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Soviet student schoolwork

Ms. Coll. 1406

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Soviet Union.
Title:
Soviet student schoolwork
Date [inclusive]:
1928-1950
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1406
Extent:
0.8 linear foot (2 boxes and oversized folders)
Language:
Russian
Language Note:
Materials in Russian, Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian, German, and English.
Abstract:
Following the 1917 Revolution, the Soviet Union implemented education strategies that resulted in an enormous increase in literacy across the nation. This collection consists of schoolwork created by Soviet students from 1928 to 1950. Students included children as young as five years old through the 7th grade as well as women who were part of the Soviet Union's efforts to significantly increase the literacy of its population. Across the board, student work focuses on Soviet ideology and includes copybooks, drawings, booklets relating to collectivization, and propaganda posters.
Cite as:
Soviet student schoolwork, 1928-1950, Ms. Coll. 1406, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Following the 1917 Revolution, the Soviet Union implemented education strategies that resulted in an enormous increase in literacy across the nation. From 1929 to 1939, the literate Russian population grew from 1 million to 40 million. In 1930, "universal primary education was introduced in the USSR," (Timofeychev) and nearly all children attended school. Education was rigidly controlled and centrally organized. In nearly all subjects, Marxist-Leninist ideology was present and propaganda was prevalent. There was a focus on collectivization, ideological education for children and women, and a campaign against religion.

The controlled and centralized aspects of the education system, according to David H. Reilly, had negative consequences, including the fact that "the system demanded and awarded conformity [and] independent decision making and action were punished, [resulting in students not learning] effective planning principles, [how] to take responsibility for independent action or [how] to exercise responsibility for decisions," (Reilly, page 242).

Regardless of successes and failures in the Soviet system of education, "the Soviets made illiteracy a huge national issue, pushing through education reforms and programs for adult learners, and achieved 75 percent literacy by 1937," (Myers).

Works consulted:

Myers, Peter, "Can the Soviet Education System help developing countries Now?," BerkeleyMDP https://mdp.berkeley.edu/peter-myers-can-the-soviet-education-system-help-us-now/ (accessed 2019 July 31).

Reilly, David H. "Lessons from Soviet Education: The Need for an Educational System with Responsibility, Authority, and Courage," Journal of Educational Thought, Vol. 30, No. 3, 1996 December.

Timofeychev, Alexey, "Here’s why education in the USSR was among the best in the world," 2018 July 9, https://www.rbth.com/history/328721-education-in-ussr-the-best (accessed 2019 July 31)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of schoolwork created by Soviet students from 1928 to 1950. Students included children as young as five years old through the 7th grade as well as women who were part of the Soviet Union's efforts to significantly increase the literacy of its population. Across the board, student work focused on Soviet ideology. The collection is arranged in four series: I. Student copybooks with drawings; II. School drawings; III. Collectivization booklets; and IV. Propaganda posters.

Series I: Student copybooks with drawings includes workbooks of Soviet students from 1929 to 1930. Children from kindergarten to sixth grade were from the Soviet Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Czechoslovakia. The copybooks of the youngest students show basic writing skills with practice of the alphabet and very simple words, and it is important to note that many of their first words and drawings appear to be driven by Soviet ideology. Farming and community feature heavily in these copybooks. There are also workbooks created by women, who, per Soviet philosophy, were to be liberated by literacy and the ability to work. Researchers will find multiple copybooks from the same classes, seeing different students' interpretation of the same assignment. Material is in Russian, Czech, German, and Ukrainian.

Series II. School drawings were largely created by students from the 5th to 7th grades. These students produced artwork in crayon, ink, pencil, and watercolor and their subjects were, again, largely driven by Soviet ideology. Researchers will find drawings related to International Workers Day (May 1); Lenin's legacy; Soviet symbols of the hammer, sickle, and red star; agriculture; and industry. There are also several series of drawings, clearly produced by entire classes of students, of decorated circles, triangles, and circles. These drawings are richly colored and often contain themes of Soviet ideology, but also feature flowers, geometric patterns, and occasionally buildings. These drawings are arranged by grade, with an effort to keep similar drawings together.

Series III. Collectivization booklets consist of three multi-page booklets relating to agriculture and industry. These booklets contain finely drawn ink illustrations as well as text and appear to have been an assignment for a class. It is unclear the age of the students, but based upon the sophistication of the drawings and lettering, they were probably older than the creators of much of the other school work produced in this collection.

