Collection type: specific.
Volume: there are more than 4500 units of handwritten books and archival materials.
Chronological framework: the 16th – 19th centuries.
Language of documents: Slavonic, European and Eastern languages.
More information about the collection: The collection includes manuscripts and archival documents in the Old Belarusian, Belarusian, Russian, Polish, German, French, Latin, Italian and Eastern languages.
The collection of Slavic writing artifacts includes liturgical books (in particular, hooked and linear notation of the 17th – 19th centuries), theological works, lives of saints, collections of words and morals, old believers collections. An important place in the collection is occupied by Cyrillic handwritten books created in the Belarusian lands: “The Service Menaion for December" (70s of the 15th century), “Prologue, September half” (early 16th century), “Anthologion” (16th century), “The Aprakos Gospel” (early 16th century), “The Hexameron of John Chrysostom” (early 17th century), “Octoechos” (middle of the 16th century). The collection includes a well-known handwritten artifact of the 16th century in the Old Belarusian language “The Secret of Secrets or Aristotle’s Gates”. In this unique manuscript collection, along with the famous text of the “Aristotle’s Gates”, a selection of articles on divination and predictive topics is given. The book-writing tradition of Belarusian old believers, who created a number of bright handwritten books, is a unique phenomenon of Russian book culture. A whole complex of manuscripts comes from the old believers’ centers of Gomel and Vitebsk regions. First of all these are music collections: octoechos, irmologions, holidays, vocal alphabets, peals.
The country’s largest collection of kitabs and tafsirs – sacred books of Belarusian Tatars in the Belarusian and Polish languages written in Arabic graphics – are of great value.
Manuscripts in the Latin language are mainly represented by scientific and educational literature on philosophy, theology, medicine and natural science. Among documents in the German and French languages there are mainly works of historical, legal and literary content (including diaries and memoirs of French soldiers and officers who participated in the Napoleonic wars of 1800–1815).
The library also contains handwritten books of the 15th – 18th centuries in the Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages on theology, Muslim law, logic, Arabic grammar, poetry and history.
The collection of archival materials includes more than 3500 documents. The earliest Belarusian ones date back to the 17th century.
The archive collection also includes personal book collections of Belarusian cultural and scientific figures: writer and artist Karus Kaganets (1894–1917); librarian and bibliographer, organizer and first director of the National Library of Belarus Iosif Simanovsky (first half of the 20th century); library scientist and bibliographer Yevgeny Khlebtsevich (first half of the 20th century); historian-orientalist Nikolai Nikolsky (middle of the 20th century); bibliographers and literary critics Nina Vatatsi and Valentina Dyshinevich (second half of the 20th century). One should pay attention to the collection of materials, which includes creative manuscripts by Tishka Gartny, Zmitrok Byaduli, Yakub Kolas, and others. The department also keeps manuscripts of unpublished scientific works of the first rector of the Belarusian State University Vladimir Picheta.
Possessory characteristics: a number of documents have possessory records, seals, stamps, and ex-libris.

Entry time: 1922-2019.

Sources: Станкевіч, Л. І. Рукапісны фонд Нацыянальнай бібліятэкі Беларусі як крыніца гісторыі Беларусі / Л. І. Станкевіч // Здабыткі : дакументальныя помнікі на Беларусі / Нацыянальная бібліятэка Беларусі. – Мінск, 1995–. – 1997. – Вып. 2. – С. 28–36.

Registration number: K-000000020