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Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian 
Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works 
on Paper at  
The New York Public Library & Columbia 
University Libraries 
 
Compiled by  
Robert H. Davis Jr., Columbia University & Cornell University  
Megan Duncan-Smith, Harvard University 
 
With an Introduction by 
Steven Mansbach, University of Maryland 
 
 
Academic Commons, 2015 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Table of Contents 
 
 
 
Steven Mansbach.  Radical Reading / Revolutionary Seeing. 
 
i-xv 
 
Robert H. Davis, Jr.  Compiler’s Introduction 
 
 
 
xvi-xx 
 
Acknowledgments 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
xxi 
 
The Checklist   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1-169 
 
Indexes 
 
 
 
Short Title Index 
 
 
 
 
 
 
170-181 
 
Manuscripts or Original Works of Art on Paper 
 
 
182 
 
Holding Institutions   
 
 
 
 
 
182-185 
 
Personal Name Index   
 
 
 
 
 
186-197 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cover illustration of an original textile pattern, from No. 665, a book maquette titled 
Okti︠a︡brʹ i 
profpechatʹ (proftextilʹ).  [Moskva], 1924. (Columbia). 
 
Copyright © 2015 by Robert H. Davis, Jr. & Megan Duncan-Smith. 

 

 
 

 
Radical Reading / Revolutionary Seeing:  An Introduction to  
 
Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & 
Works on Paper at The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
Steven Mansbach, University of Maryland 
 
The manifold collections of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian avant-garde publications in 
the New York Public and Columbia University Libraries are as impressive in their breadth as 
they are significant in their history.
1
  They have become more than a singular research resource 
for Slavicists, and more than a telling record of the striking inventiveness that occurred in 
Eastern Europe early in the last century.  Indeed, these rich holdings are essential for today’s 
scholars and for an ever-growing public keenly interested in the art, culture, and political history 
of Eastern and East-Central Europe during a period of dramatic and revolutionary change.
2
  
Nonetheless, it is through the visual and literary history that the two collections document that 
one might best appreciate these holdings’ broadest value. 
 
At the time of their creation in the early decades of the twentieth-century, avant-garde 
periodicals, broadsheets, and paper ephemera from Eastern Europe had mostly been intended for 
restricted audiences.  This was especially true for Constructivist and Futurist publications that 
appeared in the Baltic lands, Russia, Ukraine, and throughout East-Central Europe extending into 
the Balkans, especially Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
3
  In part, small 
publication runs were the result of prevailing material shortages, as paper, ink, and even 
                                                 
1
 See also Russian and Ukrainian Avant-Garde and Constructivist Books and Serials in The New York Public 
Library: A First Census & Listing of Artists Represented, compiled by Robert H. Davis, Jr., and Margaret Sandler 
with an Introduction by Gail Harrison Roman and Robert H. Davis. Jr., (New York: Norman Ross Publishing, 
1998), pp. vii-xvii. 
 
2
 Among the numerous recent exhibition catalogues and scholarly studies, see The Russian Avant-Garde Book, 
1910-1934, Museum of Modern Art (New York: Abrams, 2002) and its remarkable interactive website; Situating El 
Lissitzky : Vitebsk, Berlin, Moscow, Nancy Perloff and Brian Reed, eds., (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 
c2003); and Breaking the Rules: the Printed Face of the European Avant garde, 1900-1937, Stephen Bury, ed., 
(London: British Library, 2007). 
 
3
 See, S. A. Mansbach, Graphic Modernism, From the Baltic to the Balkans, 1910-1935, with Wojciech Jan 
Siemaszkiewicz and with an essay by Robert H. Davis, Jr. and Edward Kasinec, (New York: New York Public 
Library, 2007). 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
technical sophistication were limited during the three tumultuous decades of revolution, world 
war, and radical regime change that extended from the 1905 Revolution in Russia to the decline 
of the avant-garde throughout the region in the face of ultramontane consolidation by the mid-
1930s.
4
  Thus, with the exception of posters (both political and advertising, each an arena of 
avant-garde activity),
5
 the run of these publications was necessarily small, ranging from roughly 
an “edition” of a couple dozen hand-drawn or collaged booklets to letterpress or lithographed 
editions of several hundred (with only a rare few being issued in more than 850 copies).
6
 
 
There were also other, perhaps more compelling, reasons that decisively circumscribed 
the circulation of these radically innovative experiments in seeing and reading that we might 
conveniently gather under the rubric, “avant-garde book arts.”  First, the contents as well as the 
visual means that were often coincident with them were themselves essentially of a revolutionary 
character, often stridently so.
7
  Thus, there was always the risk of engendering the hostility of 
governmental censors, whether from the tottering imperial, fragile democratic, or ascendant 
leftist authorities.  For it must be acknowledged that the designers of these avant-garde 
publications sought to replace the ossified forms and sanctioned contents of conventional 
                                                 
4
 For a discussion of Russian avant-garde publishing in Berlin, see below, n10.  See also, Patricia Railing, vol. 3, 
For the Voice: Voices of RevolutionCollected Essays (Voices of Revolution), (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000), 
especially S. A. Mansbach, “El Lissitzky: A Universal Voice in Russian Berlin,” pp. 159-184.  The Centre for 
European and International Studies Research (CEISR)’s Russian Jewish Artists and Book Design, 1919-28. Berlin 
as a Showcase for the Old and the New Russia, (Univ. of Portsmouth [UK]) cites 44 Russian publishers in Berlin by 
1922 (a count that exceeds the number of German publishers). For alternative numbers of Russian publishers, see 
also Mansbach,”The First Russian Art Exhibition (1922) or the Politics and Presentation of Propaganda,” in 
Proceedings of the XXVIII International Congress of the History of Art, Berlin, 1993, vol. 1, pp. 307-320. 
 
5
 Posters constitute a different, though highly original, category of avant-garde activity.  For recent studies, see the 
bibliography in Windows on the War: Soviet Tass Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945, edited by Peter Kort 
Zegers and Douglas Druick, with contributions by Konstantin Akinsha and others, (New Haven: Yale University 
Press, 2011). 
 
