"All my life I have believed in one power, which helps me overcome all burdens of life... I believe... in Russian people, in the power of light and knowledge." These words belong to the famous national publisher and enlightener of the late 19th-early 20th centuries Ivan Sytin, whose 160th birth anniversary we mark on February 5, 2011. He spent the last seven years of his life in a house in Tverskaya Street (Moscow), where in 1989 the Voluntary Society of Book Lovers of the RSFSR opened a Memorial Museum of this talented person.
The future media magnate, as they would say today, started from scratch. As a 15-year-old peasant lad, he first crossed the threshold of the house of Moscow merchant Pyotr Sharapov in the autumn of 1866. The business of that well-known merchant developed in two directions, i.e. trade in furs and cheap popular prints (colored graphic pictures painted by anonymous self-taught artists and duplicated by printing), song books and books of dream interpretations. It so happened that Ivan was employed at a bookshop. Besides, his boss had a good library, and the inquisitive youth "devoured" attractive books one by one, illustrated with beautiful engravings. But once he saw how books were made, Sytin decided that it would become his life's work.
Pretty soon this industrious, sociable and enterprising young man became an immediate assistant to his elderly merchant and carried out his most important errands. In 1876, Sytin married a daughter of a confectioner-merchant and got a substantial sum of money as a dowry. He borrowed about as much from Sharapov and opened a lithographic workshop on Voronukhina hill (between Arbat and Smolenskaya streets), which then turned into the famous partnership "Ivan Sytin and Co." and later on into the biggest in Russia "First Model Printing House".
The businessman-beginner looked for new ways in the chosen sphere of activity and tried to make his products necessary for people. For exam ... Читать далее