The significance of Shevchenko and his oeuvre has given rise to thousands of multifaceted biographical, bibliographic, literary, textological, linguistic, lexicographic, psychological, pedagogical, religious, philosophical, political, sociological, and art-historical studies. Of prime importance to all of them have been Shevchenko's poetic and artistic works. Most of his manuscripts are preserved in the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv. A unique collection of Shevchenkiana can also be found in the National Library of Ukraine—over 15,000 items collected by Yurii Mezhenko. The largest collection of published editions of Shevchenko's works and of documents about his life and oeuvre is found at the Taras Shevchenko National Museum in Kyiv. Some of his manuscripts and papers are also preserved in other archives, libraries, and museums in Ukraine, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Cracow, and Geneva. There is no complete register of all archival Shevchenkiana, nor does a complete bibliography of works by and about Shevchenko exist, especially of translations of Shevchenko and of works about him in foreign languages.
The first known published works about Shevchenko date from 1839. During his lifetime, various reviews of his poetry appeared in the Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Czech, German, French, and Italian press. The first edition of Shevchenko's poems to appear outside the Russian Empire was Novyia stikhotvoreniia Pushkina i Shavchenki [sic] (The New Poems of Pushkin and Shevchenko, Leipzig, 1859), published on the initiative of Panteleimon Kulish. The first full edition of Shevchenko's Kobzar appeared in Saint Petersburg in 1860, as did a Russian translation with a bibliography of Shevchenko's published works and other Russian translations. Also published there was his last book before his death—Bukvar' iuzhnorusskii (A South Russian [ie, Ukrainian] Primer, 1861), which Shevchenko prepared in 1860 for Ukrainian Sunday schools and personally subsidized.
In the early 1860s most studies about Shevchenko appeared in the journal Osnova (Saint Petersburg). The first article about him in German, by H.-L. Zunk, appeared in Die Gartenlaube (Leipzig) in 1862 (no. 28). The first separately published study of Shevchenko's life and work was written in Polish: Leonard Sowiński's Taras Szewczenko (1861), with a Polish translation of 'Haidamaky' as an addendum. Another work in Polish, A. Gorzałczyński's Przekłady pisarzw małorossyjskich: Taras Szewczenko (Translations of Little Russian Writers: Taras Shevchenko), was published in 1862 (repub 1863) by. A biographical and critical study in Polish, G. Battaglia's Taras Szewczenko, życie i pisma jego (Taras Shevchenko, His Life and Letters, 1865), did much to popularize Shevchenko among Polish readers. Johann Georg Obrist, the first translator of Shevchenko into German, used Battaglia's work to write T.G. Szewczenko, ein kleinrussischer Dichter (1870). Vasyl P. Maslov's Taras Grigor'evich Shevchenko: Biograficheskii ocherk (Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko: A Biographical Sketch, 1874, 1887), the first relatively complete Russian biography of Shevchenko, was also based on Battaglia's work.
The tsarist circular issued by Minister Petr Valuev in 1863 and the Ems Ukase of 1876 put an effective stop to the publication of works in Ukrainian in the Russian Empire. Publications of Shevchenko's works and works about him were thenceforth issued primarily in Austrian-ruled Galicia and abroad. Poezi Tarasa Shevchenka (The Poems of Taras Shevchenko), which appeared in Lviv in 1867 in two volumes, contained mainly Shevchenko's political poems. In Russian-ruled Ukraine they were either prohibited or published in censored editions. After the appearance of the two-volume Prague edition of Shevchenko's Kobzar (1876), the French scholar E.-A. Durand published a large promotional article in Revue des deux mondes (15 June 1876), 'Le pote national de la Petite-Russie, T. G. Chevtchenko.' This article stimulated the writing of two similar articles— by J. A. Stevens in The Galaxy (New York, June 1876) and by C. Dickens, Jr, in All the Year Round (London, 5 May 1877). At about the same time, Volodymyr Lesevych published his article 'Taras Shevchenko, el gran poeta de Ucraina' and some translations of Shevchenko's poems in the Madrid journal La Ilustracin espaola y americana (1877, no. 4). A more thorough article, Karl-Emil Franzos's 'Die Kleinrussen und ihr Snger,' appeared in Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung (1877, nos 164–65). It was expanded into a booklet, Vom Don zur Donau (1878), in which Franzos emphasized the universality of Shevchenko's works. Of importance in making Shevchenko accessible to the world at large was the work done by the migr scholar and revolutionary Mykhailo Drahomanov. Of special note is his brochure La littrature oukrainienne proscrit par le gouvernement russe, which was distributed at the 1878 Literary Congress in Paris. In Geneva, Drahomanov published a two-vol edition of Kobzar (1881), Marija, maty Isusowa: Wirszy Tarasa Szewczenka z uwahamy M. Drahomanowa (Mary, Mother of Jesus: Poems by Taras Shevchenko with Comments by M. Drahomanov, 1882), and Poezi Tarasa Shevchenka, zaboroneni v Rosi (Poems by Taras Shevchenko Banned in Russia, 1890).
In the 1880s the main promoter of Shevchenko was the prominent Galician radical, journalist, writer, and scholar Ivan Franko. From his early 'Prychynky do otsinennia poezi Tarasa Shevchenka' (Contributions to the Evaluation of Taras Shevchenko's Poetry, S'vit, 1881, nos 8–12, and 1882, no. 1) onward, Franko wrote on various aspects of Shevchenko's creativity. His perceptive study of the poem 'Perebendia' (1889) considers Shevchenko's uniqueness in the context of European Romanticism and the Ukrainian folk tradition. Insights into Shevchenko's use of the ballad genre are found in Franko's '"Topolia" T. Shevchenka' (T. Shevchenko's 'Topolia,' 1890).
Interest in Shevchenko grew in the late 19th century. Oleksander Konysky expanded his articles on Shevchenko in Zoria (Lviv) into a monograph, Taras Shevchenko-Hrushivs'kyi: Khronika ioho zhyttia (Taras Shevchenko-Hrushivsky: A Chronicle of His Life, 2 vols, 1898–1901); an abridged version of vol 1 was published in Russian in Odesa in 1898. Basing his work on the sources available, Konysky corrected many errors in previous biographies of Shevchenko and presented the first scholarly biography of Ukraine's national bard. Stanyslav Liudkevych's article on the origin and meaning of musicality in Shevchenko's poetry (Moloda Ukrana, 1901, nos 5–6, 8–9, and 1902, no. 4) was the first of many works dealing with Shevchenko's poetics. Mykhailo Komarov laid the bibliographic foundation of of Shevchenkiana with his guide to publications on Shevchenko in literature and art (1903).
Vasyl Domanytsky's 367-page textological study of Kobzar was published in Kievskaia starina (1906, nos 9–12) and as a separate monograph in 1907. The first 'full' edition of Kobzar was edited by him and published in Saint Petersburg in 1907 (repub in 1908). Dmytro Yavornytsky's booklet of valuable archival materials on Shevchenko's life was published in 1909. Also of interest was his study on the Zaporozhian Cossacks in Shevchenko's poetry, published in Letopis' Ekaterinoslavskoi uchenoi arkhivnoi komissii (no. 8 [1912).