistics, that such an excursion into a completely unfamiliar language area extended my horizons. I can say with a clear conscience that I have conscientiously approached the work ... "

The Holy Gospel, in Yakut (1857) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

“The Holy Gospel in Yakut" was published in two editions. The first is in 1857, with a circulation of 200 copies in large format (49.5 cm. x 31.5 cm.).

The book was intended for church services, because it was richly decorated: sheets were decorated with head ornaments, vignettes, engravings of the four Evangelists Matthew, John, Luke and Mark, the cover was made of leather. This is the only illustrated one among missionary editions.

The Concise Grammar of the Yakut Language (1858) by Dmitriy Khitrov (compiler)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

On behalf of Innokentiy Veniaminov, Dimitry Khitrov compiled a "The concise grammar of the Yakut language" as a study guide of Yakut to help translators.

For work book, author used and referred to the academic work of Otton Böhtlingk "Uber die Sprache der Jakuten" (On the language of the Yakuts). This work was published in German, therefore it was inaccessible for the majority of the illiterate population of the region.

Dimitry Hitrov (2018) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Dimitry Khitrov (1818-1896) was born in 1818 in the Khitrovo village of Ryazan province. After graduating from a theological seminary, he was appointed to Yakutsk oblast, where he arrived in 1841. He served in Yakutia 43 years till 1844, during which he diligently studied the local language. Thanks to him 36 new churches, parishes, parochial schools, the Diocesan Committee and the fundamental library of the theological seminary were opened.

A Brief Sacred History, in Russian and Yakut A Brief Sacred History, in Russian and YakutNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

This book is the first book published by the Spiritual Censorship Committee in a local printing house with a circulation of 500 copies. It was translated by the priest of Yakutsk Predtechenskaya church Peter Popov.

In 1867 was published the second edition of “A brief sacred history in Russian and Yakut”. Books were the first, printed in primitive wooden machines of the local printing house.

A Brief Sacred History, in Russian and Yakut (1866) by Peter Popov (trans.)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The abovementioned work and aspirations of Innokenty Veniaminov, the priest George Popov, Mikhail Oschepkov and other church ministers engaged in the translation of the scriptures into Yakut served as a factor that determined the scale and value in the development of the church's activity in increasing the total number of literate people who later made a huge contribution for the Yakut people. Thanks to translations into Yakut the local population began to comprehend the "external" world, hitherto limited only by its outskirt, ulus, village, alas. And that experience served as a starting point for progressive people to find a better life for the Sakha people.

The Book of Hours (1887) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Due to the unsatisfactory translation of the first editions, from 1881 to 1884 the bishop of Yakutsk diocese Dionisy (Dimitry Khitrov) entered into correspondence with Nikolai Ilminsky, a well-known Orientalist, director of the Kazan normal school. As a result of cooperation of the Yakut Censorship committee and the Commission of translators of religious books into foreign languages under the brotherhood of Saint Gury in Kazan, 22 titles of books were published.

Thus, the book "The Horologion with the Psalter", printed in 1858 in Moscow Synodal Printing House, was divided and printed in Kazan as two independent books. This was a logical decision, as the two editions were not related.
The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Primer for the Yakuts (1895) by Stephan PopovNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

“The Primer for the Yakuts” was a small-format textbook, including the Yakut and Russian sections. The textbook lacked some Yakut sounds (letters), in its structure it was somewhat like a modern primer: the existence of alphabets (Yakut and Russian), the framing of letters, words, texts (including the Orthodox text). In the afterword it was noted that the main novelty is that "some letters, which in the former books in the Yakut language was absent, are introduced in the primer." Thus, it can be considered that the publication of the Russian primers for the Yakuts began particularly with this textbook.

Elementary Coursebook of Russian for the Yakuts Elementary Coursebook of Russian for the YakutsNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Foreword:
"This "Elementary coursebook of Russian for the Yakuts" is compiled with reference to the same textbook for Tatars. When translating words from Russian to Yakut such Yakut words, which were used in most districts of the Yakut region, were tried to designate. If there were Russian words that are differently translated in different districts, different meanings of these words were put side by side to be understood by most readers. Russian words left without Yakut meaning should be considered as having Yakut meanings with Russian pronunciation. "
The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Elementary Coursebook of Russian for the Yakuts (1895) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The textbook consists of a preface, a thematic Russian-Yakut dictionary, short texts and considerably is better than the "The Primer for the Yakuts".
"The Primer for the Yakuts" and "Elementary coursebook of Russian for the Yakuts" are rightly considered to be the first Russian language textbooks for Yakut students.

Survey of Yakutsk Oblast of 1885 Survey of Yakutsk Oblast of 1885National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The title page has the stamps "City public library in Yakutsk ", "Yakutsk city library", "Yakutsk state central library. Regional stock", "Yakutsk National Library", "Yakutgosnats. scientific dep."; mark "Division IV No. 310", "compulsory copy", "scientific department".
The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Survey of Yakutsk Oblast of 1885 (1887) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

"Survey of Yakutsk Region" is a monumental work of Yakutsk regional statistical committee and the first publication of economic and social statistics of the region. It contains the most valuable historical and scientific information, from demography to the number of washed sand and gold. Survey for 1885 was published after a fire in the printing house in 1887. It had been being published till 1911, each time being refilled with new information: ethnography, climate, agriculture, etc. In all, 30 issues were published.

