The present exhibition in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McGill University Libraries draws on an important collection of more than 350 Soviet children’s books published in the 1920s and 30s and which are remarkable for their original aesthetic quality, linguistic variety and thematic diversity. Dynamic constructivist typography utilized the expressive quality of the stocky, ‘architectural’ azbuka, the Russian alphabet. Diagonal layouts introduced a simultaneous representation of contents and often used photomontage as a succinct expression of the narrative text. The emblematic use of red and black as dominant colours linked the children’s material closely to the publishing output at large. Since more than 100 nationalities live within the fifteen former republics of the USSR, the variety of languages in which children’s books were published is nothing short of astonishing. While Russian was the official language of the Union, children’s books published in Ukrainian, Uzbek, Tartar, Kazakh, Azerbaidzhani, Armenian, Georgian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, lakutian, Nanaian and other languages are well represented in the McGill collection.
I am naturally particularly interested in the language section, which I wish were larger; furthermore, they don’t identify the language of this one, obviously in one of the romanized Turkic alphabets of the ’20s… but which?
I can’t find “Ofo” in any of my reference books, but desperate googling has turned up “Nathershina, F. A. 1992. Rukhi khazinalar: Asylykul, Dim, Orshak buiy bashqorttarynyng fol’klory. Ofo: Bashqortostan Respublikahy Mathaniat Ministerstvohy, Respublika khalyq izhady uthage, 76 pp., bibliog., music” in this bibliography, so I’m assuming it’s Bashkir until better evidence comes along. [Fine detective work from entangledbank in the comments has shown that “Ofo” is the Bashkir equivalent of Russian Ufa, the name of the capital of Bashkortostan, so this is indeed a Bashkir book.]
(Via MeFi and MoFi.)