The Historical Russian Library of Alaska

Describes a collection of about 1200 volumes, mostly in Russian, sent from the Russian ship Nadezhda in 1803 and following years to “Our Colonies in America.” It was first at Kodiak, and then in Sitka before removal to the Mercantile Library of San Francisco in 1871, and eventual disposition. By 1825 it was described by Kyril Khlebnikof, chief of the counting house at Sitka: “The library in Sitka consists in more than one thousand two hundred volumes, which are held at 7500 rubles, in the number which are more than 600 Russian, 300 French, 130 German, 35 English, 30 Latin, and the remainder in Swedish, Dutch, Spanish and Italian languages.” How it was eventually found abandoned in San Francisco is not known, nor how it escaped the Great Fire. By 1869 Sitka had another library, its post library, but connected to the earlier one as far as the author can see.