Agricultural Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Agricultural Encyclopedias and Dictionaries


scientific and practical reference works with systematized information on agriculture, agricultural sciences, allied branches of the national economy, and allied fields of knowledge. Some agricultural encyclopedias and dictionaries treat all aspects of agriculture, including crop cultivation, animal husbandry, mechanization, electrification, land improvement, agricultural chemicals, agricultural economics, and agricultural construction. Others treat only a single branch of agriculture, for example, fruit growing or beekeeping. Agricultural encyclopedias and dictionaries present biological information, for example, on genetics and the physiology and anatomy of domestic animals and crop plants. They also present information on the geographical distribution of crop plants, fauna, meteorology, hydrology, geodesy, and the lives of prominent agriculturists.

The oldest agricultural encyclopedia is On Agriculture, written by Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar and encyclopedist of the first century B.C. (Russian translation, 1963); it is a handbook on the cultivation of field crops, the raising of livestock, domestic fowl, and fish, and beekeeping. A well-known work is On Agriculture by Lucius Columella, a Roman writer and agronomist of the first century A.D.; it is a 12-volume synthesis on the theory and practice of agriculture, especially viticulture, fruit growing, and animal husbandry in the Mediterranean area in the classical period. Other older encyclopedias include the Agricultural Encyclopedia of Hsü Kuang-ch’i, published in China in 1640 (reprinted Shanghai, 1843), A. Glorez’ Volständige Haus- und Land-Bibliothek (Complete Household and Agricultural Library; published in Germany, vols. 1–4, Regensburg-Nuremberg, 1701), and the Cours complet d’agriculture théorique, pratique, économique et de médecine rurale et vétérinaire: ou, Dictionnaire universel d’agriculture, published in France at the end of the 18th century (vols. 1–3, 7–12, Paris, 1783–1805).

Prerevolutionary Russia. One of the earliest Russian agricultural encyclopedias is Leksikon gorodskogo i sel’skogo khoziaistva (Lexicon of Urban and Village Economy and Agriculture), compiled by I. Dvigubskii and published in 12 volumes (Moscow, 1836–39). At the end of the 19th century, two works appeared: Nastol’naia kniga dlia russkikh sel’skikh khoziaev (Reference Book for Russian Agriculturalists; St. Petersburg, 1875) and Illiustrirovannyi sel’skokhoziaistvennyi slovar’: Entsiklopediia sel’skogo khoziaistva (Illustrated Agricultural Dictionary: Encyclopedia of Agriculture), edited by S. M. Bogdanov and published in 12 volumes (Kiev, 1891–93). An early 20th-century work, in 12 volumes, is Polnaia entsiklopediia russkogo sel’skogo khoziaistva i soprikasaiushchikhsia s nim nauk (Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Russian Agriculture and Allied Sciences; St. Petersburg, 1900–12).

USSR. The seven-volume Krest’ianskaia sel’skokhoziaistvennaia entsiklopediia (Peasants’ Agricultural Encyclopedia) came out between 1925 and 1928 (Moscow-Leningrad), and the three-volume Malaia sel’skokhoziaistvennaia entsiklopediia (Small Agricultural Encyclopedia) appeared in 1928 (Leningrad). The Sel’skokhoziaistvennaia entsiklopediia (Agricultural Encyclopedia) came out in four editions in the period 1932–75 (4th ed. in 6 vols., edited by V. V. Matskevich and P. P. Lobanov, Moscow, 1969–75). The six-volume Veterinarnaia entsiklopediia (Veterinary Encyclopedia), edited by K. A. Skriabin appeared in Moscow (1968–76).

Agricultural encyclopedic dictionaries include the two-volume Veterinarnyi entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ (Veterinary Encyclopedic Dictionary; Moscow, 1950–51), Slovar’-spravochnik sadovoda (The Horticulturist’s Reference Dictionary; Moscow, 1957), Entsiklopedicheskii sel’skokhoziaistvennyi slovar’spravochnik (Encyclopedic Agricultural Dictionary and Reference Book; Moscow, 1959), Entsiklopedicheskii slovar’-spravochnik po zhivotnovodstvu (Encyclopedic Dictionary and Reference Book on Animal Husbandry; Moscow, 1960), Spravochnik tsvetovoda (The Flower-grower’s Handbook; Moscow, 1960), Spravochnik tsvetovoda (The Flower-grower’s Handbook; Moscow, 1971) and Spravochnik vinogradaria (The Viticulturist’s Handbook; Moscow, 1971).

Foreign countries. Agricultural encyclopedias and dictionaries have been published in several countries, including the USA, France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. They include E. V. Wilcox’ Modern Farmer’s Cyclopedia of Agriculture (New York, 1948); Nouveau Larousse agricole, edited by R. Braconnier and J. Glandard and with a preface by M. Lemoigne (Paris, 1952); the three-volume Techniques agricoles: Encyclopédie agricole permanente fondée par Jean Keilling, Marcel Martin, Jacques Casalis (Paris, 1965–70): The Smallholder Encyclopaedia, edited by S. A. May-cock and I. Hayhurst (London, 1950); the multivolume Enciclopedia agraria Italiana: Publicata sotto gli auspici della Federazione Italiana dei consorzi agrari (vols. 1–7-, Rome, 1952-); Mała encyklopedia rolnicza, edited by J. Głowacki and others (Warsaw; 1964); the multivolume Naučnýslovn ík zemědělský, published by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Resources (vols. 1–5, Prague, 1966–72); and the three-volume Poljoprivredna enciklopedija (Zagreb, 1967–73).


Kaufman, I. M. Slovari i entsiklopedii: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, fasc. 1: Dorevoliutsionnye izdaniia. Moscow, 1937.
Kaufman, I. M. Russkie entsiklopedii: Bibliografiia i kratkie ocherki, fasc. 1: Obshchie entsiklopedii. Moscow, 1960.
Calzecchi-Onesti, A. “L’idea enciclopedica e l’agricoltura,” L’Italia agricola, 1952, vol. 89, no. 5.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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