6
 Although the publication run of many of the most original books is unknown, there is a considerable number that 
survive in five or fewer copies.  Moreover, of those whose original edition is known, perhaps the most rare (in terms 
of number) is the 5 x 5 = 25: An Exhibition of Painting, which was jointly produced in colored pencil, pencil, 
gouache, and linoleum cut by Alexandra Ekster, Liubov’ Popova, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, and 
Aleksandr Vesnin (the five artists of the exhibition) in 1921 in an edition of twenty-five.  Although this specific 
volume is not represented in the present volume, a number of Exter’s works treating the theater are listed. See #189-
195. 
 
7
 For an early study, see Mikhail Karasik, Soviet Graphics of the 1920s—1930s. From Private Collections
Leningrad Branch of the Union of Artists (LOSKh). 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
iii 
  
publishing with a new manner of reading, seeing, and ultimately behaving, almost all of which 
carried political implications.
8
 Thus these radical publications often were oriented toward the 
small circles of open-minded intellectuals and the left-leaning artists themselves. 
 
The intelligentsia from which the authors and designers emerged was doubtless the 
principal audience for these avant-garde publications, despite the authors’ and artists’ frequent 
claims made for the “universality” of Constructivist, Futurist, or otherwise radical aesthetic 
forms.  This self-reflexiveness merits recognition; for the limited size of the intelligentsia in the 
lands extending from the Baltic to the Balkans determined the scale of both generation and 
reception of modernist publications.  Only Russia might be understood as having developed a 
comparatively large number of intellectuals committed to a new type of “book culture” through 
which to re-educate the public and thereby to transform society. Hence, a further reason for the 
small publication runs can be attributed to the limited size of the primary audience; namely, 
fellow members of the intelligentsia, which rarely exceeded a couple hundred in any of the 
eastern European lands, excepting Russia.
9
 
 
Nonetheless, the limited editions should not be understood as signifying an-all-too 
modest readership.  Many of the avant-garde books, journals, exhibition guides, and paper 
ephemera were shared among members of progressive associations or artistic movements.  
Single copies were frequently exchanged with foreign intellectual formations, and these would 
then be circulated among affiliates at home. Further, there are examples of avant-garde works 
that were “re-published” in other formats or fora. Here, for instance, one might cite El 
Lissitzky’s Suprematist-Constructivist masterpiece, Pro dva kvadrata: suprematicheskii skaz: v 
6-ti postroikakh [Concerning two squares: a Suprematist tale: in 6 constructions] (#517), which 
                                                 
8
 The utopian ambitions of the Central and Eastern European avant-gardes, which were to be realized mostly 
through devising a new manner of seeing/reading, have been examined by a host of scholars since the late 1970s.  
Among many others, see Victor Margolin, The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-
1946, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997); S. A. Mansbach, Visions of Totality: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 
Theo Van Doesburg, and El Lissitzky, (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, c1979); and The Great Utopia: the 
Russian and Soviet Avant-garde, 1915-1932, exh. cat., (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, c1992). 
 
9
 This was true for most avant-garde publications in the West as well.  De Stijl, which arguably was among the most 
internationally influential and broadly distributed periodicals, never achieved a subscription number exceeding 310. 
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
was printed in 1922 in Berlin by the Russian-language publisher Skify in an unknown edition – 
but with fifty signed and numbered hardbound examples.  Within months, however this 
“children’s book” appeared in a Dutch translation in De Stijl’s October/November issue.  This 
consummately avant-garde booklet soon gained true currency within a broad international 
intelligentsia: designed by a Russian, originally printed in Berlin where the printing skills and 
materials surpassed what was available in Moscow or Petrograd, and reprinted in Dutch to be 
circulated throughout Europe and as far away as East Asia and, perhaps, Madagascar.
10
 
 
Several of El Lissitzky’s other publications from the early 1920s, as well as a number of 
collaborative books written by Vladimir Maiakovskii and designed by Lissitzky – and then set 
and printed by Berlin’s Russian publishers – also achieved a notably wide distribution.  The 
combined effort represented by Dlia golosa [For the voice] (1923) (#574) constitutes among the 
most remarkable. It is likely that the author and designer had both sought a large audience as 
soon as publication in Berlin became possible;
11
 for they persuaded the publisher to issue the 
book in an edition exceeding 2,000, which was one of the largest of any runs for a Russian avant-
garde book of the era.
12
  What may have been most persuasive to all parties was the radical 
conception and execution of the project.  Working with thirteen poems written by Maiakovskii 
                                                 
10
 The copy of Lissitzky’s Pro dva kvadrata: suprematicheskii skaz in the Japanese National (Diet) Library likely 
derived from the Mavo Group of Japanese avant-gardists.  The radical group may have received the book in 
exchange with the Dutch De Stijl Group.  The existence of an exchange program is mentioned by Gennifer 
Weisenfeld [Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-garde, 1905-1931, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
c2002] although she doesn’t speak of El Lissitzky’s work directly.  Latitude sud 180° (Tananarive, Madagascar) was 
listed on the reverse covers of many European avant-garde journals as a corresponding (and exchange) group. For 
the most comprehensive listing of such avant-garde exchange, including the rare Madagascaran periodical, see (the 
Romanian) Contimporanul [Contemporary Times] from December 1924, which summarizes its history of 
international correspondents and exchanges.  See Mansbach, “The ‘Foreignness’ of Classical Modern Art in 
Romania,” in Art Bulletin, 80, no. 3, 1998, p. 552 n26. 
 
11
 Most scholars agree that approximately forty Russian-language publishing houses existed in 1922; by 1924 the 
total number climbed either to eighty-six (see Natan Fedorowskij, “Eine Stadt in der Stadt: Das russische Berlin der 
20er Jahre,” in Die Reise nach Berlin, exh. cat. ([West] Berlin: Hamburger Bahnhof, 1987) or as high as 193 (see 
Gottfried Kratz, “Russische Verlage in Berlin nach dem ersten Weltkrieg,” in Thomas R Beyer, Gottfried Kratz, and 
Xenia Werner, Russische Autoren und Verlage in Berlin nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg, (Berlin: Verlag Arno Spitz, 
1987). 
 
