Tag Archives: Slavic Studies

Checklist of East Slavic Modernist Titles Available

The 197-page Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper at The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries compiled by Robert H. Davis Jr. and Megan Duncan-Smith, Harvard University (with an Introduction by Steven Mansbach, University of Maryland) is now available for viewing or download via Columbia’s Academic Commons:

http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8542NDZ

Sierra Exif JPEG

Image from No. 1086, Tugendkhol’d, IAkov Aleksandrovich. Iskusstvo v bytu. (Moskva, [1925?]) held by NYPL.

Slavic & East European Collections Add Rare Titles

A number of significant, rare, and in some cases unique antiquarian works from Eastern Europe were purchased for Columbia’s libraries over the past twelve months.  Through the efforts of colleagues in Global Studies, Rare Books & Manuscripts, and the Avery Classics Library, and with additional financial support from the Libraries’ Primary Resources Fund, distinctive collections in a number of languages were further enhanced.

–Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library added to its growing holdings of Baltic and East Central European modernist publications. Thirteen Latvian, Lithuanian, or Estonian titles (including six serials), and sixteen Hungarian titles were purchased. The vast majority are unique additions to WorldCat, or are held by only one or two other libraries in North America. Among the Baltic titles are Elegiski moment [Elegiac Moment] (Riga, 1925); and Karavane [Caravan](Riga [1920]), both illustrated by Niklāvs Strunke (1894-1966), one of the major artists of the Latvian avant-garde; and the satirical journals Hallo! (Riga, 1927-1928), and Ho-Ho (Riga, 1922-1924) containing graphics and articles by prominent Latvian modernist artists and writers. Other titles include works illustrated with linocuts by the Hungarian architect, writer, graphic artist, ethnologist, publisher and politician Károly Kós (1883-1977); an exhibition catalogue (Budapest, 1919) of art seized by the Hungarian Soviets from private collectors during the abortive revolution of 1919; the Hungarian Dadaist Ödön Palasovszky’s (1899-1980) Reorganizacio [Reorganization] (Budapest, 1924) a collection of poems and declarations; and Világanyám: Versek [My World-Mother: Poems] by the avant-garde poet, novelist and artist Lajos Kassák (1887-1967) published in 1921 in Vienna during his exile from Hungary. This latter title is characterized by the use of képarchitektura (pictorial architecture), in which words and images hold equal compositional value in the page design.

–Interesting Czech antiquarian acquisitions included collection of poems by Bretislav Mencák (1903-1981), Romance počestného clowna [Romance of an Honorable Clown] ([Prague], 1929).

–Columbia’s Polish acquisitions included two one-act plays by the noted Futurist artist, poet, and playwright Tytus Czyżewski (1880-1945) Osioł I słońce w metamorfozie [Donkey & the Sun in Metamorphosis] (Kraków, 1922), and Stanisław Przybyszewski (1868-1927) Matka: Dramat w IV aktach [Mother: A drama in 4 acts](Lwów & Warszawa, 1903).

–Another unusual acquisition was a five-volume limited edition of the collected works of the polymath Jan Potocki’s (1761-1815) (Louvain-Paris, 2004-2006). This set comes from an edition of only fifteen printed on special paper for Count Marek Potocki, a descendant.

–Sketches from the Warsaw literary cabarets of the interwar years: Pierwsza szopka warszawska. [The First Warsaw Revue] (Krakow, 1922) with illustrated wrappers and illustations by Zbigniew Pronaszko; Polityczna szopka cyrulika Warszawskiegopiora Marjana Hemara, Jana Lechonia, Antoniego Slonimskiego, Juliana Tuwima. [Political Revue by the Warsaw Barber, by Mariana Hemar, Antoni Słonimski, and Julian Tuwim](Warszawa, 1927); Szopka Polityczna. [Political Revue] (Warszawa, 1930); and Szopka Polityczna. [Political Revue] (Warszawa, 1931), with decorated wrappers. Such compilations of cabaret sketches are extremely scarce, and there are no examples in any public collections in the United States with the exception of Widener Library (and not these particular examples!).

–Bohumil Stibor. Soubor dřevorytů z koncentračního tábora. [Portfolio of Woodcuts from a Concentration Camp] (V Pelhřimově, 1946), consisting of ten original woodcuts by a former prisoner, printed shortly after his liberation. The images depict the steps from arrest, imprisonment, torture and finally mass murder. This portfolio may contain one of the very first graphic images of the crematoria. The only other copies in WorldCat are at Stanford and the Národní knihovna České republiky (Czech National Library).

