Wengeroff (Vengerov), Semyon Afanasyevich

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WENGEROFF (Vengerov), SEMYON AFANASYEVICH (1855–1920), Russian literary and intellectual historian. Wengeroff's numerous works include monographs on Turgenev, Goncharov, and Gogol, as well as studies of literary critics such as Belinsky. Wengeroff was also a renowned bibliographer and editor of scholarly reference works, including the unfinished six-volume biobibliographical dictionary of Russian writers and scholars, Kritiko-biograficheskiy slovar russkikh pisateley i uchenykh (1889–1904). His other achievements include the establishment in 1917 of the Russian Book Chamber (Rossiyskaya knizhnaya palata), which was still publishing weekly guides to all printed matter published in the U.S.S.R. 50 years after his death. Wengeroff ultimately converted to Russian Orthodoxy, probably because baptism was indispensable to a scholarly career in Czarist Russia. His mother, Pauline *Wengeroff, recalled in her memoirs (in L.S. Dawidowicz (ed.), The Golden Tradition (1967), 160–8) that her son was once expelled from school for refusing to kneel before an icon. Of Wengeroff's sisters, one married the writer Nikolai *Minski, another Leonid *Slonimski, a third was Zinaida Wengeroff (see Pauline *Wengeroff), and another was Isabel Wengeroff (Vengerova) 1877–1956), pianist and music teacher at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.


A.G. Kalentyova, Vlyublyonny v literaturu: ocherk zhizni i deyatelnosti S.A. Vengerova (1964); A.G. Fomin, S.A. Vengerov, Kak organizator i pervy direktor Rossiyskoy knizhnoy palaty (1925).

[Maurice Friedberg]