Volume 46, No.1 - Spring 2000
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2000 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Subačienė, Giedra, and Subačius, Giedrius. Newberry Lituanica: Books of Lithuanian and Old Prussian Interest at the Newberry Library, Chicago to 1904. Chicago, Lithuanian American Community, Inc., Committee to Commemorate the First Lithuanian Book, 1999. xviii + 64 pp. (In Lithuanian and English. )

The authors write (pp. v, xi) that, in July of 1901, the Chicago Newberry Library acquired the major part of the books which had belonged to the amateur linguist and collector, Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, the nephew of Emperor Napoleon I. This collection numbers more than 20, 000 bibliographic items, of which 92 books are of interest to specialists in Lithuanian or Old Prussian and are described in the catalogue reviewed here.

Bonaparte had collected almost all the early Lithuanian grammars published in Lithuania Minor, lacking only the grammar of Kristupas Sapūnas-Teofilis Schultz (1673). He had indeed acquired all of the early Lithuanian dictionaries published in Lithuania Minor, and his collection would have been complete but for a copy of Sirvydas' Dictionarium Trium Linguarum (Vilnius, ca. 1620, 1631, 1642, 1677, and 1713).

The catalogue entries are arranged in chronological, rather than alphabetical, order; but the subject index (pp. 60-61) and the name index (pp. 63-64) are quite complete. And since the number of items is so limited, there is no problem in locating any item that one might be interested in. Information about each book includes (1) the date of publication, (2) the author's name and title in its original form, (3) a brief description of the book and its author, (4) the Newberry Library call number, (5) previous call numbers, usually either Bonaparte's original call number (usually stamped in blue ink), (6) bookplates, usually either of Bonaparte's library or the Newberry library, (7) a description of the binding, and (8) where applicable, the reference number in the Lietuvos TSR bibliografija, Serija A, Knygos lietuvių kalba The Soviet Lithuanian Bibliography, Series A, Books in the Lithuanian Language' (pp. xvii-xviii).

Although the first book described is Johann Hasentödter's Chronica,.., a history of the world until 1569, the third and fourth items, two Lithuanian grammars by Daniel Klein, present more interest to the linguist. The third item, published in 1653, is the first printed Lithuanian grammar and was written in Latin. On the back flyleaf (recto) there is an inscription that appears to be in Hebrew. This inscription is reproduced in the volume being reviewed (p. 6), and I am grateful to Prof. Aminadav Dykman of our university for translating the first line, which seems to mean: 'He-who-keeps humbleness will-be-kept. ' In Dykman's view the rest is incomprehensible.

The fourth item, published in 1654, is a somewhat abbreviated German version of the 1653 grammar. In his introduction (pp. viii-ix, xv), Giedrius Subačius remarks that in Soviet days Klein's grammars were brought to Lithuania from a St. Petersburg library (actually the Saltykov-Ščedrin library, see Balčikonis and Larin 1957: 6) in order to produce the 1957 photocopied book since at that time sufficiently well-preserved copies could not be found in Lithuania. Subačius writes (ix, xv): 'Even today, no copy of the second Klein grammar (1654, item no. 4) exists in any Lithuanian library. Meanwhile, the copy at the Newberry library feels as crisp as though it had just come from the printer (šiugžda naujumu), as though it had escaped the merciless touch of centuries. But in 1957, the publishers of the facsimile edition of the book could not have known such a pristine copy existed. '

Interestingly enough, another facsimile edition, published in 1977 by Harald Haarmann, exists apparently because the 1957 edition was not easily available in western libraries (see Haarmann 1977: 6-7). The print in the Haarmann edition seems to be larger than that in the Balčikonis and Larin edition, although the latter is said to be an exact reproduction of the original with regard to size of the letters (Balčikonis and Larin 1957: 6).

Items 25 and 26 are the first and second parts, respectively, of Friedrich Pott's de Borusso-Lithuanicae tam in Slavicis quam Letticis Linguis Principatu Commentatio. 'A Consideration of the Primordiality of Prussian-Lithuanian in Regard to Slavic and Latvian [i.e., Baltic] Languages' (Halle, 1837). According to Sabaliauskas (1979: 51), in this work, Pott gives a rather good description of the Baltic languages and shows their archaic nature in comparison with the Germanic and Slavic languages.

A recurrent theme on American university campuses today is the alcohol problem. This has, of course, been addressed many times in the past and devoted to this problem is item 55 of the catalogue, a translation from the Polish by the Rev. Dominykas Budrikas, Namu krizius arba Kajp Rejkie Suditi yr Misliti Apej Gierima Ariełkas? 'The Domestic Cross or How one Should Judge or Think About the Drinking of Whiskey?' One wonders how this came to Louis-Lucien Bonaparte's attention and what use he might have made of this volume. Was it because he was interested in the 'comparison of wine-related terminology in Latin and in the so-called neo-Latin dialects' (pp. vi, xii)?

Item no. 45 is August Schleicher's famous Handbuch der litauischen Sprache I. Grammatik (Prague, 1856), the first grammar of Lithuanian to contain material on Indo-European philology, and vol. II of the same grammar (item no. 46) is a reader and glossary. Sabaliauskas (1979: 63) writes that Schleicher was the most important figure in Indo-European linguistics in the middle of the 19th century.

The first book about Old Prussian in this catalogue is item no. 18, Johann Severin Vater's Die Sprache der alten Preussen Einleitung, Ueberreste, sprachlehre, Wörterbuch... 'An Introduction to the Language of the Old Prussians, Remaining Fragments, Grammar, Dictionary... ' This volume was republished in 1966 in Wiesbaden by Dr. Martin Sändig and is now generally available. It is interesting in that it offers an interlinear German-Old Prussian translation, the German in the upper line and the Old Prussian in the lower line. Note that Mažiulis (1981) follows the same procedure. Although, under the Old Prussian, he adds a Lithuanian translation.

I have never seen item no. 19, Samuel Bogumił Linde. O języku Dawnych Prusaków; Rozbior Dzieła Professora Vatera 'About the Language of the Ancient Prussians; An Analysis of Professor Vater's Work. ' Samuel Bogumił Linde is the well-known author of the large six-volume dictionary of the Polish language. Other books about Old Prussian include item 29, Georg Heinrich Ferdinand Nesselmann's Die Sprache der alten Preussen an ihren Ueberresten erläutert (Berlin, 1845) 'The language of the Old Prussians Illustrated by the Remaining Documentation, ' and item 82, his Thesaurus Linguae Prussicae 'Dictionary of Old Prussian' (Berlin, 1873), both well-known works to specialists in Old Prussian.

In conclusion, I would say that this catalogue contains much valuable information about Baltic material available in the west. The catalogue is handsomely printed and contains several interesting photographs, e. g., there is a picture of Hasentödter's book mentioned above (p. 3) and a copy of the title page (p. 2). I should also like to comment on the excellent idiomatic English translation by Jurgis Arvydas Anysas and Laima Petrauskas VanderStoep. There is nothing to jar the ear of the native speaker of English (which, alas, one sometimes encounters in publications from the Baltic lands), and one would not know that the original was in Lithuanian if it were not for the statement of the compilers and the parallel columns in Lithuanian and English. The compilers and translators have done a great service to the Baltic field by supplying it with this well-prepared and interesting catalogue.


Balčikonis, J. and B. Larin(as), chief editors. 1957. Pirmoji lietuvių kalbos gramatika. Vilnius, Valstybinė politinės ir mokslinės literatūros leidykla.
Haarmann, Harald, ed. 1977. Daniel Klein. Grammatica Lituanica... Hamburg, Helmut Buske Verlag.
Mažiulis, Vytautas. 1981. Prūsų kalbos paminklai. II. Vilnius, Mokslas.
Sabaliauskas, Algirdas. 1979. Lietuvių kalbos tyrinėjimo istorija. Vilnius, Mokslas.
Vater, Johann Severin. 1966. Die Sprache der alten Preussen. (Reprint of 1821 edition). Wiesbaden, Dr. Martin Sändig oHG.

William R. Schmalstieg
The Pennsylvania State University