English language Russian history and literature materials were added to the library as early as 1910. In 1938 Dr. Klaus Mehnert was hired as the first Russian history professor and began the general study of Russians in Asia and the Pacific; began to add Russian language materials to the library; and in 1939 published The Russians in Hawaii, 1804-1819. The library continued under John A.White, Rex Wade, Donald Raleigh, and John J. Stephan to add Russian history and foreign relations materials, Siberian travel accounts, material on the Russian revolution, the history of the Soviet/Russian Far East, and Russia in Asia. Ella Wiswell developed the Russian language and literature collections between 1952 and 1968.
The strengths of the collection are in the humanities and social sciences. Some science material has been added in areas of university prominence-geology, volcanology, oceanography, and astronomy. The journal collection is largely post-1917. At present we hold approximately 40,000 titles (79,000 volumes). Materials are found throughout the library in their appropriate call numbers. The assignment of a full-time Russian bibliographer in 1970 assured the continued growth of the collection.
Russian courses are offered in the History and European Languages departments. Students may earn a BA in Russian language and literature; there is no Russian history undergraduate major, but the MA and PhD are available. There is no single department of Russian area studies, although there was a Russian Area Studies Committee on campus from 1969 to 1996. A Russian area studies certificate was given at the undergraduate level during this time.
In March of 1986 the Center for the Soviet Union in the Pacific Asian Region [SUPAR] was created and placed within the newly formed School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was renamed the Center for Russia in Asia [CeRA]. As of June 1999 CeRA has been recommended for closure when Robert Valliant, the present director, retires.
After 1991, the enrollments in Russian language plummeted across the U.S., as well as interest in Russian/Soviet history. Along with the University's severe budgetary problems in the late 1990's, the number of faculty dwindled. At present there are two Russian language and literature professors and one Russian history professor.
The subject selectors and/or the current imprint-buying program acquire English language publications about Russia. Formerly, the Russian Bibliographer worked closely with the science and history selectors, as well as the Hawaiian and Pacific Collection staff.
This is not a Slavic collection and therefore the collection does not acquire materials in the Czech, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian, and other eastern European languages. Materials about Eastern Europe in English are acquired.
Regional Soviet/Russian imprints, small press runs, and out of print
materials are acquired primarily on exchange. There are about 20 exchanges
with Russian libraries, of which 10 are very important. After 1991, we
were lucky to establish exchanges with most of the major libraries in
the Russian Far East (Magadan, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk,
Vladivostok, and Sakhalin).
We have a good collection of Russian materials on Hawaii and the Pacific, including copies of many archival documents, which were possible to acquire after 1991.
The most valuable of our treasures is the collection of Russian imprints
from China and Japan. This is probably the third best collection in the
world (Prague's RZIA and the
California Bay area holdings being first and second). A catalog of this collection is due to be published by the Pashkov Dom of the Russian State Library in Moscow in 2001.
Collecting materials in the Russian language has for all practical purposes ceased. The Russian Bibliographer is due to retire in the near future.
Date compiled: 12/00 Compiler: Patricia Polansky