Acts, Books of

Acts, Books of (aktovi knyhy). Collections of original legal documents (and copies) of the 15th and 16th centuries, issued by or addressed to various institutions (courts and municipalities) of the Polish Kingdom. Books of Acts were introduced in Galicia in 1435, in Podilia, Volhynia, and Kyiv in 1529, and elsewhere in Ukraine in 1566. The collections (books) were classified by subjects: current, judicial, criminal (‘Black Books'), and civil matters. The colonel's chanceries in the Hetman state also maintained various documents (acts), including contracts, wills, and executive records. The Books of Acts are an important source for the study of the social, cultural, and legal history of Ukraine. They have been preserved in several regional and city archives. Many of them were published in the 19th and 20th centuries: Orest Levytsky, Ob aktovykh knigakh, otnosiashchikhsia k istorii Iugo-Zapadnogo kraia i Malorossii (On the Books of Acts relating to the History of the Southwestern Land and Little Russia, Moscow 1900); Piriatinskie aktovye knigi, 1683–1719 (The Books of Acts of Pyriatyn, 1683–1719, Kyiv 1908); Aktovye knigi Poltavskogo gorodovogo uriada XVII veka (Books of Acts of the Poltava Municipal Government of the 17th Century, 3 vols, Chernihiv 1912–14); and Akta grodzkie i ziemskie (City and Land Acts, 25 vols, Lviv 1868–1935).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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