On April 20, the National Library of the Chuvash Republic will open an exhibition «To the heroic people of the Soviet Union: the story of a book collection».

The exhibition presents amazing books, united by the presence of a memorable exlibris «TO THE HEROIC PEOPLE OF THE SOVIET UNION / From the People of America / VIA RUSSIAN WAR RELIEF».

The first book – «Basic Principles of Agriculture» (1904) – the library received in 1948. And the oldest one, published in 1879, is considered to be a monograph by William Thackeray «The Newcomes: Memoirs of a most Respectable Family, edited by Arthur Pendennis, Esq».

A separate section is devoted to books published during the lifetime of the authors: Winston Churchill, James Allen, James Matthew Barry, Charles Morgan, Montagu Glass, Corwin Norman, Susan Glasspell.

There are many interesting books that were published during the Second World War. During this period, the publication of books in the United States was governed by decrees of the War Production Board. The Board was engaged in the transfer of industry to military needs, set priorities in the distribution of materials and services, and banned certain types of production. It rationed gasoline, fuel oil, metal, rubber, paper, and plastic.

There are notable marks on the books made by their owners-ordinary citizens: «To Alice M. Golly from her friend and teacher. H. L. P. November 24, 1882», «To Louise from Johnny December 25, 1938», «A gift from Mrs. Frank Stamp», «Lucia Dallas, Algona, Iowa, I wish you strength and get back soon», «Lucy G. Phillips».

The geography of the action is striking in its size. The exlibris shows that US residents from California to Massachusetts took part in the action. San Francisco (California), Salt Lake City (Utah), Boulder (Colorado), New Britain (Connecticut), Seattle (Washington), Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin), Palo Alto (California), Cedar Rapids ( Iowa), Wichita (Kansas), Rochester (New York), Indianapolis (Indiana), Algona (Iowa) – this is just a part of the huge list of cities that donated books for the Soviet Union, which appear on stamps or written by hand.

The exhibition «To the heroic people of the  Soviet Union: the story of a book collection» will give each visitor a unique opportunity to get acquainted with amazing books, valuable history and donated exlibrises, which tell about the friendly attitude of the American people to the Soviet people in the difficult post-war years.

We invite you to visit the exposition in the exhibition hall (room 218) of the library until May 17.

We also invite you to visit the virtual exhibition «To the heroic people of the Soviet Union: the story of a book collection»

For reference:

On September 12, 1941, the Committee «Aid to Russia in the War» was officially registered in the United States. The purpose of its creation: material and moral support of the Soviet people, the organization of the collection of funds, necessary goods and materials, the purchase and dispatch of medicines and equipment, food, clothing and much more. One of the Committee’s actions was the «Books for Russia» campaign – collecting and sending books to the Soviet Union in order to at least partially compensate for the damage caused by the Nazis to 12 thousand Soviet libraries. Books for the Soviet Union were collected by schoolchildren, students, housewives, famous people of America, as well as schools and universities, publishing houses and libraries, women’s societies and church communities.