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The devotee of librarianship

Evgeniy Khlebtsevich 1884–1953) is an outstanding Belarusian and Russian library historian, bibliographer, researcher of literature, an active participant of Belarusian cultural and social movement of the early 20th century.

He was born in village Kleniki, (the Belsk Uyezd of the Grodno Province) in the Orthodox priest’s family. His father Ivan Andreevich taught arithmetic and geography at the Zhirovichi religious school which Evgeniy Khlebtsevich attended. Having leaving school in 1900, he had studied at the Vilna Theological Seminary during six years. After the seminary he should have been a parish priest, but in 1906 he entered the Yurievsky University (now in Tartu) to study at the faculty of physics and mathematics.

In February 1907, Evgeniy Khlebtsevich entered the Petersburg University from which he graduated in 1913. At this particular time he became an enthusiastic member of the Belarusian cultural and social movement and joined the library work, acting as an initiator and creator of Belarusian students’ scientific-literary circle which was welcomed by known scientists A. Shakhmatov, E. Karsky, E. Romanov and others. He communicated with editors of newspapers Nasha dolya and Nasha niva where he appeared under the pen-name Khalimon z-pad pushchy (Khalimon from near dense forest). At the same time Evgeniy Khlebtsevich wrote for the column A book and library bulletin in newspaper Novaya Rus. Also he backed up Yanka Kupala helping him publish his poems in the newspaper. He actively advanced an idea of creating people’s libraries funded by patron and publisher F. Pavlenkov. As a result, such libraries appeared in the Grodno Province. In 1911, Evgeniy Khlebtsevich took part in the First All-Russian Library Congress (St.-Petersburg) where he read a report on the development of people’s libraries.

At the beginning of the 1920s he worked at different Soviet governing bodies where he coordinated questions concerning librarianship. Since 1943 and to his dying day, he had been a professor and academic secretary at the Moscow Library Institute. As a library scientist and literary historian, Evgeniy Khlebtsevich studied readers’ interests being engaged in the problem of “writer and reader”. Also he wrote a Ph.D. thesis Maxim Gorky and the Red Army. In 1936, his most outstanding work The Mass Reader and the Work with Books appeared.

The exhibition is based on original materials and documents from Evgeniy Khlebtsevich ‘s personal archive which are kept today in the stocks of the National Library of Belarus. Unique photos, manuscripts, personal (family) and creative documents, and also scientific papers on literary criticism and library science as well as publications of different years are on display.