About the Slavic, East European & Central Asian Collection

Yale University Library was among the first in America to collect Slavic materials systematically. Joel Sumner Smith, its Associate Librarian in the late 19th century, was one of the very few in his profession who read Russian. The books and serials he acquired today form the core of one of the major holdings in the West. With over 150,000 volumes concerning Central and Southeast Europe, as well as some 600,000 volumes relating to Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union, Yale has one of the five largest collections in the United States. The Slavic Collection acquires about 13,000 titles in the vernacular languages annually; English-language titles are usually acquired separately by the library for the general collection. Listed below are some of the resources available at Yale.


  • Monographs: 750,000+ (majority in the vernacular languages)
  • Serials: Approximately 6000 current and recent subscriptions
  • Newspapers: 200 current paper and digital subscriptions, as well as several thousand microfilms

Types of Materials

Monographs, serials, manuscripts, government documents, posters, photographs. All monographs, serials and manuscripts are listed in the library catalog, Orbis.

Timespan Covered

Materials date from 15th century to the present.

Subject Strengths

  • Emigre literature
  • Literature
  • History
  • Politics
  • Baltics, in particular Estonia