The Collection of Korean manuscripts and early printed books in Saint Petersburg State University belongs to the largest collections outside the Korean peninsula. It contains 84 titles/855 books.
The collection comprises manuscripts, block-prints (xylographs) and movable-type editions of various works in Korean and Classical Chinese. Mostly these are editions of 18-19th centuries, the earliest ones belong to the 17th century.
The main part of the books was collected by Russian diplomats who worked in Korea at the end of the 19th century.
The collection may be divided into following groups:
- The largest group of the old books belonged to Pavel A. Dmitrevsky (1851-1899), a chargé d’affaires in Korea in 1891-1899;
- The second group belonged to Karl I. Veber (1841-?), a consul-general in Korea in 1885-1896;
- The third group belonged to Sergei N. Syromiatnikov (1864-1933), a participant in the military expeditions to Northern part of Korea in 1897 and 1898;
- The books of an unknown provenance.