12
 Although there is no extant record of the precise publication run of this 61-page volume, it has been reliably 
estimated by several scholars to have ranged between two and three thousand. See The Russian Avant-Garde Book
p. 264. 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 

 
between 1913 and 1922 with which the author challenged prevailing conventions of politics and 
culture, Lissitzky realized a design program to facilitate the poems’ revolutionary auditory and 
visual authority over a more customary textual precedence. With an ingenious thumb index on 
which abstract signs symbolized or referred to the respective poem’s title or content, an orator 
could easily find the poem he wished to declaim.  Moreover, the sixty-one letterpress pages 
reveal innovative typographical layouts and inventive visual designs that mediate between seeing 
and reading, abstraction and figuration.  And this very “negotiation” between reading-without-
seeing and seeing-without-deciphering lay at the core of avant-garde book design, as well as at 
the heart of the artists’ “new vision” for society.
13
 
 
Books by Russian and Ukrainian progressive authors and artists published in the West 
generally had fewer constraints, both technical and political, than those issued in the creators’ 
native lands.  However, once the revolution for which so many Russian avant-gardists 
endeavored had been consolidated and as soon as economic conditions improved around 1925, 
there was a greater tolerance of, if not a genuine sympathy for, radical book experimentation in 
the Soviet Union, at least from the mid-twenties to the middle 1930s.  And writers from the 
avant-garde, perhaps more forthrightly than visual artists, took full advantage of it.  The holdings 
documented in the present volume attest to the extraordinary publication of novels, collections of 
poems, technical manuals, and other genres of books, pamphlets, almanacs, and periodicals that 
furthered a revolutionary message, not infrequently with cover designs and illustrative material 
furnished by Russian and Ukrainian experimental artists.  Nonetheless, the utopian fervor that 
inspired radical designers and writers from the time of Futurism – for example, Aleksei 
Kruchenykh’s Pustynniki: poema [Hermits: a poem, 1913] (#458), with a lithographed 
handwritten text and drawings by Natalia Goncharova and a cover by Mikhail Larionov; or 
Kruchenykh’s and Velimir Khlebnikov’s Te li le of 1914 [#462], with handwritten texts and 
                                                 
13
 Although the “New Vision” and “Neues Sehen” [new seeing] were originally coined for photography, almost 
immediately the terms were employed by avant-garde theoreticians and artists as a metaphor for new, often 
ideologically-charged, ways of perceiving reality, and almost always with a tendentiousness toward the rational, 
reproducible, and revolutionary.  See Matthew Witkovsky, Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945
(Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2007), pp. 15-16.  For an extensive discussion of the purposes and means of 
this engaged technological world view by one of its most influential creators, see László Moholy-Nagy, Von 
Material zu Architektur (1928), translated as The New Vision: From Material to Architecture (1932). 
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
illustrations by Olga Rozanova and Nikolai Kul’bin
14
 –  through late Constructivism – for 
instance, Kruchenykh’s later editions of Priemy leninskoi rechi: k izucheniiu iazyka Lenina 
[Lenin’s speech devices: a study of Lenin’s language] with Constructivist lithographs and a 
cover by Gustav Klutsis (#457) – discernibly waned by ca.1934, when Stalin’s conservative 
aesthetic tastes were effectively implemented.
15
  Although there were notable examples of what 
one might call a “moderate modernism” that continued to be issued through Soviet imprints, the 
heroic days of avant-garde publications were mostly over.
16
 
 
The present compendium attests to the close connection between literature and the visual 
arts.  The collaboration among writers, poets, artists, and designers was due in no small degree to 
a shared belief in the power of the “book arts” to present a new vision of a better, more 
democratic society -- and of a “New Man” to inhabit it.  Describing or envisioning an egalitarian, 
more rational future, the avant-garde frequently fused advanced art and transformative politics to 
project a radical image of contemporary realities.  To signify a society of order, transparency, 
and progress, these figures appropriated abstract, often geometric forms, first Futurist and later 
(and more originally) Constructivist.  Through this economical visual vocabulary, they sought to 
                                                 
14
 Russian Futurists endeavored to distinguish themselves from F. T. Marinetti’s original Italian Futurist movement, 
whose founding manifesto was published simultaneously in Bucharest and Paris on 20 February 1909, although it 
had already appeared in Italian in Bologna (5 February) to little notice.  The initial Russian formation may be 
identified with the “Hylea” group’s issue of the manifesto, “A Slap in the Face of Public Taste,” on 15 December 
1913 and signed by David Burliuk, Aleksei Kruchenykh, Vladimir Maiakovskii, and Victor (Velimir) Khlebnikov.  
The peripatetic Marinetti traveled to Moscow in 1914 to sway the Russians toward the Italian’s originary vision of 
Futurist aesthetics, politics, and action; but his overtures were soundly rejected. See #579, F. T. Marinetti, Futurizm
1914. 
 
15
 This was far less true for Constructivist architecture, which continued to be encouraged for institutional buildings, 
such as sanatoria and hospitals.  See Danilo Udovički-Selb, “Between Modernism and Socialist Realism: Soviet 
Architectural Culture under Stalin's Revolution from Above, 1928–1938,” Journal of the Society of Architectural 
Historians, vol. 68, no. 4, 2009, pp. 467-495.  See also, Richard Anderson, Toward a Socialist Architecture: 
Politics, History, and Theory in the Soviet Union, 1928-41, (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia Univ., 2010); and Jean-
Louis Cohen, “Uneasy Crossings: Architecture of the Russian Avant-Garde between East and West,” in Building the 
Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture, 1915-1935, exh. cat., (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2011), pp. 13-27. 
 
16
 The halcyon days of the avant-garde were also mostly eclipsed in the West by the same time, more or less 
following the death of Theo van Doesburg in 1931.  Where there is a notable difference between Russia and 
elsewhere in Europe, however, is in the survival of a form of late Surrealism in France and Belgium and through 
much of Central and eastern Europe, especially Czechoslovakia, Serbia, and Poland.  Surrealism, however, never 
took firm root in the Soviet Union, as it was dismissed from its beginning (1924) by official critics and 
governmental spokesmen as intellectually solipsistic and excessively formalist, hence inappropriate for a progressive 
socialist society. 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
vii 
 
banish the incidental and arbitrary, the conventional and the concealed, in favor of aesthetic 
precision and ideological earnestness. 
 
