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Granstrem's Publishing Company

Exhibition from Collections of the National Library of Russia

This exhibition opens a series of exhibitions on the Petersburg publishers of the 19th - early 20th century. The theme we have chosen for this is Granstrem's Publishing Company. On the one hand, the repertoire of the press and quality of its publications are sufficient to make the general public know about its activity. On the other hand, members of the family of E. Granstrem are directly connected with the National Library of Russia. Thus, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the granddaughter of the publisher Eugenia Eduardovna Granstrem, a prominent scientist, Byzantinist, paleographer, who served for the Manuscripts Department of the NLR during almost half a century. The virtual exhibition also includes the report "The Gallant Knight of the Dream ..." which was kindly provided by her son, Mikhail Petrovich Granstrem (a great-grandson of the publisher)1, we again turn to the legacy of this outstanding family who have contributed much to various fields of culture and science in Russia. We presented the most complete list of publications by E. Granstrem.

Eduard Granstrem and his Wife Matilda Granstrem Granstrem Family

Books for children by Eduard Granstrem (1843-1918) were widely known in Russia and had well-deserved success with the reading public in the late 19th - early 20th century. Several books by the publishers have been reprinted recently2. But neither the design of modern editions, nor their graphic arts quality can be compared with the original deluxe editions which brought up a generation of Russian children. Granstrem's Publishing Company was founded in 1881 in St. Petersburg by Eduard Granstrem with the participation of his wife and daughter (M. and E. Granstrem). Eduard Granstrem was an author of many books for young people. At the end of 19th century, he was a well-known translator who translated tales by Professor Z. Topelius and did a verse translation of the Finnish epic poem Kalevala. The publishing house issued mainly expensive gift editions of world literature for children and young people. Among them were the works of F. Burnett, L. Boussenard, L. Carroll, Z. Topelius etc. E. Granstrem himself along with his wife and daughter did translations from foreign languages. The press have produced about 50 titles in total. It ended its existence in 1916. Most books of this publishing house was illustrated with original prints and drawings by known Russian and foreign artists: E. Grave, V. Kryukov, V. Taburin, A.-E. Marie, B. Rabier, C. Robinson, F. - J. Roux and others.

Grandfather's Granddaughter: [novel] Elena-Robinson: the adventures of a girl on a desert island King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table Kalevala: the Finnish national epic poem

>Publications by Granstrem were an important part of the book culture of the time. Today, these books attract the attention of collectors, they are well represented at antique auctions3. They are not allowed to be exported outside Russia as national cultural heritage values. Even the major Russian libraries do not preserve the complete set of all its publications. The National Library also does not possess all publications by Granstrem, but a collection of his publications in the NLR is the most complete. The information, how many books were issued by Granstrem, from various sources differs. The list of all publications by the publishing house and other relevant material on this topic can be found in the catalogue Gift Books: E. Granstrem's Luxury Editions for Children and Young People4 and some other bookseller catalogues and brochures of the bookstores that sold books by this publishing company5.

The reference books contain minimal information about this publishing house. The research of publishing activity of E.Granstrem was initiated by members of his family. In 1994, the brochure The writer and publisher Eduard Granstrem was published in small numbers by Eduard Granstrem junior, a grandson of the publisher. In this booklet, Eduard gave information on the history of the family of E.Granstrem, outlined the main areas of publishing activity of his grandfather, provded the list of books published by E. Granstrem and the list of documents stored in the family of E.Granstrem. This booklet was prepared from the author's report at the meeting of the Book and Graphic Arts Section in the House of Scientists. It was not available on sale, because it was intended only for the members of the section, and now has become a bibliographical rarity.

Materials for the exhibition were prepared by Senior Researcher of the Rare Books Department O. Ilina

