The Bulgarian collection in the Library of Congress (hereafter referred to as LC) is over 45,000 volumes strong, one of the largest such collections outside of Bulgaria. It includes all manner of items from books, journals, and newspapers to rare books, posters and prints. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson's inspiration about the concept of universality in LC (embodied in his statement, ". . . there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer"), all subjects are present with the exception of clinical medicine and technical agriculture, for those subjects are collected by the National Library of Medicine and the National Agriculture Library, respectively. This article traces the development of the collecting of Bulgarian books and serials by LC from its modest beginnings in the late nineteenth century through the heavy acquisitions period of the Cold War to the present, when the Library receives approximately 3,000 pieces (book volumes, serial and newspaper issues) per year. Various methods of acquisitions are discussed including purchases, donations, exchanges, diplomatic assistance, federal library transfers, and blanket orders. Special collections materials such as motion pictures, posters, audio recordings, and maps are not covered in this work except incidentally; rare books are covered in some detail.
There are few published works describing the history of LC's acquisitions of Bulgarian materials. In 1976 Marin Pundeff wrote a brief survey of the Bulgarian collection at LC with some historical discussion.1 Charles Jelavich published a detailed survey of the Todor Plochev Collection of Early Bulgarian Imprints, just one part of the LC Bulgarian collection.2 In 1956 Ivan Sipkov wrote a guide to Bulgarian legal resources which, while not specifically about the LC law collections, can serve as a snapshot of LC's holdings up to that point since LC's symbol is attached to most entries.3 In the research for this article LC publications such as the Librarian's annual reports, want lists, and bibliographies were used extensively. Archival resources, mainly from the LC archives, but also from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, complement the published resources.4
One of the earliest sources of foreign materials in the LC collections is the Smithsonian Deposit. 5 The Smithsonian Institution (hereafter referred to as SI) began international exchange activities with other museums and scholarly societies in 1849. It exchanged its own publications and those of other American societies for scientific and scholarly materials, many of them serials, published by foreign societies. In 1866 SI deposited its library in LC, where it was kept together as a library with SI retaining ownership and rights of use — eventually its contents were intermingled with the rest of LC's collections in the 1950s. The ownership question, however, was not resolved for several more decades. Besides the deposits of materials intended for the SI library within LC, in 1870 SI became the agent for the exchange of official government publications for LC. Initially, SI handled both correspondence and shipping, but later became mostly just a shipping agent, with LC handling much of its own correspondence. Although the initial deposit in 1866 contained only 40,000 volumes, the Smithsonian collection in LC continued to grow via the International Exchange Service for many years, ultimately resulting in over one million volumes by 1953. 6 There is no clear final total of how many volumes were added to LC's general collections via the governmental and scholarly publication exchanges managed by SI from the 1870s to the 1990s.
There were no Bulgarian materials in the initial 1866 deposit,7 but beginning in the 1880s SI reported activities with Bulgarian individual scholars and institutions. The earliest contacts between SI and Bulgaria appear to be 1881 when the SI annual report mentioned that SI is in correspondence with 2,908 societies, one of which is located in Bulgaria.8 The society is not named, but it was most likely the National Library in Sofia. Konstantin Jiraček (1854–1918), at that time the main secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, in reply to a letter from the American Minister in Bucharest, Eugene Schuyler (1840–1890), named only the newly formed National Library as a potential SI partner in late 1880.9 In the SI lists of foreign correspondents for 1882 and 1885, the National Library in Sofia was listed (under Turkey) as a society with which SI was in correspondence. The 1882 list offered an additional explanation of the SI list and what it meant to be in correspondence with SI: "It embraces the names of all the Institutions that have come to its [SI's] knowledge having for their object the increase or diffusion of knowledge, or from which serial publications have been received."10 Thus it is not clear whether SI was receiving any publications from Bulgaria at this time or merely sending its own to Bulgaria. In 1886 the Bulgarian Government (listed under Turkey) replaced the National Library as the sole correspondent from Bulgaria. There was nothing more about Bulgaria in either the annual reports or the lists of foreign correspondents until 1895, when twelve libraries and six individuals were reported.11 Unfortunately, none of them were identified.
More details emerged beginning in 1897 when the following institutions were listed as foreign correspondents: Plevna--Experiment Station, Agricultural School; Rustchuk--Experiment Station, Agricultural School; Sadov--Experiment Station, Agricultural School; Samakov--American Collegiate and Theological Institute; Sophia--Bibliothek Seiner Königlichen Hoheit des Fürsten von Bulgarien; Sophia--Bulgarian Government; Sophia-- Bureau Géologique; Sophia--Bureau de Statistique; Sophia--Department of Public Instruction; Sophia--National Library; Sophia--Station Centrale Météorologique de Bulgarie; Sophia--Wische Utschilische w Sofija.12
In the coming years the number of correspondents continued to increase, albeit only modestly, and the number of packages sent to and received from Bulgaria began to be recorded. In 1897 no packages were exchanged with Bulgaria. In 1898 there were twelve libraries and eight individuals listed as correspondents, thirty packages were sent to Bulgaria, and one package was received. This seems to be the first recorded receipt of materials from Bulgaria, although an examination of volumes in the LC collection indicates that items were received via SI prior to 1898. See Table 1 for the number of correspondents from 1895–1907 and Table 2 for the number of receipts and shipments from 1897–1914.
|Year||# of Libraries||# of Individuals||Total # of Correspondents|
|Year||# of Packages Sent||# of Packages Received|
The numbers themselves are not indicative of LC's collections, for SI acted as the exchange agent for itself, LC, and other federal and research libraries in the United States. However, they do reveal the growth of scholarly exchange between the two countries. To ascertain whether any of these SI receipts actually ended up in LC, an examination of the earliest items in the collection was undertaken. In some cases the receipt stamps in individual volumes or other LC markings clearly show the history of the receipt, in other cases the stamps are confusing or non-existent. The earliest receipt from SI of Bulgarian materials in the LC collections this author was able to identify is June 19, 1894.13 The title is the 1880 volume of Dnevnitsi na obiknoveno narodno subranie [Official Reports of Parliamentary Proceedings]. It is stamped as being received by the Bureau of Statistics on November 3, 1881, but another stamp on the same book shows that it was part of the Library of Congress Smithsonian Deposit on June 19, 1894; thus this item was likely a transfer from another federal library, a frequent method of collection building at LC. Other volumes of this same serial, covering the years 1879 and 1891, published in 1890 and 1892 respectively, also bear the stamp of the Smithsonian Deposit with the date June 19, 1894, but do not have the Bureau of Statistics marking, indicating that they may have come directly to SI. It is no surprise that the first items are parliamentary records, for the purpose of the exchange was the acquisition of scholarly society materials for SI and official documents for LC. The next earliest receipt is Bulletin annuaire [Annual bulletin] for 1894 from the Pleven Meteorological Station, one of the institutions listed in the 1897 list of foreign correspondents.The item is stamped Smithsonian Deposit with the date April 10, 1895 (see Figure 1).
The mechanics of shipping and distributing materials to and from Bulgaria help to explain some early book plates in the LC collection. In the initial years of the exchange with Bulgaria, the items were shipped via an exchange agent in Leipzig named Felix Flügel (1820–1904), who handled Germany, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, and the Balkans. Apparently, this was too much territory for one agent;14 thus others were appointed.
From 1900–1905 Dr. Paul Leverkühn (1867–1905) was listed as the distributor of exchange materials in Bulgaria, although Flügel was probably still the shipping agent for Bulgaria. Leverkühn was an ornithologist, court doctor, and private secretary to Ferdinand I (1861–1948; see Figure 2). He was also the first curator of what was then called the Scientific Institutions and Library of His Royal Highness the Prince of Bulgaria and is now known as the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.15 His death in 1905 caused only a temporary cessation of exchange activities.
Owing to the death of Dr. Paul Leverkühn, who since 1900 attended to the receipt and distribution of exchanges for Bulgaria, all transmissions to that country have been suspended for the present. Doctor Leverkühn was Director of the Scientific Institutions and Library of His Royal Highness the Prince of Bulgaria, and this office is now in correspondence with that establishment with a view to enlisting its services in the distribution of exchanges. It should be added that Doctor Leverkühn during his connection with the Smithsonian Institution was of much service in furthering the interchange of publications between Bulgaria and the United States.16
A number of early receipts in the LC collection bear a plate stating "With the compliments of Paul Leverkühn, M.D." (see Figure 3). Examples include volumes of the above-mentioned Dnevnitsi na obiknoveno narodno subranie, Durzhaven vestnik [Official gazette], the official legal gazette of Bulgaria, and Sbornik za narodni umotvoreniia, nauka i knizhnina [Collection of folklore, science and literature], an early serial published by what was to become known as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The bookplates also suggest that Leverkühn was providing materials to SI's exchange service before he was appointed as their exchange distributor, for the early volumes of the above-mentioned Dnevnitsi and Durzhaven vestnik were received in 1894 and contain his bookplate. The first fourteen volumes of Sbornik za narodni umotvoreniia, nauka i knizhnina tell an interesting tale involving Leverkühn. All of them came via Leverkühn, but not directly. Volumes 1 through 13 appear to have been sent by him to an American professor and scientist, James Howard Gore (1856–1939), who taught at Columbian University (present day George Washington University) in Washington, DC. The versos of the title pages for all thirteen volumes show that they were donated to LC in 1909 by Gore. Volume 14, however, was donated by Leverkühn directly to the Smithsonian as evidenced by his handwritten inscription.
This volume also carries the exlibris of Tsar Ferdinand I and is the only one in the set that has a water satin lining as endpapers (see Figure 4). After the death of Leverkühn in 1907, the Scientific Institutions and Library of His Royal Highness the Prince of Bulgaria in Sofia, the same institution with which Leverkühn was associated, was appointed as the exchange distributor for SI and shipments resumed. 18 A letter in 1910 from SI to the Director of the Scientific Institutions regarding shipping details mentioned that the amount of exchange activity between the two countries was small and only three Bulgarian institutions were providing materials to SI.19 Regular shipments continued from SI to the same agent until 1914, when all packages were held until the end of World War I. The exchange started up again in 1920 and lasted until 1940, when once more a European war interrupted the program.
Besides bookplates and stamps, another method for identifying SI materials in LC is by special markings on the spines of the books. As the Smithsonian Collection was housed in its own division within LC for decades, the volumes in the collection often had their own markings to identify that they belonged to that collection. See Figures 5 and 6 for the "Sm" triangle at the top of the spine and the Smithsonian Collection stamped impression at the bottom of the spine. Both markings were found on the 1908–1910 volume of Godishnik na Sofiiskiia universitet, II, Fiziko-matematicheski fakultet [Annual of Sofia University, Section 2, Physical-Mathematics Department]. This volume also has a Smithsonian Deposit ink stamp on the title page from August 26, 1910 and a Smithsonian Deposit bookplate.
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Bulgaria were established in 1903 and in that same year the Library of Congress concluded an agreement to exchange official publications with Bulgaria. Herbert Putnam (1861–1955), Librarian of Congress, wrote to SI on December 4, 1903, informing them that Bulgaria was to be added to the list of countries receiving a partial set of US documents. The documents were to be shipped to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Sofia.20 The first shipment was sent to Bulgaria on December 7, 1903.21 This event marked the official beginning of a direct publications exchange between Bulgaria and the Library of Congress, although SI continued to act as the shipping agent for decades to come.
The timing of the beginnings of the exchange with Bulgaria was not based solely on diplomacy, however. Putnam recognized that a more proactive approach to international exchange was needed, as SI's International Exchange Service did not initiate new exchanges nor did it claim materials. It merely accepted whatever was sent by the exchange partners. In July 1900 Putnam founded the Division of Documents in LC and one of its first assignments was to fill gaps in LC's holdings.22 The Division of Documents undertook active correspondence with foreign libraries and governments. This era in general reflected the beginning of a more contemporary way of managing the acquisition of international collections as opposed to letting things arrive as they may (or may not, as was often the case). The Chief of the Division of Documents, Roland Post Falkner (1866–1940), was interested in receiving official publications from Bulgaria. In a letter dated December 3, 1900, to the Director of the Royal Statistical Bureau in Budapest, he asked for a copy of the published catalog of the Bureau, partly to be able to identify titles from the Balkans.23 In March 1901 Falkner drafted a ranked list of countries from which no documents were being received. "I have placed 16 of what seemed to me the more important in a list 'A,' and with these I think it desirable that a complete exchange be established."24 Bulgaria was one of the countries in List "A." In June 1901 letters from LC asking for donations of official publications were sent to a number of foreign government agencies, including one to the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture in Sofia.25 Although LC was beginning to pursue Bulgarian government publications, apparently at this time it was not seeking other kinds of materials from Bulgaria, for LC want lists of publications of foreign societies were produced in 1904 and 1909 and nothing from Bulgaria was listed.26 In addition, nothing from Bulgaria was included in the 1902, 1904, or 1909 want lists of periodicals.27 Clearly, at the turn of the century the Bulgarian collection was quite small. In a brief survey of the collection in 1901, Bulgaria was mentioned only in so far as the library held some 661 volumes on the subject of Turkey in Europe, including a few books on the "late war in Bulgaria."28
One of the earliest Division of Documents receipts from Bulgaria is the 1894–1895 volume of Statistika na uchilishtata v Kniazhestvo Bulgariia [School statistics for the Kingdom of Bulgaria], published in 1897 by the State Publishing House. It is stamped Library of Congress, Division of Documents, February 26, 1902. Since the focus of the newly formed division was to acquire foreign official publications, this title from the State Publishing House is no surprise. Other early Division of Documents receipts include Résultats des maladies contagieuses chez les animaux domestiques dans la principauté de Bulgarie pendant les années 1894–1903 [Contagious diseases in domestic animals in the Kingdom of Bulgaria during the years 1894–1903] published in Gabrovo in 1905 and Statistika za turgoviiata na Kniazhestvo Bulgariia s chuzhditie durzhavi prez 1880/1881 [Statistics of trade for the Kingdom of Bulgaria with foreign governments for 1880/1881].
