It contains letters almost 22-year period: from November 15, 1839 (the date of the earliest known letter addressed to his brother Nikita Shevchenko) to February 24, 1861 (date literal ante-mortem letter to I.M.Mokritskiy). Contains 237 private letters, 15 formal letters and official papers, 4 collective letter signed by Shevchenko. In a chronological series of letters to individual addressees submitted letters to the newspapers and the poet's notes in the letters of others. First introduced in the publication of letters addressed to V.M. Repnina (June 1844), O. Butakov (1850), O. Uvarov (1859), V.V.Tarnovsky-elder (1859), Shevchenko's note in letter by P. Kulish to J.M. Bodjans'kyj from January 10, 1847, a collective letter from representatives of the St. Petersburg public December 26, 1858 to V.F. Adlerberg.
Extended section "formal letters", which now consists of 15 units.
Texts submitted for autographs, and in their absence – for first prints. For the first time in an academic publication submitted for autographs 16 Shevchenko's letters to Br. Zaleski, allowing to make significant corrections in the text. According to another source – publication in the journal "Osnova (Base)" – submitted poet's letters to V. Shevchenko, and censorship omissions restored for the publication of the Lviv magazine "Pravda (Truth)". In the text preserved author's dates, and author's features of language and writing names of different persons. Cryptonyms disclosed in square brackets, as submitted other editorial corrections. Minor spelling errors and missing letters are corrected without warning.
Texts published in chronological order. The dating of a number of letters specified, and therefore some of the letters rearranged in place (e.g., letter to Br. Zaleski from late 1855 – early 1856, which in academic 6-volume edition had the date "September – November 1853"; in a letter to J. G. Kukharenko former date "end of February 1843" refined as "January 31, 1843"; alleged date of the letter to O. Obolonsky "September 1859 – August 1, 1860" specified as the "July 1860", etc.). Justification of dating submitted in comments.
Comments consist of two parts – textological and real comment. Textological comment provides information in the following order:
source, which submitted the text;
editorial justification dating – in the absence or incompleteness of the author's date;
information on collected works, in which a letter (or other material) inserted for the first time;
data on letter, which corresponds to Shevchenko;
response corresponding to this letter (if known);
other information – if necessary.
Real comment reveals the circumstances of writing letter, provides information about people mentioned in the letter and their relationship with Shevchenko, clarifies toponyms, gives detailed bibliographic references mentioned in the letters of the publication, reference to previous letters on those points that were highlighted still more. Comments widely documented references to sources cited in these data. We list the editorial and corrections, Shevchenko corrected spelling of names and so on.