Holocaust Album 2

Columbia’s holdings of 20th century Russian-language materials are among the largest and finest in North America. The collection of early 20th century imprints produced in both the homeland and emigration are particularly distinguished, and are regularly supplemented via gift and purchase on the antiquarian market. Among the acquisitions made over the past semester:

–Il’ia Erenburg, Trinadtsat trubok. [Thirteen Pipes] (Moskva, 1923), with wrappers in black and red designed by Liubov Kozintsova (1898-1970);

–Nikolai Gorlov, Futurizm i revoliutsiia; poezii futuristov. [Futurism and Revolution: poems of the Futurists] (Moskva, 1924).

Futurizm–Zakhida Iffat (pseud. of Burnasheva, Zaida Khusainovna, b. 1896-?). Zora Iulduz (Zvezda Venera). [Dream Star (Star of Venus)](Kazan, 1922), a scarce provincial imprint of a work by a female Tatar poet, translated from the Tatar original, with lovely wrappers and illustration by Aleksandra Platunova (1896-1966), painter, graphic artist and a member of the short-lived Kazan group “Vsadnik” which was active from 1920 to 1924.

Sorochinskaia Iarmarka. [The Market/Fair at Sorochyntsi] ([Moscow, [1932]). This unique example of a theatre program consists of one small oblong sheet ingeniously folded into five pages, with a Constructivist wrapper printed in black and red. The wrappers may be the work of Nisson Shifrin (1892-1961) who is credited as the designer of the overall production. V.I. Nemirovich- Danchenko (1858-1943) had returned to Soviet Russia from Hollywood in 1926 and opened the Musical Theater.

Byt’ bditel’nym: Al’bom nagliadnykh posobii [Be Vigilant! An Album of Visual Aides] (Moskva, 1963). This rare title consists of sixty unbound pages of illustrations on individual 35 x 51 cm. sheets. Designed by Varvara Rodchenko (b. 1925), the daughter of Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) and Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958), the photos and photomontages depict ways in which foreign agents might surreptitiously gather intelligence. The individual sheets were intended to be mounted on a wall, making this complete copy, in its original illustrated slipcase, all the more rare.

–Henri de Règnier (1864-1936). Tri Rasskaza. [Three Tales] (Peterburg, 1922). One of 75 numbered examples in an edition of 500, consists of illustrations by Dmitri Buchène (1893-1993)to the mildly erotic tales of de Règnier, and is reminiscent of the roughly contemporaneous works of Konstantin Somov (1869-1939). Somov’s exceptionally rare and particularly “revealing” (and incredibly rare) uncensored version of the 1918 Le Livre de la Marquise (held by New York Public) was printed in 1918 in St. Petersburg under a false imprint, indicating Venice. (See: Edward Kasinec & Robert Davis, “A Note on Konstantin Somov’s Erotic Book Illustration,” Eros and Pornography in Russian Culture = Eros i pornografiia v russkoi kul’ture (Moscow: Ladomir, 1999), pp. 338-[395].)

–Mikhail Vladimirovich Matorin (1901-1976). Shest Nature-Morte. [Six Still Lifes] Moskva, printed by the artist, 1921), is a portfolio of six wood engravings and linoleum cuts (some in color), each signed and dated by the artist, produced in an edition of only 30 copies, none of which are found in WorldCat. Matorin was a painter, illustrator and graphic artist who in 1920, despite his youth, began his long and distinguished career as a teacher, first at Moscow’s State Printing Workshop and later as Professor at Moscow’s V.I. Surikov Institute.

Antiquarian Purchases Enhance Rare Books, Avery Classics Collections

Columbia has supplemented holdings of rare Russian film programs of the 1920s (cataloged as [Soviet film programs from 1926-1930] in the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library). Five additional programs were added, bringing total holdings to twenty. Below are programs for Kto ty takoi?[Who Are You?] (1927, directed by Iurii Zheliabuzhskii, 1888-1955), and for the Russian release of Paramount’s The Spanish Dancer (1923) starring Polish-born actress Pola Negri (b. 1897 in Lipno, d. 1987 in San Antonio, Texas).

IMG_1020IMG_1021Thanks to support from Avery Library Director Carole Ann Fabian, Columbia purchased two very rare Hungarian titles:

A Ház [The House] (Budapest: Atheneum, 1908-1911), a journal dedicated to the building and visual arts, which appeared for four years under the directorship of Béla Málnai (1878-1941). It is a major document of the Hungarian architecture of the era, as well as examining the building and design of traditional Hungarian arts and crafts. From the late 19th century up to 1918, the territories under Hungarian rule employed a unique form of Secessionist architecture.