The social aspect of modernist aesthetics, both literary and visual, did not always find a 
sympathetic reception in Russian and Ukraine, as has been already mentioned.  Many, including 
a significant number of fellow progressive intellectuals, were concerned that Russia’s (as well as 
Ukraine’s) national distinctiveness might be compromised by an abstract vocabulary that 
claimed universal aesthetic (and often ideological) currency.  Consequently, several of the 
volumes represented in the libraries’ collection reveal a modernism that would resonate 
effectively with local traditions, national or ethnic customs, or regional and religious references.  
Some modernist figures found a creative solution in representing folkloric motifs through 
abstract arrangements, as is evidenced in Vladimir Lebedev’s Russian placards 1917-1922 
[Russkii Plakat] published in 1923 (#503) or in El Lissitzky’s striking Khad gad’ia [Yiddish, 
The tale of a goat], 1919.  Others embedded allusions to historical events or myths in Futurist 
forms or Constructivist configurations, as did Kruchenykh in one of the most powerful visual 
statements ever created by the Russian avant-garde: Vselenskaia voina [Universal War] (1916), 
whose fourteen leaves are composed of collaged abstractions and were hand-assembled from 
various colored construction papers (depending on the specific example of the 100 issued).
17
 
Despite differences in emphasis among the authors and artists regarding the degree of 
“readability” of their publications, all held that abstraction was sufficiently expansive to 
accommodate narrative allusion, though most recognized that the public would have to be 
educated to see “content” within an emphatically nonobjective context, whether written or visual. 
 
Not all of the books and serials enumerated in the present publication can be described as 
nonfigurative or nonobjective. A plurality employ figuration, although to varying degrees and 
with differing purposes.  This is perhaps most apparent in volumes that treat Russian 
exceptionalism, primarily those published to document or propagandize the triumphs of the 
Russian Soviet Socialist Republican regime.  Of course, these books and periodicals were issued 
                                                 
17
 Columbia University Library possesses only a microfiche copy of this signal volume; while the NYPL owns only 
a facsimile of Lissitzky’s Khad gad’ia. 
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
under the direct supervision of the government to whose aesthetic dictates progressive artists and 
writers, especially, needed to adhere.  Nonetheless, there was a form of avant-garde expression 
that the government itself sanctioned; and the makers of the “book arts” exploited it to brilliant 
effect.   
 
Like their colleagues elsewhere, particularly in Central Europe, Russian modernists 
seized on photography (as well as film) and especially on photomontage to enrich their formal 
display and its social content.
18
  The appeal of technology-associated media – and the aesthetic 
possibilities that arose from them – was spread across all genres of avant-garde book publishing, 
particularly in the decade following Lenin’s death in 1924, as this compendium convincingly 
demonstrates.  The design program for book jackets and journals frequently integrated 
photography (or photo-derived imagery) into an abstract framework, thereby “rationalizing” 
visual design and modern communication.  A good illustration is provided by Gustav Klutsis’s 
Pamiati pogibshikh vozhdei [Memorial to fallen leaders, 1927] (#667). The front cover artfully 
combines photomontaged worker’s hands holding one of the three staves from which 
geometrical red flags are fully unfurled. No crease mars the perfect geometry of the Bolshevist 
standard, just as no serifs “weaken” the bold capital letters of the title.  Even more affecting is 
the back cover.  Here, a bolt of lightning zig-zags across the surface. But the tiny “electrons” 
prove to be an endless stream of Soviet citizens who make their orderly way toward and through 
the centered photomontaged image of Lenin’s Tomb. The somber memorial structure is encased 
in a series of stark red parallelograms, which both protect it like abstract sentinels and serve as 
the fallen leader’s foundation. For this innovative back cover, Klutsis has inventively 
orchestrated a powerful blend of figuration and abstraction in order to present a Soviet “space” 
that is at once realistic and ideal, stable and dynamic, iconic and approachable. 
 
The intended audience for most of the books in these eminent libraries’ collections was 
Russian (or at least those conversant in Russian or familiar with the Russian or Ukrainian 
people’s history, culture, and traditions).  Nevertheless, the local avant-garde movements were 
                                                 
18
 See Aglaya Glebova, Visualizing Stalinism: Photography of the Early Gulags, (Ph.D. diss., University of 
California-Berkeley, 2014); and Art of the Soviets: Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in a One-Party State, 
1917-1992, eds. Matthew Bown and Brandon Tayler, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993). 
 

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ix 
  
always keenly sensitive to how their work would be received abroad, especially in the materially 
advanced nations of Central and Western Europe, and beyond.  Since the first decade of the last 
century, progressive artists, poets, and writers traveled from Russia and Ukraine to the major 
cultural capitals of Western Europe, principally to Paris and Berlin. There, they partook in the 
vibrant modern café culture, participated in pioneering exhibitions or publishing ventures with 
progressive local figures, and not infrequently refined their own work to take advantage of the 
formal innovations they encountered abroad.
19
 
 
Vasilii Kandinskii, who had spent years living in Bavaria until forced to return to Russia 
at the outbreak of World War I, had published pioneering texts that defined for the avant-garde 
both an idealistic vocabulary of modern expression and its utopian potential.
20
  His activities in 
Germany made him an international figure in the modernist firmament rather than being 
identified principally as a Russian sun.  Likewise, El Lissitzky, fluent in German and 
comfortable spending years in the cosmopolitan centers of Germany, was a universal voice for 
advanced culture.  Both artist-authors might be understood as ideal ambassadors for the 
embattled Bolshevist regime, which in 1922, and at the urging of both Kandinskii and Lissitzky, 
assigned a cohort of modernists to implement in Berlin the Soviet Union’s first large-scale 
attempt at cultural propaganda.  Natan Al’tman [#12, 32, 201-202, 207, 209, 212, 486, 705, 
1141], Naum Gabo [#127], and David Shterenberg [#42, 200, 350, 774, 807-808, 810, 994] were 
                                                 
19
 Of course, Western artists also benefitted manifoldly from direct contact with Eastern European modernists, 
perhaps nowhere more so than in Weimar Germany.  One might note the major exhibitions of Russian and 
Ukrainian avant-gardists mounted by German dealers in modern art – Herwarth Walden, Karl Nierendorf, Alfred 
Flechtheim, among others.  Moreover, in the large-scale, multi-national exhibitions, such as the Film und Foto 
Internationale Ausstellung, (Stuttgart, 1929), or in the giant “single-nation” exposition of the Erste russische 
Kunstausstellung, (Berlin, 1922) [see below], or through the influence exerted by Russian and Ukrainian figures on 
the Bauhaus’s own publication series, the flow of influence ran in both directions. 
 
