Historical Texts in the Periodical Press of Lithuanian Humanities and Social Sciences, 1907–1941: A Quantitative Approach

  • Titas Krutulys
Keywords: Lithuanian periodical press, scholarly journals, historical texts, 1907–1941, humanities and social sciences


In Lithuania, the first half of the twentieth century was the beginning of the Lithuanian scholarly journals. Lithuanian humanities and social sciences, which were held in high esteem by Lithuanian society, were making efforts to reflect both the development of science and research in the country’s scientific past and to shed light on some of past events in Lithuania. History, therefore, was an important topic in first scholarly journals. This article is focused on historical texts (articles, reviews, bibliographies, publications of historical sources) in twenty different Lithuanian scholarly journals on history, language, literature, philosophy, religion, ethnology, economics, law, and some other disciplines from 1907 to 1941. The article starts with the first Lithuanian scholarly journal Lietuvių tauta and ends with the last historical journal of the interwar period released during the Second World War. It analyses all general sets of texts in the journals. This quantitative research attempts to show the frequency of historical texts in the scientific periodical press, the most common types of texts, the frequency of the publication of these texts during the analysed period, and the type of history (local or foreign) that was more important for each of the journals or serial publications. In addition, this article points to the historical themes and historical periods that used to recur most frequently and to the countries that were represented in historical texts. The results of the survey show that approximately 49% of all the articles in the surveyed periodical press could be described as historical: such texts comprised from 21 to 100% of all texts in each of the academic journals The most common type of such texts was the historical article (at least 70% of all texts), followed by the review and the publication of historical sources. The largest number of historical texts was published in the second half of the 1930s and the lowest in the period of 1900s to 1910s and in the second half of the 1920s. The history of Lithuania was represented in 60% of all texts and foreign history in 48% of them. Eight out of 20 analysed scholarly journals demonstrated preference for foreign history rather than local. The most common was the history of Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Poland, England, and the Baltic countries. The most common themes of historical texts in the scholarly periodical press were biographies, social, cultural, and political history. Historical themes were mostly related to different interests of sciences and there were huge differences between these groups. The survey also shows that although Lithuanian medieval history was much less important to almost all scholarly periodical press, it was interesting to the general public, and that some nineteenth-century Lithuanian historical events received more attention. The nineteenth century and the early twentieth century were the most analysed historical periods, but some journals were predominantly interested in ancient history. Some historical and language-related periodicals focused on the medieval and early modern history of Lithuania.