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, ), 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.