Leningrad: Gospolitizdat, 1945. 128 pp.: ill., 9 ills. 27,5x18,5 cm. In original full cloth with gilt lettering on front cover, and gilt and colored lettering on spine. No dust jacket. Rubbed, minor spots on p. 61/62 and insert near. Otherwise very good.
First and only wartime edition. One of 10,000 copies. The book was put into print on April 18, 1945, twenty days before the capitulation of Germany.
This festive edition was published for the first anniversary of the liberation of Leningrad. The siege of Leningrad lasted a grueling 872 days, from September 8, 1941, to January 27, 1944, and resulted in the death of over one million civilians and Red Army defenders.
The edition was designed by the graphic artist Patvakan Grigor’iants (1899-1986). After graduating from the Krasnodar Art Institute in 1925, Patvakan continued his studies in VKHUTEIN (1925-1929). Grigor’iants lived in Leningrad during the blockade. In the early months of the Great Patriotic War, he camouflaged the Siverskii military base under Leningrad. The base was captured by the Nazis in August 1941, a few weeks before the siege of Leningrad. Later, Grigor’iants joined the society ‘Fighting Pencil’ and became engaged in poster design.
This collection praises the victory and collective heroic exploits of people under the siege. In January 1945, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded the city of Leningrad with the order of Lenin, the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union. In 1919, Petrograd was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of the RSFSR ‘for the heroism and selflessness of the Petrograd proletariat in defense of Petrograd during the Civil War’.
The edition contains an award certificate issued in cardboard and pasted on a separate leaf, a folding picture of the Soviet politicians who gave the Order of Lenin to the representatives of the city, as well as a folding drawing of the Smolny Institute, which served as Bolshevik headquarters and Lenin’s residence before the government moved to Moscow and the Kremlin. The book also includes Stalin’s new portrait (created in 1944) and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s charter, in which he addressed the defenders of Leningrad.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition located at LoC, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, California, Indiana, Wisconsin, Cornell, Washington, Illinois, Dakota, Maryland, Duke, Syracuse Universities, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, NYPL and Newark Public Library.