The House of Romanov in the Collection
of the Presidential Library

Boris Yeltsin National Presidential Library is housed in a section of the old National Synod building, St Petersburg

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The personalities and fates of the Romanovs are widely represented in the new electronic collection available on the website of the Presidential Library since February 20. A large-scale collection of books and papers is devoted to the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov celebrated in 2013. The collection includes unique materials about Russian autocrats from the first Romanov Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich to the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II.

The selection combines 900 digitized documents, most of which were previously unknown to the general audience. Among them - memoirs, diaries, business and personal correspondence, newsreel, photos and paintings, audio broadcasts, popular science films, historical studies, bibliography, and more.

The collection features a wide range of rare editions about the events of those years. "The Book on the election to the throne of the great emperor, tsar and Grand Duke Michael Fedorovich," published in 1856, "lively describes impression of the Russian people of the time, the desire for calm after the terrible storms of interregnum…"

The core of the new collection are rare editions of the late 18th century about Peter I - the books of Ivan I. Golikov, who for many years painstakingly and tirelessly had been working on historical material, finding it as he said, "his own pleasure and joy." The library’s website presents 12 volumes of the "Acts of Peter the Great, Russia’s wise reformer: collected from reputable sources and ranged by year" and "Amendments to the Acts of Peter the Great ", which amounted to 18 volumes devoted to the Russian history of the 17th century, including the Battle of Poltava, and also contain anecdotes about Peter I and a description of the economic state of Russia under Peter the Great.

In the book of I. Golikov, Peter appears primarily as a tsar-worker, zealous owner of the vast country. The preface to the edition says that "every minute of Peter's life was uninterrupted chain of work in favor of the Fatherland and the subjects." Based on a large documentary material, the "Acts of Peter the Great" and the amendments to them summed up the research works about Peter I, published in the 18th century, and served as a basis for further study of Peter’s time both in the scientific literature and fiction. It is known that A. Pushkin, engaged in historical investigations, used the materials of I. Golikov when writing the "History of Peter the Great," "The Negro of Peter the Great", "Poltava", "Boris Godunov."

A striking personality of the ancient Romanov family was also Catherine II. Embodying the precepts of Peter, she went on to lead the development of Russia following the path that became the age of enlightenment. During the reign of Catherine II were created the Hermitage, the Public Library, the Smolny Institute and the normal schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The era of her reign was the time of strengthening international importance of the Russian Empire.

A page from "The Book on the election to the throne of the great emperor, tsar and Grand Duke Michael Fedorovich," published in 1856

In this connection, a very interesting part of the collection is "The political correspondence of Catherine II» in 9 volumes, published by the Imperial Russian Historical Society in the late 19th - early 20th century. The preface notes the special role of Catherine the Great to the Russian state. According to the authors, Catherine "has given a completely new direction to Russian foreign policy," which is why "she had to work a lot herself, go into all the details of the foreign relations of Russia." The book presents the correspondence with foreign sovereigns, letters and notes to the Russian and foreign statesmen, diplomatic, and other documents.

One of the rare editions presented in the collection and disclosing the identity of the Emperor Alexander Pavlovich is the book "The Emperor Alexander I», written by Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich - the grandson of Nicholas I, the author of many historical works covering the period of Alexander I and the Napoleonic wars. The publication features the "experience of historical research of the character and activities of Alexander Pavlovich not only as a sovereign and master of the Russian land, but as a man." The Grand Duke was sure that it the Patriotic War that revealed the managerial talent of the Russian Emperor.

The electronic copy posted on the website of the Presidential Library of the letter of Alexander I to Napoleon I in connection with the invasion of French troops into Russia, dated June 1812, describes the attitude of the emperor to the war, his unwillingness to fight with France. Addressing to Napoleon, he wrote: "Your Majesty, my brother, yesterday I learned that, despite the good faith with which I performed my obligations with respect to your Majesty, your troops crossed the Russian border ... If the intention of your Majesty is not to shed the blood of our people due to a misunderstanding of this kind and if you agree to withdraw your troops from Russian territory, I will assume that nothing happened and we still can reach the agreement. Otherwise, your majesty will force me to see you as a foe, whose actions are not caused by any act from my part. It depends on your Majesty to save humanity from the scourge of a new war. "

The collection also contains detailed genealogic studies of the Romanov family, their fate after the February Revolution of 1917, as well as material about the places connected with the names of the dynasty.

The materials of the collection are grouped by thematic sections with brief annotations. Within the section, documents are combined by biographical principle and are presented in chronological order.

The electronic collection of unique books, "The House of Romanov. 400th anniversary of the Zemsky Sobor of 1613" was a continuation of a series of events organized by the Presidential Library. Thus, during the video lecture "Knowledge about Russia" scientists delivered their lectures and citing different examples analyzed the reign Romanov dynasty. Jointly with the State Museum-Preserve "Tsarskoye Selo" and the Russian State Historical Archives, the Presidential Library released a wall calendar with reproductions of portraits of the royal dynasty. It is also planned to open an exhibition marking the anniversary of the House of Romanov.

Source & Copyright: Presidential Library
22 February, 2013