Series IV. Propaganda posters were likely produced to hang on the walls of the Soviet schools. Many of these also appear to have been an assignment, and are similar in size and style. These are very focused on Soviet ideology and contain significantly more text than the other material in the collections. Frequently, the only drawings are the decorated titles. These posters are arranged alphabetically by title.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2019 July 31

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Laura Auketayeva

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Thomas Woody

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Copybooks
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • School records
Subject(s)
  • Education
  • Education--Soviet Union
  • Propaganda, Communist--Soviet Union
  • Soviets (People)

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Student copybooks with drawings.

Box Folder

Alphabet and writing practice copybooks; alphabets and simple words, such as mom and dad (in Russian), undated.

1 1

Geography workbooks, 6th grade, 1929-1930 (Тетрадь географии, 1929/30 г. Т. Шмелевой, ученица 6-3 гр. номер 1, имени Л.Н. Толстого), two notebooks containing a list of neighboring countries' capitals, their size, regime, and relationship to the USSR (hostile, friendly, loyal), average yearly temperature of large Soviet cities, highest mountain peaks, lengths of rivers, and size of empires (Britain, at the time, was largest), 1929-1930.

1 2

Notebook (3rd grade) from Leningrad; Vera Kozhelevskina's notebook containing math, writing, and science exercises (in Russian), undated.

1 3

Notebooks on women's education, collectivization, and Red Army; 3 notebooks containing stories that praise the Red Army, women's education, collectivization, and workers' unions (in Russian), undated.

1 4

Czechoslovakian children's drawings including flowers, decorations, houses, and Easter eggs, 1945-1947.

1 5

German copybooks; 2 notebooks by 1-st year German 2nd graders: Zhenya D'yachkov and Aleksandra Kudryavceva, undated.

1 7

Ukrainian Kindergartener's (5-8 year-old) drawings; 8 drawing books by children from T.P.U. kindergarten in Kamentsk-Podolsk, Soviet Ukraine, 1930, undated.

1 8

Ukrainian 6-year-old children's drawings; 7 drawing books by children from Kamentsk-Podolsk, Soviet Ukraine, including drawings of animals (especially cows and chickens), and towns, as well as a few depictions of Soviet ideology, such as the Revolution [4th drawing book by Misha; 6th drawing book by Lusya; and 7th drawing book by Fima's] (Ukrainian language), undated.

1 9

Ukrainian 1st year copybooks; a black leather bound copybook by Vova Leizerovich from Kametsk-Podolsk, Ukraine and 1st grade copybook by Etl Telc (in Ukrainian), undated.

1 10

Uzbek children's copybooks on the value of hard work; 4 copybooks from Uzbekistan, includes a tale of how a father took his son into the field to show him where cotton came from told in a very orientalizing tone (in Russian), 1930.

1 11

Series II. School drawings.

Box Folder

"May 1--Labor Holiday" (1-ый Май, Праздник труда), text with colored drawings, circa 1928-1929.

2 1

"May 1, Our Holiday" (1-ый май, наш праздник), text with drawing of a house and fence, circa 1928-1929.

2 2

Riddle about a goat (Загадка про козла): 4 hooves, 2 ears, 2 horns, 1 nose, 1 tail. He who follows her, feeds her (answer Goat), text with pencil drawing (in Ukrainian), circa 1928-1929.

2 3

School children in a Roundeplay, 1929, colored drawing, 1929.

2 4

"What Horse Gives to Humans" by Tolya Akolev (Лошадь дает человеку...): Manure, hooves, and bones for fertilizing the field, leather for boots and belts, hair for fishing and clothes; the horse carries weights, works as a machine, and helps millstones to work, text, circa 1928-1929.

2 5

"Be prepared," Kupfer, 5th grade (Будь готов-Купфер, 5-ый класс): 2 versions of text with decorated letters, circa 1928-1929.

2 6

"Good master means good provider" (хорошь хозяин, хороша и кормушка): text, circa 1928-1929.

2 7

Ionis' drawing of the hammer and sickle (Ионис, Рисунок серпа и молота), colored drawings, circa 1928-1929.

2 8

"Lenin a leader and teacher," by Abramov (Ленин-Вождь и учитель): colored drawing and text with decorated letters, circa 1928-1929.

2 9

"Lenin Died, but His Work Lives On" (Ленин умер, но дело его живет): text surrounded by colored drawings of leaves, circa 1928-1929.

2 10

"Lenin, Our Leader," Nick Nikolaev's drawing, assignment #14 (Ленин-наш вождь): from 4-5 grade, text with decorated letters, circa 1928-1929.

2 11

"Lenin, our Leader," Petrova's drawing, assignment #14 (Петрова, Ленин наш вождь. задание номер 14): text with decorated letters, circa 1928-1929.

