The monograph presents the first thorough study of the history of one of the most renowned Russian scientific societies, whose achievements have not lost their significance, from the origins to compulsory dissolution. The involvement of a complex of archival and published sources and references has allowed to review the influence of objective and subjective, favorable and negative factors on the conditions and nature of the activities of this voluntary organization of professional and non-professional scientists with over 600 members, in stages from the 1870s to the early 1930s. The publication contains the first general list and a gallery of portraits of society members. It reflects the dynamics of the composition, administrative, legal and economic situation, relations with state and public organizations, activities on identification, accounting, study and preservation of the monuments of history, archaeology, ethnography, language, writing, folklore and art.
The work is intended for specialists in relevant disciplines and everyone interested in the history of science and culture.