20
 Upon his expulsion from Germany as an enemy alien, he returned to the land of his birth, where he put his talents 
at the service of, first, the Tsar and then, and with far greater fervor, at the disposal of the revolutionary regime.  By 
the time of his repatriation, he had already established himself as one of Europe’s leading modernists, more perhaps 
for his writings than for his art.  The present compendium contains a rich representation of Kandinskii’s work on 
paper [#374-384] dating from a 1908 expressionist color woodcut, though his radically new musical/theoretical 
composition Klänge (1912)to his theoretical tracts of 1912 (Über das Geistige in der Kunst, insbesondere in der 
Malerei) and the 1926 volume in the Bauhausbücher series (Punkt und Linie zu Flache: Beitrag zur Analyse der 
malerischen Elemente), written upon his return to Germany in 1921 to join Walter Gropius’s experimental 
pedagogical school for contemporary and socially responsible creativity.   
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
tasked with supervising the installation of the Erste russische Kunstausstellung [First Russian 
Art Exhibition] in the Van Diemen Gallery, where more than six hundred art works of various 
styles, although preponderantly conservative, were displayed before enormous local crowds.
21
  
Surely, part of the Soviet strategy was to court favor with the politically conservative among 
Berlin’s 300,000-strong Russian residents, principally émigrés from the Civil War and fearful of 
social radicalism.  But Russia’s governmental organizers were also intent to demonstrate Soviet 
openness to the radically new; and it was the many dozens of avant-garde works that garnered 
(mostly) favorable critical attention in the Western press.
22
  Following the success of the “First 
Russian Art Exhibition, the regime permitted several of its most dynamic writers and poets to 
make trips to the West. Again, the German capital was particularly favored, as the Soviet Union 
was actively courting the Weimar Republic in an attempt to break the cordon sanitaire 
established by the Allied Powers.  While in Berlin, and in addition to presenting readings to, 
attending meetings with, and endeavoring to win back the loyalties of the émigrés,
23
 leftist 
Russian and Ukrainian authors and designers capitalized on the locally-available master 
typographers, printing and binding technologies, quality paper, and advanced distribution 
mechanisms.  And it is from this extraordinarily rich creative period, roughly 1922 to 1925, that 
a large number of the avant-garde works in the NYPL and Columbia University Library 
collections derive. 
 
Non-resident Russophones clearly constituted an ideal target not only for Soviet leaders 
but for members of the nation’s avant-garde.  As a result, German and West European book 
dealers were encouraged to import progressive texts; and avant-garde periodicals circulated ever 
                                                 
21
 The “First Russian Art Exhibition” was an enormous undertaking and a major propaganda success for the Soviet 
Union. The organizing committee presented more than 600 works, many of which were aesthetically conservative.  
See Eckhard Neumann, “Russia’s ‘Leftist Art’ in Berlin, 1922,” in Art Journal, vol. 27, no. 1, 1967, pp. 20-23; 
Annely Juda Fine Art (London), The First Russian Show: A Commemoration of the Van Diemen Exhibition, Berlin 
1922; Helen Adkins, “Erste Russische Kunstausstellung,” in Stationen der Moderne, exh cat., Martin-Gropius-Bau, 
(West) Berlin, 1988, pp. 185-196; and S. A. Mansbach, “The First Russian Art Exhibition (1922) as in n4. 
 
22
 This was even more the case when the exhibition, stripped of many of the conservative works of art, traveled to its 
next and final venue, Amsterdam.  See Mansbach, as in n4. 
 
23
 It is in the spirited context of Weimar-era Berlin that we might best imagine how Maiakovskii and Lissitzky’s 
Dlia golosa could have resonated. 
 

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xi 
  
more widely, even if in modest numbers. El Lissitzky and Il’ia Erenburg, characteristically, took 
full advantage of their linguistic skills and an extensive network of contacts to bring out the 
multi-lingual Veshch′, Gegenstand, Objet (Internationale Rundschau der Kunst der Gegenwart, 
Revue internationale de l’art moderne) [#1109] [Object: International revue of modern art]. With 
articles in Russian, French, and German, this progressive journal, published in Berlin as were so 
many kindred enterprises, sought a world audience.  Its greatest ambition was to present a 
dynamic discourse on new systems of seeing, reading, and social organization.  Although 
Veshch′’s essays were published in three languages, it was through its ingenious integration of 
abstract forms, radical typographical layout, and photography that the desired internationalism 
was most creatively proclaimed. 
 
Complementing the exportation of progressive poetry and literature, and augmenting the 
periodical and serial activity sanctioned by the Soviet state for external consumption, were 
exhibitions, and especially their catalogues.  In addition to the private galleries that promoted 
Russian and Ukrainian modernists as part of the gallerists’ own commitment to the international 
avant-garde―such as Herwarth Walden’s Berlin “Der Sturm Galerie”―were the exhibition 
activities realized by public museums and,
24
 even more, through the specialized trade fairs in 
which the Soviet state so eagerly participated. The locus classicus of the Soviet effort was surely 
the Soviet pavilion for the Internationale Pressa-Ausstellung [International Press Exhibition] 
(Cologne, 1928).  Once again El Lissitzky assumed the leading role, assisted by Sergei Sen’kin 
and a cadre of nearly forty designers, who collectively implemented the most ambitious 
exhibition program of the era.
25
  The Soviet propagandistic perspective was stated clearly in the 
catalogue, “Die Aufgabe der Presse ist die Erziehung der Massen” [The Task of the press is to 
                                                 
24
 Most notable in this context was the series of public exhibitions on photography and film that took place in 
Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland throughout the 1920s: for instance, Neue Wege in der Photographie (Jena, 
1928); Výstava nové fotografie (Prague, 1930), and 1. Wystawa Fotografi Modernistyczneij (Cracow, 1931). [See 
Witkovsky, Foto, pp 58-60.] Most significant of all, however, was the exhibition Film und Foto, inaugurated in 
Stuttgart (1929) before traveling through much of Germany and abroad, including Japan (see below). For the 
Russian aspect of the FiFo exhibition, see also Margarita Tupitsyn with Matthew Drutt and Ulrich Pohlman, El 
Lissitzky: Beyond the Abstract Cabinet : photography, design, collaboration, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
c1999), p. 57. 
 
