The Kilgour collection of Russian literature 1750-1920. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1959.
The Kilgour collection of Russian literature 1750-1920. With Notes on Early books and manuscripts of the 16th and 17 th centuries. Harvard college library distributed by the Havard University press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1959. Нумерация страниц отсутствует. Пронумерованы только книги в коллекции. Всего 1348 русских книг, почти все по разделу художественная литература и прижизненные издания с многочисленными иллюстрациями. В красном издательском коленкоровом переплете с тиснением золотом на корешке. 4°. Общепризнанная и наиглавнейшая библиография по русским прижизненным изданиям.
Kilgour, Bayard L., 1904-1984. This collection of first editions of Russian literature was gathered by Bayard L. Kilgour, Jr., class of 1927, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who as an undergraduate at Harvard became interested in Russian history and literature and, at the instigation of his faculty friends, Archibald Gary Coolidge and Robert Pierpont Blake, made a summer visit to Russia in 1926, and twice again soon after graduation. Some years later, when the nucleus of the collection was offered for sale by a New York bookseller, Simeon J. Bolan, Mr. Kilgour realized the importance of it as did none of the institutional libraries to which it had been offered, and not only acquired the collection but endeavored, through Mr. Bolan and other sources, to complete it — with what success he who reads may see. Primarily, it is a collection of the works of Russian poets and novelists from Lomonosov to Blok, and is especially strong in the great writers of the nineteenth century, the holdings of Pushkin being particularly notable.
Many of the copies are distinguished not only for their condition and binding but for their provenance, a large number being presentation copies or from one or other of the Imperial libraries. Besides the printed books there are separately described a few autograph manuscripts and letters. Another section is devoted to the books from the earliest Russian presses, a more recent interest of Mr. Kilgour's, although he had acquired a copy of the Ostrog Bible on his 1927 visit which was taken from him at the border. To the Kilgour collection there have been added a few books gathered from Harvard's shelves which were lacking in the collection, but only of those authors already represented. In each case the source is specified. This catalogue not only records the collection now housed in the Houghton Library but will, it is hoped, be of use particularly to those with a limited knowledge of the Russian language who have occasionally to deal with such books as are here described. The collations may at times appear a bit odd, but they are no odder than the extraordinary quiring employed by some Russian printers.
It is hoped that with the facsimiles of the titles and the paginary collations it will be possible to determine whether another copy in hand is the same as the one at Harvard. Unless otherwise specified, the books in this catalogue are presumed to be first editions. However, this is not always an easy matter to determine. The Russian bibliographies often are vague on this point or do not include any mention of the author or book involved. We have frequently consulted various members of the Harvard Slavic Department and are much indebted to them for aid in this and other matters. It will, however, not greatly surprise the compilers if in some instances the editions here described shall be demonstrated not to be the earliest.
The form of this catalogue was laid out by George William Cottrell, Editor in the Harvard University Library. Pressure of other labors made it impossible for him to continue this task. Originally the intention was to edit and complete a catalogue of the collection that had been prepared by Mr. Bolan, but it was later decided to begin the work all over on a different scale, and through the generosity of Prince Serge Belosselsky we were able to have the assistance of the Countess Stenbock-Fermor for six months before she began teaching in the Harvard Slavic Department. She translatedthe titles, and made the collations and descriptions. After her work was completed, Dr. William B. Todd undertook to prepare the text for the press, to proof, and to prepare the elaborate montage necessary for printing such a book by offset. He also is responsible for the index which will doubtless prove of considerable utility.
The Harvard Printing Office and the Meriden Gravure Company together solved the many problems of producing this catalogue, and throughout we have had the interested and benevolent advice of Mr. Kilgour, whose generosity not only brought these books to Harvard but has made possible the publication of this catalogue.