LC has frequently sought assistance from diplomatic circles in its collection-building efforts. In 1898 LC appealed to the State Department for help in obtaining important publications. John Russell Young (1840–1899), Librarian of Congress, wrote a letter circulated to US diplomatic representatives asking for their advice and cooperation in obtaining materials.29 The first noted results from the State Department for Bulgaria occurred in 1905 when the Librarian reported that "through the cooperation of the diplomatic and consular representative of the US, valuable additions were made to the collections of codes, statutes, and court reports of the following countries: . . . Bulgaria . . ."30 Other efforts involving diplomatic channels included the 1907 compilation by the Division of Documents of a want list of government publications containing statistical materials from Bulgaria and sent via the State Department, resulting in 101 volumes being received in 1908 and 126 in 1909.31
Law materials were always of particular interest to LC. An assessment of the foreign law materials in LC in 1905 revealed that the collections of legal publications from most countries of the world were "poor."32 With that kind of meager evaluation, the Librarian probably was happy to announce a gift of ninety-one volumes of Bulgarian laws and court reports for 1880–1900 in his 1906 annual report.33 In an effort to further develop the foreign law collections, in 1911–1912 LC enlisted the aid of experts in various foreign countries to select the best legal materials from their countries. Professor Simeon Angelov (1881–1925), a specialist in Roman law at the University of Sofia, was the expert from Bulgaria.34 Collections of foreign official gazettes have always been assigned a high collection priority and periodically lists were made to ascertain exactly what LC had and efforts made to try to acquire what was missing. One such list appeared in the Librarian's annual report for 1915, showing that even in 1915 LC lacked a significant number of years of Durzhaven vestnik,35 but in 1928 more issues were received "via the good offices of the Department of State."36 In 1932 LC acquired over 250 volumes of Bulgarian legal materials with the help of another Bulgarian legal specialist, Professor Constantine Dimitroff Kojouharoff (1892–1962), who taught at the National University School of Law in Washington, DC.37
The Periodical Division, founded in 1897, was another LC unit that received foreign materials. Although it transferred its authority for foreign public documents to the Division of Documents in 1901, markings in volumes show they continued to receive and/or process Bulgarian serials after that date. For instance, in 1909 it processed the 1908 volumes of Periodichesko spisanie na Bulgarskoto knizhovno druzhestvo [Journal of the Bulgarian Literary Society], which came from an unknown source. This is the kind of title that should have come via SI, but there are no markings in the volumes to confirm that. In fact, the accession number on the verso of the title page reveals that the earlier volumes from 1882–1897 were purchased from a dealer in Leipzig in 1902 and there are 1903 date stamps on the rear end papers to confirm the timing of the acquisition.
Two notable Slavic acquisitions of the early twentieth century by LC did not greatly affect the growth of the Bulgarian collections. The first was the 1904 purchase of the Hattala Library, a collection of Slavic linguistics and philology. Not much is known about the exact contents of the collection, but it appears to have had little Bulgarian material. Only two Bulgarian titles have been confirmed as belonging to the collection, a grammar and a collection of folksongs.38 The second was the purchase of the Yudin Collection of 80,000 volumes of Russian materials in 1906. Despite its size, this collection contained only a handful of items by Bulgarian authors. All of the items from these two purchases were identified by means of their accession numbers recorded on the verso of the title pages.
Although the use of stamps, markings, bindings, and bookplates is helpful in determining the origins of materials in the LC collections, care must be used in interpreting them. Markings can be confusing due to the internal mechanisms of LC itself. Over the years, LC has merged divisions, created new ones, transferred materials from one division to another, received and processed items in a variety of divisions, and all of these actions potentially left markings in the book. At times no markings were recorded in books. For instance, in 1914 it is reported that foreign documents received by SI were sent to LC without being stamped by SI,39 thus they probably ended up with only Division of Documents stamps, if any at all. One example of a false and confusing marking is a Bulgarian book from the 1920s with a Yudin bookplate in the front.40 The Yudin Collection had its own bookplate and for years it was pasted into Cyrillic books regardless of whether they were part of the original Yudin Collection or not. Because the Yudin Collection was so large, at LC in the early decades of the twentieth century Yudin came to stand for Slavic. Nevertheless, nothing published after 1906 with a Yudin bookplate was part of the original Yudin acquisition.
The February 23, 1903 Act of Congress allowed federal agencies to transfer materials to LC when they were no longer needed. The markings reveal how important to collection building was the policy of transferring books from other federal libraries, since they appear quite often in Bulgarian volumes. The transferred books frequently bear not only the markings of the previous owner, but also a Division of Documents receipt stamp, for that Division handled not only international documents, but also US documents and transfers. A 1918 German book on Bulgarian economics has a stamp showing it was transferred from the Department of State in 1919, but it also has a bookplate from the Library of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace located at 4, Place de la Concorde.41 This commission, charged with investigating the European situation prior to the peace talks at Versailles, was disbanded in 1919. Another interesting transfer was a census volume that started at the Library of the Surgeon General's Office (renamed the Army Medical Library), before it ended up in LC.42 The book has the markings showing the name change of the original holding library. A 1918 Bulgarian translation of a work by Leon Trotsky published in Illinois was transferred from the library of the General Intelligence Division in the Department of Justice, a unit charged with investigating US political radicals.43
Besides markings in the books, another potential source for identifying the origin of the materials in the LC collections is the old shelf list. On cards before 1943 there are sometimes indications as to the source of the acquisition. For example, the card for Shishmanov's book about Ivan Vazov from 1930 has "D of D, 11/22/33" written on the back, obviously an abbreviation for Division of Documents.44 A Russian language book about Bulgaria from 1941 has on the back of the shelf list card the words "Int. exch., 8-5-42."45 For purchases, an accession number often was written on the verso of the title page and sometimes recorded on the shelf list card as well; thus for an Italian book about Bulgaria from 1930, there is on the back of the card simply "412922, '31" indicating the accession number and the year 1931 when it was received. 46 With the accession number, ledgers can be checked to show from whom and sometimes how much was paid for the item. For this book there was no price listed, but LC acquired it from Libreria Liberma in Rome. Unfortunately, for Bulgaria the shelf list is a very poor and scattershot source of acquisitions information, since most of LC's early receipts from Bulgaria were serials, and serials information was recorded not in the shelf list, but in the old serial record, which has been discarded. The old paper serial record contained few Bulgarian titles, and those located in this catalog had no early acquisitions information. Again, the mechanics of shipping help to explain some of the confusion as to how, when, and from where various Bulgarian items arrived at LC. In a memo dated September 8, 1920, from SI to its main Bulgarian exchange partner, Bulgarian institutions are told that they may ship directly either to SI or to LC depending on the shipping method.47 Depending on which institution received them and, within LC, which division received the items, the markings and records concerning the receipts may be different.
In 1907 a Slavic Section was founded as part of the Catalog Division to deal with the enormous Yudin acquisition. In 1918 it was headed by the Estonian émigré Dr. Peter A. Speek (1873–1968),48 who offered the following assessment of the section in his annual report for 1919:
The Slavic Section of the Library of Congress contains publications in the Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Servian, Bulgarian, and other Slavictongues . . . over 100,000 volumes in all. The majority of the publications in the Section are Russian. The Yudin Collection alone contains about 80,000 volumes. With the exception of the Polish, the subsections of the literature of other Slavic nations, especially those subjugated by the Teutonic powers in the past, have not been developed, principally for the reasons that the literary expression of these peoples was restrained and the interest of other nations in them was discouraged by their masters. Now, with freedom, their literature will grow in extent and importance, and the best of it the Library should acquire in the coming years.49 This report is the first accounting of the number of Slavic materials in LC, but it lacks clarity, for many of the early Bulgarian and other Slavic receipts were never in the Slavic Section, and thus not counted as part of a Slavic collection. They were in other parts of LC such as the Smithsonian Collection, the General Collections, or the Law Library. The disbursement of Slavic materials into various collections hinders all early estimates of the size of the collections.
This 1919 report also marked the first time "demands" on the section were recorded, due to "the importance into which the Slavic peoples sprang through the war and the revolutions and by the fact that their conditions were little known in the Western countries, especially in this country." Speek recounted the various government agencies that requested assistance from the Slavic Section, such as producing a survey of the Slavic peoples "with a short descriptive sketch of each" for the War Department.50 The Reading Room Service noted in the same year that "no one could have foreseen, six years ago, the enormous quantity of printed matter on Europe that has come from the press since 1914 and that will continue to be issued for many years to come. No one could have foreseen that Russia would occupy so much more space on library shelves."51 These demands foreshadowed what was to come after the next World War in the 1940s and the beginning of recognition that collecting emphases would have to change in the future, but that initial recognition was limited largely to Russia and Russian collecting. It would take World War II to change dramatically the Bulgarian collection policy.
World War I interrupted the flow of publications from Europe to LC and SI, but the exchange with Bulgaria was reestablished in 1920. At the request of SI, in May 1920, the State Department contacted the Bulgarian government to renew the exchange as it was conducted before the war and to let them know that LC was "extremely anxious to receive a copy of each and every official document issued by the Bulgarian Government during the same period."52 Ivan Buresh (1885–1980), the Director of the Scientific Institutes and Library of H. R. H. the King of Bulgaria, wrote "now, the peace being restored in Bulgaria, we have the desire to get into the most close communications with the International Exchange Service and to put in a good and normal order the exchange of official publications . . . between Bulgaria and America."53 In 1920 Bulgaria sent to LC seventy-eight volumes, and LC sent to Bulgaria another want list from the Division of Documents.54 This want list may have been for a serial published by the Ministry of Commerce and Education, Bulgaria of Today, a request which went unsatisfied until, it seems, the 1960s, when LC's one volume of this title was received.55 Also in 1920, Speek attempted to find a vendor for Bulgaria who could provide dictionaries and bibliographic titles, but apparently without success.56
In addition to the collecting of traditional LC wants for Bulgaria, i.e., official publications and reference books, there was also a desire to build a collection of materials covering the war years. Again, Bulgaria was barely represented. "From Austria we have very little, and from Turkey and Bulgaria only negligible returns."57 In 1921 yet another want list for Bulgarian materials was compiled by the Division of Documents, this one for law collections of 1886, 1887, and post–1908, and for court decisions for 1879, 1892, 1900, and everything thereafter. It was sent by SI to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 58 In 1922 another want list, this time for materials from the Ministry of Finances, was sent and sixteen volumes were received. 59 In 1922 Ivan Peev (1864–1942) of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences offered to donate copies of the academy's publications, including the serial Sbornik za narodni umotvoreniia i narodopis [Collection of folklore and ethnography], to both LC and the New York Public Library. 60 This gift, called an "official donation," took place via SI and the American Legation in Sofia, and it was significant enough to be announced in the Librarian's Annual Report for 1925. LC received volumes 1–7 (1913–1917) and volumes 9–16 (1918–1921). 61 In 1923 in response to another want list, the Royal Bulgarian Legation in Washington provided SI with several legal publications about compulsory labor service in Bulgaria. 62 In 1924 want lists for Bulgarian statistical materials were prepared and, probably not in response to these particular want lists, a volume on railway statistics was received for LC. 63 In spite of all the want lists, regarding materials from non-Russian Slavic countries, Speek reported in his annual report for 1922 that the receipts had been "meager" and, in 1924, "although exchange of official publications with some of these countries was established years ago, the Library receives publications from these countries rather irregularly. The same is true in regard to representative private publications from these countries." 64 In 1925 Speek again noted how little had been received from the non-Russian Slavic countries.65 Other want lists from the late 1920s show the continued emphasis on the collecting of official publications. It was not until possibly the 1930s that want lists also contained requests for non-official materials such as university press publications.66 In fact, in 1915 LC was offered the chance to purchase two Bulgarian books that were non-official publications, a book by Georgi Rakovski (1821–1867), the revolutionary, and a collection of folksongs. 67 Both titles, if acquired, would today be in the rare book collection, but LC declined, even though LC did purchase a Turkish title from the same offer. No reason was given for the non-purchase, but it was in keeping with the emphasis on governmental and scholarly society titles at that time and with a poor budget for the purchase of Slavic materials.
The Slavic Section annual reports up to this time showed that the Slavic Section was focused mainly on the acquisition of materials from the Soviet Union and the processing of the Yudin Collection. Only occasional mentions were made of the other Slavic groups. In 1927 the collection was described as follows: "The Slavic Section administers a collection of about 128,000 volumes published in main in the Slavic countries . . ." Later in the report Speek estimated that the various non-Russian collections including Bulgarian consisted of about 300 volumes each. 68 It is unclear whether this count included materials in the other parts of LC, such as the Smithsonian Collection, but it probably did not.
