Rare Books Collection — Russian State Library for Young Adults
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Rare Books Collection

RSLYA’s collection of 4000 rare books was created in 2007. The books used to be part of several other collections, and it was decided to make a separate collection for them. Some of the books were purchased from antiquarian booksellers in the 1980s, some were donated by readers, but most of the rare books came from other libraries: the State Public Historical Library, the Russian State Library (the Lenin Library), and the State Museum of Children’s Books library.

The oldest book in the collection is the Octoechos, a liturgical book printed in 1594 by Moscow printer Andronik Timofeev Nevezha (no more than 50 copies of this book can be found in Russia). Another interesting item is a Moscow Old Believer Bible printed in the Old Russian font no later than 1708. The collection also has a copy of Leonty Magnitsky’s Arithmetic, printed in the author’s lifetime (1703) in the Moscow Print Yard.

There are around 60 books published in the 18th century, and 50 books from the first quarter of the 19th century. The collection also has books in the Church Slavonic language printed in the Cyrillic script in the 16th, 18th, and 19th century.

The rare books cover fields of knowledge as diverse as history, philosophy, economics, politics, law, pedagogy, linguistics, literary science, natural sciences, arts, and Russian and foreign literature. The collection boasts examples of unique design, print and binding, small-format books and miniatures, books with a small number of copies and reprints. The collection illustrates the development of printing in Russia and Europe, the history of literature and science.

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