Grandfather's Granddaughter: ): [novel] / Josephine Colomb, author; translated from French by M. Granstrem, with 89 drawings and vignettes by artist A. Marie. — St. Petersburg:— СПб.: B. Balashev and Co. Publisher, cens. 1894.
Elena-Robinson: the adventures of a girl on a desert island / retold from Defoe and Mellin by E. Granstrem; with 59 drawings by V. Kryukov, etc. - St. Petersburg: M. Lederle and Co. Publisher, cens. 1892. — 2nd ed. with 67 drawings V. Taburin, V. Kryukov, etc. - St. Petersburg: C. Birkenfeld's Ttypolithography, [1896].
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table / translated from English from G. Gilbert and J. Knowles, with 8 coloured and 18 black pictures by artists Cran and Speed and 28 drawings by E. Grave. - St. Petersburg: by E.  Granstrem, [1914].
Kalevala: the Finnish national epic poem / translated by E.  Granstrem. - St. Petersburg: publisher V. Balashev publishing house, 1881. — with drawings by A. Delle, woodcut by A. Boehme. 3 ed. - St. Petersburg: Society Benefit Company Press, 1910.
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The paper by M. and E. Granstrems was read at the 10th Pavlenkov readings in 2001, at a conference that was held by the Bibliology Section of the Rare Books Department of the NLR.
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See, for instance: E. Granstrem Two Heroes: [novel] / Eduard Granstrem; Last Inca : [novel] / Jacov Svet. Moscow: Veche, 2010. 413 pp. (Collection of historical novels); George Alfred Henty. Lion of St. Mark; Saint Bartholomew's Eve [novels : translated from English by M. Lovtsova, M. Granstrem] / George Henty. Moscow: : Mir knigi : Literature, 2010. 335 pp. (Classic adventure novels).
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See, for instance, an auction offer on the site; E. Granstrem. «Elena-Robinson»: the adventures of a girl on a desert island. St. Petersburg: N. Sobko's press of the magazine «The Art and Art Industry», 1902 // another auction offer. From the preface of this book: «In 1896, the Russian children received new adventures of a castaway — the book by E. Granstrem (1843—1918) «Elena-Robinson» which reads about a girl who found herself after a shipwreck on a desert island. Extraordinary adventures and discoveries, as well as the writer's individual language make this book a perfect example of children's literature of the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, which touches readers of all ages even today! The publication is not permitted to be taken abroad from the Russian Federation».
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Gift Books: E. Granstrem's Luxury Editions for Children and Young People. St.Petersburg, 1912. 16 pp.: ill.; The same. Petrograd: Society Benefit Company Press, 1915. 18 pp.: ill.
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See, for example: E. Granstrem's Luxury Editions for Children and Young People // Bookstore of M. Stasyulevich's publishing house. SPb., [1897]. Pp. 1-13. Books published Granstrem were sold also in bookstores of N.L. Tuzov, N.P. Karbasnikov and others. In 1905, a booklet of N.L. Tuzov's bookstore "Gift Books" which sold the products of the publishing house.
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Ekaterina Grave is a St. Petersburg artist. We know only that she lived at 30, English Prospekt; 13, Riga Prospect in the beginning of the 20th century. No more information has been found.
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Valerian Krukov (1838 - 1916) is an artist. In 1869, he graduated from the Academy of Arts. He illustrated numerous editions of Russian writers and poets, Grimm's fairy tales, textbooks and children's books printed by publishing firms of E. Granstrem, A.F. Devrient, F. Pavlenkov, A.D. Stupin and others. Krukov painted icons, frescos in churches. He is known for his series of the drawings "Pictures to illustrate the teaching of the sacred stories of the Old and New Testament" and "Pictures for the initial course of the Law of God," that are stored in the Prints Department of the National Library of Russia.
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Vladimir Taburin (1880 - 1954) is an Russian artist, book designer, illustrator, and photographer. He was also a writer and journalist, an author of posters. His illustrations appeared in the magazine "Niva (Field)" for many years. Taburin also illustrated the works of A. Pushkin, M. Lermontov, N. Gogol, I. Turgenev, I. Goncharov, N. Leskov, A. Chekhov, P. Boborykin, Vl. Nemirovich-Danchenko, etc.
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The painter and graphic Adrien-Emmanuel Marie (1848-1891) was born in Neuilly-on-Seine. He studied at the School of Fine Arts with Emile Bayar who encouraged the young artist to work in creating illustrations.
Marie debuted at the Salon in 1866. The artist traveled extensively, producing drawings for the French and British magazines «Monde Illustré», «The Graphic», «Journal de la Jeunesse», «L'Illustration», «Saint-Nicolas». In addition, he gained fame as a book designer. He illustrated the works of Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais, Jules Verne, Jonathan Swift, Louisa May Alcott, Edmond About, Walter Scott, Germaine de Stael, Zenaida Marie-Anne Fleurieu, Julien Marcel. Adrien Marie died in Cadiz, after returning from an expedition to the Congo, where he also made drawings for the magazine «L'Illustration».
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Benjamin Rabier(1864-1939) is a French pioneer of animation and comics.
He was the son of a carpenter, at the beginning of his career, he worked as an accountant. As an illustrator, he twice received the first prize in a drawing competition in Paris.
In 1898, he published the book 'Tintin Lutin'. At the beginning of the 20th century, Rabier illustrated fables of La Fontaine. He also wrote plays and illustrated children's books.
In 1916, he began working in the field of animation and advertising. It was he who invented the design for advertising of The Laughing Cow cheese. Rabier invented and painted the adventures of goose Gideon, and, in the period between 1923 and 1939, he published 16 books.
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Charles Robinson (1870-1937) is a British book illustrator. He was a brother of Thomas Heath Robinson and William Heath Robinson. Their grandfather was an engraver, their father was an illustrator, and each of three brothers inherited not only the love of art, but artistic skills. Adopting knowledge from his father and uncle, Charles became an apprentice in a publishing house where he studied lithography, and went to the evening art lessons.
Charles Robinson was among the pioneers of the Golden Age of Illustration. He illustrated mostly children's books. His first work was "Children's Flower Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson, for which he produced more than a hundred drawings. Then, together with his brothers Tom and William, he illustrated Andersen's Fairy Tales in an Art Nouveau design. Until the First World War, he produced 6-7 books per a year, giving special preference to deluxe editions, and after the war, continued to be one of the few whose illustrations continued to be published.
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François Geoffroy Roux (1811-1882) is a French seascape painter, watercolorist and draftsman.
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See more about E. Granstrem's publishing company:
  1. E. Granstrem (Jr.). The Writer and Publisher Eduard Granstrem: Materials for the report on 25 October 1994: According to the documents, legends and human recollections / Eduard Granstrem (Jr.), Russian Academy of Sciences. House of Scientists after M. Gorky. Book and Graphic Arts Section. SPb., 1994. 14 pp.;
  2. L.I. Yuniverg [ E.A. Granstrem's Publishing Company] / / Book: encyclopaedia. Moscow, 1999. Pp. 177;
  3. O.S. Ostroy [E.A. Granstrem's Publishing Company] / / Books in Russia, 1895-1917. SPb., 2008. Pp. 184-187;
  4. History of E.A. Granstrem's Publishing Company / publ. of O.N. Ilina / / Book Publishing in Russia in the 19th - early 20th century: collection of scientific works / NLR. SPb., 2012. No. 16. Pp. 335-351.
The site of the Сity Children's Library after A. Pushkin provides information about the publishing company, described some of the books stored in the collections of the library, show the title pages, covers and some of the illustrations.