Dua, Yankev-Kopl (M. Karolin, pseud.). Josif Dzhugashwili (Stalin).

Warsaw, Farlag "Groshn-Bibliotek", 1931.

8vo. 62, (2) pp. (last pages printed on lower wrapper). With one half-tone portrait of Stalin as a young man ("a photograph held in the archives of the Russian Okhrana"). Original printed wrappers.


First edition of this rare biography of Joseph Stalin, published in the "Groshn-Biblyotek" ("Dime" or "Penny Library"), an affordable educational series aimed at Yiddish-speaking workers in 1930s Poland.

Uncommon in its range, readership, and political orientation, the "Groshn-Biblyotek" developed into an influential and popular library of Jewish themes and general knowledge, starting off in 1930 with a tabloid agenda of spies, love, sex, crime, and assassinations (booklet no. 1, for example, focused on "Mata Hari, Dancer and Spy"). This remarkable Yiddish publishing project ran for seven years, issuing booklets weekly at a price of only 30 groschen. This early "Stalin" issue still features the plain covers that were later replaced by bold photographic illustrations. It was prepared by Yankev-Kopl Dua (1898-1942), by far the most prolific contributor to the series, who wrote under a variety of pseudonyms. Active as a translator, private tutor, and adult-education lecturer, he was a fluent and exceptionally quick writer. He would follow this biography with a second part in 1932, but only this first volume was to be reprinted in 1935.

Despite being published in large numbers (between 4,000 and 20,000 copies per brochure), very few copies of the Groshn-Biblyotek have survived. OCLC cites only two copies of the present issue (in the National Libraries of Poland and Israel), to which the Bibliografia Polska adds a copy in the Jagiellonian Library.

Spine torn; upper wrapper partly detached. Tear to last page with some loss. Library stamps of the "Archiven Ha-Avodah" (Workers Archives), the Khorev Library of Tel Aviv, and other Jewish institutions to verso of title-page, pp. 16 and 48, and lower cover. A rare survival.


Groshn-Bibliyotek 52. Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher Literatur (New York, 1958) II, 460. Bibliografia Polska (1901-1939), vol. VI, no. 49465. OCLC 832574132 and 951792318.

Stock Code: BN#60820 Tags: , , ,