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“This small gift is dedicated to...” Dedicatory inscriptions of Tambov bibliophiles on the civil press books of the 18th century


The tradition of book-making is closely connected with the formation and development of private library collections in Russia in the 18th century, which began its development with representatives of the noble class as the main book-holders who had the opportunity to purchase fairly expensive publications. Subsequently, the transfer of books began to spread among the middle strata, who viewed book-making primarily as a kind of mark for summing up a certain stage in their life – training, service, etc. Often on such gifts, short inscriptions (inscripts) were applied, containing personal information of a different nature. This work is dedicated to the inscriptions on the civil press books of the 18th century from the collections of Tambov second-hand booksellers. We prove that a careful reading of the dedicatory inscriptions allows us to trace the motives of do-nation, the nature of the relationship between second-hand booksellers and the history of their collections. Thanks to the conducted work, we create new and supplement the existing meetings of book owners. We show the connections of individuals with institutions revealed through donation inscriptions. We trace the individual trajectories of individual editions, which can be identified through the presence of the records of several donors who consecutively donated books. Consideration of the scripts allows us to present the book as a translator of the personality of its owner and a reflection of historical events.


dedicatory inscription; donation; personal library; bibliophilism; Tambov governorate

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