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Friendly gifts and amazing finds. Stories of especially valuable books from four capital libraries.

Collectors who collect old books have a special account of autographed copies of the writers. The book, which the author marked with a dedication, is valuable and interesting as a museum exhibit. You can not only read it, but also study it: find out how, when and under what circumstances it was signed. There are many such books in Moscow libraries: they are kept as carefully as the stories associated with them.

Library number 240: accidentally found autograph of Gagarin

Books with autographs of writers are usually handed over to the library fund in a festive atmosphere. But sometimes a valuable copy is discovered almost by accident – as, for example, happened with the book “The Road to Space”. It is impossible to say how the memoirs of Yuri Gagarin, signed by the author, ended up in library no. 240. A clear, laconic autograph on the title page was found by employees during the analysis of books donated to the library by readers and residents of the area. Imagine their surprise when a real treasure was found among detective stories, romance novels and other unremarkable books. The book took pride of place on the shelf with important exhibits of the library, the second name of which is Technoscience.

Gagarin was offered to create the book “The Road to Space” almost immediately after returning from the flight, in April 1961. At first, he refused, citing lack of writing experience and extensive biography, but eventually agreed. Journalists Sergei Borzenko and Nikolai Denisov helped Gagarin transform memories of childhood, the dream of the sky, preparation for the flight and its passage. Soon after the publication, the book was supplemented with a chapter on the foreign travels of the first cosmonaut, and shortly before his death in 1968 – with a chapter on the spacewalk performed by Alexei Leonov.

“My gaze settled on the clock. The hands showed nine hours seven minutes Moscow time. I heard a whistle and a growing roar, felt the giant ship shake its entire hull and slowly, very slowly, pulled away from the launch device. The hum was no stronger than that which you hear in the cockpit of a jet plane, but it contained many new musical shades and timbres that were not recorded by any composer on notes and which, apparently, no musical instrument, not a single human voice could yet reproduce. The mighty rocket engines created the music of the future, perhaps even more exciting and beautiful than the greatest creations of the past. ” (Yuri Gagarin, “The Road to Space”)

Yuri Gagarin abroad and at home. Considering rare images of an astronaut

Gaidarovka: autographs of Krapivin and Preusler

Among the books with autographs of the authors stored in the Central City Children’s Library named after A.P. Gaidar, there are five stories by the famous children’s writer Vladislav Krapivin – “Valkin’s friends and sails”, “Brother who is seven”, “Distant buglers”, “Look at this star” and “That side is where the wind is.” There is no secret here – all the books were signed especially for the library by Vladislav Petrovich himself, who had a long-term friendship with Gaidarovka.

Krapivin’s heroes are ordinary guys who, in certain circumstances, show a strong character, fortitude and nobility. Many of them dream of traveling on sea and river waves or sailing. In his native Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), in the early 1960s, the writer organized a children’s detachment “Caravel”, whose pupils studied maritime affairs, fencing and journalism. When in 1973 “Caravel” came with Krapivin to Moscow for a week, the Gaidar Library welcomed the children. We slept right in the hall on folding beds, which were set after closing and hid before the opening of the library. The guys walked around Moscow all day, and in the evenings they cooked themselves in the library kitchen.

During this visit, the writer witnessed the popularity of his own books among readers. This story is passed from mouth to mouth in the library: a girl of about 10 hands over Krapivinsky books and asks the librarian: “Is this writer still alive?” Vladislav Petrovich, who at that time was 35 years old, later said that at that time he felt as if he had become a classic during his lifetime.

Another book donated by the author in the Gaidarovka Foundation is “Little Baba Yaga” by Otfried Preisler, published in Moscow in 1973. The German writer met with readers in the library in October 1979 and discussed his works with them. At that time, “Little Baba Yaga” and “Little Water” were translated into Russian, two other most famous stories of Preusler – “Little Ghost” and “Krabat, or Legends of the Old Mill” – were published in the USSR later, in the 1980s.

At parting, Mr. Preisler left his signature on one spread with the title page of “Little Baba Yaga”, and also drew a broom – the symbol of the main character of the book, a little witch who will never learn to conjure. “A witch sometimes has to be able to …” – this is how you can translate a German phrase written by him. But the signature, made in Russian, is beyond doubt: “Your Otfried.”

Library № 266 named after K.I. Chukovsky: autograph of Anastasia Tsvetaeva

One of the most valuable books stored in the library named after K.I. Chukovsky in Peredelkino, – “Memories” by Anastasia Tsvetaeva. The writer, the younger sister of Marina Tsvetaeva, left a dedication on the title page of the book in May 1988, when she arrived at the Peredelkino House of Writers’ Creativity – a popular vacation spot for Soviet writers who did not have summer cottages or wanted to join the local atmosphere. “To the dear readers of the Chukovsky Library, in good memory of the Tsvetaev family,” wrote Anastasia Ivanovna.

Valentina Khlystova, now the keeper of the library, who has worked here for many years, loves to remember meeting her. “Marina Tsvetaeva’s sister settled in the old building on the first floor,” says Valentina Sergeevna. – And immediately became the object of a real pilgrimage. To talk to her, they literally stood in line in the corridor. I was introduced to her by my old friend, editor of the department of satire and humor of the literary magazine “Ural” Felix Ivanovich Vibe. He sat with Anastasia Ivanovna at the same table in the dining room of the Writers’ House and told her about the library built by Korney Chukovsky. She expressed a desire to see it. A little old woman in a blue dress was touchingly leaning on my hand, and along the way I called her whose dachas we passed. And she, having heard a familiar name (for example Kataev), told something interesting about its owner. It was in the library that she signed the book of her famous “Memoirs” for the readers ”.

History of things. We look into the suitcase of Anastasia Tsvetaeva

Library number 179: autographs of Nemirovsky

Library No. 179 contains a collection of books by Alexander Nemirovsky, a famous Russian historian, researcher of Ancient Rome and Etruscan culture, prose writer, poet and translator. The collection includes almost all of his lifetime editions. Aleksandr Iosifovich donated part of the books with his autographs to the library himself (as a resident of the Lomonosov region, in which it is located), some were donated after his death.

In 1937, Alexander Iosifovich entered the history department of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, a year later, without interrupting his studies, – to the Literary Institute. In 1941 he volunteered for the front. First he served in a labor battalion, after graduating from a military school – in the active army. In April 1945, he was wounded in battles in the Oder Valley in Silesia, on May 9 he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Returning to Moscow, he completed his postgraduate studies at the Faculty of History of Moscow State University and defended his Ph.D. thesis. In 1965 he defended his doctoral dissertation, three years later he founded and headed the Department of the History of the Ancient World and Ancient Languages ​​at Voronezh State University.

In addition to scientific articles and books, Alexander Nemirovsky wrote historical novels, poetry, translated into Russian ancient poets – Virgil, Catullus, Ovid, Marcial, Horace. Among the translations of Nemirovsky there are also works by contemporary German authors Hermann Hesse and Johannes Robert Becher, in addition, he became the first Soviet translator of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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