St. Petersburg: Ispolneno v Khudozhestvennoi Fototipii i Tsinkografii A. I. Vil'borg, 1900. Quarto (32 × 23.5 cm). Original string-bound pictorial wrappers;  leaves on coated stock, with tissue guards, many of them printed. Color lithographs, as well as photographs in unusual configurations (early photo-montage), with ornamental floral frames in the Jugendstil manner. Wrappers lightly chipped at corners, as usual, with a larger missing piece to rear wrapper; the best copy we have seen of this fragile publication.
This lavishly illustrated album, which reflects some of Russia's greatest cultural achievements around 1900, was published to raise funds for field hospitals in the Transvaal during the Boer War between the Transvaal Republic and the British Empire (1899-1902). The album features lithograph reproductions of works by Sergei Solomko (who illustrated the front wrapper), Ilya Repin, Nikolai Roerich, and Vladimir Makovsky, among many others. Also contains portraits of leading actors and musicians, with captions and small messages of support printed on the tissue guards, by contemporary intellectual and political figures such as Dmitry Mendeleev, Anatolii Koni, Andrei Beketov, Cesar Kui, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The movement in support of the Boers was unsurpassed in its scope and in the organizational prowess of its leader, the minister of the Dutch Reformed community of St. Petersburg, Hendrik Gillot, whose appeal to the Russian people is reproduced within. This copy belonged to the famous American industrialist and slavophile Charles Richard Crane, almost undoubtedly America’s most important early slavophile. An early investor in Russian industry, Crane was responsible for significant cultural exchange in the fin-de-siecle, bringing artists and intellectuals such as Vasilii Vereshchagin and Pavel Miliukov to America for the first time, and acting as patron for an entire generation of important artists, intellectuals, and politicians in Eastern Europe. He was the financial impetus behind Alfons Mucha’s famed Slav Epic, as well as a financial backer of the early Czechoslovak Republic. After the collapse of Tsarist Russia, Crane helped rescue numerous Russian cultural monuments from destruction at the hands of the Soviet Regime. He was responsible for the purchase and transportation of the famous Danilov bells from their home in the Danilov Monastery, then threatened with destruction, to the bell tower of Lowell House at Harvard University in 1931. Inscribed to Crane by Russian jurist and politician Nikolai Reitlinger (Chicago, November 1900), in English and Russian (a language Crane studied, but never mastered). KVK, OCLC show only two copies, at the LOC and the University of Miami.
Book ID: P003824