2 12

"Lenin our leader," lesson #X (10), Sromkin 5th grade (Ленин наш вождь, Сромкин, 5, задание #Х): colored drawing and text with decorated letters, circa 1928-1929.

2 13

"Musya Orlovskaya," 5th grade (Муся Орловская, 5-ый класс, 19/04/1929): text and colored drawing, 1929 April 19.

2 14

"We change to brothers," by Sirotenko, 5th grade (Мы смена братьям): text and colored drawing of leaves and flowers, circa 1928-1929.

2 15

Belocerkovskaya's drawings of triangles, 5th grade, 1928 (Белоцерковская, рисунки треугольников, 5-ый класс, 1928): 6 colored drawings of decorated triangles, featuring appples and pears, 1928.

2 16

Blank's drawing of triangles, 5th grade (Бланк, рисунок треугольников и вишни, 5-ый класс): five colored drawings of decorated triangles, two of which feature cherries, circa 1928-1929.

2 17

Demin's drawing of triangles, 5th grade, 1928 (Демин, рисунок треугольников с серпом и молотом и фабрикой, 5ый класс, 1928): six colored drawings of decorated triangles, featuring the hammer and sickle, books, and factories, 1928.

2 18

Grebnoi's drawings of triangles (Гребневой, Рисунок треугольников), 4 colored drawings of decorated triangles, featuring the sickle and hammer and flowers, circa 1928-1929.

2 19

Ionis' drawing of decorated triangles (Рисунок треугольников Ионисом, СССР): five colored drawings of decorated triangles featuring the hammer and sickle, a red star, and the words "USSR" and "Kim", undated.

2 20

Vladimirov's drawing, 5th grade, November 13 (Владимиров кл. 5. 13/11.): five colored drawings of decorated triangles, circa 1928-1929.

2 21

Bannikov, drawing of a plant (Банников, 28 января 1929), colored drawing a potted plant with a small version of the drawing in the lower right corner, 1929 January 28.

2 22

Cinatieva, "Drawing of a Plant," colored drawing of a potted plant, circa 1928-1929.

2 23

Volkova, drawing of a table and ceramics, 5th grade (Рисунок Волковы, 5-ый класс, Преподователь Художник К.М. Ширльц): colored drawing, circa 1928-1929.

2 24

Andronov's drawings of school's banner, 6th grade (Андронов, 5-ое задание (проект школьного знамени), "Единаятруда 194 школа," "Ленин," 6-ой класс): colored drawing containing the name of the school (Edinayatrood School), Lenin, and wheat and a wheel, illustrating the unity of agriculture and industrialziation, circa 1928-1929.

2 25

Ignatieva's drawing of an eagle on a branch, 7th grade (орёл, Рисунок Игнатьевы, 7-ой класс), pencil drawing, circa 1928-1929.

2 26

Ignatieva's drawing of an owl, 7th grade (сова, Рисунок Игнатьевы, 7-ой класс), pencil drawing, circa 1928-1929.

2 27

Sergievskii's drawing, 7th grade, Dec 17 (Сергиевский 7, 13/ХII): drawings of a pond and flowers, circa 1928-1929.

2 28

Symmetry drawing, 7th grade (7 класс): colored drawings of three diamonds containing images of a book, the sun, and flowers, circa 1928-1929.

2 29

Bannikov's drawing of decorated circles , 7th grade (Банников, Рисунок льва, 7-ой класс): four colored drawings of decorated circles featuring a lion, a globe, a pencil, and a sword, circa 1928-1929.

2 30

Ignatieva's drawing of decorated circles, 7th grade, October 29, 1928 (Игнатьева, рисунок кругов и церкви, 7-ой класс, 29-ое октября, 1928): four colored drawings of decorated circles featuring a church and flowers and foliage, 1928 October 29.

2 31

Kobzar's drawing of decorated circles, 7th grade, October 29 (Кобзарь, рисунок орнаментальных кругов, 7-ой класс, 29-ое октября): four colored drawings of decorated circles featuring roses and other patterns, circa 1928-1929.

2 32

Labzova's drawing of decorated circles, 7th grade, October 29, 1928 (Лабзова, 7-ой класс, 29 Октября, 1928): six colored drawings of decorated circles featuring flowers and a sailboat, 1928 October 29.

2 33

Livishc's drawing of decorated circles, 7th grade, 1928 (Ливишц, рисунок орнаментальных кругов, 7-ой класс, 1928): four colored drawings of decorated circles featuring geometric patterns, 1928.

2 34

Mazurova's drawings of circles, 7th grade (Мазурова, орнаментальный рисунок, 7-ой класс.), four colored drawings of decorated circles featuring geometric patterns, circa 1928-1929.

