February 01, 1999

A Collector's Passion

When Valery Blinov started collecting early Russian children’s books in the 1970s, few people took him seriously. His collection was a curiosity which more often than not raised a smile ...

Now, after years of trawling through second-hand and antiquarian bookshops in search of the occasional rarity, Valery Blinov has amassed some 11,000 illustrations, posters, impressions and books for young children. His collection constitutes a cultural treasure which in many ways reflects Russian society in one of the most fascinating periods of its history.

Blinov describes himself as a “hereditary booklover.” The nucleus of his collection was an inheritance from his grandfather, an editor of Izvestiya newspaper in the 1920s. Though the books he inherited were mostly for adults, it was the children’s works among them which attracted his attention.

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