The Ukrainian Print Legacy of the “Surma” Book & Music Store

Earlier this summer, many of you no doubt saw the article by Noah Remnick “With Shop’s Closing, Little Ukraine Grows Smaller,” in the NYT of June 6.  The article concerned the closing of Surma Book & Music Company.  Founded by Ukrainian immigrant Myron Surmach some 98 years ago, the shop had occupied the East 7th street location since 1943.

img_0714Surma’s location at 11 East 7th Street in Manhattan

When Myron’s grandson Markian Surmach decided to sell the building and close up shop, he wished to ensure that the printed legacy of his grandfather’s publishing and book and sheet music retail business was not lost to posterity, and so he donated to the Columbia University Libraries some 140 titles published mainly between 1910 and the 1950s.  Many of these titles are quite rare, with few (or no) holding institutions, and document the Ukrainian community as

img_0717img_0715Examples of early sheet music

it adapted to life in the Greater Metropolitan area.   Now in the process of cataloging, The Surmach Family Collection of Ukrainian Imprints is a wonderful, unique addition to Columbia’s holdings.

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