Friday, April 22, 2011

Today is Lenin's Birthday

     V.I. Lenin (1870-1924) 

Today, April 22, is Lenin's Birthday.  He'd be 141 today.   It is also Earth Day, and it is not a coincidence.  It's regrettable that the Communists of the world seem to think that they are champions of preservation of the earth, because in the USSR they were very sloppy stewards. However, every year, even today, long after the USSR is gone, Russians observe his birthday with volunteer clean-up events.

Lenin's Subbotnik, cleaning up the Kremlin grounds, 1920

     The Soviets celebrated Lenin's Birthday with Subbotniks all over the Soyuz (Union).  A Subbotnik is usually on a Saturday (Subbota, in Russian) and it's a day when good Soviet citizens are expected to get out and clean up a park or a neighborhood, and they offer their labor for free.

      We lived in the Soviet Union when Leonid Brezhnev was General Secretary.  It was 1981 when we arrived, and 1983 when we left.  The Soviet Union at that time was seedy and threadbare, from Riga to Khabarovsk, across 11 time zones.   It was a country nearly on life support, struggling to fight a war in Afghanistan.
     Yet, the USSR had a vast array of nuclear weapons, and they could blow us to kingdom come.  

     I had few interactions with the upper echelons of Soviet heirarchy, but here is one little story:

The Bulgarian National Day Reception.  We didn’t spend a lot of time with the Bulgarians, but all the attachés were invited to the various National Day celebrations at embassies.  We invited everyone to ours on the Fourth of July.
                                  We really valued our visits to the communist celebrations like this, because it often gave us a chance to see and perhaps talk with the top officials in the USSR; they usually didn’t visit American or western embassy events, because we were officially giving them the “cool” treatment because of their actions in Afghanistan.


               I saw Fleet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov, surrounded by lesser admirals, and I asked my boss, Brigadier General Charlie Hamm, if I could take him over and introduce him to the venerable father of the Soviet Navy.
              Charlie, when he had met Gorshkov, told him that he had received his commission in the Air Force the same year (1956) that Gorshkov had taken over command of the Soviet Navy.
              Gorshkov nodded and asked an aide to fill up his glass because this was an occasion for a toast.  Russians love toasts.
              We toasted Soviet-American Friendship. Then I talked a bit with Gorshkov, mentioning the Incidents at Sea Agreement which had recently been completed between our two navies. At this, the little guy reached up and tapped me vigorously on the ribbons on my uniform blouse, saying it was up to you [The U.S.N.] to uphold this Agreement.

             That Agreement probably saved our navies from some escalation over the years... and it certainly accounted for a lot of vodka to be consumed at the annual meetings our two navies held.

            Not to change the subject, but here are some books, maps and papers that I have recently acquired, and offer them:

Mexico: Campbell's New Revised Complete Guide and Descriptive Book of Mexico by Campbell, Reau1 1909 Chicago, IL: Reau Campbell.  Very attractive, fresh-looking guide book to Mexico, written by a long-term scholar and traveler in Mexico, with many black and white photographs, taken in years before Pancho Villa and the events of 1914. Frontispiece is Photograph of President of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915). This book has geography, history, information about all parts of country.  Chronology of events includes 1908 merging of two national railroads.  Includes a very nice fold-out colored map of Mexico and inset maps of Mexico, D.F., etc.   352 pp. 14 x 18.7 cm. Maroon cloth on board with gilt decoration including Aztec figure and title. Spine title slightly faded, small crack inside rear hinge, yet very good. (4143) $26.00. Travel

Pettingell-Andrews Co. Lighting Furniture, Catalog No. 5 ca. 1910 Boston, MA: Pettingell-Andrews Co., Corner Pearl St. and Atlantic Ave. Large format catalog of lighting fixtures, or "lighting furniture". Commercial Lighting: H and B Celestialites; Keldon, Trojan, Ace; Duplex-a-lite; X-Ray Eye Comfort Indirect Lighting; Four-in-one Light; Aglight all glass; Brascolite. 48 pp. 27 x 40 cm. Catalogue, worn, front cover worn, back cover and price list missing; 15 x 3 cm strip from edge of pp 5-6 detached. Poor. (8119) $60.00. Advertising

