Volume 22, No.4 - Winter 1976
Editors of this issue: J.A. Raèkauskas
Copyright © 1976 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


Hoover Institution,
Stanford University

The library resources pertaining to Baltic Area Studies have been part of the Hoover Institution's collections almost from the time of the founding of the library by Herbert Hoover in 1919.

In the summer of 1920 while teaching history at Stanford, Professor Frank Golder of Washington State College was appointed to the staff of the Hoover War Library, as it was called then, as a representative abroad for collecting library and archival material. During his travels in Europe, Mr. Golder also visited the Baltic States. He contacted prominent individuals, made copies of their manuscripts, and persuaded them to write personal accounts on their countries' struggles for independence. Professor Golder's initial effort was followed by that of profs. Harold Fisher and Witold Sworakowski. Professor Fisher, at the time Chairman of the Directors of the Hoover Institution, had been in Riga and Tallinn as the American Food Relief representative in 1922. He visited the three capitals again in 1929 and with the aid of his previously made friends there, collected a sizeable amount of valuable material, primarily in government documents. Professor Sworakowski, who arrived at the Hoover Institution as a Slavic Fellow in 1947, was appointed Slavic Curator in 1952, in which capacity he served until 1963. During his earlier career as a Polish foreign officer before World War II, he served three years in the Baltic States. His experience there made him aware of the importance of expanding and strengthening the Baltic collections in the Hoover Institution. Professor Sworakowski is responsible for obtaining several of the Baltic archives in the Institution's collections. Although now retired from his most recent post as Associate Director, Professor Sworakowski continues to work at the Hoover Institution as a consultant and is still involved with archival acquisitions projects.

An extensive amount of Baltic material was presented to the Hoover Institution by the late Professor Malbone W. Graham of the University of California at Los Angeles, who visited the three countries in the mid-1930s. Professor Graham made continuous contributions to the Hoover Library throughout his life. After his death in 1965 his wife donated to the Hoover Institution his entire research collection on the constitutional history of the new governments of Central and Eastern Europe.

The most recent contributor is Professor Edgar Anderson from the California State University at San Jose, who has donated many microfilm copies of Latvian books and periodicals, including some very rare ones, to the Hoover Institution.

Current acquisition of Baltic monographs and serials is handled by our East European Curator, Mr. Karol Maichel. Efforts are made to purchase everything of importance published in the major Western languages. Publications from the three Soviet Republics in the Russian language are received either through exchange or purchase. An active program for acquiring Baltic archival materials also is currently under way.

Most of the holdings pertaining to the Baltic area from the pre-World War I period are now in the Stanford University Library where they were transferred from the Hoover Institution. The material consists mainly of German language publications concerning local history, archeology, commerce, economic conditions and navigation. There are various items in the Hoover Library still, such as a selection of publications of the universities and learned societies. The sources pertaining to revolutionary activity in the Baltic provinces are found in the literature listed under the subject heading Russia, History, Revolution of 1905.

The next period, World War I and the struggle for independence, is represented almost exclusively by a number of serials. Among them are the extremely rare bulletin of the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, and the first issues of the equally rare Lietuvos Aidas. The primary materials pertaining to the Baltic delegations at the Paris Peace Conference are found in the rare multi-volume set of the Proceedings of the Conference, and in David Hunter Miller's My Diary at the Conference in Paris.

The period of independence is well covered. Government documents, especially from Estonia and Latvia, are represented, including the parliamentary debates. The holdings include only a few serial publications, however, and no major daily newspapers. The English language Baltic Times, which was founded in Tallinn in 19.32, is among the holdings, but regretfully, its file consists only of the issues published from late 1938 through 1940. A collection of photo enlargements from microfilms of the German Foreign Ministry Archives, which are held now at the United States National Archives, contains material about Lithuania in particular, but references are also found to Estonia and Latvia. The file covers the period from 1923 to 1945 and includes information about relations between Germany and the Baltic States, and the Soviet Union and the Baltic States during their last years of independence. The monograph collection includes books written by and about the national leaders and prominent politicians and historians. The Latvian section is the richest of the three because of the keen interest taken by Professor Anderson in the collection. Important publications about Baltic affairs by non-Baltic writers are also present.

The items deserving the most comment in the World War II period are the Lithuanian underground serials and the captured German documents on microfilm. The underground serial file contains sixteen titles and covers the years 1940 -1945. The captured documents are described in printed guides. The records of two departments are concerned with the Baltic States: 1) Reichskommissar für das Ostland, and 2) Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete. Basically the captured documents contain statistical data, information on the economic legislation, and directives referring to the organization of the occupation government. But there is also information about Reichsleiter Rosenberb's spoliation of artistic and intellectual resources of the occupied Baltic countries. The remainder of the material pertaining to World War II consists mainly of publications by the consulates, various national committees and individual authors in exile. Soviet publications and works by non-Baltic scholars in the Western world covering the period are also present.

Since the time of the Soviet reoccupation of the Baltic States, the Library has been receiving from the three republics, through exchanges and purchases, the official publications in the Russian language pertinent to its collections. These include the publications of the Baltic Academies of Sciences and the higher educational institutions. With the exception of the Russian language Communist Party newspapers and the Estonian weekly Sirp ja Vasar, which is a gift, no serials are received. Recently, the Hoover Library became a depository of the samizdat or underground publications from the Soviet Union which are collected and distributed by Radio Liberty. These documents include information about the current nationality and civil rights movements in the Baltic republics. In addition to the above, the Stanford University Library receives material from the Baltic republics too, particularly in the field of language and linguistic study, but their acquisitions are also very selective and few in number.

The publications issued outside the Baltic area, primarily by the Baltic émigré presses, also are represented. Of the serials of the postwar period, the Library has many which appeared in refugee camps in the first few years following the end of the war. Only a few of them survived beyond two or three years. We have the bulletin and the yearly reports in English of one Estonian displaced persons camp in Geislingen, Germany, which record the years 1945-1950. Of the longer-lived English language information bulletins, the Hoover Institution has the Latvian Information Bulletin, Newsletter from Behind the Iron Curtain, Baltic Review, and the newcomer Estonian Events which will be appearing under its new title Baltic Events this year. The latter is published as a labor of love by professors Rein Taagepera of the University of California at Irvine, and Juris Dreifelds of the University of Toronto. It records news and current events from the Soviet press as well as news and impressions brought back by recent visitors to the Baltic republics.

And finally, a few words about our reference collection. The best coverage is in bibliography. Of the encyclopedias the library has subscriptions to Eesti Noukogude Entsuklopeedia, Latvijas PSR Maþa Enciklopedia, and the English language Encyclopedia Lituanica which is published in the United States. A complete set of Lietuviø Enciklopedija is also on our reference shelf. Recently the Library was able to purchase, through good fortune, the eight-volume Eesti Entsuklopeedia published in Tartu in 1937. It was offered for sale here in the neighboring town of Menlo Park and I was told by the dealer that the set came out of the country as contraband. A copy of Eesti Biograafiline Leksikon, one of the few existing outside the Iron Curtain, is on the reference shelf of the Stanford University Library. Since 1970 there have also been additions to the dictionary section.