In 1925 the Division of Documents retained a new chief, James Bennett Childs (1896–1977), who eventually became a renowned government documents bibliographer.
During Mr. Childs' tenure as Chief of the Division of Documents from 1925 to September 1929, the emphasis shifted from the preparation of want lists to fill gaps in the Library's collection to an aggressive policy of seeking the active cooperation of the countries that were our international exchange partners. The results of this program are reflected clearly in the statistics of accessions, for by 1930 the Library was receiving more than 35,000 pieces of material annually on international exchange.69 In October 1927 Childs made the first official LC trip to Bulgaria. "Mr. Childs visited southeastern Europe and was able to report that as a result of his visit arrangements with Bulgaria, Greece, Rumania and Yugoslavia had been improved." 70 The main goal of his trip was to develop the exchanges and to establish a new exchange with Turkey. He also brought want lists of publications from the Division of Documents, the Slavic Section, and the Law Library. He wrote of his trip:
Since at Sofia there is no provision in connection with the exchange arrangement of 1903 for the systematic collection and forwarding of the Bulgarian official publications to the United States, the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Chief of the Press Section of the Foreign Office, Dr. Buresch of His Majesty's Scientific Institutions, and the Associate Librarian of the National Library jointly considered, at my request, the possibility of centralizing the international exchange affairs at the National Library. On the basis of a printed list of government publications issued by the National Printing Office, I formally requested the American Minister at Sofia to make application to the Bulgarian Government for the items needed to complete the collections of the Library of Congress.71
In 1927 the Slavic Section got a new chief, Alexis Babine (1866– 1930), who had worked for LC from 1902–1910 in the Catalog Division and arranged for the purchase of the Yudin Collection. The section was renamed the Division of Slavic Literature. With Babine's return, the annual reports for the division, which had had before only a little non-Russian news, became almost exclusively Russian-focused with lists of new Russian and non-Slavic Rossica acquisitions for that year, a trend continued by his successor, Nicholas R. Rodionoff (1885–1964). The only Bulgarian item mentioned in a Slavic annual report from 1927–1943 was the Iubileina kniga na grad Sofiia [Jubilee Book of the City of Sofia], published in 1928 and received via SI. 72 In fact, only a handful of non-Russian or non-Rossica items, several in Polish and several in Ukrainian, were mentioned in the division annual reports in the same seventeen-year period. Due to the russocentric focus of the Division of Slavic Literature, the few Bulgarian items that arrived came mostly via other parts of LC that were more comprehensive in outlook such as the Law Library and the Division of Documents, with SI continuing to forward exchange items. What the Slavic Division reports did show after 1918, however, was an increased interest in obtaining Russian materials in subjects that fell outside of the realm of official and scholarly society publications, such as literature, history, economics, art, and politics. Presumably this interest affected Bulgarian acquisitions to some extent even though the annual reports do not support this.
Throughout the twentieth century, LC either conceived or participated in various projects to compile or use bibliographic tools and concomitantly acquire the materials in the bibliographies. Early examples include want lists and checklists. In 1910, LC used the Check-List of Collections Relating to European History compiled by the American Historical Association to build up its collections in this area, 73 but since the Check-List did not include Bulgarian materials, none were acquired. Most of these projects did not directly affect the development of the Bulgarian collections, partly because Bulgarian materials apparently were not a high priority, but also because very little bibliographic information was emanating from Bulgaria itself. That kind of data was critical for identifying titles for acquisitions. This point was emphasized in the introduction to the List of the Serial Publications of Foreign Governments, 1815–1931, published in 1932, where there was a lack of information and back files provided by issuing agencies in Bulgaria.74 LC's contribution to the List of the Serial Publications of Foreign Governments and other bibliographic projects forced LC to step up the pace of cataloging of Slavic materials, which then resulted in LC settling upon a standard transliteration system for Bulgarian and other Slavic languages in 1932.75 One hundred Bulgarian titles with US holdings were recorded in this bibliography, of which LC had seventy-nine, a testament to the collecting emphasis placed on foreign government titles. LC used this List to draft more want lists and request publications from many countries, including probably Bulgaria. The Census Library Project, which created a bibliography of official census publications of foreign governments, was another such project. Although many Bulgarian materials were listed in the bibliography, the Bulgarian section was compiled with materials already in the LC collections. Nothing new was added to the collection in spite of the acquisitions aspect of the project. The Union List of Serials is another large bibliographic project with LC involvement, which included Bulgarian materials in every edition and every supplement, although due to the sketchy bibliographic control and chaotic shelving of Slavic materials at LC, it is unclear how comprehensive the information was for Bulgaria. In fact, a Russian cataloger at LC in the 1940s noted that the Slavic entries appearing in the 1926 edition were not accurate representations of the number of titles held by LC. For Bulgarian he claimed LC had fifty-one serials, as opposed to the ten that were listed in ULS.76
There was no systematic purchasing of Bulgarian materials in the first half of the twentieth century. Occasional purchases did occur, but exchanges, gifts, transfers from other federal libraries, and official donations via a diplomatic representative were the main acquisitions methods. When there was turmoil in Europe, such as during both World Wars, the receipts of Bulgarian materials via most methods ceased. During wartime some materials from other countries continued to arrive at LC, but the United States and Bulgaria always were allied on opposite sides, preventing regular commerce and diplomatic efforts. Although the exact methods of receipt before World War II are often murky, what is clear is that there was only a trickle of Bulgarian materials arriving at LC until after World War II. In 1936, in reply to a reference question asked by the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York about the extent of the collection of materials on Bulgaria regardless of language, LC drafted the following reply: "The Chief of our Card Division, Mr. Hastings, informs us that there appear in our public card catalogue, under the heading Bulgaria, cards as follows: Bulgaria as author (documents) about — 325; Bulgaria as subject, including all entries under description, history, education, etc. about — 325; Bulgarian institutions and titles — 150."77 The total of 800 cards was probably a bit lower than actual holdings since there was a backlog of uncataloged Slavic materials in the Division of Slavic Literature, but the number also included materials published about Bulgaria in countries such as England, France, and Germany; thus only a rough estimate of 800–900 titles from or about Bulgaria were in the LC collection in 1936. In 136 years of its existence, LC had managed to acquire fewer than 1000 volumes from Bulgaria, but the advent of World War II and the United States' involvement in it changed everything.
The question for library historians is why so little material from Bulgaria was acquired during this time period. There is no one answer, rather multiple possible influences. The lack of staff with language expertise, the underdeveloped field of Slavic studies, the heavy emphasis on Russia at LC, an insufficient budget for the purchase of Slavic materials, the presence of only a very small Bulgarian émigré community in the United States, the policy of isolationism, and the lack of current bibliographic information on Bulgaria at LC all played some role in the acquisitions policy. Lack of staff with Slavic expertise was a critical reason why so little Bulgarian material was acquired. The appointment of the Russian scholar, Alexis Babine, in 1902, brought Slavic expertise to LC, but it did not seem to affect the acquisition of materials from Bulgaria, for Babine focused almost exclusively on Russian materials. A list of employees with titles at LC with their positions, skills, and language competencies compiled in 1910 showed the general lack of foreign language expertise. German, French, and Latin skills were most common, but there were only a few who had some knowledge of Slavic:
Alexis Babine, in the Catalogue Division, in charge of the Yudin Collection, had "Russian and Slavic"; Walther Koenig, a reviser in the Catalogue Division, had a "slight knowledge of Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Serbo-Croatian, and Rumanian"; Steingrimur Stefansson, a reviser in the Catalogue Division, listed Bohemian, Polish, and Russian among many other European languages; Emma Runner, in charge of the proof-reading section in the Catalogue Division had a "slight knowledge of Russian"; Otto Delbe, First Assistant in the Order Division, knew "some Russian"; Torstein Jahr, a reviser in the Catalogue Division, possessed a "slight knowledge of Slavic languages"; James Fratkin, a clerk in the Copyright Office, knew Russian; Gordon Charles, also a clerk in the Copyright Office, had a "reading knowledge of Russian"; Charles Kiener, a clerk in the Copyright Office, had a "reading knowledge of Polish"; Kurt Voelckner, a cataloguer in the Catalogue Division, possessed a "cataloguing knowledge of Polish." 78
Only Babine and Fratkin, who studied at a gymnasium in Russia, probably really knew Russian to any extent, and only Babine was a Slavic scholar and in a position at LC to propose any acquisitions of Slavic materials. By 1926 the situation was changing and there were staff with knowledge of Slavic languages in various divisions besides the Slavic Section, such as Documents, Reference, Music, and the Catalogue Division.79 In 1928 Babine was once again in charge of the Slavic Section and he noted that all of his staff members were graduates of Russian universities.80 By 1930 the work demands of the Division of Slavic Literature had grown sufficiently to warrant a complaint by the division chief about lack of staff in LC with Russian expertise. 81 Dearth of staff was also blamed for the lack of collecting in the languages of the other Slavic nations. In 1937 Rodionoff summed up the holdings and staffing of the Division of Slavic Literature:
At the present moment the holdings of this Division are chiefly in Russian, but it is to be hoped that funds and shelf space may in time become available for developing the collection in other Slavic languages, with the addition to the staff of duly qualified assistants in that field, the present personnel being hardly adequate for even a summary handling of current acquisitions in the Russian language alone, because of the growing demand for reference service.82
Slavic studies in American universities began at the end of the nineteenth century when some classes on the languages and cultures of the Slavs were offered at a few universities, but the development of the discipline was slow. After World War I the need for more knowledge of the Slavic peoples was recognized, but efforts to teach Slavic languages were minimal. The focus was on history and literature without the need for significant language training. The 1930s saw a steady growth in the field, but it was still underdeveloped by the end of the decade. Prior to World War II the burgeoning field of Slavic studies in the United States centered on Russian for the most part, with some efforts toward Polish and Czech; thus few, if any, Bulgarian specialists were being trained. No specialists translated into little demand for Bulgarian library materials outside of government needs.83
During the first half of the twentieth century Russian was the main Slavic collecting priority at LC. In fact, often when the term Slavic was used, what was really meant was Russian. This situation, discussed above, came about due to the purchase of the Yudin Collection and the subsequent hiring of Russian émigrés, who emphasized the acquisition of Russian materials. It is not surprising given that Russia is by far the largest Slavic nation and publisher and that the Yudin Collection was such a large and important acquisition for Slavic studies in the US. It was hard for a small nation like Bulgaria, dominated by the Ottomans for centuries and with a still modest publishing industry compared to some other Slavic countries, to attract the attention of librarians and scholars in the US.
LC relied on exchanges for the majority of its Slavic acquisitions, but there was only a small budget for purchases as well. Rodionoff, the Chief of the Division of Slavic Literature from 1930–1944, complained about the lack of funds available for purchasing materials.84 Apparently, not more than $1,000 per year was the allocated sum, most of it spent on Russian or Rossica titles.
Throughout the twentieth century, Slavic émigrés living in the US have used the LC collections and contributed publications as gifts or by selling them to LC. This activity occurred with Bulgarian émigrés, but not to the same extent as with Russians simply because there were far fewer of them in the US and very few living in the Washington, DC area. An example of donations or purchase assistance has already been mentioned with Constantine Kojouharoff and legal materials. Other ethnic Bulgarian donors from this time period could not be identified by this author. There is some difficulty in counting the number of Bulgarian immigrants to the US, because they were grouped together with other South Slavs such as the Serbs. In addition, many of the people counted as Bulgarians were Macedonians.85 Among Bulgarians the rate of reemigration was high. In 1924 US restrictions limited the number of immigrants from Bulgaria to 100 people per year.86 "According to official immigration statistics, 67,250 Bulgarian immigrants were admitted between June 1920 and June 30, 1973."87 The majority of earlier immigrants were peasants and laborers lacking anything beyond a secondary education and as a result unlikely to be concerned with Bulgarian literature and books or building library collections.
An additional cause for the lack of interest in Bulgarian collecting was the concept of isolationism. Americans, who live oceans apart from other peoples, were more self-focused than international-focused. But foreign wars and international commerce drew them away from such thinking and this was evident in LC's collection policies. Demands for foreign materials from LC's users — governmental, independent, and via interlibrary loan — continued to increase. In 1937 the reading room staff noted that an increase in funding for the purchase of foreign materials was needed to meet these needs:
. . . we have been impressed with the fact that the literary resources of foreign countries, cultural and intellectual, are imperatives to sound work and must be represented in our collections. At present, with regard to books published abroad, we can but inadequately meet the requirements. . . . the annually published national bibliographies of other foreign countries, notably France and Germany, disclose the fact that our accessions have been inconsiderable, and suggest the need for an adequate fund to secure by purchase materials appropriate to the study of contemporary conditions abroad.88
A final potential reason for the limited development of the Bulgarian collection prior to World War II was the lack of current bibliographic data on the publications emanating from Bulgaria. As already discussed above, the Bulgarian collection was limited in focus mostly to governmental publications. Bibliographies and other reference works were not readily acquired even though they were assigned a higher collection priority than literary works and secondary literature on various subjects. LC did get issues of the national bibliography, Bulgarski knigopis [Bulgarian bibliography] and its predecessor Bibliograficheski biuletin [Bibliographic bulletin], but usually several years after publication. In some instances the bibliographies covering earlier years were not published in a timely manner. For example, the national bibliography for 1909–1918 was not issued until 1930, more than a decade after the books covered therein had been published. Not surprisingly with this late publication, there is no evidence from LC's copies of the national bibliography that they were used as collection development tools.
