Yakov Butovsky archive

About the archive

The archive and library of film critic Yakov Butovsky contains books and periodicals on the history, theory, and practice of cinema and television. The library comprises over 2,800 volumes, including Soviet and Russian publications, books in German, English, French, Polish, and Czech. An important part of the archive is a collection of rare Soviet and foreign publications from the 1920 through the 1950s.

All books are marked with the author's bookplates, most of which are made using a typewriter or linocut printing. The publications are organized according to a system developed by Butovsky: “General Questions of the Art of Cinema, Issues of Film Theory and History,” “Film Dramaturgy and Screenwriting,” “Literature on Issues of Film Dramaturgy,” “Film Montage,” “Actors in Cinema,” “Artists in Cinema,” “Sound and Music in Cinema,” “Literature and Cinema,” “Viewers and Cinema,” “Children's Cinema,” “Foreign Cinema,” “History of Soviet Cinema,” “Cinema of the Republics of the Former USSR,” “Memoirs of Cinema Workers,” “Film Directing in Soviet Cinema,” “Animated Cinema,” “Television Films,” “The Art of Photography,” “Cinema Technology and Filmmaking,” “Cinema Artists,” “Cinema Composers,” “Actors of Soviet Cinema,” and “The Art of Cinematography.”

The library also includes an extensive collection of periodicals about cinema, including the magazines Kinovedcheskie zapiski and Voprosy kinoiskusstva, as well as film catalogues and guidebooks on Soviet and Russian cinema since the 1960s.

Of particular interest are archival documents and articles from magazines and newspapers, compiled by Butovsky in self‑made bindings, and a selection of reviews of almost every book in the library.

The library and archive were donated to the St. Petersburg branch of Garage Archive Collection on New Holland by Yakov Butovsky's heirs: his widow, Natalya Yakovlevna Butovskaya, and son Alexander.

About Yakov Butovsky

Yakov Leonidovich Butovsky (1927¬-2012) was a Russian film critic and held a candidate of art history degree. He taught at St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television and is the author of more than five hundred publications (1952–2012) on the art of cinema. Butovsky graduated from the Electrical Engineering Faculty of the Leningrad Institute of Film Engineers (currently St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television). In 1959, he became the director of the Joint Laboratory of Lenfilm Film Studio. In 1967, he moved to work at the editorial office of the magazine Tekhnika kino i televideniya, where he was a correspondent and later an editor and member of the editorial board. Butovsky contributed articles to the magazine Kinovedcheskie zapiski, where he became a member of the editorial board in the 1970s, and to Seance magazine. He was one of the compilers of the five‑volume collected works of the Soviet theater and film director Grigory Kozintsev (1905–1973); a member of the Union of Journalists of the USSR (1961) and the Union of Cinematographers of the USSR (1978); a recipient of the Guild of Film Critics of Russia and the White Pillars Gosfilmofond film festival award “For Contributions to Russian Film Studies.” He lived and worked in Leningrad/St. Petersburg.

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