Durnovo, Nikolai Nikolaevich – Materials from Personal Inheritance

Name Durnovo, Nikolai Nikolaevich – Materials from Personal Inheritance Nikolai N. Durnovo (1876–1937)
Nikolai N. Durnovo (1876–1937)
Catalog Number T-A-820–931
Volume 112 inventory units, 1 archival box
State of Cataloging The collection has been fully catalogued and is freely accessible
Languages of Documents Russian, Czech, German, French, rarely Polish, Slovene, Serbian

Nikolai Nikolaevich Durnovo (23 October 1876, Moscow – 27 October 1937, Sandarmokh) was a Russian Slavicist and philologist, professor at Saratov University. From 1924, he lived in Czechoslovak exile, working among others as a visiting professor at Masaryk University in Brno. He was actively involved in scientific life, cooperated with the Prague Linguistic Circle, and established contacts with Czech and Slovak philologists, as well as with many scholars from Russian emigration. Because of difficult living conditions, Durnovo accepted an offer of membership in the Belarusian Academy of Sciences in 1928 and moved to Minsk. Subsequently, he relocated to Moscow. In 1933, he was arrested and sentenced to ten years in forced labour camps. He served his sentence in Solovetsky special-purpose camps. In October 1937, he was executed at the nearby mass execution site in Sandarmokh near Medvezhegorsk.

The collection of documents deposited in the Slavonic Library (a small collection of 112 inventory units) contains exclusively correspondence received by Durnovo during his life in Czechoslovakia. It includes letters, smaller correspondence cards and postcards from Czech as well as foreign scholars, editorial boards and organisations. Most of the documents are in Russian and Czech, occasionally also in French and German. The collection demonstrates Durnovo’s lively involvement in scholarly life and his desire to continue his philological work, even in the difficult conditions of emigration.

In addition to the correspondence, the holdings of the Slavonic Library also comprise Durnovo’s Library of more than 3,200 volumes, which was purchased at the end of 1926. The collection contains mostly Russian scholarly works from the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century on Russian studies, including books on Church Slavic topics, Old Russian literature, and ethnography.


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