Petrograd, 1919.  pp., 11 ills. 14,5x10,5 cm. In original decorated wrappers. Soviet bookshop stamp and marks on the back cover, covers slightly soiled, middle double-leaf detached from the block, otherwise very good and clean.
The book is related to the phenomenon of Monumental Propaganda, the Bolshevik campaign carried out in the very first years after the October Revolution.
In 1918, the Bolsheviks began to replace old Petrograd monuments with new ones. A special commission was formed and acted under the direction of the People’s Commissar of Education A. Lunacharsky. In total, the commission built about 20 monuments in 1918-1920. Among them were notable revolutionaries, but also symbolic figures: ‘Red Army Soldier’, ‘Liberated Labor’, ‘Great Metallist’, etc. Interestingly, both famous and novice sculptors took part in the creation, including avant-garde artists. For example, the Italian cubo-futurist sculptor Italo Griselli created a bust of S. Perovskaya and installed it at the Moskovskii railway station. There was nothing particularly futuristic in this work, but it caused public disapproval and was dismantled by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies in April 1919.
Monuments were made of plaster and were considered temporary structures that might be re-created later of more durable materials. Those plaster sculptures have been mainly lost during the Civil war, due to military actions and street fights. In 1922, most monuments shown in this book were broken, chipped or were completely destroyed.
The edition preserved images of busts of K. Marx, L. Blanqui, A. Herzen, N. Chernyshevsky, T. Shevchenko, V. Volodarsky, et al. that were built in the Bolshevik Petrograd in 1918-1919.
Design of the brochure was imbued with symbols of the socialist revolution. The title page, all text pages and rear sides of some inserts were designed by the same plate with hammer and sickle at its center. The front cover features a pretentious floral ornament and red stars echoing red cursive lettering.
The row of photographs followed a memo to new readers of the Petersburg Public Library (now Russian National Library). The book was printed at the very beginning of the Soviet campaign of eradication of illiteracy. Workers, soldiers and peasants, who had never been there, were allowed to visit libraries but were forced to learn some rules: return a book after reading, ask a librarian and be honest about any difficulties.
Despite the fact that paper was scarce at that time, the edition came out on the good paper stock and was well-illustrated.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.