A Haz 1 A Haz 2Unfortunately, a number of examples of this style were destroyed in the closing days of World War II, and these pages may provide the only visual record of them. There are only two, incomplete sets of this title in North America.

 

The second Hungarian title, Dezső Keér’s (b. 1905) Harminc vers [Thirty Verses] (Budapest: Vajda Janos Tarsasag, 1925), features illustrations by Róbert Byssz (1899-1961), an early

Harminc verscontributor to avant-garde and leftist publications. Not found in any other WorldCat location, this title was produced in only 100 numbered copies, with a handwritten dedication by Keér.

Among North American collections, Columbia’s Hungarian holdings are exceeded in size only by those of  the Library of Congress.

 

New E-Resources for Slavic & East European Studies

A number of major electronic resources were purchased for Columbia students and faculty in June, at the close of the FY:

 

  • The “Iskusstvo Kino Digital Archive” captures the complete run (1931-2012) of this esteemed monthly publication in a complete online archive, in full-image and fully searchable text. http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio10261197
     
  • The “Slavic Humanities Index Database” indexes some 150 major scholarly and cultural journals and series produced in Eastern Europe (most especially Ukraine) from 1994 to the present. The Database contains more than 165,000 records and is continuously updated.  http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio10258416

 

The URL of the resource itself is found at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?authtype=ip,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=e5h

  • The “Jewish Theater Under Stalinism” database contains digitized documents from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI) in Moscow concerning the Moscow State Jewish Theater and the affiliated Moscow State Jewish Theater School (MGETU). http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio10275782

 

  • “The Stalin Digital Archive” database is the result of many years of collaboration between Yale University Press and the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI).   RGASPI documents from Stalin’s personal papers will eventually number over 400,000 pages.  The SDA also includes access to the complete Annals of Communism series, with twenty-five volumes of scholarly commentary, annotation, and interpretation of documents from state and party archives selected by teams of Western and Russian editors.  http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio10275929

 If you have questions, contact Rob Davis in Global Studies.

Recent Slavic & East European Antiquarian Acquisitions

In recent months, the 2CUL Librarian for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies made a number of significant antiquarian purchases for library partners Cornell & Columbia.

  • Cornell purchased two stunningly illustrated Hungarian artist books by Tibor Galle (1896-1944).   Linoleumok.  Masodik konyv. (Budapest, [1925]), an extremely rare portfolio of striking expressionist prints.  No other copy is recorded in any public collection.

The other Galle title, 11 Eredeti linoleum-merszete (Budapest: Juventus: 1923), limited to an edition of 100 copies, contains eleven images combining modernist impulses with romantic nationalism.

Both titles are available in the Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections at the Carl A. Kroch Library.

  • This past May, Columbia acquired a remarkable collection of 160 examples of Russian sheet music, with illustrated covers, dating principally from the 1920s.  Among the artists represented are Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) and Iliazd (Ilia Zdanevich, 1894-1975), as well as virtually all of the major sheet music illustrators of the period.  Composers represented include Emmerich Kálmán (1882-1953), the Hungarian-born composer who would later immigrate to the United States, fleeing post-Anschluss Vienna; Nikolai Roslavets (1881-1944), the Ukrainian Modernist composer whose works were subsequently banned in 1930s Soviet Russia; and “father of the Blues” W.C. Handy (1873-1958), to name but a few.

 

 

Top, “Ekstentrik” with music by Maiman; bottom, “I would See You Often,” with music by Mervol’f.

  • In June, Columbia purchased Vlastislav Hofman’s (1884-1964) F.M. Dostojevskij: Cyklus třiceti kreseb. (Praha: F. Borovy, 1917).  Containing thirty full-page plates, the title is a great rarity, made unique by the presence of  two of Hofman’s original sketches tipped in.  Hofman was trained as an architect, but was a talented graphic artist and set designer as well, strongly

influenced by Cubism.   This item was purchased in honor of Robert Belknap, Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages, former Director of the Russian Institute, and former Director of University Seminars, in recognition of his contributions to Dostoyevsky scholarship, his many kindnesses to generations of students, and his exemplary service to Columbia University.

Top, illustration to “The Double,”; below, “Dostoyevsky in Siberia.”