In 1940 LC recognized that the collecting of materials from Russia and Eastern Europe was inadequate and changes needed to be made. Dr. J. P. M. Marsalka (1907?–1983), a scholar of Russian and Czechoslovak history, wrote to the Librarian, Archibald MacLeish (1892–1982), urging him to take action to improve the Slavic situation at LC:
Some day in the peace making period at the close of World War II Congress will have need of extensive data bearing on Central and Eastern Europe: information which at the present time the Library of Congress in its so-called Slavic Division is unprepared to furnish. But it is possible even in this time of crisis to begin on the program of rounding up and organizing such materials as will be needed and sought for them. Such a program is timely now. . . . 89
In his memo Marsalka stressed that various government agencies were amassing their own collections of Slavic publications because they could not count on LC in this area. Furthermore, scholars too could not rely on LC for materials, and, after exhausting the "well-balanced" collections of Harvard, Columbia, and others, they had to travel abroad to get what they needed. He urged the Librarian to take action. "As Central and Eastern Europe become less and less accessible due to the War it is the responsibility of the National Library and no other institution to come forward and supply the needs in the Slavic field."90 Concurrent with this report and with a general internal library reorganization, LC enlisted the help of two outside consultants, Sergius Yakobson (1901–1979) and Francis J. Whitfield (1916– 1996), to assess the Slavic collections, the procedures for acquisitions and processing of Slavic materials, and the Slavic Division itself. Their presence at LC and their recommendations caused quite a bit of consternation among some of the LC Slavic Division staff, but that did not stop the reorganization of the Division. Whitfield's preliminary report from 1940 began with the following:
The most striking fact about the Slavic Division as at present constituted is that it is in no true sense of the word a Slavic division. The overwhelming majority of its books are in Russian . . . the rest of the non-Russian material has merely been arranged in very primitive order on some downstairs shelves. These few books, moreover, represent such a haphazard collection that they can hardly be considered even as a nucleus of what a Slavic division in this library should contain.91
This report condemned the entire arrangement of the Slavic Division, the inefficiency of the staff, the absence of good cataloging for the materials, and the lack of coordination between the various divisions of LC that receive Slavic materials. It also called for more staff with Slavic skills throughout LC and an increase in funds for purchase. Clearly threatened by the reorganization taking place at LC and the arrival of the two Slavic consultants, Rodionoff, the division chief, dismissed plans for improving the Slavic collections without additional staff, money for purchases, and shelving space, by calling them "castles in the air,"92 but his lack of assistance toward the newcomers did not stop the inevitable process of change.
One of Yakobson's first tasks as a consultant was the preparation of want lists to fill in gaps in various collections, one of which covered books on Bulgarian history. Unfortunately, this list was not located by this author, but, based on the absence of a true acquisitions policy for collecting Bulgarian materials, it must be assumed that there were important titles in this discipline lacking in the LC collections.93 In his annual report for 1941, Yakobson listed his priorities as a consultant to LC:
Particular attention was paid by me right from the start to the establishment of a definite acquisitions policy in the field of Slavic history and of related subjects which was directed towards . . . the acquisition of a larger number of Slavic encyclopedias, statistical yearbooks, reference works, dictionaries, etc. of which only the earliest editions, if any, were represented in the Library; . . . extensive buying of historical and political literature in the minor Slavic languages — a most important task as these collections were left undeveloped for a very long time.94
Further into the report Yakobson encouraged LC to continue its new activities in the realm of purchasing of Slavic materials supported by the newly increased funding for this purpose. He also had a vision for LC: ". . . there is no doubt that, with further investment of time, money, and work the Slavic Division of the Library of Congress will become the leading one in the country and a decisive factor in the development of Slavic studies in the United States."95 (See Figure 8).
In February 1941, Whitfield prepared a study on what LC should do "to take a leading part" in the development of Slavic studies. He began by assessing the status quo:
Its Slavic Division boasts no particular prestige. It has lost the confidence of the State Department. It can expect little sympathy and few gifts from private collectors — no sympathy and no gifts from non-Russian Slavs in particular. Far from being a clearing house for information on Slavic holdings in this country, it is everywhere regarded as being the great mystery, still keeping secret the details concerning books it purchased over thirty years ago. 96
He then offered suggestions for improvement such as letting the other non- Russian Slavic peoples know that LC was interested in them, contacting the governments of the Slavic countries, reaching out to various Slavic intellectual groups, societies, and private collectors. He also addressed the question of a future newly reorganized Slavic Division which, he believed, should be headed by an American, a neutral figure with whom all Slavic peoples could cooperate. The division should be divided into sections for East, West, and South Slavic, with at least one staff member assigned to each. He iterated that the current staff of the Slavic Division were all Russians and furthering only Russian interests. Finally, the Slavic Division needed to catalog its materials and develop better relationships with the other divisions of LC who handle Slavic materials.97 David C. Mearns (1899–1981), the Superintendent of the Reading Rooms, concurred with most of these ideas, including expanding the collecting of South Slavic materials.98 Besides the new emphasis on minor Slavs, all three men, Marsalka, Yakobson, and Whitfield, asked for increased personnel and an increase in funding for acquisitions. Other members of the LC staff also chimed in with their support for the general direction advocated by the consultants. James B. Childs, the Chief of the Division of Documents, wrote that "even in Bulgarian there has been a considerable amount of material published which aside from official documents has been little represented in the Library of Congress and even in the United States." 99 He recommended that LC "broaden the scope" of Slavic collecting and suggested that working with Slavic immigrants to the US would yield results.
Yakobson assumed Rodionoff's function of recommending Slavic titles for acquisition and continued this task through the war years. The budget was increased a bit, from $1000 to $1500, with $1700 actually being spent in fiscal year 1941–1942.100 The actual budget for Slavic publications is hard to verify, but a report from 1954 showed steadily increasing expenditures for the purchase of Russian publications from 1939 to 1953, with decreases only during the later war years of 1944–1946, when purchasing venues were limited because of the hostilities and post-war chaos.101 Exchange shipments to Bulgaria via SI ceased in October 1941 due to the war;102 therefore library transfers and purchases from vendors in non-enemy countries became the only means of acquisitions for Bulgarian materials, as well as those from many other countries.
In March 1943 a conference on Slavic studies was held in New York City, with the Librarian of Congress, Luther H. Evans (1902–1981), representing LC, and other Slavic scholars from major institutions in attendance such as George Vernadsky (1887–1973) from Yale and Phillip E. Moseley (1905–1972) from Cornell. Evans was very frank about the problems at LC and detailed steps already taken to improve the Slavic situation, as well as future steps. The other participants mentioned that attention needed to be paid to the smaller Slavic countries, not just Russia.103 All of the discussions at LC about the Slavic collections, both internally and with the advice of outside expertise, led to a proposal for a Slavic Center within LC, but it could not happen until the old Slavic Division was dissolved, as happened in 1944, and much of its materials were cataloged. The push for cataloging of Slavic materials was ongoing for more than a decade, but was never completed, for even today there is a backlog of older Slavic materials, from this era and before, languishing in the European Division.
LC, unable to fund the growth of Slavic collecting on its own, appealed to outside organizations for help. For example, in 1944 MacLeish wrote to the Rockefeller Foundation for help with a Slavic Cataloging Project, with the aim of cataloging 50,000 Russian titles and including this bibliographic information in the union catalog.104 The cataloging of materials already in LC was considered critical to the further development of the field. The funding was granted and the project continued under donated money until the end of 1946, when LC took over funding the project. The consultant program that brought in Yakobson and Whitfield also was financed by outside organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars.
Initial discussions and plans for the new Slavic Center, which was to provide specialized reference services, hold a Slavic reference collection, encourage relations with cultural institutions, publish bibliographies, and have a robust acquisitions function, focused almost exclusively on Russia. From 1943–1945, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, a survey of Russian collections was conducted with the assistance of scholars in other libraries such as Michael Karpovich (1888–1959) from Harvard, and Boris I. Nicolaevsky (1887–1966), among others. This was followed by a conference on Russian acquisitions in June 1945.105 Attention to the other Slavs was to come later, but the new focus on Slavic as an important part of LC was in place. Even though the Slavic Division was dissolved in 1944, reference services for Slavic continued at LC via the newly formed Slavic Room, established as part of the Reference Department in April 1944, and headed by John T. Dorosh (1894–1981).
The primary objective of the Slavic Room is to help establish closer understanding between the people of the United States and that of the Slavic world by providing expert guidance to the students of Slavic culture and by making available to them accurate information on the cultural, scientific and educational activities of the Slavs.106 The Slavic Room would serve as the "Slavic Center" until 1951 when appropriated funding for such was finally put into place.
After the war, LC was eager to resume exchange and purchase activities with Europe, but with a new acquisitions policy in place, one formulated in 1940 and expanded in 1946, but retaining Jefferson's concept of universality. It stated: . . . the United States is a principal world power, with interests and responsibilities in every form of activity in a world in which modern methods of communication have made all peoples mutually interdependent for their welfare and security, and in which ignorance of conditions in one part of the globe can endanger the safety of nations in another. It follows that adequate sources of information on all subjects, from all areas of the world are essential alike to the government and to the people of the United States. With respect to library materials this means comprehensive collections containing all items of present and probable future significance, regardless of source, subject, language or form, should be available to the government and to the people of the United States.107
The first major post-war exchange with Bulgaria commenced in late 1947 as a result of a letter from Todor Borov (1901–1993), Director of the Bulgarian Bibliographic Institute (hereafter referred to as BBI), offering to establish an exchange between BBI and LC, as well as other US libraries. He began his letter by noting that "Bulgarian books and periodicals are exceedingly poorly represented in the libraries in the United States" and that the reverse situation was true also for American publications in Bulgarian libraries.108 The offer was to provide, beginning January 1, 1948, "one copy each of the full current production of books, pamphlets and periodicals, published in Bulgaria and indexed in the current Bulgarian bibliographical quarterly bulletin, or selected parts thereof." This offer excluded confidential government publications. In exchange, BBI would receive from LC and/or other US libraries a selection of current American books. Borov enclosed with his letter a recent issue of Bulgarski knigopis to show LC what kinds of materials were being produced. He also mentioned that BBI was willing to search for and provide pre-1948 out-of-print titles. Childs quickly responded to Borov's request stating that LC exchanged US government publications for government publications of other countries and that procedures would need to be put into place in order to obtain for BBI commercial US publications.109 Eventually, both sides agreed to the following arrangement: LC would provide one set of US government documents and would purchase one copy of each book listed in every issue of the US Quarterly Book List; BBI would provide official documents of the Bulgarian government and all publications listed in Bulgarski knigopis, as well as serials and newspapers selected by LC. The non-governmental publications would be furnished as part of a priced-exchange, also called a reciprocal purchasing agreement.110 The expected level of exchange was to be about 5,000 to 6,000 US government documents per year plus approximately 1,000 American books to be purchased for Bulgaria. The books would have a value of around $3,000. LC requested invoices from BBI to accompany their shipments and at the close of each year, accounts would be balanced based only on the amount of books purchased on both sides, not the exchange of official publications.111
Although this 1947 correspondence was the official beginning of the new exchange, Childs and Borov were in friendly correspondence and conducting their own exchange of publications even in 1946. In a letter to Childs from July 1946, Borov referred to him as an "old friend of Bulgaria." Borov was responding to a package that Childs sent him containing one of his government documents bibliographies and a request to send to LC various Bulgarian library publications such as the annuals of the National Library and of the library in Plovdiv. Childs also asked for help in obtaining two Bulgarian encyclopedias. Borov's friendly tone, his details about the destruction of Bulgarian libraries during the war, and his promise to search for the requested items reflected his interest in helping Childs and LC and in reestablishing good interlibrary relations.112 Borov posted another letter to Childs in December 1946 asking for help in obtaining certain US publications and assuring Childs that he and the BBI "will do everything possible to build up a set of reliable Bulgarian material in the Library of Congress, though it might take us a little time to do it."113 These letters and packages continued throughout 1947 with the two men also exchanging professional favors such as supplying data about library salaries and submitting information about a noted Bulgarian bibliographer to an American library science journal. In one letter a packing list was included showing that Childs had requested help in filling gaps in Bulgarian library science publications and Borov had responded by providing serial issues and books dating back as far as 1897.114 Childs also wrote openly to Borov about a continual problem with Slavic at LC, that of Russian dominance, and revealed himself once again to be a champion of Bulgarian materials at LC. "Sometimes certain of our administrators not too familiar with Slavic materials allow themselves to be influenced by former Russians who have a much keener interest in the materials from the USSR than in those from the other Slavic countries. Do whatever you can to enliven and aid the matter. Each people has its own contribution to make, and the contributions need to be considered separately on their own merits."115 The first shipment of publications under the official agreement negotiated in 1947 and early 1948 was dispatched to LC in August 1948 and it included not only current Bulgarian publications, but also issues of Stenografski dnevnitsi [Stenographic reports] lacking in the LC collections. A promise to send missing issues of Durzhaven vestnik was also made.116
Although BBI was the first major Bulgarian partner of the early communist era, other libraries also sent their publications to LC. For example, in 1947 the State University Library in Plovdiv sent thirty-four books with publication dates ranging from 1930 to 1947 as a result of the recently established exchange between the two institutions, initiated by Plovdiv.117 Exchange shipments to Bulgaria of materials held for them during the war by SI began again in 1946. Exchange receipts in 1947 were quite low due to the continued difficulties of post-war life in Bulgaria. Only six books and 23 serial issues were received.118 However, in 1948, the Processing Department listed in its 1948 annual report that eight institutions from Bulgaria were sending materials to LC on exchange. Received were 101 books, ninety-six serial issues and seventy-one newspaper issues, a notable increase over the previous year.119 In 1951 there were eight Bulgarian exchange partners: BBI; the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Sofia University; the Statistics Office; the Legations of Bulgaria in France and Washington; the Committee for Science, Art and Culture; and the Bulgarian Press Office.120 Some purchasing of Bulgarian materials was also taking place, for Yakobson mentioned in 1947 that Bulgarian items were being obtained at very reasonable costs.121 The firm of Iordan Iordanov contacted LC in 1946 offering to sell Bulgarian books and the offer was accepted. Iordanov remained LC's vendor for Bulgarian commercial publications (selected by LC from offer lists) until 1954, when the vendor was changed to a German firm, HICOG.122 What budget was assigned for Bulgarian purchases was not identified by this author, but the very fact that LC was willing to enter into a priced exchange agreement valued at $3,000 and a large-scale plan to receive everything listed in Bulgarski knigopis proves that LC had entered the new era with an improved mindset regarding Bulgaria. This new mindset was part of an overarching shift in collection emphases at LC from filling in lacunae in retrospective materials to large-scale acquisitions of current materials on an ongoing basis.123 Eleven years after the Bulgarian collection was estimated to be around 800– 900 volumes, John T. Dorosh in 1947 prepared an estimate of the size of the Bulgarian holdings published before 1939. He assessed the size as not more than 1500 volumes and provided the following breakdown by subject: History--125 volumes; Economics — 350 volumes; Education — 100 volumes; Law — 150 volumes; Literature — 100 volumes; Society publications — 300 volumes; Other — 275 volumes. He also noted that only a small portion of them were in the Slavic Section.124 Even though the war years were a prolonged dry spell in terms of the acquisition of Bulgarian materials, some slight growth was evident in the near doubling in the size of the estimate. The estimate also showed that Dorosh was able to look beyond the insular former Slavic Division into the other parts of LC when preparing his numbers, which also accounted for some of the growth in the estimate.
