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Exhibition "Library's Age-mates: Books Published in 1918"

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Exhibition "Library's Age-mates: Books Published in 1918"

Until the end of May Division of Rare and Valuable Documents of National Library of Udmurt Republic (Pushkinskaya St. 200) is staging the exhibition "Library's Age-mates: Books Published in 1918".

15 May 1918 is the date of establishment of Central City Library of Izhevsk, the legal successor of which is National Library of Udmurt Republic. To mark the centennial anniversary of the Library we arranged a book exhibition illustrating the atmosphere of the time when the library first opened its doors, in the first year of Soviet rule.


A new epoch required the production of books in large numbers to promote new ideas. 1918 was a difficult year for the young state being torn apart by Civil War. Funds for publishing were scarce. Accordingly, the books of 1918 present in the collections of our library were mostly printed on cheap newsprint, with endpapers made of gray wrapping paper. Yellowed and crumbling from age these books yet contain interesting information.


Turning over, for example, the title page of any book published by the Literary and Publishing Department of the Commissariat of Enlightenment, one can read a fragment of the directive establishing state monopoly on the right to publish literary works and the permissive order for publication of scientific papers. 


One of the main priorities of the Literary and Publishing Department was to print "cheap editions of the classics". Our exhibition features a number of such volumes from the complete works by A. P. Chekhov, V. A. Zhukovsky, A. V. Koltsov, V. O. Klyuchevsky and other Russian writers.


Despite the state monopoly on printed materials, large private publishing houses continued to function in the early years of Soviet rule, among them were I. D. Sytin, the Sabashnikovs, A. F. Marx, P. P. Soykin (some editions are also featured at the exposition).


The bulk of the books of the 1918 period belong to the socio-political literature issued by Soviet publishing houses – “Communist”, the publishing houses of Moscow and Petrograd Soviets etc. These are the works by V. Ulyanov (under the pseudonym of N. Lenin) "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", the essay by K. Eisner "Wilhelm Liebknecht. His Life and Work", A. Bebel's "Society of the Future" printed in Vyatka at the printing house "Pechatnik" (former M. M. Shklyaeva). The exhibition also displays other interesting items of local book publishing thematically related to pre-revolutionary period.


All above listed books and other centennial exhibits on display belong to the initial collection of the Library.


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