I was unable to identify an appropriate contact on the English version of the Russian State Library website, so I had no advance appointment.
I asked the guy at the hotel to translate a simple note, stating I was an artist, I was here to donate a piece of art to their Special Collections. Could (the reader) please direct me to an appropriate person, or someone who speaks English.
In minutes, I was there! An imposing building. That’s a really poor photo of a statue of Lenin out front. I entered the first door and handed my paper to the guard. He directed me to a little room with two women. They directed me with fingers to door number 3 and told me to go to the 4th floor. Inside door #3, I met three guards and re-presented my note while holding up 4 fingers. They let me in. On the 4 th floor (a beautiful museum dedicated to all the crafts of the book – how to make etchings/lithographs and examples, quills vs letterpress, little books vs big books, bindings, tooling, etc. I was not allowed to photograph the examples but they were wonderful and diverse.), I was met by two women. I presented my note again and one woman called her English speaking husband to assist. The situation was clarified when a third woman arrived and asked did I want my Addendum actually placed at the back of their Gutenberg.
I smiled widely, shook my head knowingly No, (relief spread across their faces) so I quickly changed my eyes to mischief and enquired if there was the remotest possibility of Actually inserting it in The book, and we all chuckled. Ah, the simple joy of connecting. I am addicted.
I had asked for a catalog number and they said the museum couldn’t do that, so they called another woman, Svetlana Artamonova from the Art Prints Department to join us. Svetlana (right in photo below) had fantastic English and we enjoyed each other immediately.
The founder of the library- Count Rumiantsev. When I asked her about some of her favorite pieces, she asked me if I’d like to see some Russian Avante Garde. Of course! Currently, They have a lovely show of ~1920’s film posters. They were bold and colorful and full of affect.
Thanks all that helped me get there! A serious group effort!