Boston Harbor: Bird's Eye View of Boston Harbor in Colors --Along the South Shore to Plymouth, Cape Cod Canal and Provincetown Showing all Steamboat Routes 1914 Boston, MA: Wm. J. Finn, Rowes Wharf. Folded color map shows Boston Harbor and islands, Quincy Bay, Nantasket, Plymouth Bay to Provincetown. Folder includes ads for Hotel Pemberton and Pemberton Inn at Pemberton Landing. Hotel rates $4.0 a day and up; Fish and Lobster dinner $1.00, Lobster and Chicken Dinner, $1.50. Folder 48 x 38 cm. Paper folder and folded paper map, tiny tears in folds along bottom edge, still very good. (8113) $45.00. Maps

Canada: Map of the Grand Trunk of Canada and Connections: The Great International Route  ca. 1890 Buffalo, NY: Matthews, Northrup & Co., Engrs & Prs. Folded map shows railways from Topeka, KS in SW to Washington DC, detailed trunk all through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, across Quebec and Ontario, to Chicago, Milwaukee and Muskegon, west to Winnipeg, with inset showing routes to British Columbia and California. 1 map          80 x 42 cm. Paper folded map, stamped "From the Office of W.C. Tallman, New England Passenger Agent, 280 Washington St. Boston"; many tiny tears in folds, fair. (8118) $38.00. Travel

Jerusalem: A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif Jerusalem, published by the Supreme Moslem Council 1929 Jerusalem: Supreme Moslem Council. Guide describes "The August Sanctuary", a sacred enclosure of about 145,000 square meters. The two principal edifices are the Dome of the Rock and the mosque of al-Aqsa. Guide advises visitors of sacred nature of site, and warns not to smoke or bring dogs. Black and white photos of Fountain of Qait Bay, Southern Arcades and Pulpit of Burhaneddin, Dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa Mosque exterior and interior.  Booklet was used as entry ticket, and so a perforated triangle on back cover about 6 x 5 cm is removed.  16 pp. 16.4 x 21 cm. Paper booklet, bound by two staples. Clean. Perforated upper left hand corner of rear wrap removed. Booklet has two holes punched in fore edge throughout, this is apparently standard for this guide book. Very good. (8108) $65.00. Travel/Religious

Arrest of Polish Citizens bu Nazi soldiers, as depicted by children

W Oczach Dzieci: 10 lat Polski Ludowej w rysunkach dzieciecych [Through the Eyes of Children: 10 Years of the Polish People] In Polish. Zagala, Boleslaw; Jackiewiczowa, Elzbieta 1954 Warszawa, Poland: Nasza Ksiegarnia Warszawa.  Collection of delightful, full-color drawings by children during the years of World War II when Nazis occupied the country. Drawings include one labeled Wysadzenie pociagu niemieckiego przez partizantow polskich [Polish partisans blowing up German train], by Andrzej Wolniewicz, 13. Ewa Mehl, 7 draws a picture "Daddy Takes a Walk" shows prisoners in a concentration camp. Janina Piekarska, 14, drew a picture of Nazi soldiers arresting Polish people, all shown kneeling.  The children captured the terror and cruelty, and the heroism of liberators, and then rebuilding the country after the war. This copy has mimeographed summary in English pasted in front of book, and translation of titles of drawings pasted in back of book. ~85 pp. 28 x 20.6 cm. Blue-grey cloth on board, front hinge cracked, text block good, with added sheets containing translations. Good. (5377) $55.00. World War II/Poland

Weekly Bay State Democrat, Boston, Friday, February 17, 1843 Wright, Isaac H., Editor 1843 Boston, MA: Wright & Ballou, Proprietors, No. 14 Brazer's Building. Report on The Democratic Festival in Boston:  On Thursday, 9th February the Council, Senators and Representatives formed in procession at the Doric Hall of the State House, under the direction of Col. Peter Dunbar, Chief Marshal, and, preceded by a brass band, marched from the State House to Faneuil Hall, passing through Park, Tremont, Court, State streets, and Merchants' Row, in a Grand Triumphal March.  At 6 p.m. the Governor arrived, and there was a grand feast, but without any spiritous or fermented beverages.  List of all the toasts, including several that twisted the tail of Federalists, or Whigs. Discussion on the Oregon bill in Congress at Washington. Death of Isaac Hull at Philadelphia.  Laudatory letter to Massachusetts Democrats from Martin Van Buren.  4 pp. 42 x 60 cm. Newspaper, worn, fair. (8100) $27.00. Newspapers

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev On the Occasion Of His Visit to the United States ©1959 New York, NY: International Arts and Sciences Press. 32 pp. 14 x 21 cm. N.S. Khrushchev, now 65, b. Kalinovka, Kursk Region.  Publication supplied by Soviet Embassy for organization which publishes "Soviet Highlights" Paper booklet with heavy glossy cover.  Very good. (2140) $10.60. Biography/History/Propaganda

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