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Society and Book Culture: Exhibition "Ivan Sytin - Book Publisher and Educator" presented in Saint-Petersburg

21 July 2021

The exhibition "Ivan Sytin - Book Publisher and Educator" will run until August 22, 2021, at the Museum of the History of Religion (Saint-Petersburg).

The exposition portrays Ivan Sytin, the famous Russian book publisher, educator, typographer, publicist and businessman.

Ivan Sytin (1851–1934) was the founder of the "Mediator" Publishing House, which was the first in the field of mass-circulation literature. He was an initiator of several dozen successful publishing projects. His publishing interests were related to all segments of the book market, from textbooks and children's books to encyclopedias and complete works of fiction classics. He issued both popular - Vokrug Sveta (Around the World), Iskra (Spark), and little-known periodicals - Khirurgiya (Surgery), Pravda Bozhiya (Truth of God). He also was the owner of the all-Russian newspaper Russkoe Slovo (Russian Word).

A significant feature of Ivan Sytin's business that distinguished him from the other publishers was the desire to print the best quality product and sell it at minimal prices. To achieve it, Sytin signed contracts with street booksellers (they sold prints and books travelling around Russia, visiting the most distant villages).

The exhibition features books and magazines, visual aids, folk prints, calendars and colourful printed sheets for tear-off calendars by Ivan Sytin’s Publishing House.

It showcases didactic popular prints Life and Ways of a Righteous Man and Life and Ways of a Sinner, engravings devoted to the life of the Imperial House.

Visitors will see rare prints regarding the events of the Russian-Japanese War and the First World War - The Feat by Priest Remizov, Easter in the Far East. A special exhibition section presents multivolume editions from a series of luxurious and expensive books with a splendid design. These scientific collections are written by famous Russian historians, economists, philologists of the late XIX - early XX centuries and illustrated with lithographs created by Sytin's Publishing House.

Also at the exposition includes didactic publications by Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Tulupov and Pyotr Shestakov, as well as the complete works by Dmitri Merezhskovsky.

A significant exhibition section spotlights religious publications about the history of the Christian church and hagiographies.