Receipts of Bulgarian materials continued to grow, but not as heavily as hoped for due to overly optimistic assumptions about the possible successes that would come from the exchange agreement (see Table 3).
|Fiscal Year||Non-Law Purchased||Law Purchased||Total Purchased|
A large increase in receipts in 1949 was noted, as well as the reduction in the blanket order arrangement with Iordanov. "These [arrangements] were canceled in deference to an exchange agreement with the Bulgarian Bibliographical Institute." In 1949 LC decided to rely mostly on exchange for Bulgarian materials.125 However, with the break in diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the United States, Iordanov was given an "insurance order" as a back-up in case materials stopped arriving from Bulgaria. This order was rather small, resulting in the receipt of about 100 books and 16 serials in 1951–1952.126 A further incentive to increase the collecting of Bulgarian materials was felt when the US military showed a new interest in bibliographies of materials from the Balkans, as stated in the 1950 annual report of the short-lived European Affairs Division:
The Department of the Army has evinced an interest in our reviving the Balkan lists which were compiled by the Division of Bibliography in the early years of World War II. Those lists contained few or no references to material in the native languages of the countries. Obviously, new editions of these lists should cover such materials, but with the combined linguistic resources of the European Affairs Division, Slavic Room, and Orientalia Division, we would still be wanting . . . in manpower to complete the work within a normal period in the Bulgarian . . . materials.127
In 1949 a typical shipment from BBI was examined for content and quality and the following assessment was offered: 111 pieces were received, of which 54 were less than 100 pages in length. Fifteen of the titles were government publications, but half of them were propaganda brochures in foreign languages, not Bulgarian. The subjects were predominantly belles lettres, social science, Marxism-Leninism, and history. Dorosh, who prepared the overview stated that the "chief point of interest is surely that the exchange shipments continue,"128 not exactly high praise for the exchange. Furthermore, in 1952, with the help of a contract employee, LC examined the quality of Bulgarian publications received versus their quantity:
. . . an effort was made . . . to test the effectiveness of the Library's exchange arrangements with the Bulgarian Bibliographic Institute, which, judged only by the number of receipts, may have seemed a rather propitious transaction. For this purpose, Dr. Marin Pundeff, a Bulgarian expert, was assigned the task of compiling — independently from the LC intake of Bulgarian materials — a list of the more important Bulgarian 1949 and 1950 imprints. He submitted 235 monographic titles based on careful examination of the Bulgarian National Bibliography. This list was searched in February 1952 against the LC catalog . . . The results of the search, referred to by Mr. Clapp in his above-mentioned testimony before the House Subcommittee on Appropriations, speak for themselves. Although 14 months had lapsed since the publication of the last Bulgarian items in December, 1950, only 72 items representing 30.6 percent of the more important 1949 and 1950 Bulgarian imprints, could be found in LC. Thus, the search bears out the conjecture that the Bulgarian Bibliographic Institute was dumping on LC large amounts of second and third rate publications, and was withholding, deliberately or otherwise, a very substantial number of vital publications.129
Concurrent with the reorganization of the Slavic Division in the early 1940s, the Law Library was also shifting its attention to international services due to increased demand from Congress. In 1940 the Law Library decided to institute sections covering various parts of the world, including a Slavic section.130 A foreign law reading room was established in 1942 and its chief was a Russian émigré with some expertise in Bulgarian law, Vladimir Gsovski (1891–1961). Post-war law acquisitions from Bulgaria were slow in arriving. In 1946 "only a negligible number" of Bulgarian items were acquired.131 The year 1948 recorded the first shipment of Bulgarian law books from Bulgaria itself since before World War II, more than a dozen books published from 1946 to 1948, covering topics such as the laws on the nationalization of private enterprise, on banking, and on criminal and civil procedure.132 In 1950 the Law Library conducted a survey of its Balkans holdings and want lists were compiled. This was accomplished with the help of staff from the newly formed East European Law Digest–Index Project (later called the Mid-European Law Project), funded by the National Committee for a Free Europe. The Committee recognized the need for more specialized staff to provide specialized law services and it provided the funds to hire twelve displaced lawyers, two from each East European country, including Bulgaria.133 This program brought to LC Ivan Sipkov (1917–1993), who published many legal studies on Bulgaria and would later become the Chief of the European Law Division. The project would continue at LC until 1960, when funding was cancelled. During the course of its twelve-year existence, the staff produced bibliographies and legal reports, provided reference assistance, cataloged materials, rendered translations, and helped in acquisitions of legal materials. In 1949 the Bulgarian law collection was estimated to contain 550 volumes.134 By July 1956 the Bulgarian law collection contained 1,213 volumes, based on an actual count.135
Beginning in 1949, one can trace highlights of Bulgarian legal acquisitions and legal developments in Bulgaria in the Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions in the annual section on Law. For example, in 1949 there were additions to the file of Durzhaven vestnik, as well as seventy laws and regulations. In 1950 the Law Library received a comprehensive index to Bulgarian laws from 1878 to 1939 and records of the trial of Nikola Petkov. In 1951 the collection numbered 820 volumes. In 1952 the column noted that most of the Bulgarian legal publications for the year were Soviet translations as opposed to original legal works. In 1953 an important publication on the new criminal code was added, as well as collections of decrees and resolutions of the Council of Ministers. In 1954 a rare work called the Organic Act of Eastern Rumelia from 1879 was acquired. These columns, often quite extensive, continued until the mid-1960s, and reflected a much more robust acquisitions program than is shown in Table 3, which records only slight Bulgarian legal gains.
After years of transition and lack of appropriated funding, the Slavic Division was founded anew on January 15, 1951 as part of the Reference Department. It was the envisioned Slavic center discussed above, minus custody of materials. Its duties were acquisitions, bibliography, reference, and outreach. The Slavic Reading Room was still in place and it had custody of materials and continued to serve many reference functions. The two units were not merged until December 1958. Yakobson was appointed chief of the new division. In the early days, staff was limited but the division was able to hire a few consultants, including one for Bulgarian, Marin Pundeff (1921–2005). Pundeff reviewed Bulgarski knigopis from 1930–1948 and recommended close to 700 out-of-print titles for purchase.136 The consultancy of Pundeff and others was one manifestation of the increased acquisitions focus on "strategic" materials from the satellite countries.
Curiously, at the same time that LC and other government agencies were trying to expand information from these countries, others in the US government were embarking upon a plan which would have had the effect of greatly limiting the receipt of such materials, that is, the application by the Department of Commerce of the Export Control Act of 1949 to the exchange of publications between libraries. Luther Evans, Librarian of Congress, responded to a potential voluntary embargo to limit US technical information from being distributed to the USSR and satellites. He cited the Soviets' ability to procure US published materials in the US and in other friendly countries despite an embargo. Evans enlisted the aid of other public officials to halt the embargo, for the USSR and satellites would surely retaliate by refusing to send materials to the US. Evans' position was supported by the State Department and the CIA, which recognized the need for printed materials from these countries, but was refuted by the Secretary of Defense, who asked him to stop shipping materials to its exchange partners without first submitting them to a "security screening." An incident was cited in which a truckload of material from SI, including old US military manuals and other unclassified military documents, was stopped by the US Military Police at the Czechoslovak border.137 In the end, the exchange of publications between LC and libraries in the USSR and satellite countries continued, but under the regulations set down on April 8, 1952, which stated that if the publications were "generally available to the public," they could be exported, even to communist countries.138
In spite of the cessation of Bulgarian-American diplomatic relations from 1950 to 1959 due to the Kostov trial, LC and SI continued publications exchanges with Bulgarian institutions for much of this time. In fact, the Department of State asked LC to continue the exchanges with Bulgaria in spite of the cessation.139 SI began to withhold shipments to Bulgaria only in August 1954, but that was only at the request of LC, and not due to diplomatic strains, but rather to strains within the exchange itself. But the lack of diplomatic relations would keep the shipments of GPO publications to Bulgaria from resuming until 1969 even after the two exchange partners reached an agreement in 1956. In 1951 the exchange was temporarily suspended at the request of BBI due to their debt to LC, even though LC had allocated only $2,000, not $3,000 for FY 1951.140 The exchange with BBI continued until 1953 when the exchange was transferred by the Bulgarians to the State Library "Vasil Kolarov." At this time Yakobson reduced the amount of the exchange to $500 for the purchase of non-official publications and insisted on LC being able to make selections, since he was not pleased with what had been arriving previously. East European specialist Paul L. Horecky (1913–1999) had conducted an evaluation of the Bulgarian exchange receipts for 1953 and discovered that although fifty-seven official publications were listed in Bulgarski knigopis for the first half of the year, LC had received exactly none of them. For the second half of 1953, 253 government publications were recorded in Bulgarski knigopis, and, of them, only 6 books and 10 serials had been received by LC.41 The shipment of US depository documents to the State Library ceased, seemingly because of the reduced capacity of Bulgaria to reciprocate satisfactorily.142 Furthermore, in 1954 LC received from the State Library about 5,000 newspaper and periodical issues, but only 6 books.143 The State Library also failed repeatedly to respond to correspondence from LC about the conditions of the exchange. Therefore, when in 1955 BBI, the former exchange partner, requested another pricedexchange with LC, to run concurrently with the State Library exchange, LC agreed to bolster receipts from Bulgaria. LC used this new BBI exchange to obtain items not sent by the State Library, for example, out-of-print library science or bibliography titles. Finally, in 1956 the State Library responded to LC and negotiations began to put the exchange on a different footing. The LC budget was increased slightly from $500, but LC rejected its own previous idea of receiving one of every item listed in Bulgarski knigopis. Upon examination of the publishing output of Bulgaria for this time period, it was determined that only 20% of materials were useful to LC.144 LC began to select materials from Bulgarski knigopis to receive from the State Library, but still via a priced exchange.
During the 1950s LC aggressively pursued periodical publications from the Communist bloc, both current and retrospective. Besides relying on exchange partners, LC used vendors in Western Europe and export agents from the satellite countries to try to fulfill the serial recommendations which inundated the Order Division from Yakobson and his staff. The Slavic Division found that East German sources of information about Eastern European serials were very helpful in identifying titles not offered for export from the countries themselves.145 Bulgarian serials were not overlooked in this process, for in 1955 the division prepared a list of Bulgarian newspapers and journals that it wanted to procure from BBI.146 More often than not, an examination of some of the earliest Bulgarian serial holdings in LC shows that the materials were received after World War II. For instance, the following nineteenth- and early twentieth-century journals were received in the 1950s and 1960s: Bulgarska sbirka [Bulgarian collection] (1894–1915), Biblioteka Sveti Kliment [Library of St. Kliment] (1888–1891), the 1891 volume of Ivan Vazov's Dennitsa [Morning star] (1890– 1891), Misul [Thought] (1892–1907), and Spisanie (Bulgarsko ikonomichesko druzhestvo) [Journal (Bulgarian Economic Association)] (1896–1949), among others. Unfortunately, funds for the purchase of non-current materials often were unavailable, so for Bulgaria, exchange became the only way to get older materials.
