Volume 21, No.1 - Spring 1975
Editors of this issue: Antanas Klimas, Thomas Remeikis, Bronius Vaskelis
Copyright © 1975 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


Kent State University

The assemblage of Lithuanian material in the Kent State University Library is one of the newer archival endeavors. When the Collection was initiated in 1971, there were already at least three substantial collections in existence, the ALKA archives, that of the Library of Congress, and the University of Pennsylvania's Lituanistica section. Nevertheless, it was felt that a greater effort had to be made in this direction, simply because so much was not found in existing collections. This was particularly true of the periodicals published in this country during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries.

This period was critical in Lithuania's movement toward independence, and at this time the Lithuanians in United States played no small part. In support of the complex separative movement, they provided both financial and political backing. Additionally, the educational institutions in the United States trained a substantial number of Lithuanians, some of whom remained in this country and worked for Lithuania's independence while others re- turned to provide much needed technical and educational assistance in Lithuania. To understand the part played by these Lithuanian - Americans in the history of both Lithuania and the United States, it is imperative to have the necessary sources, in particular their newspapers and other periodicals. Consequently, the process of collection and preservation is essential. To date, Msgr. Francis M. Juras has done the most adequate job in this direction. In all probability he has in his ALKA Museum the most extensive Lithuanian aggregation outside of Lithuania, and although it is not catalogued completely, the material is quite accessible to the researcher. Despite Msgr. Juras' prodigious effort, which spans more than a half century, the work is by far not complete.

In order to facilitate this preservation effort, the Lithuanian Collection at Kent State was begun, and since has been expanded to include all printed matter dealing with Lithuania. At present the library staff has processed over 2,500 titles, which represent approximately 3,000 volumes, and there are about 4,000 additional volumes to be catalogued.1

The periodical holdings of Kent are quite extensive with some six hundred bound volumes now found on the shelves. There are seventy titles, which vary from single complete years to complete issues. Approximately sixty titles are found on microfilm which include single rare numbers to complete issues. Additionally there are about 300 titles found in the Special Collections division. They are located there because of their rarity, poor condition, or lack of numbers. In the last instance, as all of the numbers are obtained for a particular year, that volume will be bound and put on the shelf.

There are also a number of rare monographs and other materials in the Special Collections division. Of particular interest are the following:

a) Ona Šimaitė's Diary Ona Šimaitė was a brave, humane woman, who saved a number of Jewish children from the Nazis and as a result was honored highly in Israel. The library has in its possession her diary from 1953 to 1970. The diary consists of twenty-nine books of which numbers three through thirteen (1953 -1956) were written in Israel. The others were penned in Paris.

b) Albinas Trečiokas' Papers The library has received a portion of these papers and will obtain the rest at a later date. Of major importance of those now held is a series of letters received by Albinas Trečiokas after World War II. The correspondence was from Lithuanians in displaced persons camps who wanted to come to the United States. Albinas Trečiokas was very active in this work and remains one of the Lithuanian - American leaders in the New York - New Jersey area.

c) Dr. Jack Stukas' 'Memories of Lithuania' Radio Program Transcripts The transcripts now held cover the period from August 1941 to December 1969. These contain much valuable information centering largely on the activities of the Lithuanians in the New York - New Jersey area. Later transcripts are to be sent to the library as are a number of Lithuanian phonograph records in the possession of Dr. Stukas, who remains very active in Lithuanian - American affairs.2

The Lithuanian material is integrated in the library according to the Library of Congress cataloging system. Therefore, it is not concentrated in one particular area but rather found throughout the library. Nevertheless, there is the literature and language division where over five hundred volumes are located. Included are collected writings, novels, poetry, grammars, and dictionaries other than those found in the reference section. The second major area of concentration is that dealing with Lithuanian history. Over three hundred volumes are located here and include general histories, periodic histories, and memoirs.

A heavy concentration of matter dealing with Lithuanian - American institutions and organizations also exists. In addition to the above listed periodical publications of the various organizations, there are also church histories and jubilee books, school yearbooks, and histories and annual reports of organizations. This is complemented by general and regional Lithuanian - American histories and memoirs. Much of this material requires special cataloging and as a result there is some delay before it is put on the shelves. For the most complete listing of material found, the researcher should consult the Lithuanian Collection listing in the subject section of the card catalogue.

Material complementing the Lithuanian Collection is very extensive in the Russian language and centers on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Alfred Levin Collection contains much information on Lithuania for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection is composed of fifty-three reels of microfilm, which contain over six hundred items including memoirs, biographies, contemporary newspapers and journals, monographs, governmental reports, statistical materials, party programs, and reports and publications of party and political organizations. Also found are the stenographic reports of the Imperial Dumas, the complete collections of the laws of the Russian Empire (1885 - 1916), the journals of the Ministry of Education (1830-1917), and the full issue of newspapers such as Riech and Novoie Vremia.

One final area, which will interest the researcher, is the very extensive Jonas Damauskas collection. Composed of some six thousand volumes, this aggregation focuses on the Middle Ages in Eastern and Central Europe and is one of the most extensive in North America for this period, dealing with Lithuania. The collection is divided into sources in the Lithuanian, Russian, German, Polish, Latin, and Old Church Slavonic languages. The entire collection has been willed to the library, with some four hundred volumes having been received already.

The Lithuanian Collection is enhanced by twenty-one quarter hours of the Lithuanian language, which is offered through the Critical Language Program. This combination of archival material and language offerings has proven effective. Within its first two years of existence, it witnessed the completion of one doctoral dissertation and two master's works, all of which dealt with Lithuania and to some degree used the archival - language combination. An additional doctoral dissertation, which will touch on Lithuania, is in progress, as well as a master's work which will focus on Lithuania.


1 In this count a complete year of a periodical is considered to be one volume.
2 Since this article originally was written, the library has received seven additional boxes of the Trečiokas Archives and three boxes from the Stukas Archives.