25
 See Witkovsky, Foto, pp.  31-35. 
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
educate the masses].  And the ingenious catalogue exploits an accordion unfolding through 
which a panoply of photomontaged images recapitulates the pavilion’s gigantic photo display 
panels, which measured approximately twelve by eighty feet.  Both formats exploited an 
elaborate montage of image and text, seeing and reading, in order to present the striking results 
of Soviet education. Here in the catalogue (as well as in the pavilion itself), Lissitzky has created 
an almost cinemagraphic display to document formerly illiterate industrial workers, village 
inhabitants, and agricultural laborers reading Russian newspapers, books, or posters.  Short 
explanatory or exhortatory texts in German and Russian are peppered staccato-like throughout 
the accordion pages and in the pavilion itself, a visual arrangement that puts in motion the 
reader’s/visitor’s eye and mind.  The result is a totalizing design program that simulates the film-
like dynamism championed by the avant-garde and thematized by the Soviet regime. 
 
Although there are numerous exceptions – such as the Pressa Exhibition of 1928 and the 
Film und Foto Exhibition of the following two years – Soviet overtures abroad most often 
combined progressive and conservative aesthetics.  In part, this may be due to the embattled 
position of the avant-garde within contemporary Russia and Ukraine.  On the one hand, the 
government recognized the “diplomatic” importance of avant-garde products, as these were 
likely to impress the West with Russia’s “modernism” and with the regime’s seeming tolerance 
of all forms and styles of creativity.  On the other hand, conservative aesthetic formats and 
expressions were more congruent with the authorities’ own tastes, as well as indicating the 
“continuity” of Russian culture and artistic policies.  This bifurcated view was manifested not 
only in Russia’s overtures to Central and Western Europe during the 1920s, it was also evident in 
its “book arts” dealings with the United States to which signal examples were sent, exchanged, 
or sold. 
 
 In February 1929, the Amtorg Trading Corporation sponsored an Exhibition of 
Contemporary Art of Soviet Russia: Painting, Graphics, Sculpture held at New York’s Grand 
Central Palace (a copy of which is held by Columbia’s Avery Library).
26
  With a forward 
provided by Christian Brinton, a noted American promoter of modern art, and an introduction by 
                                                 
26
 Amtorg was the first Soviet trading company established in the United States (1924). Armand Hammer was 
instrumental in its activities. 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
xiii 
 
P[avel] Novitsky, a distinguished Soviet apologist for the avant-garde, the catalogue’s cover was 
designed by the (then already) conservative artist Alexandr Deineka.  As the catalogue contents 
indicate, the exhibition displayed works by both figurative figures and by the veteran avant-
gardists Lissitzky, Al’tman, and Shterenberg,
27
 the very individuals who had earlier implemented 
the 1922 First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin.  In New York, as in Europe, Russia endeavored 
to present itself as a land where both experimentation and tradition were sanctioned, even though 
by 1929 avant-garde activity had been severely curtailed in Moscow and Leningrad. 
 
Exhibitions were but one means to introduce to New York prime examples of Soviet and 
Ukrainian Avant-Garde and Constructivist books (and serials).  Long before Amtorg was 
founded, Herman Rosenthal (1843-1917), who became the first chief of the Slavonic Department 
of the New York Public Library, had been actively serving his reading public of Manhattan’s 
newly-arrived Russophonic Jews, when he began an active campaign to build a wide-ranging 
collection.
28
 But it was in the years following World War I that the NYPL embarked on a major 
acquisition program that went beyond relying on local book dealers and donors. Avrahm 
Tsalevich Yarmolinsky (1890-1975), from 1917 (to 1957) chief of the library’s Slavonic 
Division, led a small delegation of professional colleagues on a pioneering acquisitions trip to 
Central and Eastern Europe.  The chief, “ever the focused Russianist...concentrated his efforts on 
books available in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including the works of Russian futurist poets and 
artists.  Figures such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Aleksei 
Kruchenykh often literally put their works into Yarmolinsky’s hands.”
29
  But it was not only the 
                                                 
27
 A suggestive comparison can be made between El Lissitzky’s rigorously avant-garde Cowards and U. Pimenov’s 
comparatively conservative Tennis
 
28
 For information on the New York Public Library’s early collecting of Slavonica, especially Russophonia, I am 
indebted to Robert Davis and Edward Kasinec, “From Shelf to Spotlight: Rediscovering Modernist Books from 
Eastern Europe at the New York Public Library,” in Mansbach, Graphic Modernism, as in n3; and Davis and 
Sandler, as in n1. 
 
29
 See Davis and Kasinec, “From Shelf to Spotlight,” pp. 60-63.  Especially telling is the quotation of Yarmolinsky 
(from a letter addressed to Lewis Mumford) describing his visit to GinKHuk [the acronym that can be translated as 
the Institute of Artistic Culture], headed by Malevich, in which the Slavonic section’s chief describes his 
bewilderment with the literary and typographical experimentation of the avant-garde. (See p. 63 and n27.)  In a letter 
addressed by Harry Miller Lydenberg, the chief of the NYPL’s reference section, to Yarmolinsky, the head of 
reference authorizes funds for the acquisition of “a collection of the newest and freakiest of their [avant-garde’s] 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
American librarians who journeyed to Eastern Europe through which New York’s collections 
were enriched with modernist books and serials.  In 1925 Maiakovsky himself came to the 
United States, where he spent considerable time in Manhattan, about which he wrote in his 
memoirs. During his extended visit, he (and Burliuk) hand-delivered books by and about the 
Russian avant-garde to the New York Public Library. 
 
