in the "Urusvati" Institute
The Roerichs’ memorial library at IRMT contains around 16,000 printed editions: books, magazines, information bulletins, catalogues of publications etc. These include books in a variety of languages, Western and Eastern collected by the Roerichs during the decades of their stay and work in Russia, USA and West Europe, and acquired during their travels through India and other Asian countries.
Much of this invaluable collection (about 14,000 printed editions) comprises the library of “Urusvati” Himalayan Research Institute, whose formation had been a priority from the very outset. The library’s collection was replenished through donation and exchange. The Institute cooperated with leading publishing houses. It exchanged publications with 285 Universities, institutes, museums, libraries and learned societies the world over. By 1931 such exchange had been established with the Carnegie Institution and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan, Yale University, the Oriental Institute, Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, Paris, the School of Oriental Studies, London, and many other cultural and research institutions. The library received books, brochures and manuscripts on different fields of science and art.
At present, the Urusvati Institute library is housed in the Laboratory Building of the “Urusvati” Himalayan Research Institute. It mostly contains editions in English but also has a sizeable collection of materials in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish. The subjects range from geography to neurology, from anthropology and ethnography (Zupanic, N. Les premiers habitants des pays Yougoslaves. Paris, 1919) to physics and chemistry (King, A. S. The Influence of a Magnetic Field upon the Spark Spectra of Iron and Titanium. Washington, 1912), from astronomy (Russell, H.N. Determinations of Stellar Parallax. Washington, 1911) and traditional medicine (Cordier, P. Etude sur la Medecine Hindoue. Paris, 1894) to botany and ornithology (Aldrich, J. W., Bole, B. P. The Birds and Mammals of Western Slope of the Azuero Peninsula. Cleveland, 1937), from taxidermy and ecology to archaeology (including Reports of excavations in such diverse regions as Aleutian Islands, deserts of Turkestan and the mountains of Peru). One can find tomes on the history of Maghreb and in-depth studies of the geology of the Himalayan region, browse through the history of Far Eastern art or read on the birds Panama…
The oldest edition in the library collection is perhaps the Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America published in a series of volumes in 1880s-1890s. Among the rarities and curiosities of the library, one can mention The Vulgate Version of Arthurian Romances in 7 vols. (1913) and Ptolemy’s Catalogue of Stars (1915).
The Library contains the annual issues of the Journal of “Urusvati” Himalayan Research Institute as well as monographs and translations by George Roerich. There is also a priceless collection of books on the philosophy, religion and languages of the Orient, and Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts. It includes manuscripts on Tibetan medicine, life-stories of saints, religious texts including Vishnu Purana, Devibhagavata Purana etc.
The Research Library of the “Urusvati” Institute collected by the Roerichs is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge. It fully reflects the main idea and the purpose the Institute’s creation and activities: the synthesis of the modern experimental science of the West and the ancient spiritual wisdom of the East. Nowadays, the library collection is being systematized so that in near future scholars, artists, doctors and religious figures: all those whose heart and mind strives to learn about the world and realize truth, could have an opportunity to work with the unique editions preserved there.