Moscow: Izd. Upravleniia Moskovskoi gorodskoi telefonnoi seti, 1939. Item #1012
L, 496, 112,  pp. 26,5x20 cm. One of 30000 copies printed. In original wrappers. Small losses and tears of the spine and covers, rubbed, ink note on p. 110 (additional info about subscriber), otherwise very good.
Extremely rare. As the purpose of the edition was to be placed in the city telephone booths, the chances of survival to present days were little.
This version of Moscow’s ‘Yellow Pages’ shows the life of the capital of the USSR in the brutal era of repressions and arrests from a completely different point of view than the books or periodicals of the time. It mirrors the everyday life of the city giving us the insight into the needs and opportunities of the Moscow dweller in the late 1930s.
Targeted to a telephone user the book contains a lot of advertising showing the business side of the city where still (until 1956) small businesses existed, including the private enterprise. By the 1950s in the Soviet Union 2 million people were employed by such businesses. For example, some of the advertising Azerbaijani and Armenian wines, mineral water, scrap metal recycling, hotels, grocery shops, cacao and ice-cream, cigars, et al.
The back cover contains Glavtorgvodtrans advertisement of canteens and restaurants on board of ships that went on the Moscow-Volga Canal. As it announced the first-class suburban restaurant with jazz and dances was located in ‘Khimki’ port. Even the spine of the book had an ad for the Aeroflot company (as well as the full schedule of the flights of the company on p.3 of the ad section).
Booksellers advertised literature in foreign languages as well as pre-revolutionary editions. On another page an ad for the language courses could be found.
A very interesting ad section was given to museums in whish most of Moscow’s existed museums were given space to place information about their open hours and exhibitions. The museum of the art of the serves in tsarist Russia was advertised alongside with Anna Golubkina’s workshop (that was closed in 1952 but reopened in the 1970s). Already actively working both Mayakovsky’s museum and Anti-religious museum near Tverskaya St.
Some temporary exhibitions included the exhibition on the protection of motherood and the exhibition of the calculating machines and accounting equipment.
The ‘health and beauty’ advertising section gives us the overview of the medical market in Moscow at the time, including a cosmetic clinic and a radiology institute.
All in all, more than 200 ads give us an overview of what business side of the capital of socialist country looked like at the time.
This telephone directory contains incredible advertisements printed in blue ink on separate thick leaves. Some of them are inserted as half-titles before parts of the book. A folding double page was occupied by information on how to use a fixed telephone, what parts a rotary dial telephone consisted of and how you should use it. A constructivist-like design of the rules alternated small and capital letter phrases, supplementing them with photographs of the apparatuses and users.
The directory comprised fixed telephone numbers of people and organizations, including all changes happened in 1938. Occasionally, subscribers’ lists were interrupted by instructions like “If you have no answer after 4-5 signals, put a handset on the cradle” or “Lift the telephone between the rings, not during them”.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.