The basis for the NYPL’s Russian and Ukrainian avant-garde holdings are in one 
important way different from many other notable collections, including the extraordinary 
collections held by Columbia University and included in the present volume.  Intellectual value 
and historical significance were certainly animating criteria, rather than the state of preservation 
or material condition.  Thus, one finds many examples listed in the current compilation where 
the condition of the specific item is compromised, either due to the low quality of the paper on 
which it was originally printed or as a consequence of years of use by the library’s reading 
public. Indeed, as a public library, the NYPL has always made its collections, including its most 
rare items, accessible to interested members of the New York community (and well beyond).  
Additionally, the administrative history of the NYPL has significantly shaped the collection.  
The era of dividing acquisitions among the various departments, each with its own collecting 
practices, interests, and resources, has decisively determined the growth of the avant-garde 
holdings.  By contrast, Columbia University Library’s Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian 
holdings have been critically affected by the academic interests and programs of the University’s 
departments, faculties, and research institutes.  As a large private university, Columbia has 
properly focused its collecting energies and resources in ways that advance its agenda as a 
leading research institution in which Russian and Slavic studies have long played an eminent 
role. 
 
The two libraries represented here are fundamentally research institutions, even if the 
original Slavonica at the NYPL were acquired to satisfy the needs of a newly immigrant, non-
academic public, and even if a recent reorganization of the NYPL has dramatically affected the 
                                                                                                                                                           
poems.” (See p. 63 and n30.)  Not insignificantly, the monies were given to Kruchenykh, who then proceeded to 
solicit works directly from the radical poets, writers, and artists.  Lydenberg continued his travels to Ukraine, where 
he established contacts, which could be pursued upon his return to New York. 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
xv 
 
further development of these research resources.  At base, the collections have developed over 
the last century to meet scholarly expectations.  As a consequence, there is remarkable coverage 
of both the written and the visual avant-garde.  But unlike an art museum or a museum-based 
research center, such as the Getty Research Institute,
30
 items have been acquired and continue to 
be added not based principally on their near-pristine condition, or rarity, or their connection to 
other holdings (such as paintings, sculpture, and other works on paper).  Nonetheless, as the 
interest in the extraordinary inventiveness, both visual and written, of the classical Russian and 
Ukrainian modernists has grown far beyond the academe, the NYPL and Columbia University 
Library have recognized the importance of presenting their exceptional riches to an ever-
expanding public.  No longer does the original avant-garde address principally itself and its 
narrow group of apologists.  Today, the creativity of the Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian 
writers, poets, and artists speak with a universal voice.  And this volume is a helpful way of 
attending to it.   
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                 
30
 See Russian modernism: the Collections of the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities
introduction by Jean-Louis Cohen, compiled and annotated by David Woodruff and Ljiljana Grubisic, (Santa 
Monica, CA: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1997). 
 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
 
Compiler’s Introduction 
Robert H. Davis, Jr., Columbia University & Cornell University 
 
Background 
Like so many worthwhile bibliographic projects, work on the following checklist was 
initiated by Edward Kasinec, Emeritus Curator of the former Slavic & Baltic Division of The 
New York Public Library, and a much respected member of the Slavic studies field.   Edward 
first became acquainted with the Russian avant-garde book in London, in the early 1970s, when 
he spent time poring over the British Library’s “shoebox” card files of such publications with 
Christine Thomas of the Slavic and East European Collections.  
The immediate impetus for the present list was the appearance, in 1994, of Peter 
Hellyer’s A Catalogue of Russian Avant-Garde Books, 1912-1934 (London: The British 
Library)―a checklist of BL holdings with an addenda for avant-garde books produced in the 
1980s and 1990s.   Edward saw the need for a similar checklist of NYPL’s rich and hitherto 
little-appreciated holdings.   The 1997 publication of the beautifully produced Russian 
Modernism: The Collections of the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the 
Humanities (Santa Monica: The Getty Research Institute, 1997) further spurred our NYPL 
project along. 
 
Among North American collections of such material, the NYPL is unique in that many of 
the titles so classified came to its shelves not via antiquarian dealers in recent decades, but in 
some cases from the hands of the writers and artists themselves.   Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1890-
1975), the third Chief of the Slavonic Division, made the acquaintance of many prominent 
figures of the period—Malevich, Tatlin, Mayakovsky, Kruchenykh, David Burliuk, Esenin, and 
Zamiatin among them―and this ensured a steady flow of materials from 1923 onwards.  Current 
materials (for example, the Constructivist journal SSSR na stroike) were obtained as they were 
produced, through exchange or purchase up to the onset of World War II.  In more recent 
decades, gifts by prominent donors such as Dr. David Orentreich, or Elaine Lustig Cohen, as 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
xvii 
 
well as purchases by the Slavic & Baltic Division and by Robert Rainwater of the NYPL’s 
Spencer Collection, deepened holdings. 
 
A core challenge that faced the compilers of a NYPL guide centered on efficiently 
gathering information about physically and bibliographically scattered holdings—most 
especially, call numbers and unit locations—into one cohesive checklist.   Compounding the 
difficulty was the fact that while Yarmolinsky may have engaged with these artists and acquired 
their publications, aesthetically they were not his (or his staff’s) cup of tea.  So, rather than 
receiving a fulsome bibliographic description and subject tracings in the card catalogue, many 
such publications were, for convenience, bound into convolutes and provided with the bare 
minimum of cataloging.   Finally, a large number of paper-based catalogue records for Cyrillic 
titles at NYPL had never been converted to computer form, making the preparation of the 
checklist even more labor-intensive.   
 
The First Census 
 
These difficulties notwithstanding, in 1998, my former NYPL colleague Margaret 
Sandler and I compiled and published Russian and Ukrainian Avant-garde and Constructivist 
Books and Serials in The New York Public Library: A First Census and Listing of Artists 
Represented (New York: The Library, and Norman Ross Publishing), a seventy-five page 
checklist of around 350 titles, with an Introduction by Gail Harrison Roman and the present 
author.
1
  Using Hellyer’s checklist as a basis, we searched NYPL holdings, utilizing both the 
manual 44-volume Dictionary Catalogue of the Slavonic Division (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1974), and 
the electronic catalogue.   We added those titles that we knew had been acquired in recent years, 
and searched the names of artists and authors listed in Hellyer for other titles by the same 
individuals.  Yet we did little digging into the print catalogue generally, beyond what was 
identified in Hellyer. 
Following the appearance of the first NYPL census, significant progress was made on 
making formerly manual paper records available electronically.  A second edition of Hellyer  
appeared, with a number of additional titles.  Most importantly, the ranks of researchers on the 
other side of the Atlantic, and our access to their works, have swelled.  For example, 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
Entsiklopediia russkogo avangarda (Minsk, 2003) appeared, providing a convenient list of both 
well-known and obscure figures involved in Modernist movements of first three decades of 20
th
 
century.   Between 1998 and October 2008 when I left the employ of the NYPL, our original 
checklist was supplemented in an in-house Word file, but never published.    
 
