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in the National Library of Paris in 1871, was no less than 1,377,500. Who can wonder at the trembling anxiety for its fate during the perils of that fatal year which was manifested by the learned in every country of Europe !
The Imperial Library of St. Petersburg has the unenviable distinction amongst its compeers of owing its origin and growth pre-eminently to conquest and spoliation. Even tracing it back to its small beginnings in 1714, the first foundation of the collection is discovered in the books seized during the Czar Peter's invasion of Courland; while the great bulk of its present contents consists of the plunder in 1795 of the great Zaluski Library already referred to. And although Dr. Mintzlaff, in the descriptive memoir cited at the head of this paper, naïvely speaks of certain peaceful acquisitions '(auf friedlichen Wege gelangten) between 1817 and 1830, the old course was confessedly resumed after that date; and not to speak of the • acquisitions' from Prince Czartoryski's country-seat at Pulawy, from the Sapieha and Rewuski collections, and the ancient Jesuit library at Plotzk, the library of the Friends of Knowledge (the Polish Royal Society) at Warsaw,* 150,000 volumes, was appropriated at one swoop, and transferred to St. Petersburg in 1833 and 1834. The Zaluski Library was formed in the first half of the eighteenth century by the Polish magnate Count Joseph Zaluski, and was largely increased by his brother Andrew Zaluski, bishop of Cracow, by whom, in 1747, it was thrown open to the public; and Count Joseph at his death bequeathed it to the Jesuit College at Warsaw, in trust for the public. On the suppression of the Jesuit order in 1773, the library was placed under the care of the Commission of Education; and its seizure by Suwarof in 1795 and translation to St. Petersburg raised that library by one single acquisition to the very first rank among the public libraries of the world. Notwithstanding losses by pillage at Warsaw, and by injuries of various kinds during the transit, the inventory of the collection made upon its arrival in St. Petersburg on February 23, 1796, was found to comprise 262,640 printed books, and 24,573 prints. The Royal Library of Paris, as we saw, after its three centuries of gradual increase, contained at the same date barely 152,868 volumes.
The St. Petersburg Imperial Library, notwithstanding its
Ein Gang durch die St. Petersburger ki öffentliche Bibliothek,
large subsequent acquisitions, and especially that of the Pogodin collection in 1852 at a cost of 24,0001., retains to the present day much of the distinctive character which it drew from the great Zaluski collection. The main strength of that collection lay in literature, history, and, above all, theology, the latter science alone forming one-fourth of the entire library. Philosophy, natural and moral, travels and antiquities, were very incomplete; and although these departments have been largely increased during the last thirty years, the balance cannot, even still, be said to have been adjusted. According to the official return obtained by the Foreign Office in 1849, the printed volumes numbered 451,532, and the MSS. 20,689. It is hard, however, to reconcile this with the statement, quoted by Mr. Watts, of the Official Guide' in 1850, that the printed books alone amounted at that date to above 600,000. Nine years later, in 1859, the official return enumerated 840,853 printed volumes, exclusive of duplicates, 29,045, of MSS. and 66,162 of plates, maps, and music. In 1867 the printed books, according to the same return, had reached the number of 1,044,405, the MSS. to 34,178, and the plates, maps, &c. to 85,691. Since that year, if the annual acquisitions had been upon the same scale, the printed books might be supposed to have increased to more than 1,100,000; although such an increase in the number of volumes seems hardly compatible with the number of works actually returned in the printed official catalogues of the four intervening years up to 1872, which does not in the whole reach 15,000.*
The Imperial Library is a stately and commodious structure, and its organisation, though defective in many particulars if judged by the most recent standard, is on the whole extremely creditable. The reforms effected under the administration of Baron von Korff especially are deserving of all praise. To him is due the new reading-room, opened in 1862, and which affords accommodation for upwards of 400 readers. It is accessible by tickets, which are readily granted on application; and the measure of time during which it is open for study is only surpassed in liberality by that which has been fixed of late years in the Bodleian Library and Reading-room, being from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. on ordinary days, and from 12 to 3 P.m. on holidays. There is besides a separate room for ladies. Under Baron von Korff also much valuable work was done in urging
* The exact number of works acquired in these four years was 14,610. See . Catalogue des nouvelles acquisitions de la Bibliothèque 'impériale publique,' Nos. 8–12.
forward the alphabetical catalogue, partly in volumes partly in slips. Although this catalogue fails to carry out the famous
ninety-one rules,' it is upon an excellent practical plan. When we had an opportunity of inspecting it in 1872 it seemed somewhat in arrears as to writing up and insertion of titles; but it is, on the whole, a most creditable example of a finding catalogue for the library officials. We regret to add, however, that, like the catalogues of most other foreign libraries, it is not accessible to readers unless on special application; and to these private applications, as we were informed, it must often be impossible to accede without embarrassing the attendants and obstructing the ordinary work of the library.
