Sopikov, Vasilii

Sopikov, Vasilii Stepanovich


Born 1765 in Suzdal’; died 1818 in St. Petersburg. Russian bibliographer and specialist in book science; a founder of Russian bibliography.

In 1788, Sopikov opened a bookshop in St. Petersburg that had a public “library for reading” and that printed catalogs of books on hand. He translated works by the French Enlightenment writers Voltaire, Maréchal, and Montesquieu and also engaged in publishing work. In 1811 he became the assistant librarian at the St. Petersburg Public Library, where, with I. A. Krylov, he helped establish a Russian book archive.

Sopikov’s major work was Essay on Russian Bibliography (parts 1–5, 1813–21; last part prepared for publication by V. G. Anastasevich; reprinted with a supplement in 1904–06 by V. N. Rogozhin). This work was a collection of information about 13,249 printed works published in Russian and Church Slavonic in Russia and abroad from the beginning of Slavic printing to the early 19th century. The first volume had an author’s foreword that presented theoretical views on bibliography, emphasizing its educational role, and that described Sopikov’s bibliographical methodology. The Essay on Russian Bibliography included book reviews, provided brief descriptions of printed works, and made use of special symbols to recommend books; it was thus the first Russian critical bibliography. The work also provided information about ancient Slavic printing houses.


Zdobnov, N. V. Istoriia russkoi bibliografii do nachala XX veka, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1955, Pages 174–84.