A Guidebook for Russian Document Researchers #ukraine


Working with Russian Archival Documents: A Guide to Modern Handwriting,
Document Forms, Language Patterns, and Other Related Topics.
Olga E. Glagoleva.
(Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Toronto,
Toronto, 1998), 114 pp., ill.

This guide book will be of interest to scholars and students of Slavic
studies in a range of disciplines such as history, political science,
sociology, literature, linguistics, etc. who intend to carry out research
in Russian archives. While the study's chronological boundaries primarily
encompass Soviet history, the Stalin era in particular, some
pre-Revolutionary topics make it useful for a broader audience.
The guide is the first to base its approach to the analysis of modern
Russian handwritten documents on combined methods of paleography,
neography, and forensic studies.

The text consists of an introduction, two chapters, an appendix, and
selected bibliography. The introduction underlines the significance of
advance preparation for archival research and the importance of analyzing
both the outward aspects and the textological features of archival
documents. The first chapter presents two methods of reading documents --
graphical and logical. A general survey of the evolution of Russian alphabet
and handwriting is followed by a more elaborate exposition of the graphical
characteristics of modern hands. The logical approach links up the common
principles of producing documents in Russia with data unearthed by auxiliary
historical disciplines such as paleography, chronology, metrology, toponymy,
and sphragistics. The second chapter subjects four sample documents to
detailed analysis to demonstrate how to apply the author's own simple
techniques to deciphering illegible hands. Throughout the book, 85
illustrations present archival documents of various types. The texts are
deciphered and supplied with commentary. These features make this guide
useful both in the classroom and for individual practice in reading Russian
handwritten archival documents.

If you would like to order a copy, please send a cheque or money order for
$15.00 US (addresses within North America) or $20.00 US (addresses outside
North America) to:
Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies
Munk Centre for International Studies
University of Toronto
1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7

I have no financial interest in this book.

An additional article by the author on conducting archival research in
Russia and the former Soviet Union countries can be found at

My thanks to Hilary Henkin for making me aware of it.

Chuck Weinstein
Deer Park, NY

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