This powerful poster, made during the October revolution in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg), in 1920, advertises the power of the printed word. A large book is presented as an equal to a man, speaking to a large crowd of workers.
The poster was a part of a large Bolshevik propaganda campaign to enlarge literacy among the working class in the first years of the Russian Revolution, when only 31,9% of population was literate. The campaign, with a goal of spreading more written propaganda in the next years, started in 1919.
Ivan Simakov was a Russian artist, active as a propaganda poster designer during the October revolution. His most famous work is a large political poster titled On the 7th Anniversary of October Victory. Long Live the Unshakeable Iron Union of the Working Class and Peasantry!
Adolf Marks Publishing House
The publishing house, which issued this poster, was founded by Adolf Marks (Marx, 1838-1904), born in Stettin (today Szczecin in Poland) as a son of a tower clock maker. He received his education at Hinstorff publishing house in Wismar and in 1859 he moved to Saint-Petersburg on the invitation of the firm Bietepage & Kalugin, to deal with German books. Later he was working as a tutor and German and French correspondent for the Great Russian Railway Company.
A decade after his arrival to Russia, Marks founded his own publishing firm in 1869, and a year later he started publishing Niva, the first illustrated weekly magazine and the most popular weekly magazine in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Marks’s company also published books on art history, large, illustrated editions of classic prose works, and maps.
References: Rudolf Schmidt: Deutsche Buchhändler. Deutsche Buchdrucker. Band 4. Berlin/Eberswalde 1907, S. 658-659. Бутник-Сиверский Б.С. Советский плакат эпохи гражданской войны. 1918-1921. М., 1960. Nr. 3317. Стр. 491. Полонский В. Русский революционный плакат. М. 1925. No. 738. Стр. 178.