The paper is aimed at discovering what the researchers drew attention to in the work with the princely acts, in which research areas they used them, and how they assessed previous publications. The research is based on academic works, published records of the meetings of the Historical and Philological, Russian Language and Language Arts Departments of the Academy of Sciences, activities reports of the University of St. Petersburg/Petrograd, and on modern historiography on the issue. Referring to the acts of Moscow princes as a source of the Russian language history is associated with the name of academician Shakhmatov. The author describes a little-known project of re-issuing the princely acts by Shakhmatov’s students at the Historic and Philological Faculty of St. Petersburg University, where Shakhmatov relocated the development of the project on linguistic characteristics of the Moscow princely acts. The project was not realized because one of the students to develop it, a Philology Master’s Degree student, died prematurely, and another student had to leave Petrograd in autumn 1917. However, he continued the development of the research in the 1920s. Finally, by the end of the 1930s, the first linguistic publication of several princely acts was issued, prepared by Shakhmatov’s students. The specifics of using princely acts by the academic communities of St. Petersburg and Moscow is indicated in the paper. While the auxiliary historical sciences express the common interest to the acts, the interest of St. Petersburg scholars is of research and source studies nature, whereas in Moscow, the princely acts were published for educational purposes.
Key words: historiography, spiritual and contractual acts of Moscow dukes, Russian humanities in the late 19th and early 20th century, archaeography, private acts.