Moscow: Gosizdat, 1923. Item #460
, 155 pp. 17,5x13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Spine and back cover are renewed, previous owner’s signature on p. 7, private library stamp on p.2,
couple of bleak stains and neat restoration of the front cover, otherwise very good, internally clean.
First edition. Rare. One of 7000 copies.
An extremely rare survival of the avant-garde cover design created by Jewish artist Simkha Simkhovitch (1885-1949) before emigrating to the USA in 1924. He never worked on books again after that.
This is a collection of articles which were first to present the role of toys from the psychological perspective. The author Lev Orshanskii (1866-1937) was a psychiatrist who initiated the lectures at the early auxiliary school for disabled children and was a consultant at a special court for adolescents. His scientist’s interest was sparked by the art of the people with mental disabilities and prisoners as well as primitive art. In connection with that, he was attracted to studying the children’s creativity, books, toys and became one of the first Russian toy scholars.
Written and separately published in 1910s, these articles on history, ethnography and psychology were incredibly important in the period of establishment of the Soviet pedagogy. Orshanskii analyzes the development of toy production and features of usage. He emphasizes that the toys have always been the main object of children’s communication in the preschool period. He wrote in the last article: ‘‘When an adult says ‘toy’, it seems scornful. Meanwhile, everyone knows that children perceive the toy - it’s the features of their psyche, not a lack of intelligence - as realistic as the adults perceive the laws, vehicles and daily routine. This is the greatest danger of misunderstanding’’. Orshanskii raised the issue of studying the child’s play. He co-created with a pioneer of American psychology Stanley Hall (1844-1924) a unique program which could construct the base of further studying. This sequences of questions touching the concrete details of playing are presented at the end of the book. The program included such points as ‘‘The imaginary diseases, sufferings, symptoms. Which drugs are used during the play with a doll? How? What intention the child set?’’. Interesting that the questions were created for the parents as well.
Worldcat locates the only copy at the University of Chicago Library.