Discovering remote Siberia


Dnevnik ekspeditsii [...] po rekam Nizhnei Tunguske, Oleneku i Lene v 1873-75 godakh

[Diary of the Expedition [...] undertaken in 1873-75 along the rivers Nizhniaia Tunguska, Olenek and Lena]

Publication: Imperat. akad. nauk, Skt. Peterburg, 1896.

CHEKANOVSKII, Aleksandr, Dnevnik ekspeditsii […] po rekam Nizhnei Tunguske, Oleneku i Lene v 1873-75 godakh

First edition of this rare account of exploring expeditions in central and northern Siberia. With map and illustrations.

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Our Notes & References

An important study of central Siberia, containing extensive geological research into the vast territory from Lake Baikal towards the Arctic ocean.

Of Polish origin, Alexander Chekanovsky (1832-76) was geologist, ethnographer and researcher. He took part in the 1863 Polish uprising and, as a result, was exiled to Siberia. He took this as an opportunity to continue his scientific work. With the help and influence of Friedrich Schmidt – who wrote the preface of this ‘Diary’ – Chekanovsky was transferred to Irkutsk and appointed to the Siberian Division of the Geographical Society in 1867. While in Irkutsk, he made several scientific discoveries which brought him fame in Russia, until his early death aged 44.

Published some 20 years after his death, this ‘Diary’ is actually composed of several diaries, describing expeditions and observations on the three main rivers of the Central Siberian Plateau, where Chekanovsky discovered a ridge, eventually named after him: the Chekanovsky Ridge, in the Lena delta in the Arctic ocean. This series of expeditions “can be justly considered a priceless contribution to the topography and mapping of Eastern Siberia” (Richard Maak, quoted in Muromov, our translation).

This work was published in the series of ‘Notes of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society on general geography’: this is the No. 1 of vol. XX, under the editorship of Friedrich Schmidt.

Rare: we are not aware of any copy on the Western market in recent years, and WorldCat doesn’t show any copy. There is one however in the library of the St. Petersburg University, among others most probably in Russian academic institutions.


V. I. Klochkov shop (St. Petersburg bookseller; illustrated label to lower wrapper); Library of Congress (binding, stamp “surplus duplicate” to upper pastedown); Avenir Nizoff (émigré, pianist, who lived in Edmonton, Canada, in the second half of the 20th century, and gathered a very large library of Russian works of all kinds, especially covering art, history and literature).


Muromov, ‘100 velikikh puteshestvennikov’, Veche, Moskva, 2007.

Item number



Physical Description

Octavo (24.5 x 16.3 cm). Portrait frontispiece after a photograph, half-title, general title, table of contents of vol. XX, title of the main work (part 1 of vol. XX), table of contents (part 1), 298 pp. with text illustrations, folding map at end.


Publisher’s printed wrappers bound in later burgundy cloth.


Upper wrapper narrower and loosely inserted, otherwise in fine condition.

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