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Address to the Moscow City Duma – 1871

ADDRESS TO THE MOSCOW CITY DUMA 
AND IT’S MAYOR – IVAN ARTEMIEVICH LYAMIN
ON DECEMBER 23, 1871
BY GRIGORY A. TCHERTKOFF
UPON DONATING THE FIRST MOSCOW PUBLIC LIBRARY
TO THE CITY

Honorable Mayor Lyamin:

A collection of books and manuscripts which is known as the Tchertkoff Library, and which I own, was left to me by my late father. After his death I increased it in quantity by my own means. In my father’s memory, who dedicated his leisure time to scholarly studies, I adapted this library for the public use and in 1861 I opened it for free public use. Containing more than 300 rare manuscripts and up to 30,000 volumes written in many languages of Europe and collected for the exclusive purpose – the study of Russia on its broadest basis to include everything that had been written concerning its history – the library is well organized, has three catalogs and is not deprived of a certain significance, at least regarding its exclusive composition. While I am still alive, its fate is ensured, but such a collection, it seems to me, should not remain in private hands and I would wish to make it into a public holding.

My father was living in Moscow, served it for many years and held dear to his heart its well-being. For that reason, I believe that it is my duty, before I will make any decision pertaining to the future of my library to address the Moscow City Duma with an appeal: will it consider proper to acquire the Tchertkoff Library as property of the city of Moscow with the stipulations that the library:

1. Preserves the name in remembrance of my father;
2. Not be diminished in its number;
3. Be housed in a city government building;
4. Belongs for time immemorial to the city of Moscow;
5. Has permanent free access; and
6. Will satisfy our increasing need for the study of our motherland, of which study my father was a zealot.