Agendum of Yakutsk Oblast for 1891 (1891) by A. Popov (editor)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

In order to disseminate accurate statistical, administrative, economic and other information about the provinces, the Central Statistical Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire asked to publish "Memorable Book of Yakutsk Region for 1891" annually. The first issues of the "Memorable Book" for 1863, 1867, 1871 were published in St. Petersburg untimely.

This publication was a great achievement of Yakutsk regional printing house. It was the first massive Yakut book with integral content. It contained brief geographical, historical and statistical information on the composition of the population, the number of districts, towns, churches, residents by faiths, by districts of the region, the number of cattle for 1889-1890, hunting, the number of schools and students etc.

Dictionary of the Yakut Language Dictionary of the Yakut LanguageNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The inscription on the title page:
"The language of the tribe is the expression of his whole life, this is a museum in which all the treasures of his cultural and higher mental life are collected". Russian thought, 1886, No. 10: Scientific Review.

E. Pekarsky was not a philologist and did not adhere to any one language concept. His goal was to cover all the words without exception, so the dictionary was filled with rare words, toponyms, proper names. In total, the "Dictionary"contains everything that demonstrates the culture, way of life, the national character, the spiritual appearance of the Sakha people at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. The first issue already attracted the attention of the most prominent orientalists with the scope of words and the richness of the illustrative material. Totally 13 issues were published. This is the result of 45 years of work.

Dictionary of the Yakut Language (1907/1930) by Eduard Karlovich Pekarskiy (compiler)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Sources for the dictionary compilation were Petelin's dictionary, Dimitrien Popov's notebooks, Vsevolod and Mary Ionovs’ manuscript dictionaries, Khudyakov's dictionary, translations of liturgical books.

The Yakut public knew about Pekarsky's work on the "Dictionary", many tried to help him. So, E. Pekarsky got the "Yakut-German Dictionary" of O. Böhtlingk. Thanks to this book, Pekarsky became familiar with the alphabetical principle of the arrangement of words and got acquainted with the grammatical structure of the Yakut language. Compiled far from the scientific centers, under the conditions of reference the dictionary had no equal at the time.

Samples of Yakut folk literature (1907/1911) by Eduard Karlovich Pekarskiy (compiler)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

8 issues of this edition are among the most significant events of pre-revolutionary written culture and are still the largest folklore publications of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The merits of E. Pekarsky in the field of collection and publication of works of oral folk art of Sakha, especially the works of oral folk art of Olonkho (a masterpiece of the oral and immaterial patrimony of UNESCO) are invaluable.
The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Eduard Pekarsky (2018) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Eduard Pekarsky (1858-1932) was exiled in 1881 to Yakutsk region for participating in student unrest. He lived for 25 years. He quickly adapted to unusual severe conditions of exile. Six months later, he became fluent in Yakut. For 12 years he had collected a huge folklore, ethnographic and linguistic material, covering all aspects of the life of the Yakut people.

Manchary = (The Outlaw Manchary) : a Play of 5 Acts (1908) by Vasiliy Vasilevich NikiforovNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The first samples of fiction appeared thanks to private printing houses in Yakutsk. The organizer of the first printing house was Alexey Semenov, an entrepreneur. He bought a printing machine in St. Petersburg, Semenov paid his own money for everything.

A. Semenov published as an independent book the play of V. Nikiforov "Manchary" (The Outlaw Manchary) in Yakut.
Vasily Nikiforov wrote the play, being in prison under investigation. When he got released, the play was published, and then began to be printed in fragments in the local press. This edition is a copy, covered with cardboard. Spine is from leather cloth.

The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The first anthology in Yakutsk The first anthology in YakutskNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

Political exiles played a prominent role in educating people in Yakutsk. Exile N. Oleynikov published “The First Anthology in Yakutsk” and 4 issues of “Yakut etudes” in the printing house of V. Zharov. The electronic library of the National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The first anthology in Yakutsk (1908) by Unknown authorNational Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The publication includes the works of eight authors, prose and poetry. An excerpt from the introduction "From the publisher":

"This anthology, the first in Yakutsk, had to be published under the roughest conditions. There were a lot of obstacles in the way of publication. ... The collection is published. Pessimism was defeated. The gap is broken. It will be easier to go on. The second anthology will also appear. There will be support. Writers will appear and bring their contribution to the future digest. The publication of the second anthology will depend entirely on his future authors, and, of course, the sympathies of the Russian society. But I am deeply convinced that the day of publication of the second anthology is just around the corner. The break is broken."

The Yakut public at the opening of the library and museum (1911) (2018)National Library of Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

The rise of book business in Yakutia had a huge historical and cultural significance, it stimulated the desire of the society to become literate. The formation of the local intelligentsia is connected with the development of book culture.  This exhibition presents only a part of unique publications that are stored in the Research center of book monuments of the National Library of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

Credits: Story

Maksimova Sargylana,
Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Director of the National Library of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

Alexey Ivanov,
author and curator of the project «Culture of Yakutia in the world space» (inclusion of regional cultural of institutions of Yakutia into the project Google Cultural Institute), initiator of support for the Yakut language and languages of indigenous peoples in machine translators, research fellow of the National Library of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

Sleptsova Anna,
Chief Librarian of the Department of Cultural Programs and Projects

Gulyaeva Evdokia,
Candidate of historical sciences, professor, veteran of labor, researcher at the Research Center for book monuments

Victoria Kolesova,
Chief Librarian of the Department of National and Local Lore Funds (translation of texts from Russian into English)

Exhibition of 2018

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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