N.E. Kotelnikova

Russian State Library


The manuscript department of the Russian State Library is in possession of a unique collection embracing both archival materials and hand written books, music manuscript, maps. According to the make-up of the holdings of the department the cartographic materials are incorporated either into personal stocks or into the stocks of solitary additions, which hampers the search.

Hand written cartographic items in need of scholarly study, description and organization have been picked out of the unprocessed archival materials of the manuscript department. They are maps, plans, atlases, drawings, side views. The stock is stamped with subject variety since there are general geographic and topographical maps, maps and plans of universal land surveying, military maps, plans of towns and fortresses, hydrographic, historical, ethnographic maps there. They derive from the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. They can be held up as a marvelous aid in considering the history of the making of the Russian cartography in detail. Land surveying proprietary plans take a pride of place among the given cartographic materials.

In Russia the land surveying commenced in 1766. By 1796 22 provinces were surveyed. By the end of the 1880s 195375 plans in the matter of granting plots of land (272 million dessiatinas in the aggregate) were turned over to the archives of the land surveying office. The library received land surveying plans along with the archives of well known personages but due to the complicated nature of handling the plans they were removed from those archives. They were put together in separate folders. They were not put into scientific circulation. Unprocessed land surveying plans belonged to such families well known in Russia as the Rumyantsevs, the Bobrinskis, the Sokovnins, the Norovs, the Vasilchikovs, the Tolstois. I succeeded in finding out a collection of land surveying plans of the possessions of the Bobrinski-Sokovnins, which was small in number (22 items of storage). The families of the Bobrinskis and of the Sokovnins were tied by conjugal bonds. In 1830 S. P. Sokovnina married V. A. Bobrinski. The land owned by both families were scattered in different provinces of the Russian empire to wit in Moscow, Tula, Simbirsk provinces. Side by side with the plans of the land belonging to the afore mentioned proprietors plans of the land given to count Bobrinski by Moscow provincial drawing office on his inquiry were found.

The plans took in separate villages, cottages, waste ground. They were made chiefly on the scale of 100 sagenes in an inch (1:8400) and the generalized plans were drawn on the scale of 200 sagenes in an inch (1:16800). The plans were of interest in terms of their content, appearance, location of the elements of the design. Arable land, meadows, kitchen-gardens, rivers, roads, settlements were depicted there, the surnames of the land surveyors and in some cases the poll number of the peasants were entered. The plans were drawn in Indian ink and painted in water-colours, they were compiled between 1769 and 1910. Plans created at an earlier date were adorned with figured frame, unrolled scrolls, there were compass roses on them.

Work on the scientific study and organization of the stock of the land surveying plans of the Bobrinski-Sokovnins is in its infancy and it requires continuation. It is interesting for cartographers, land surveyors, historians. Hese documents are invaluable for the reconstruction of the history of the land-tenure in Russia.