An examination of the LC East European Accessions List published from 1951 to 1961 revealed the nature of the material received from Bulgaria. The purpose of the Accessions List was to inform Slavic specialists of materials published after 1939 newly received by LC. In 1953 it became a US union list of newly received titles at LC and other research libraries. Initially more books than serials were received, but that quickly changed to predominantly serial receipts, and receipts overall dwindled toward the end of the 1950s and early 1960s. Regarding subjects, the monographic receipts were heaviest in the disciplines of language and literature, social sciences, and history. The Accessions List revealed a number of receipts that deviate from the current LC acquisitions policy, such as translations of political and literary titles into Bulgarian from Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Gorky, Gogol', Dreiser, Balzac, Verne and Fadeev. LC today does not collect translations from one language into another, except from a foreign language into English. For instance, LC would collect a translation of Khristo Botev into English, but not of Mark Twain into Bulgarian and also not of a French or Russian writer into Bulgarian. The Accessions List also presented a number of textbooks, a category of materials which LC collects today only very sparingly. One can only assume that these kinds of titles were accepted by LC to quench the post-World War II thirst for any kind of information from Eastern Europe.
From 1950 to 1961 one can read about various interesting Bulgarian acquisitions in the Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions. An annual report on Slavic acquisitions was written by a member of the Slavic Division and a Bulgarian section was almost always included. The section was usually brief, but highlighted some of the more important receipts such as dictionaries or other reference books and works related to current events or trends in Bulgaria, such as books published in the anniversary year of a writer's death or birth. The Bulgarian sections on law titles described above often were longer and more detailed, which no doubt reflected the presence of native Bulgarians on the staff of the Law Library. There were no Bulgarians or Bulgarian specialists on staff in the Slavic Division. Horecky, who handled Bulgarian matters at this time and wrote most of the sections for Bulgaria in the Quarterly Journal, was a specialist for all of Eastern Europe. Although Horecky was a very noted scholar, the Slavic Division recognized the need for specific Bulgarian expertise and thus at times retained consultants to work on special Bulgarian projects; for example Marin Pundeff wrote the LC-produced bibliographic guide to Bulgaria and Charles Jelavich wrote the article about the Plochev Collection of rare Bulgarian books.147
Horecky made the second official LC trip to Bulgaria in the spring of 1963 as one stop in a more extensive trip to Poland, Austria, and Yugoslavia. The goal of the trip was to assess the publishing industry and cultural situation in the four countries, as well as to establish personal contacts with many scholarly societies and educational institutions. Horecky took with him want lists from the Law Library and the Slavic Division.148 The trip resulted in the Bulgarian priced exchange with the National Library being converted to a blanket order. In addition, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and other exchange partners were asked to supply their own publications automatically to LC, rather than waiting for a request from LC or having them supplied via the National Library in Sofia.149 As a result of these new arrangements and the "information explosion" in Eastern European publishing, fiscal year 1964 showed an increase over fiscal year 1963 in book receipts from Bulgaria of 262 percent. Serial receipts also increased, but not as dramatically.150 Also in 1963, Marin Pundeff was invited to return to LC as a consultant for a temporary project to survey the Bulgarian serial collection and prepare a desiderata list. His other task was to write a bibliographic guide to Bulgarian resources, which was published in 1965.151 A secondary outcome of the compilation of the guide was the additional want list Pundeff compiled as he discovered important items lacking in LC's collections.152
In September 1966 Yakobson and Horecky traveled to Vienna to the IFLA conference where they began negotiations with libraries in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, about initiating their involvement in the newly formed NPAC (National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging). The idea was to have the National Library select materials for LC as part of a blanket order arrangement and provide pre-publication data from the national bibliography along with the books. In exchange, LC would deposit money with a book dealer so the National Library could purchase American books.153 The money was payment for both the materials and the cataloging records. This arrangement would take the place of the current priced exchange with the National Library. As part of this visit to Europe, Horecky also took his second acquisitions trip to Bulgaria (the fourth in LC's history),154 where he looked into improving the speed of receipt of publications to LC and the possibilities for retrospective acquisitions.155 Bulgaria signed up with NPAC in January 1969. NPAC represented a transition in LC's policies regarding acquisitions, from a high degree of selectivity to "near comprehensiveness." For current publications the recommenders would no longer focus on selecting individual items, but would select or eliminate categories of materials to be received. The old policy of selectivity remained in place for retrospective materials, maps and music, however.156 Categories of materials to be excluded were textbooks below the university level, children's books, translations into Bulgarian, and pamphlets or leaflets of minimal scholarly value. In 1970 LC received from Bulgaria via NPAC 1,082 books plus related bibliographic data from Bulgarski knigopis. In 1971 the number was 864 titles, in 1972 it was 1,130, and by 1976 it had reached 14,780 items (1,111 books and 13, 596 serial issues).157
In the late 1960s to early 1970s the Exchange and Gift Division undertook a review of exchange of government documents at the request of the General Accounting Office. The Bulgarian exchange was reviewed and at this time the exchange of official documents (i.e., US official publications for Bulgarian official publications) was truly separated from the exchange of other materials received through a priced exchange such as NPAC.158 The priced exchange was assigned the following costs: each Bulgarian book cost $5 and each serial subscription cost $10.159 This one-price-fits-all arrangement with the National Library remains in place today, albeit with the prices rising over the years. Apropos an exchange of correspondence about increased pricing in 1976, Horecky described the Bulgarian NPAC program:
In our estimate, the yearly intake of monographs received through these [NPAC] and other exchange sources in Bulgaria represents over 40% of the current Bulgarian book production of potential informational and research value. We believe that this is a very adequate coverage of Bulgarian publications.160 In 1977 Horecky took another official trip to Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, the aim of which was to cement relationships and expand acquisitions and exchanges.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Bulgarian acquisitions receipts and policies remained stable, with only occasional tweaks to the program or the prices, but this would change with the end of communism in the early 1990s. See Table 4 for book receipts from Bulgaria from 1975–1989 via purchase (from the National Library) and exchange or gift (from various exchange partners). NPAC was in operation during the entire period represented in the table. In 1983 David H. Kraus (1923–1997), who assumed responsibility for Bulgaria after Horecky retired in 1977, took an acquisitions trip to the Balkans, including Bulgaria, armed with a want list of retrospective publications prepared by Micaela Iovine, a Bulgarian bibliographer working for the ABSEES project.161 Although materials from Bulgaria continued to pour in, the quality of the materials received was always an issue. Nevertheless, most of the items were added to the collections, for "materials from these particular countries or communities might not meet the LC tests for 'research value,' but we feel that LC should collect them anyway because little else is available."162 The procedure of LC selecting materials versus the National Library selecting materials for LC was sometimes reversed and then reinstated, all in aid of improving the quality of the items received.
|1975 – 1989||15,842||14,162||30,004|
Even with Bulgaria's transition from a communist society in the early 1990s and its concomitant social upheaval, the library exchanges between Bulgarian institutions and LC continued, albeit with a few lean years in terms of receipts. Many of the problems with the viability of the exchanges had started in the late communist era due to changes in the US system of providing depository materials to foreign partners. In the 1980s SI ceased to be the shipping agent and GPO took over this function, but GPO was not as reliable in terms of regular shipments. An additional wrinkle was GPO's conversion in 1982, at LC's suggestion, to microfiche format for international exchanges in place of printed paper materials for most of the items.163 Not as many libraries wanted fiche editions and also the process of converting documents to microformat added additional time to the entire process, thus foreign libraries were receiving US materials in a very untimely manner.164 Then, later in the 2000s GPO began to issue many of its publications in digital form, which libraries in Eastern Europe did not want or could not preserve. This resulted in a dramatic reduction of exchange receipts for LC. See Table 5.
In 1991 the European Division hired a South Slavic specialist, Predrag Pajić (1933–). One of his first duties was to undertake an official trip to the Balkans, including Bulgaria, to assess the acquisitions situation and make recommendations for changes, if necessitated by the new political and social circumstances. No changes were recommended except in current serial receipts. Some titles were cancelled and new ones more reflective of the new political situation recommended. In 1994 Michael Haltzel, Chief of the European Division, made another trip to Bulgaria and other countries in the Balkans to meet with exchange partners and publishers. In the early 1990s the previous practice of LC selecting materials from the Bulgarian national bibliography was curtailed due to the lateness of publication of the bibliography. Instead, the National Library was encouraged once again to select items for LC. In order to reduce duplication, they were to search LC's online catalog before sending any items. In 1996 and 2000 Pajić took more official trips to Bulgaria. The purpose of all of these trips was to stay current on the publishing situation, firm up personal contacts, and to smooth out minor problems with the exchanges.
One major initiative undertaken during the 2000 trip was that of identifying a vendor for Bulgarian materials. After realizing that the National Library was failing to provide the works of many new commercial publishers, Pajić felt a second acquisitions source was necessary. He also hoped that a second vendor would resolve the perpetual tension of having one library act as both a vendor (i.e., priced exchange partner) and the official exchange partner. The new vendor was Bulgarian Books, which remains LC's vendor for Bulgaria today. The problems with the priced exchange in the post-communist era stemmed from four basic problems on the part of the National Library (postage, depository problems, poor quality selection, and confusion as to what should be sent on official exchange and what should be sent via priced-exchange), and two on the part of LC (slow response to bill-paying and actively managing correspondence). Lack of postal funds on the part of the National Library to ship materials to LC has been a longstanding problem and resulted in some years with very low receipts and others with heavy receipts. LC has had to develop creative ways to assist the National Library with postage. In one notable instance, the Bulgarian president, Petur Stoianov (1952–), transported publications intended for LC in his private plane while on an official diplomatic visit to Washington in 1998. At times, the US Embassy has paid the bill, for example, most recently in 2010. The depository situation at the National Library evolved after the fall of communism, when new publishers in Bulgaria failed to deposit sufficient copies of their materials that could be used for exchanges. Poor selection was another problem stemming from the very beginning of the exchange. LC frequently chastised the National Library for sending low-quality and/or low-pagination items of dubious research value, and the selection problem was exacerbated by the depository situation. The change in the publishing situation in Bulgaria after the fall of communism was another factor in poor selection, with less significant research material being produced while the market was flooded with translations and small-pagination items. The confusion of the two parts of the exchange was a perpetual problem as well. As an official partner the National Library should have sent all Bulgarian government publications for free, but often these titles were sent on the priced exchange, while small pamphlets were sent on the official exchange. On the other side, Bulgaria's common complaint about LC as an exchange partner was that LC took too long to pay its bills and too long to respond to correspondence or offers.
|Fiscal Year||Purchase Acquisitions||Non-Purchase Acquisitions||Total Acquisitions|
Almost all of the Bulgarian rare books at LC are part of the Todor Plochev Collection of Early Bulgarian Imprints housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room. The collection consists of approximately 700 books from the so-called Bulgarian Revival period of 1806–1877, with some items in the collection published after 1877.165 Little is known about Todor Dimitrov Plochev, the rare book collector, or about LC's purchase of his collection in early 1949. Plochev was the owner of a successful publishing house, Pravo, in Sofia, which produced legal publications, some contemporary fiction, as well as titles on social, political and economic themes. Pravo also produced translations of European writers and scholars such as Max Brod (1884–1968) and Erich Maria Remarque (1898–1970). Plochev's publishing business was active beginning in the post-World War I era through World War II and must have been successful enough to provide him the resources to amass such an enormous collection of Bulgarian rare books, for his collection covers about 40 percent of the entire Bulgarian publishing output for the 1806–1877 time period. LC purchased his collection for $3,000 from his son, Dimitur Todorov Plochev.
Upon scanning a bibliography of the works from this era, one discovers the striking fact that very few of these titles were published on the territory of Bulgaria. During this time, Bulgaria was under Ottoman control and publishing was restricted in Bulgaria; therefore most of the books were published either in other parts of the empire such as Tsarigrad (Constantinople) or Romania, or in cities outside the empire such as Vienna or Odessa. The Revival period was a time of burgeoning national consciousness among Bulgarians as they strove for political, cultural, and religious autonomy from the Ottomans and the Greeks. The books reflected the beginnings of publishing in the modern Bulgarian language and as such they presented a variety of subjects intended to instruct and stimulate pride. Religious books, grammars and primers, translations from other European authors, polemics, historical titles, and literary works were among the topics covered.
Some of the most notable works in the LC collection are: Sofronii Vrachanski's Kyriakodromion [Sunday book] (1806), a book of 96 sermons and the first book published in modern Bulgarian; Petur Beron's Bukvar' s razlichny poucheniia [Primer with various instructions] (1824), better known as the "Fish Primer," the first Bulgarian primer ever published; Neofit Rilski's Bolgarska grammatika [Bulgarian grammar] (1835), the first Bulgarian grammar; several works by the revolutionary figure Georgi Rakovski, such as Bulgarskitie khaiduti [Bulgarian Haiduts] (1867), and Bulgarskyi vieroispovieden vupros s fanarioti-tie i goliemaia mechtaina ideia panelinizma [Bulgarian church question with the Phanariots and the dream of Pan-Hellenism] (1864). The collection also contains some early periodicals, as well as titles not listed in the standard bibliographies for such materials; thus they may be the only extant copies.
