Russian Postcard Industry

Figure 1.--This image of sef children was done by Russian illustrator Elizaveta Bem (1843-1914). We are not sure when the postcard was printed, but would guess the 1900s. Many of her images idelized serf like. We would guess that her work was generally supressed during the Soviet period, especially the Stalinist era. Note the high-quality color printing. (We are guessing that this is a color lithograph rather than a card with the color hand painted, but we are not yet positive about this.) This suggests the Russians had a well-developed post card industry before World War I. These cards are relatively rare in modern Russia. We are not sure if this represents small press runs or the fact that such images were supressed during the Soviet era.

We have been unable to find much information about the Russin post card industry at this time. We doi not know to what extent the Russians printed cards domestically a opposed to imported from Germany or France. Russia before World War I was a largely agricultural soiety, but with a substantial and rapidly growing industrial base. Importing may have been less common in Russia because the holidays and imagery may have been less appropriate than was the case among the various European states. We have found a few cards celebrating holidays before World War I. A good example is one for Angel/Name Day, bt despite the Cyrilic script, we are not positive where it was printed. It has arather German look. The same is true of an Easer card. We have also found some art prints as well as images of the royal family. These appear to be high-quality printings including full color. After World War I and the Civil War with the Bolsheviks in control, importing consumer items like postcards would have stopped. This all post cards would have been produced domestically. We have found a few Soviet Era post cards. A good example is a May Day card, probably from the 1950s. We have, however, no information on the Soviet postcard industry.


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Created: 1:31 AM 4/3/2008
Last updated: 1:31 AM 4/3/2008