Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary


a major prerevolutionary Russian universal encyclopedia, published by the F. A. Brockhaus-I. A. Efron joint-stock publishing company.

The dictionary consists of 86 volumes (82 books and four supplements), which appeared between 1890 and 1907. The first eight volumes were published under the general editorship of I. E. Andreevskii, and all subsequent volumes were edited by K. K. Arsen’ev and F. F. Petrushevskii. The services of the most prominent scholarly figures of the time were enlisted for the creation of the dictionary, among them D. I. Mendeleev, A. I. Beketov, A. I. Voeikov, D. I. Anuchin, Iu. M. Shokal’skii, N. M. Knipovich, A. O. Kovalevskii, and A. I. Sovetov. Like all Russian encyclopedias of the prerevolutionary period, the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary lacked unity of ideological principles. In the conditions in old Russia, the realization of such a large-scale and structurally complex publication as a multivolume universal encyclopedia was possible only through the more or less close collaboration of advocates of all types of ideologies. (For example, the philospher-idealist V. S. Solov’ev headed the philosophy section.) However, the dictionary contains so much factual material, and is so rich in bibliographical information, that it retains its significance as an important reference work.

In 1911 the same publisher began to issue the New Encyclopedic Dictionary, edited by K. K. Arsen’ev, which was intended for a more general public. Publication of this work was not finished: of the projected 48 volumes, only 29 were published between 1911 and 1916. (The last word is “Otto.”)


Kaufman, I. M. Russkie entsiklopedii, issue 1. Moscow, 1960.


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