Today LC has no designated budget for the purchase of rare Slavica; therefore the only way to augment the Revival era collection is to purchase facsimiles. When the National Library "Cyril and Methodius" in Sofia produced folio-sized reproductions of the earliest Bulgarian newspapers, LC acquired them. Examples include the first Bulgarian newspaper, Tsarigradski viestnik [Constantinople newspaper] (1848–1862), Nova Bulgariia [New Bulgaria] (1876–1877), and Dunavska zora [Danube dawn] (1867–1879). When micropublisher IDC issued the microfiche set entitled Classical Library for Bulgarian Studies, 1823–1878, based upon a similar collection held by the Russian Academy of Sciences Library, LC acquired all titles on fiche that were not held in the Plochev Collection.
The Plochev Collection is as rich as the rest of the Bulgarian rare book collection is sparse. The other rare items do not comprise a collection as they are scattered among other notable collections or merely in the general classification on the rare book shelves. There are a few books in the above-mentioned Yudin Collection, acquired in 1906. Three of them were written by Vasil Aprilov (1789–1847), an early Bulgarian educator who had studied in Moscow and lived in Odessa: Dennitsa novo-bolgarskogo obrazovaniia [Morning star of the new Bulgarian education], which is bound together with his Bolgarskie knizhniki [Bulgarian bookmen], both published in Odessa in 1841, and Dopolnenie k knigie Dennitsa novo-bolgarskago obrazovaniia [Supplement to Morning star of new Bulgarian education], published in St. Petersburg in 1842. Another Bulgarian title in the Yudin Collection is a translation of the New Testament into Bulgarian from 1850, published in Smyrna. Not held in the Rare Book Collection, but also from the Yudin Collection is the work from Evtimii Turnovskii (ca. 1327–ca. 1401), the Patriarch of Bulgaria, K istorii ispravleniia knig v Bolgarii v XIV viekie [History of the reform of books in Bulgaria in the 14th century], published in St. Petersburg in 1890.
The Bible Collection in the Rare Book room was compiled from many sources, so it is unclear how LC acquired the two Bulgarian works (bound together) in it from 1857, Psaltir [Psalter] and Bytie [Genesis], published in Tsarigrad, or the 1850 Novyi zaviet [New Testament] published in Smyrna,166 but all three titles appeared in the 1861 Catalogue of the Library of Congress. The three titles are the first Bulgarian books ever to be added to the LC collections that this author could identify. Besides the listing in the old catalog, the 1857 volume contains an unambiguous nineteenth-century LC bookplate and the old classification number written on it (see Figure 9). This style of bookplate has been identified as being in use circa 1852–1862.167 These books, possibly gifts, were an anomaly in terms of the Bulgarian collection, for as discussed above, true activity regarding Bulgarian collection building did not begin until the late nineteenth century. Another biblical work, the Gospel of Matthew, from Tsarigrad in 1867, is held in the LC general collections, rather than the Rare Book collection, probably originally due to an oversight, but now because it has been bound with library buckram and has undergone the mass deacidification process.168 According to its accession number, this book was purchased in 1934 as part of a collection of nineteenth-century religious works from the New York Public Library. Finally, the European Division has a handful of uncataloged Bulgarian rare books in its Cyrillic 4 backlog including the two above-mentioned items from the Hattala Library, another religious item from the New York Public Library purchase,169 and an 1872 folk collection from Belgrade, purchased from a dealer in Leipzig in 1906.170
There are two Bulgarian books in the rare collection that are kept there not because of their rarity, but because of their provenance; they are part of the Third Reich Collection, items from the Reich Chancellery Library, removed from Berlin at the end of World War II. There is nothing inside the books to indicate their origins, but one is about Germany and is bound together with its German language translation: Revoliutsionna Germaniia 1918–1922 [Revolutionary Germany 1918–1922] by Krustiu Krustev, published in Sofia in 1933, and Das revolutionäre Deutschland 1918–1922, published in Sofia in 1939. The other is Iubileini turzhestva, mai 1939, po sluchai 50-godishninata na Universiteta, 1888–1938 [Jubilee Celebration, May 1939, on the 50th anniversary of the university, 1888–1938], issued in Sofia in 1940. Other twentieth-century Bulgarian items in the rare collection include the Turnovo constitution and Fashizmut [Fascism] by Zheliu Zhelev. A framed broadside replica of the Turnovo Constitution was presented to LC in 1954 by émigré members of the Union of Bulgarian Jurists, at a ceremony on the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution in 1879.171 Zheliu Zhelev (1935–) was a Bulgarian dissident who became the first democratically elected president of post-communist Bulgaria. In 1982 he released his book Fashizmut [Fascism], which was banned by the government shortly after publication. The edition in the LC rare book collection is not the original, rather an autographed 1990 reprint with an introduction acknowledging the help of various individuals for publishing a version outside of Bulgaria, including David H. Kraus, then Acting Chief of the European Division. The original 1982 edition, a second copy of the 1990 edition, and several other editions of this book are kept in the general collections.
LC did not begin to subscribe to "current foreign newspapers on any considerable scale . . . until January, 1901."172 Thus, the fact that in 1904 LC had no Bulgarian newspapers is unsurprising both for this reason and because diplomatic and exchange relations between the United States and Bulgaria were established only one year earlier, in 1903. By 1929 only four titles from Bulgaria, all from Sofia and two in French, had been added to the collections: L'Echo de Bulgarie [Echo from Bulgaria] (the official organ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aimed at a foreign audience, from 1914–1923), La Bulgarie [Bulgaria] (the continuation of the previous title, from 1923–1935), Svoboda [Freedom] (a political newspaper supporting Stambolov, from 1886–1920), and Svobodno slovo [Free Word] (an opposition paper against Stambolov, from 1893–1894).173 There are no LC markings or stamps on the items to indicate how or when they came to the library, but some of them appear to have been personal subscriptions before they ended up in the LC collections. For example, issues of L'Echo de Bulgarie have mailing labels addressed to London, SW, 3 Buckingham Gate, The Rt. Hon. Viscount Bryce, O.M. How these issues of a Bulgarian newspaper from the early 1920s belonging to James Bryce (1838–1922), the British Ambassador to the United States from 1907–1913, came to be part of the LC collection probably will never be known. Perhaps they were a gift or perhaps they were a transfer from another federal library, one of the primary ways LC increased its foreign newspaper holdings in the first half of the twentieth century.174 A true collection policy for foreign newspapers was not in force at this time, but the rule of thumb was that the titles would represent the "commercial and political centers throughout the world."175 This idea dominated foreign newspaper collecting until after World War II.
For decades LC produced an annual or biennial list of newspapers currently received, which included sections on foreign newspapers and American newspapers in foreign languages. In 1937 there was only one newspaper from Bulgaria being received by LC, La Parole Bulgare [Bulgarian word], a French-language title from Sofia published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1936–1943). When World War II started, LC's subscription to this title ceased.176 After Bulgaria signed the Tripartite Pact with the Axis Powers on March 1, 1941, LC recognized a need for more current information coming out of Bulgaria and appealed to the State Department for help in obtaining certain Bulgarian newspapers. On March 24, 1941, Archibald MacLeish, the Librarian of Congress, sent a letter to the Secretary of State asking for help in acquiring the German language newspaper Bulgarische Wochenschau [Bulgarian newsreel] (1940–1943), which represented the fascists.177 On September 12, 1941, MacLeish sent another letter to the Secretary of State thanking him for obtaining copies of this paper and Vita Bulgara [Bulgarian life], an Italian language newspaper from Sofia (1940–1943), also with a fascist point of view.178 Then on October 28, 1941, MacLeish posted another letter to the Secretary asking for a "much speeded up receipt" of the Bulgarian language newspaper Zora [Dawn] (1919-1944), which during the war years was anti-communist and pro-German.179 All of these appeals for help were answered. For all three newspapers LC holds many issues for the war years.
No titles from Bulgaria appeared on the annual LC list of current newspaper subscriptions for the war years up until 1949, when seven titles from the new communist state were listed: Izgrev [Sunrise], Narodna mladezh [National youth], Otechestven front [Fatherland front], Rabotnichesko delo [Workers' matter], Trud [Labor], Vreme [Time], and Zemedelsko zname [Agrarian banner]. Although a true collection policy for foreign newspapers was not produced until September 1955, it is evident that greatly expanded collecting in this area had already begun. The new policy stated that LC would collect "current newspapers from each politically independent foreign area and from the more important politically dependent foreign territories and possessions. These would be selected to provide the most complete coverage of events and to represent the principal political, economic, and social viewpoints in their areas."180 The seven titles mentioned above, although all "official" papers of the communist government in Bulgaria, show a bit of diversity in theory; one was issued by a military publisher, another was for youth, yet another was from a workers' party, and another from an agrarian party. A strong rationale for beefing up the foreign newspaper collection came from the intelligence sector. In 1951 the Air Information Division and the Air Research Divisions, which performed confidential work for the USAF, addressed the use of foreign newspapers by the Divisions: "We are using 100% of the newspapers comprising the so-called daily press and 70% of all newspapers currently received in the Library. As regards the daily press, each issue is reviewed en toto for data of possible interest. While the amount of relevant information varies with each issue of each title, it is estimated that we use 80% of all issues on the average."181
In 1953, responding to ever increasing demands for information about foreign publications, the LC Reference Department published Postwar Foreign Newspapers: A Union List, which showed that LC had amassed 27 Bulgarian newspaper titles published since 1945, all but six published in Sofia. The bibliography also showed that only three of these titles also were being collected by other libraries in the United States: Otechestven front (also collected by NYPL), Rabotnichesko delo (also collected by Harvard and NYPL), and Svoboden narod [Free people] (also collected by NYPL). In 1965 an updated and more detailed bibliography of newspapers in LC showed that the Bulgarian newspaper collection continued to expand.182 Ninety-seven titles were listed, with 59 from the capital city of Sofia and 38 from regional cities. In a little over a decade the Bulgarian newspaper collection had more than tripled in size. The growth would continue because of the recognized need for more material from Eastern Europe. In 1967 as part of an overall selection review of foreign newspapers, the Serial Division examined the Iron Curtain newspapers and decided, "because of the special nature of the regimes in this area, newspapers are not susceptible to the criteria applied to those of other countries."183 This is one possible explanation why for the countries of Eastern Europe short runs and even single issues were retained.
Some time after World War II an unpublished supplement to the foreign newspaper checklist from 1929 was started. It now consists of 46 bound volumes and is available at the circulation desk in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. The volume for Bulgaria shows that the collection had 104 titles, 65 from Sofia and 39 from regional cities. Although the supplements reflect holdings prior to 1962, many of the pages have handwritten notations from a much later period showing actions taken over the years regarding the collection, such as items being declared missing and filming dates. These notations show that the vast majority of the Bulgarian newspapers were filmed by LC in 1982, 20 years into an LC program of comprehensive microfilming of foreign newspapers begun in 1962.184
The collection policy for foreign newspapers was revised in 1993 and again in 2008. The reasons given for selecting titles were quite extensive. First and foremost was the representation of a balance of points of view; thus LC wanted papers from different political, social, exile, and ethnic groups. Other factors to consider when selecting papers included importance and influence of the title in its place of origin, high circulation, representation of various issuing bodies, for example, some of each from government, private publishers, political or labor organizations, ethnic groups, religious bodies, etc.185 Today LC holds over 220 Bulgarian newspaper titles in various formats.186 Current subscriptions number 19 in print and microfilm,187 with about a dozen titles available electronically through the subscription databases Emerging Markets and Factiva. The range of titles is consistent with the present collection policy, with titles from various political parties, a humor paper, literary papers, several large circulation dailies, a religious paper, and several émigré titles. In July 2007 during an acquisitions trip to Sofia, the Bulgarian specialist asked everyone she met about contemporary Bulgarian newspapers, and, based on those answers, started subscriptions to several new titles that were gaining in influence or represented new political parties such as Kapital [Capital], Glasove [Voices], and Ataka [Attack]. She also arranged for the donation and subsequent microfilming of many missing issues of Sofia Echo, the English-language weekly aimed at the diplomatic and expatriate communities in Sofia.
The most serious issue with today's newspaper collections is how to maintain them physically. LC has a large backfile of paper issues awaiting microfilming and it continues to grow since every year more paper arrives than is filmed. Insufficient funding for filming is a critical problem at LC. No vendors in the United States, Europe, or Bulgaria sell current Bulgarian newspaper titles on microfilm and efforts to have Bulgarian libraries film titles for LC have failed. Lacking other solutions, for the past several years LC has made arrangements with an American vendor to subscribe to and microfilm titles just for the library. Once such a relationship is established, the paper subscriptions from the Bulgarian vendor are cancelled. Any titles new to the collection are added in microfilm-only boutique subscriptions under this arrangement. Although this method is more expensive than purchasing commercially-produced microfilm (if there were any available), it is less expensive than receiving, shelving, collating, and filming the titles at LC.