My transition in 2008 from being part of a staffed Division at NYPL, to a “sole 
practitioner” librarian/bibliographer at Columbia, meant that work on many of the grand 
bibliographic projects in my queue took place (if at all) during the interstices of a busy day.  In 
2010, I began serving as Slavic Librarian for Cornell University, in addition to my duties at 
Columbia.   The very fact that I was now part of another institution compelled me to rethink the 
scope of the project.  Why not include Columbia’s holdings, and perhaps even make reference to 
the holdings of other OCLC libraries?   
As was the case with NYPL, Columbia holdings of modernist materials, most especially 
those from the early 1930s onward came to our shelves “organically,” via exchange or purchase, 
close to the time that these works had been created.  Like NYPL, these were acquired simply 
because they were part of the broad stream of publications from the Soviet Union, and not 
reflecting a particular aesthetic interest on the part of librarians or faculty alike.  A number were 
acquired by the Avery Library, Columbia’s outstanding architectural and fine arts collection, and 
these reflected a comprehensive interest in works on world architecture (e.g., #115 IAkov 
Chernikhov’s Osnovy sovremennoi arkhitektury, Leningrad, 1930), and already established 
artists (e.g., #56, Nikolai Berdiaev’s  Krizis iskusstva, Moskva, 1918, containing illustrations of 
Picasso’s works).  As at NYPL, in recent years, I have had some success in building upon these 
collections, through gift and purchase. 
 
The Origins of a Revised Checklist 
 
In February of 2009, it was my great pleasure to meet my co-compiler Megan K. Duncan 
Smith (at that time a student in the Russia, Eurasia & East European Studies MA (MARS-
REERS) program, now a PhD candidate in history at Harvard) and hire her as a Graduate 
Assistant.   During the period February 2009 through the end of 2011, Megan provided crucial 
enhancements to this checklist.  Megan’s keen interest in art history, energy, intellect, and 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
xix 
  
enthusiasm, made her the ideal person to involve in the project.  She brought Columbia’s 
holdings into the fold, and standardized record content.   Her de visu examination of physical 
volumes at both Columbia and NYPL filled many lacunae (missing pagination, or edition 
information, location, etc.)  found in the original, often very brief cataloging records. 
 
In the Fall term of 2013, Serenity Stanton, then in the MARS-REERS program and today 
a PhD candidate in Slavic languages at the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana, worked as 
a Graduate Assistant on this project, during which time she re-numbered the checklist, and keyed 
the various indexes to the new system.  In this relatively short period of time, she also managed 
to greatly enhance the personal name index data, and the “Other Institutions” holding 
information. 
 
Some Caveats 
 
I am not an art historian, nor am I a literary historian.  Full stop.  There will be those who 
do not consider a number of the items listed here worthy of the designation “Modernist.”   Others 
will take issue with the chronology, which we extended into the late 1930s (whereas 1934 or 
1935 seems a commonly accepted terminus).  The inclusion of later imprints reflects that, to the 
compilers that these titles had more in common with the past than with the Socialist Realist 
future.  For example, #636, Moskva rekonstruiruetsia: al'bom diagramm, toposkhem i fotografii 
po rekonstruktsii gor. Moskvy.  (Moskva, 1938), a collaboration of Rodchenko and Stepanova, or 
#1093, USSR; an album illustrating the state organization and national economy of the U.S.S.R
([Moscow, 1940]) which contains work by El Lissitsky.    
 
One of the issues debated during the preparation of this checklist was whether or not to 
include children’s books of the period.  Ultimately, we decided to pull those we identified, with 
the hope that a separate list would eventually be published.  That being said, I confess that I have 
discovered that a number of juvenalia titles were not excised from this list. Mea culpa.  Doing so 
at this point would make for a messy renumbering.   In future editions of this list, I hope to either 
excise these, or actually produce a separate list as was the original intent. 
“Other Institutions” holding information is sure to be an area of concern, particularly for 
my fellow library colleagues.   The OCLC bibliographic database from whence this information 

The New York Public Library & Columbia University Libraries 
 
was taken is itself a constantly updated resource, with new holding institutions added to existing 
records every day.  I expect and welcome requests from my colleagues to update this holding 
information periodically.  
In the same vein, our efforts to provide full name, birth and death dates for individuals 
connected with the 1,159 records in the checklist has taken an enormous amount of time, 
utilizing both print and online sources.  Yet despite this effort, the index contains many lacunae.  
It is hoped that in the years to come, colleagues will fill in the gaps and make corrections when 
necessary.    
 
This publication represents a “first” for me, in that all my previous publications were of 
the ink and paper variety.   So it is my intent to take full advantage of its “virtual” nature, and 
make this a “living” document, periodically updated/corrected with learned input from you, the 
reader.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Checklist of Russian, Ukrainian & Belarusian Avant-Garde & Modernist Books, Serials & Works on Paper 
 
xxi 
  
 
 
 
 
Acknowledgments 
 
 
First and foremost, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of my former NYPL colleague 
Margaret Sandler in helping to lay the groundwork for the present checklist.  Edward Kasinec, as 
always, for his erudition, enthusiasm, and generosity.  In addition to his many publications and 
professional achievements, Edward has always provided much kindling for the intellectual fires 
of his many colleagues, myself included.   Professor Steven A. Mansbach has generously shared 
his knowledge of the art and artists of this period time and again, and I am deeply grateful for his 
contribution to this work over various stages, and for his excellent introductory essay.  The 
Harriman Institute and Communications Director Ronald Meyer generously provided financial 
support for the preparation of this compendium.  Finally, I wish to express my admiration and 
profound thanks to my co-compiler Megan K. Duncan Smith for her remarkable work on this 
project.  This checklist in its present form would not have been possible without her diligent 
efforts.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
The Checklist 
 
† Indicates a manuscript, holograph, or original work of art. 
 


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