2 35

Sergievskii's drawing of circles, 7th grade, 29th October (Сергиевский, орнаментальный рисунок, 7-ой класс, 29-ого октября), 4 colored drawings of decorated circles featuring nuts in an autumn theme, circa 1928-1929.

2 36

Lobzova's drawing of Nikolai Gogol's The Old World Landowners (Рисунок Лобзовы, Из рассказа Старосветские помещики): colored drawing depicting a wife serving her husband a meal in the kitchen, undated.

2 37

"Socialist Competition" and "Again the thick-headed" (Соц. Соревнование. Опять твердолобые.): two colored drawings, undated.

2 38

"5-year plan is a symbol of the struggle for socialism," November 7, 1929, School Reflector (Пятилетка-знамя борьбы за социализм. 7-ое ноября, 1929. Школьный рефлектор): photocopy of the page from a school newspaper, 1929 November 7.

2 39

Ideological competition among schools, 1929/Lenin turns 50 (Договор по социалистическому соревнованию между школами, Пятидесятилетие Ленина): photocopy of school pamphlet announcement of the competition, 1929.

2 40

Kogalnitsky, propaganda against the Whites and for the Red Soviet Union (Когальницкий, Пропаганда против белогвардейцев и за Советский Союз): typewritten text, undated.

2 41

Series III. Collectivization booklets, 1929-1930.

Drawer Folder

"Countryside's Path to Socialism," 4th group (Альбом Путь Деревни к Социализму, 4 б группа): booklet with drawings depicting how the Soviet countryside will organize into Coops, get mechanized, and establish collectives and communes, circa 1929-1930.

101 1
Box Folder

"Sowing Campaign" (посевная кампания): booklet describing the processes of the sowing campaign, with ink drawings of farm work [and possibly other industries] with descriptions, undated.

2 42

"Spring Planting" (Альбом: весенняя посевная, 1929-1930 г.): booklet with drawings depicting various people and processes involved in the process of spring planting as well as elements of anti-religious propaganda, 1929-1930.

2 43

Series IV. Propaganda posters.

Drawer Folder

50th anniversary of Stalin (50-ие Сталина): poster with text, decorated title, and a watercolor painting of Stalin, circa 1929-1930.

101 9

Air Force (Дадим Самолет.): poster with text and decorated title about the building of an airplane for the Air Force, 1930.

101 6

Ban of Christmas (Рождество): poster with text and drawing of anti-religious propaganda, circa 1929-1930.

101 4
Box Folder

Czechoslovakian Intelligentsia's petition against US imperialism in Korea; typed and signed (in English), 1950.

1 6
Drawer Folder

Collectivization is a powerful engine of Socialism for the USSR (Коллективизация как мощный двигатель СССР к социализму): poster with text and decorated title showing the importance of collectivization, circa 1929-1930.

101 9

Eradication of Old Ways in School (Мещанство): poster with text and decorated title containing a call for improving new socialist ways in school, circa 1929-1930.

101 10

Fundraising for a tractor (Копейка): poster with text and decorated title promoting collectivization, crica 1929-1930.

101 4

Hooliganism-on bullying by a student (Хулиганство, Омар): a student's observations about "hooliganism" which appears to constitute any type of bullying, including anti-Semitic and sexist harassment among students, circa 1929-1930.

101 2

Library trip (Биб. Поход): poster with text and decorated title promoting the necessity to attend libraries, 1930.

101 6

Order to the Meeting of Pioneers (Наказ Пионер Слету): poster with text and decorated title promoting the mobilization of the youth through the pioneer program, 1929.

101 5

Organized Atheism and Communism Table (об учкоме): poster with diagram and text containing a complicated international scheme of war on religion and what organizations it entailed (in English), circa 1929-1930.

101 7

Pioneers to Action (Форпост): poster with text and decorated title containing a call for improving new socialist ways in school, circa 1929-1930.

101 10

Rebuilding of North Caucasus (Перестройка Северо-Кавказского Края): A pamphlet on reconstruction of North Caucasus, circa 1929-1930.

101 3

Red Army (Красная армия.): poster with text and drawings of a soldier and the sickle and hammer celebrating the Red Army, 1929.

101 5

School Disciplinary Warning (Наши ударники): poster with text and decorated title containing school report on students' misbehaving and receiving poor grades, circa 1929-1930.

101 7

Student Organizations chart, 1929-30, Rostov, Lunachersky school #9 (Схема организации Учащихся, 1929-30. Ростовск школа номер 9 имени Луначесрского): poster with colored diagram of organizations in school-construction, political, and agricultural groups, 1929-1930.

101 8