  • From dealers and collectors in New York, Columbia acquired a woodblock-illustrated Church Slavic Menaion (Moscow: Pechatnyi Dvor.1646), previously lent to the Bakhmeteff Archive’s exhibition Quatercentenary of the House of Romanov, as well as nine Russian and Czech titles dating primarily from the 1920s, including Aleksei Kruchenyk’s (1886-1968) Chornaia taina Esenina (M., 1926), and a beautifully illustrated copy of August Strindberg’s Královna Kristýna ([Prague], 1922) coincidentally also illustrated by Vlastislav Hofman.

 

Both Columbia and Cornell have also benefited from a number of significant donations:

  • More than 3,000 Romanian imprints, as well as some 2,000 Classical Music LPs from Eastern Europe were donated to Cornell by Professor Mircea Pitici.  The collection, from his family home in Sibiu, was packed and transshipped (1.5 tons of material!) to Ithaca in August 2013.  Included are complete collections of historical documents, works by important Romanian authors, and art albums.
  • Burton Miller donated to Columbia a collection of microfilms from the collections of the Russian State Library, including (among other titles) all fifteen District volumes of the household census of the rural population of Kursk guberniia (1882-1887) carried out by the provincial zemstvo, the sixteenth summary volume, several issues of the survey of the state of the province published annually by the governor’s chancellery (1892-1907), and all the numbers of a short-lived agricultural journal, also put out under the zemstvo‘s auspices between 1898 and 1906.
  • David Mortimer, President of the American Assembly, donated thirty titles from the Library of his mother, Kathleen Harriman Mortimer (1917-2011), some dating from her residency in Moscow from 1943-45, and including many inscribed to her father, Ambassador W. Averell Harriman (1891-1986).  Among the items donated are Charl’z Spenser Chaplin (M.: Goskinoizdat, 1945) and D.U. Griffit (M.: Goskinoizdat, 1944); Kartinnyia gallerei Evropy : sobranie zamiechatel’nykh proizvedenii shkol Evropy(St.Pb: Vol’f, 1862-1864), all great rarities in North American collections, as well as one curiosity–Brezhnev’s Malaia zemlia (M.: Politizdat, 1978) inscribed by the author to Ambassador Harriman.

NEH Summer Scholars Named for “America’s Russian-speaking Immigrants and Refugees”

The Institute Selection Committee has named twenty-five Summer Scholars to take part in this June’s “America’s Russian-Speaking Immigrants & Refugees,” a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College & University Teachers, Co-Directed by Robert Davis of Global Studies and Edward Kasinec of the Harriman Institute.  The Institute takes place on the campus of Columbia University from June 9 to June 29, 2013.

Selected from a large pool of more than eighty candidates, Summer Scholars hail from fifteen states and a wide variety of  institutions: Vitaly Chernetsky, Miami University (Ohio); Tanya Chebotarev, Columbia University; David Chroust, Texas A & M; Phyllis Conn, St. John’s University (New York); Elena Dubinets, Seattle Symphony; Andrew Janco, University of Chicago; Bettina Jungen, Amherst College; Scott Kenworthy, Miami University (Ohio); Yakov Klots, Williams College; Natasha Kolchevska, University of New Mexico; Margarita Levantovskaya, University of California, San Diego; Matthew Miller, Northwestern College; Suzanne Orr, Sam Houston State University; Tatiana Osipovich, Lewis & Clark College; Karen Rosenberg, Independent Scholar; Claudia Sadowski-Smith, Arizona State University; Margaret Samu, Yeshiva University/Stern College; Erik Scott, University of Kansas; Vladimir von Tsurikov, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (New York); Kristen Welsh, Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Anna Winestein, Boston University; Natalie Zelensky, Colby College; and graduate students Michael Darnell, Columbia University; Jay Oppenheim, CUNY Graduate Center; and Roman Utkin, Yale University..

Over a three-week period, this select group will engage in a lively dialogue with an extraordinary array of upwards of fifty master teachers, scholars, and social services and community representatives of the last three waves of emigration (and with the children of the first).  The Summer Scholars will consider the substance of the terms “diaspora,” “transnational,” “accommodation,” and “memory” through the specific prism of the four distinct waves—First (1917-40), Second (1947-55), Third (1967-89), and Fourth (1989 to the present)— of Russian-speaking immigrants to America.  Can we create a sophisticated narrative synthesis of the “Russophone Experience” in America that could be integrated into broader courses on American politics and immigration, sociology, anthropology, and ethnic studies?  Could this synthesis be applied to the experience of other immigrant groups?

A full description, daily schedule, and application information is found at: NEHsummerinst.Columbia.edu  This site will be constantly updated in the weeks leading up to, and following the Institute period, and will eventually include video of daily roundtable presentations.