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Entries / Theatre Library

Theatre Library

Categories / Science. Education/Libraries

THEATRE LIBRARY, St. Petersburg State (2 Zodchego Rossi Street), the oldest theatre library of Russia. The library is thought to have been founded in 1756, the year when Russian professional theatre first appeared (see Russian Tragedy and Comedy Theatre). The collection of books and manuscripts started as a repertory library of the Russian theatre troupe. Until the early 19th century, the library was located in different theatrical buildings, and in 1832-89 - in the Alexandrinsky Theatre. In 1889, after merging with the libraries of French and German troupes and Montirovochnaya Library of Imperial Theatres, it became known as the Central Library of the Imperial Theatre Board and moved to its present location. In 1917-31 the Library was known as the Central Library of Russian Drama, in 1931-34 - the Library of Leningrad State Academic Drama Theatre, and in 1934-93 - Leningrad State Theatre Library named after A.V. Lunacharsky. The Library got its contemporary name in 1994. Private collections of books, manuscripts, graphics and other materials have been delivered to the library since the 18th century. These materials include the collection of the former manager of the Russian troupe, V.I. Bibikov, the collection of Prince A.Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky, the collection of books, letters and photographs of M.G. Savina, the collection of a man of letters V.V. Protopopov, the Northern Theatre Library of K.P. Larin, the library of N.N. Khodotov, actor of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, archives of M.M. Fokin, documents, letters, diaries, manuscripts and memoirs on the life and work of P.S. Mochalov, M.S. Shchepkin, A.S. Suvorin, F.I. Chaliapin, V.F. Komissarzhevskaya, T.P. Karsavina, A.N. Benois, S.P. Dyagilev, M.A. Chekhov, P.P. Gaydeburov, E.I. Time, M. Taglioni, S. Bernhardt, E. Duse, E. Rossi, and others. The Theatre Library boasts manuscripts by A.P. Sumarokov, A.S. Griboedov, A.N. Ostrovsky, L.N. Tolstoy, A.P. Chekhov, and others. The art collection treasures costume sketches and stage designs by P. di G. Gonzaga, L.S. Bakst, A.Y. Golovin, K.A. Korovin, B.I. Anisfeld, S.M. Yunovich, M.F. Kitaev, E.S. Kochergin, N.P. Akimov, and others. Since 1919, the library has held the resources of Drama Censorship Office of the Main Board of the Press. In 2003 the library held over 700,000 volumes, including a comprehensive collection of Russian dramas (since 1754); a unique collection of French, German and Italian plays of the 16th-20th centuries with some publications of works by P. Corneille, J.B. Moliere and J. Racine published during their lifetime; and a collection of plays in all languages of peoples of the Russian Empire in 1864-1917. The Theatre Library also boasts rare books and editions published in a small number of copies, an extensive collection of autographs of outstanding figures of arts and literature, collections of theatre programmes and playbills, card indexes of famous theatre historians V.N. Vsevolodsky-Gerngross and A.M. Bryansky, and L.D. Blok's card indexes on ballets. The departments of the Library include the service department; the book search service; the rare volumes, manuscripts, archives and graphics department; and the department of foreign books. Research assistants of the theatre library carry out extensive scientific and exposition work, taking part in inter-library integration processes and modernisation of the library. In 1997, the Theatre Library resumed publishing periodicals, such as Notes and Forgotten Petersburg, Russian Artistic Chronicles and Russian Drama Library series, and Theatron (a publication on the history and theory of performance art). It is housed in the former building of the Board of Imperial Theatres (see Museum of Theatre and Musical Arts).

References: Санкт-Петербургская государственная театральная библиотека: [Справ.-путеводитель]. СПб., 1996; Цаповецкая М. И. К истории основания Санкт-Петербургской театральной библиотеки // Зап. С.-Петерб. театр. б-ки. 1997. Вып. 1. С. 31-35.

A. A. Kirillov.

Akimov Nikolay Pavlovich
Anisfeld Boris Izrailevich
Bakst Leon (real name Lev Samoilovich Rosenberg)
Benois Alexander Nikolaevich
Bernhardt Sarah
Bibikov Viktor Ivanovich
Blok Alexander Alexandrovich
Bryansky A.M.
Chaliapin Fedor Ivanovich
Chekhov Anton Pavlovich
Chekhov Mikhail Alexandrovich
Corneille Pierre
Duse Eleonora
Dyagilev Sergey Pavlovich
Fokin Mikhail Mikhailovich
Gaydeburov Pavel Pavlovich
Golovin Alexander Yakovlevich
Gonzaga Pietro di Gottardo (Peter Fedorovich)
Griboedov Alexander Sergeevich
Karsavina Tamara Platonovna
Khodotov Nikolay Nikolaevich
Kitaev Mart Frolovich
Kochergin Eduard Stepanovich
Komissarzhevskaya Vera Fedorovna
Korovin Konstantin Alexeevich
Larin K.P.
Lobanov-Rostovsky Alexander Yakovlevich, Duke
Lunacharsky Anatoly Vasilievich
Mochalov Pavel Stepanovich
Moliere Jean-Baptiste
Ostrovsky Alexander Nikolaevich
Protopopov Vladimir Vasilievich
Racine Jean
Rossi Ernesto
Savina Maria Gavrilovna
Shchepkin Mikhail Semenovich
Sumarokov Alexander Petrovich
Suvorin Alexey Sergeevich
Taglioni Marie
Time Elizaveta Ivanovna
Tolstoy Lev Nikolaevich, Count
Vsevolodsky-Gerngross Vsevolod Nikolaevich
Yunovich Sofia Markovna

Zodchego Rossi Street/Saint Petersburg, city, house 2

Санкт-Петербургская государственная театральная библиотека: [Справ.-путеводитель]. СПб., 1996
Цаповецкая М. И. К истории основания Санкт-Петербургской театральной библиотеки // Зап. С.-Петерб. театр. б-ки , 1997

The subject Index
Imperial Theatres Board

Drama Theatre (entry)

DRAMA THEATRE. The performances of the theatre of Tsar Peter the Great's sister, Tsarevna Natalia Alexeevna (from 1714) can be considered as the first attempts to establish a standing public theatre in St. Petersburg

Libraries (entry)

LIBRARIES. The first library of St. Petersburg was founded in 1714 by the decree of Tsar Peter the Great as His Majesty’s Library; later on, it formed the basis of the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences