Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Library Collection

The Princeton University Library system holds one of the largest collections in North America of materials related to Russia, Eastern Europe and other territories of the former Soviet Union, containing well over half a million print volumes, approximately 70 percent of which are in the vernacular languages of the region.

The collections provide an exceptionally rich research environment of primary and secondary sources to support projects in the languages and literatures, visual arts, music and performing arts, history, politics, sociology, anthropology and ethnology of the peoples of Russia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

The print collection counts more than 10,000 serials, including current and historical newspapers and magazines and academic journals in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. The collections also have substantial holdings in other media, most notably video recordings in the Humanities Resource Center and audiorecordings in the Mendel Music Library. Through its many REEES-relevant database subscriptions, the library provides access to the electronic versions of a wide range of newspapers, journals, statistical publications and government documents.

Among the major North American research collections supporting REEES, Princeton's is particularly distinguished by its extensive holdings in demographic data and other statistical publications housed in the Ansley J. Coale Population Research Collection (a division of the Donald E. Stokes Library for Public and International Affairs, one of the largest collections of its kind outside of the region itself.

Princeton’s collections of rare and unique materials also feature some very valuable holdings of interest to students of the history, sociology and culture of Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections holds a wide range of archival materials related to artists, writers, scientists, and other intellectuals from Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe, including a voluminous collection of manuscripts and typescripts of the Russian poet Osip Mandel’shtam, and the archive of Russian theologian George Florovsky. The collection of 20th-century public policy papers in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library contains a large volume of original documents relating to figures of political consequence in Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe.

The Cotsen Children’s Library, a research collection of illustrated children’s books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the 15th century to the present, contains cumulatively just under 4,000 items published between 1637 and 2011 in Albanian, Armenian, Azeri, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Czech, Finnish, Georgian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkmen, Ukrainian and Uzbek.

In terms of particular directions currently being pursued in the development of the collections, Princeton is actively acquiring early 20th-century Soviet and Eastern European journals connected with artistic and or literary modernism. Notable recent acquisitions in this vein include full runs of the art journals Nowa Sztuka (Poland), Volné směry(Czechoslovakia), the Russian-German journal Вещь edited by Ilya Erenburg and El Lissitzky, and the art and literature journal ЛЕФ edited by Vladimir Mayakovsky. Other special foci of the collections include the history of science and scientific thought in Russia and the Soviet Union, protest movements and revolutionary trends in Russia and Eastern Europe, and politics, sociology and cultural identity in post-Soviet Eurasia.  

About the Librarian

Thomas Keenan is the librarian for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. He has both an academic and teaching background in Russian and Italian language and literature, as well as in academic and special-collections librarianship. Keenan spent four years as a curatorial assistant at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, and most recently held a position at the Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, where he taught research skills and information literacy.

He is currently in the process of completing a Ph.D. dissertation exploring generic affinities between works by Dante Alighieri and Mikhail Bulgakov; his own research interests center around the persistence and evolution of literary generic structures through different periods and across different cultures, particularly the reemergence of medieval representational and narrative modes in the art and literature of early 20th-century modernism. He is also very interested in the new possibilities, challenges and concerns digital technologies pose for the humanities and social sciences, and the implications this has for the maintenance and meaningful interrogation of the cultural and historical record of the peoples of Russia, other Slavic and East European nations and the former Soviet republics.

He is available to assist faculty and students at all levels with the logistics of research enterprises and to facilitate your productive exploration of the landscape of REEES research resources available to you through the Princeton Library system. Please contact him to discuss research strategies or if you would like help with identifying or locating sources for your research projects


Thomas Keenan
Librarian for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
B-9-P Firestone Library