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The collector of folklore artifacts

From February 10th, the exhibition “The collector of folklore artifacts” dedicated to the 190th anniversary of Pavel Šejn, the known Belarusian and Russian ethnographer, folklorist, linguist and pedagogue, runs in the Book Museum.

Pavel Šejn (1826–1900) was born in Mogilev in the family of a Jewish merchant. Unable to finish the Jewish school for health reasons, he studied at home under the supervision of a rabbi. Later he studied at the German School of the Lutheran Church of St. Michael (Moscow), where he received the title of a home teacher. In 1850 and the 1st half of 1860 he worked as a teacher in the Jasno-Polyanskaya School of Leo Tolstoy, and also in different schools and county public schools in Tula, Vitebsk, Kaluga, etc. In 1881 he moved to Petersburg.

He started collecting folklore in the mid-1850s, in Belarus (Vitebsk) 1– in mid-1860. In 1867, he developed and published a detailed "Program for the collection of folk art monuments", one of the first special folklore programs.

Pavel Šejn is the compiler of collections Русские народные песни (Russian Folk Songs) (1870), Белорусские народные песни (Belarusian Folk Songs) (1874), Великорус в своих песнях, обрядах, обычаях, верованиях, сказках, легендах и т.п. (The Russians in Their Songs, Rites, Traditions, Beliefs, Fairytales, Legends) (volumes 1–2, 1898–1902) etc. The main folklore and ethnographic materials on Belarus are most fully represented in the book Materials for the Study of the Life and Language of the Russian Population of the Northwest Province (volumes 1–3, 1887–1902). Also Pavel Šejn is the author of numerous articles, reviews and notes that appeared in various scientific editions.

The offered exhibition presents the books by Pavel Šejn published in his lifetime: the research on ethnography and folklore, which is the most valuable source of information about the life and culture of the Belarusians in the 2nd half of the XIX century. The most interesting are books with autographs addressed to the philologist, founder of Belarusian linguistics and study of literature, ethnographer and folklorist E.F. Karski, the historian P.M. Žukovič etc.

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