We have reserved for the last place the Library of the British Museum. It is now some fourteen years since we referred in detail to this our great National Library, which at the time of our notice had just successfully reached the first stage of its new organisation. Most of the prominent details of its system were at that time sufficiently settled to enable us to lay before our readers an accurate outline of all that was novel in its character, and of all the circumstances that seemed likely to influence permanently the interests of the institution or to modify the direction of its development. But its bearing on the general subject of Libraries is so very important, and the lesson which the last forty years of its history teach as to the growth of libraries and the philosophy of bookcollecting is so instructive, that, even at the risk of a few incidental repetitions, we must recapitulate very summarily the story of its re-organisation and subsequent progress, with a view to a comparison with the libraries of other countries. We could have wished to enter into full details as to all its departments, and particularly its rich and admirably arranged manuscript collections, which have been made for the purpose of study almost as easy of access and use as the library of printed books. But we are most reluctantly compelled to confine ourselves to the Department of Printed Books.
In the year 1838, soon after Mr. (now Sir Anthony) Panizzi was appointed Keeper of the Printed Books, the volumes of printed books in the British Museum Library, counted one by one, were but 235,000; and the collection, having been formed by an aggregation of many collections, was extremely unequal, presenting a comparative opulence in some classes and the greatest poverty or even a total deficiency in others. Its rate of annual increase was proportionally low. During the previous ten years the amount
having bene by ond books per of the
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expended in the purchase of printed books had been on an average only 1,5021. per annum, and the number of volumes received under the Copyright Act had been on an average of the same years but 3,654 per annum. The number of readers was 61,874. The Library now contains, as shown by the laborious but trustworthy test of actual counting, no fewer than 1,100,000 volumes. The sum expended annually in purchases is 10,0001.; the number of books received yearly under the Copyright Act has risen to 25,000, 28,000, and in one instance to 31,863. The total number of volumes added yearly to the collection has increased to 42,000, and that of readers has risen to 105,130 in 1871. We cannot help thinking that the successive steps by which this great transformation has been effected not only reflect the highest credit on the ability and energy of Sir Anthony Panizzi, of his successors as Keepers of the Printed Books, Messrs. Winter Jones, Watts, and Brenchley Rye, and of the distinguished staff of fellow-labourers associated with them, but may justly be regarded as constituting an entirely new era in the history of libraries.
Mr. Panizzi's first step, on his appointment as Keeper of the Printed Books, was to make a complete survey of the Library, with a view of testing its completeness or its deficiency in all - branches of literature and all departments of knowledge. His memoir on the subject, presented to the Trustees and printed by order of the House of Commons, March 27, 1846, is a masterpiece, not only of bibliographical learning, but of vast and various scholarship. It contains a history of the formation and growth of the Library in the various collections of which it was composed up to that period, points out in each class the nature and extent of the deficiencies which existed, and proposes a comprehensive plan for the augmentation and future management of the institution. This proposal was in substance adopted by the Trustees, and approved by the Lords of the Treasury, who agreed to recommend to Parliament a grant for some years of 10,0001. yearly for the purchase of books of all descriptions. A grant of that amount was placed in the estimates for the first time in March 1846, and again in the following year. In 1848, however, partly owing to the financial exigencies of the Government, partly to the want of space in the Library Buildings pending the new constructions which had been undertaken, the grant was reduced to 5,0001., and during the nine years following only averaged 3,7001. In 1856 Mr. Panizzi became Principal Librarian, and as he was succeeded in the keepership by his old and congenial associate, 'Mr. Winter Jones, the work of augmentation, thus temporarily retarded, was actively resumed. In the following year the new Reading-room was opened, affording, in conjunction with the new structures which surround it, accommodation for about 1,500,000 volumes. The grant of 10,0001. was at once restored and has been continued to the present time.
The successful enlargement of the Library of the British Museum must necessarily depend on the steady discharge of two duties—first, the collection of books published in the United Kingdom by the enforcement of the Copyright Act; and secondly, a systematic and judicious method of purchase.
In 1850 the former duty had been transferred from the Secretary to the Keeper of Printed Books. How effectively and how promptly Mr. Panizzi's memorable stringency in its discharge told upon the receipts of the Library under the copytax, has been already seen. The number of articles thus added to the Library since 1850 amounts to no less than 529,803.
In the additions to the Library by purchase, the annual grant is about equally divided between the work of maintaining the efficiency of the Library by the acquisition of all desirable modern works in foreign literature, periodical and otherwise, and that of gradually completing the Library by systematically ascertaining and filling up deficiencies in the older literature, home and foreign, and by the purchase of rare books in all departments as they come into the market. For this purpose catalogues of special classes of literature and bibliographies of particular periods are compared with the Museum collections by specially qualified scholars in the several departments. The sales of important collections, whether in England or abroad, are carefully watched. Many valuable acquisitions were thus made at the Jolley sale, the Sussex, the Bright, the Utterson, the Solar, the Yemeniz, and, more recently, at the Daniel, the Corser, the Potier, and the Weigel sales ; at the last-named of which was purchased the unique first edition of the black- book · Ars Moriendi,' for the largest sum ever expended by the Museum Library on a single book, viz. 7,150 thalers, or 1,0721. ; a price however which bears no comparison with that of the well-known Valdarfer Boccaccio, and fades into insignificance in contrast with that of the Gutenberg Bibles at the late Perkins sale. Occasionally, too, collections of books of particular classes in which the Museum is known to be weak are purchased in mass ;—as the Maskell collection of Liturgies and Service-books; the Kupitsch of early German literature; the Tieck and Halliwell Shakspearian collections ; the Michael and Almanzi Hebrew collections; more recently,