Material published by Bulgarian immigrants and/or political émigrés is the least well-developed aspect of the LC Bulgarian collection. The Bulgarian-American publishing output was not large, but there were publishing houses and small ethnic societies producing books, newsletters, newspapers, and journals. Compared to other Slavic groups in the United States, Bulgarians produced less and started publishing later. The first Bulgarian serial printed in the United States was Naroden glas [National herald] in 1907, whereas the first Russian serial began in 1869. In total it seems that fewer than a dozen or so Bulgarian-American newspapers were ever produced, according to WorldCat records. To give an idea of how Bulgarian publications contrasted with those of other Slavic groups, the circulation of Bulgarian serials in the late 1970s and early 1980s was approximately 16,000, whereas the Polish circulation was 621,000 and Russian 93,000.188
American publications are supposed to be deposited in LC via the Copyright Office, but often this does not happen with smaller publishers with an ethnic focus. Either they do not know the law or they do not register for copyright protection. When these kinds of publications do arrive, it is a hit-or-miss process as to whether they will be brought to the attention of a recommending officer or selector with not only the appropriate language skills, but also a more forgiving attitude. Some of these works may not be written in glorious prose and thus are more likely to be rejected, but in the opinion of this author, they document the existence of a community in the United States and their occasional lack of polish should be overlooked. This opinion is in conflict with the LC collection policy statement for American ethnic publications, which emphasizes that materials should be of "national, regional, or state-wide interest." LC may have samplings of such materials, but it is the responsibility of state and local groups to amass large collections.189 Very few of the Bulgarian-American publications fit this criterion. Nevertheless, some of these publications from Granite City, Illinois, a center of early Bulgarian-American publishing, made it into LC. The Library of Congress holds 13 titles including several political works, some almanacs, a dictionary and a map, out of a total publishing output of close to 100 titles from this town. Most of the titles published in Granite City were political in nature, with a heavy emphasis on socialism. It cannot be determined whether the titles were submitted to LC via Copyright and subsequently rejected or never deposited at all.
In 1941 James B. Childs suggested to LC management that LC reach out to Slavic émigrés in the United States. "In some instances these national groups in the United States would not only prove effective in collecting their materials issued in the United States, as well as cultural records, but in subsidizing the development and the use of the collection."190 Over the years only sporadic attempts have been made to do this with Bulgarian publishers, possibly because the Bulgarian-American community is not large and it is not located to any extent in the Washington, DC area, which would enable more personal interaction. There was a short-lived Ethnic Unit in the Exchange and Gift Division in the early 1980s, the task of which was to gather American ethnic publications,191 but it seems to have had no effect on the Bulgarian collection.
LC has very few Bulgarian-American newspapers. One possible explanation for this is that the collection policy for newspapers, like the one for ethnic publications, relied on local and state libraries to collect the newspapers published in their locales. LC would collect only "metropolitan dailies" from the state capitals and other titles of possible nationwide significance.192 By and large, Bulgarian-American titles were not published in state capitals and they did not hold national significance. Thus, if the titles were not preserved by local libraries, historical societies, or the publishers themselves, they were lost to posterity. No Bulgarian-American titles were listed in the annual list of newspapers received by LC until 1941, when the only newspaper that LC was getting from Bulgaria proper was no longer available. At this time, admitting the urgent need for information about Bulgaria and other Axis countries, LC began to receive two Bulgarian-American newspapers from Granite City, Illinois, Naroden glas [National herald] and Rabotnicheska prosveta [Labor education]. 193 It appears that neither of these titles warranted permanent retention, for they are not available at LC now. The microfilm of Rabotnicheska prosveta in the collection today was purchased to enhance the ethnic collection only in 2009. In 1957 and 1958 the policy regarding foreign language American newspapers was reviewed in conjunction with appropriate language staff, including those in the Slavic Division, as was the collection of these newspapers, and "fewer than fifty were retained."194 Yakobson iterated in his annual report for that year that LC's policy was designed to limit the number of US foreign-language newspapers at LC.195 Apparently, nothing in Bulgarian was deemed significant enough to keep in the collections except the anti-communist Svobodna i nezavisima Bulgariia [Free and independent Bulgaria] from New York. LC's holdings for this title were 1955–1960, with earlier years from 1949–1953 donated to LC by the Hoover Library in 2007. The practice of retaining only two current newspapers from American ethnic groups was in effect beginning in 1972,196 and although this policy was questioned, it did not affect the Bulgarian collection.
LC has the option to claim American ethnic publications through the Copyright Office or purchase them if they cannot be obtained via copyright. An example of how problematic ethnic publications can be is the Bulgarian newspaper Nedelnik [Weekly] from New York. One issue arrived in 1996, a year after it began publication, via the Copyright Office. For no discernable reason, no action was taken on it until 2007 when the Bulgarian specialist came across the issue and asked for a copyright subscription (i.e., a deposit copy). The publisher complied with the copyright demand and the title was received (with some missing issues) until 2008, when it ceased to arrive. Before a claim could successfully be initiated and followed up on, the title seemed to have ceased. In this way, LC acquired only a spotty one and a half years of a Bulgarian-American newspaper that was in print for fourteen or fifteen years, instead of a decent run of the title.
Both before the communist takeover of Bulgaria and after, political exiles published works abroad. The main countries of exile were Germany, France, and the United States. After World War II, LC sought out these kinds of publications and retained them in its collections. LC has several dozen journals published by exile groups including Biuletin na Suiuza na Bulgarskite politicheski emigranti v Iugoslaviia [Bulletin of the Union of Bulgarian Political Emigrants in Yugoslavia], Borba [Struggle], published in Chicago, Bulgarski glas [Bulgarian voice], published in Spain, Bulgarski voin [Bulgarian soldier], published in Germany, and Luch [Ray], published in Los Angeles by the Association of Bulgarian Writers and Artists in Exile.197 Bulgarians in the diaspora whose ancestors were exiles from a much earlier period are living in Ukraine, mainly in Odessa. LC has subscriptions to two newspapers from this community of close to 200,000 people and has asked a vendor to provide any books produced by them as well. LC has also located a newspaper title in Bulgarian from Moldova. These kinds of titles tend to be difficult to identify and to obtain, but LC considers them part of the current collection profile.
LC staff involved with Bulgarian acquisitions today number three: a Bulgarian recommending officer/reference specialist in the European Division who also works with Russian (this author), a Bulgarian acquisitions specialist/Slavic serials cataloger in the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate (ABA), and one support staff also in ABA to help process the materials. The latter are both native Bulgarians.
For acquisitions LC usually has one vendor per country, but an unlimited number of exchange partners. LC's vendor is Bulgarian Books and the arrangement is a so-called LC-select approval plan, whereby the vendor offers titles on lists and LC selects from them. In addition, the Library's recommending officer makes special requests for publications that she learns about that are not on the lists. Active exchange partners include the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the University of Sofia, the National Library, the Bulgarian National Bank, and the Bulgarian Patent Office, among others. Most of the active partners are located in Sofia. Recent attempts to resurrect exchanges among regional universities have failed due to lack of funds and sufficient interest on the part of the Bulgarians. Before 2010, LC maintained a two-tiered level of activity with the National Library; it was both the official exchange partner (the recipient of GPO publications in exchange for Bulgarian government publications) as well as a priced-exchange partner and the main vendor for Bulgarian serials. After years of sketchy receipts, problems with shipping, paying for government publications that should have arrived via the exchange part of the relationship, and staff turnover, LC finally transferred the serial subscriptions to a different vendor and has limited the amount dedicated to the priced exchange. On LC's end, the recent reorganization of the cataloging and acquisitions sections has greatly improved LC's efficiency and tracking of the acquisitions from Bulgaria, with receipts on the upswing in 2010.
As the Bulgarian recommending officer, this author has undertaken several projects to improve access to the Bulgarian collections and to fill in gaps. For example, she compiled two bibliographies and holdings lists, one of Bulgarian newspapers and the other of Bulgarian journals.198 After the bibliographies were completed, she gave lists of missing issues to the Bulgarian acquisitions specialist to claim. To date many issues have been claimed and received or purchased from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia University, and the National Statistical Office. Missing issues from commercial publishers that should have arrived via the National Library as a subscription agent remain a problem. After an acquisitions trip to Sofia in 2007, she initiated subscriptions to a number of new journals and newspapers. While on this trip, she visited NGOs in an attempt to learn more about what they do and to acquire their publications, which typically fall outside of the traditional publishing distribution methods. Materials were donated to LC from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the National Civic Forum "Bulgarka," the Bulgarian office of ICOMOS, and KNSB, the confederation of independent labor unions in Bulgaria. After September 11, the emphasis at LC on acquiring Muslim materials has been strong, but they have been difficult to acquire from Bulgaria. Following suggestions from a US scholar of Bulgaria, recommendations were placed for several Muslim publications, but to date only three have been acquired, Miusiulmani [Muslims], the Bulgarian-Turkish journal from the Grand Mufti's Office, and its supplement for children, Hilal [Pointer], and Seliam [Greeting], which has now ceased.
The concept of universality of collecting continues today, with LC acquiring in all subject areas for Bulgarian except clinical medicine and technical agriculture. The Bulgarian collection profile for the vendor was edited in 2010 to allow the occasional receipt of representative high school and middle school history textbooks and to re-emphasize the acquisition of minority publications, which frequently have been overlooked. The recent recession, which has taken such a toll on university acquisitions budgets, has not yet hit LC's Bulgarian acquisitions, but with new staff and new efficiencies now in place, it is hoped that any future difficulties will be weathered more successfully than in the past, and the collections will continue to grow.
Estimates of the size of the Bulgarian collection are hard to judge and the numbers discussed below must all be considered only approximations due to the impossibility of extracting this information from such a large and dispersed collection and due to problems with bibliographic data in the LC online catalog. In 1986 David Kraus assessed the collection at 35,000 volumes of books and bound serials, but he offered no methodology or explanation for how that number was reached.199 In August 1992 in preparation for a visit of Bulgarian dignitaries, reports were run against the online catalog with the following search criteria: all items published in Bulgaria or all items written about Bulgaria or all items written in the Bulgarian language or all items with the terms "Bulgaria" or "Bulgarian" in a variety of fields. The results gave 32,766 records, but there is no indication that any elimination of duplicate records occurred. The categories were: Books: 16,820; Pre-MARC: 13,512; Preliminary cataloging: 864; Serials: 1,114; Maps: 221; Music: 235.200
In the latest attempt to estimate the size of the collection several reports were run against the LC online catalog in June 2010. They were for the language code for Bulgarian, the country code for Bulgaria, and for places of publication including the various spellings of Sofia and a handful of other large cities such as Plovdiv and Varna. The reports were then merged and duplicates deleted to provide the data described below. The data cover only the number of bibliographic records, not number of volumes represented by the titles. These numbers should be interpreted not as fact, but as estimates, for several other reasons: uncataloged materials in the rare books collection, in the Geography and Map Division, and in the European Division, and titles that are on the shelves with classification numbers, but no corresponding records in the online catalog.
There were a total of 33,636 titles. Of these 31,371 were monographs, 1,680 were serials, 513 were cartographic materials, and the rest were other formats. The report for the language of the materials showed that 30,019 were in Bulgarian, 2,262 were in English, 547 were in Russian, 428 were in French, and the rest were in other languages such as German Turkish, Italian, etc. One potential problem with these figures is the result of how so-called pre-MARC records were converted to machine-readable form in the late 1970s–early 1980s. Many problems occurred with foreign-language titles, including miscoding of the language. English was the default code in the fixed field for the pre-MARC process. In addition, in various times of LC history, Bulgarian records were often given the Russian code in the fixed field. The report for the country codes resulted in 32,319 titles published in Bulgaria, while more than one thousand records had no country code at all. The most revealing part of the reports is the count by LC call number, which shows the collection strengths and weaknesses (see Table 6). Language and literature, and history are by far the largest categories, with the social sciences also having significant holdings. The weaknesses are American history (i.e., US ethnic publications), and military and naval sciences. Medicine and agriculture are also poorly represented, but this is a deliberate collection policy due to the existence of other national libraries for those subjects.
|LC Classification||Definition of Class||Number of Bulgarian Titles|
|B||Philosophy, Psychology, Religion||1287|
|C||Auxiliary Sciences of History||449|
|D||History: General and Old World||6703|
|E–F||History: Western Hemisphere||117|
|G||Geography, Anthropology, Recreation||1323|
|P||Language and Literature||9680|
|Z||Bibliography: Library Science||1017|
Besides possible lack of elimination of duplicate records, one possible explanation for the discrepancy between the 1992 reports and the 2010 reports, which show an improbable growth of less than 1,000 items in the 18 year period is that the 1992 estimates included works about Bulgaria, which the 2010 estimates did not. That difference is at the very heart of what may be meant by the expression Bulgarian collection. Materials published about Bulgaria, but not in Bulgaria or in the Bulgarian language probably should have been included in the concept and in the 2010 count.
Estimating a volume count based on these numbers is even more problematic. For example, there are probably no more than 1,000 uncataloged titles or cataloged titles with no records in the online catalog held in the places mentioned above. The numbers also do not reflect multi-volume sets or multi-volume serials. If a conservative estimate of five volumes per serial title is assumed and 1,500 more volumes from multi-volume sets is also assumed, an additional 9,900 volumes would be added to the count. The sum of these numbers totals 44,536. That is, 33,636 titles + 1,000 uncataloged volumes + 8,400 serial volumes + 1,500 multi-volume set volumes = 44,536 volumes. It is from this conservative estimate that the number of 45,000 volumes mentioned in the opening paragraph of the article was reached. Clearly, it is impossible at this point to reconstruct the entire Bulgarian collection, but one thing is certain: the collection will continue to grow, for LC has committed to providing the US government and the American people with important materials from all nations of the world.