Shustova Yuliya

Abc-books for writing skills of the late 17th — early 18th centuries from private collections

Shustova Yuliya (2019) "Abc-books for writing skills of the late 17th — early 18th centuries from private collections ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia IV : Pedagogika. Psihologiia, 2019, vol. 53, pp. 72-89 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIV201953.72-89


This article deals with two ABC-books for writing skills (Russ. азбуки-прописи) of the late 17th — early 18th centuries kept in private collections. They are of considerable scientifi c interest and complement our knowledge about ABC-books in scrolls and about the culture of teaching writing skills. ABC-books for writing skills are also of interest for the history of educational thought in Russia, are important sources in the history of education and history of study materials in literacy. Both ABC-books are written in columns in tachygraphy (Russ. скоропись) and are manuals in teaching how to write. Both ABC-books are defective, they lack initial segments of the columns. It came to be possible to make oneself familiar with the ABC-books during presales at the Auction House “Litfond” in 2016. The fi rst ABC-book, according to paleographic features dated the late 17th — early 18th centuries, begins from the letter L. This article describes in detail the features of the alphabet, identifi es the sources of the texts included in the ABC-book as examples for writing, analyses the content of the aphorisms. The ABC-book also contains a text written in secret script; its possible reading is proposed. The second ABC-book is dated the end of the 17th — fi rst quarter of the 18th centuries, judging by paleographic features and an exercise text, typical of the time of Peter I. This ABC-book belongs to the type of explanatory ABC-books (Russ. толковая азбука), in which variants of writing of the characters is accompanied by an alphabetic acrostic, which is very frequent both in handwritten ABC-books for writing skills and in printed ABC-books. For the fi rst time, it was printed by Ivan Fedorov in the ABC-book of 1574. The MS begins from the letter I. The article studies the features of the alphabet, gives a detailed description of the acrostic, identifi es its sourses and variae lectiones with regard to the known texts in printed ABC-books and handwritten ABC-books for writing skills. The article also identifi es sources of the texts for exercises in writing which are placed at the end of the ABC-book and analyses their content. The article is accompanied with a supplement, in which the ABC-books in question are published.


ABC-books for writing skills of 17‒18 centuries in scrolls, acquiring writing skills, school and education in Russia, explanatory ABC-books, alphabet acrostic, alphabet, ABC-books


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Information about the author

Shustova Yuliya

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Russian State University for the Humanities; 6 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation; Russian State Library; 3/5 Vozdvizhenka Str., Moscow, 119019, Russian Federation;
Post: Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0002-8909-4976;
Email: shustova@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.