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Prince George Galitzine

46 Fontanka

The Galitzine Family

The Mecklenburg-Strelitz Family







The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library was founded in October 1994 by Prince George's widow, Jean and their daughter, Katya.  For 25 years, the Library was funded entirely by the London based charity set up in Prince George's memory, The Galitzine - St Petersburg Trust (UK No 1015036).  The Library is located at 46 Fontanka Embankment, St Petersburg in The Carlow House, the family home of Prince George Galitzine's mother; today, the building also houses The Mayakovsky Library's Foreign Language department. On The Galitzine Library's 25th Anniversary in 2019, the library in its entirety was presented to the people of St Petersburg by The Galitzine-St Petersburg Trust as a gift to the city, with The Mayakovsky Library as its custodian, a new department in the foreign language section was granted in the Galitzine name, the theme and intentions are to stay the same.

Prince George Galitzine was a direct descendant of two distinguished Russian families: Galitzine and the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. During his life, George played an integral role in creating cultural bonds between the West and Russia.  He devoted many years to the study of Russian culture and Russia's historical heritage.  From the 1970's he began leading cultural tours to the USSR.  His background and experience made him an expert in many of the historical, cultural and artistic aspects of Russian life.  As a lecturer George Galitzine addressed distinguished audiences at many famous museums and scientific societies, both in UK and USA.  In 1991, his book on Russian architecture, "Imperial Splendour", was published by Viking, London and translated into 5 languages.

Prince George Galitzine's death in March 1992, was a great loss for many people.  In the words of James Billington, the Director of the Library of Congress, “we all owe a debt to George Galitzine for keeping the cultural doors open to Russia – he paved the way for us”.  After Prince Galitzine’s death, his widow, Jean and daughter, Katya decided to honour his memory by setting up a charitable fund in his name, this led to the creation of a library, the theme of which would be 20th Century Rossica, (books about Russia published abroad).  This theme was determined not only by the late Prince’s personal interest, but also by a desire to make books available to the people of St Petersburg, which until very recently had not been accessible to Russians due to political reasons; the intention was to fill the gap of history that was lost during Soviet years. 

The goal of the Library, as conceived by its founders, is "to educate, enlighten and inspire".

The idea of creating a charitable library received an enthusiastic response from many British institutions, academicians, politicians, authors and publishers.  Among the donations were books personally given to the Library by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Well-known publishers such as, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Harper Collins, Random House, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Everyman and many others donated books; as well as authors such as Isaiah Berlin, Professor Anthony Cross, Orlando Figes and John Julius Norwich. Other donatons included that of Sir John Lawrence, a former press attachè in Moscow, who donated a large number of books from his personal library.  Maria Rosanova (Syntaxis, Paris) and Igor Efimov (Hermitage, New York) presented books printed by their publishing houses, and the well known literary critic Professor Efim Etkind enriched the collection with his publications and a part of his private library.  Many of the books bear the signatures of their donors and authors, and each book carries the ex-libris of the Library, designed by George Galitzine's son, George, based on the coats of arms of both of Prince George Galitzine’s ancestral families, the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the Galitzine family.

Over the years a number of British and Russian companies have provided technical support as donations to the Library:  Securicor,  XEROX, Rocco Forte Hotels, ISTCom , SOFI, East-European Finance Corporation,  EXPI, Travel Russia and The Mayakovsky Central City Public Library, who provided the premises for the Memorial Library at The Carlow House for 25 years.

The Galitzine Library is a hub in academic St Petersburg's cultural life. The Galitzine Library hosts lectures and meetings with Russian scholars, foreign researchers of Russian history and Russian emigres, with regular presentations of recently published books on pre-revolutionary history and Russia abroad.  These cultural events are open to everyone and are free of charge.  

The collection of books is constantly updated and the friendly librarians know the 3,000 or so books like their own personal library and are hence able to assist readers with their research.  Visitors to the Library can visit the permanent exhibition of family photographs and documents tracing the generations back to Catherine the Great, which includes unique material from the last owners of the house.  There is also a very popular monthly excursion of the Carlow House.  Occasionally, on important anniversaries, The Galitzine Library will host historical conferences dedicated to relevant themes connected to the Galitzine Princes and the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, papers of which are then published.


  • Sir John Lawrence - an expert on Russia, a military Press-attache in Moscow in 1943-45, who presented about 150 volumes;
  • Sir Frank Roberts - a British Ambassador to the USSR in 1960-62, who left 200 books from his private collection to the Galitzine Library;
  • Efim Etkind - Respected translater and Soviet philologist, who lived in exile in France.
  • Kyril Zinovieff (Fitzlyon), a Russian emigre, translator, editor, literary critic, who donated more than 100 editions from his private library,

and many more friends, authors and individuals.