Russian city of Saratov on pre-revolutionary postcards of the XIX century.
Even in the pre-revolutionary years, local photographers tried to capture the image of Saratov. In October 1864, the famous photographer A. S. Murenko released an album with 12 photos of the city. In 1866, he took two more views: Moskovskaya Street from the Old (Trinity) Cathedral and the newly built Vladimir-Bogoroditskaya (Maminskaya) Church. In May 1868, the photos of A. S. Murenko sold 14 types of Saratov.
Anton Stepanovich Murenko (1837-1875) at the end of the Pavlovsky Cadet Corps was seconded to the photographic department of the military topographical depot. After retiring, Anton Stepanovich settled in Saratov, where he opened a photographic institution, which became one of the best in the city.
In 1878, an amateur photographer, Pyotr Pavlovich Pyatnitsky, took a series of photographs depicting buildings and the surrounding area of Saratov. In the summer months of 1879 and 1880, Pyatnitsky toured the Saratov counties and released a large album dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the province.
The picturesque places of Saratov were photographed by local photographer I. M. Yegerov.
The photographs and albums of the photographer D. G. Finogeev are best known. He created a large collection of photographs on ethnography, agriculture, and architecture of the province.
In the spring of 1890, in all the bookstores of the city, you could see the albums that had just gone on sale, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Saratov. The originals for the publication were Finogeev’s photographs depicting the best buildings and streets of Saratov.
The famous Nizhny Novgorod photographer Maxim Petrovich Dmitriev (1858-1948) also captured the views of Saratov. After traveling along the Volga in 1894, he published an Album of Views of the Volga Region, which included 120 photographs. And in 1903, M. P. Dmitriev completed his work, photographing the Volga from the source to Rybinsk. In the same year, the album “Volga-Saratov-Astrakhan”was published in Moscow.
Some collectors tend to consider the first postcard dedicated to Saratov, an illustrated multicolored card: in the center of the picturesque field, the coat of arms of Saratov is placed on a background of snow – white lily flowers, and to the right and left of the coat of arms, images of the Trinity Church and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which were the main attractions of the city, are framed with laurel and oak branches. In the lower left corner of the shield is the date: 1591-1891 and next to it in three lines is the text: “In memory of the 300th anniversary of the city of Saratov. May 9, 1891.”
The first illustrated postcards were in black and white. But soon there were also color, made by an imperfect method of chromolithography. With this method, the master manually makes a printed form on the stone.
In the late 90s of the XIX century, the phototype quickly spread, first black, then gray, and finally color. Unlike other printing methods, phototype reproduces halftone originals very accurately without a raster: extremely soft and accurate reproductions.
Postcards with views of Saratov were made both by chromolithography and phototype. Most of the postcards commissioned by the Saratov publishers were printed in the photo type of Scherer, Nabholz and Co. in Moscow and the Swedish publishing house of K. A. Graberg in Stockholm. The quality of the Moscow company is not bad: clear printing, juicy colors. And the Granberg society, while maintaining a relatively correct pattern, transmitted the color in a modified way.
The largest Saratov publisher of postcards was Pyotr Grigoryevich Bestuzhev, a merchant who had two large stores in Saratov selling shoes, travel items, writing paper, postcards and other goods. In the edition of P. G. Bestuzhev, several series with views of Saratov were published, including a hand-drawn color series made by chromolithography.
Numerous series of postcards were produced by Karl Filippovich Knaub. Its issues number hundreds of types. In the years of the imperialist War, k.Knaub produces a series of postcards-montages “Greetings from Saratov”. The postcard from this series with the image of the airship, on the body of which there are views of two streets of Saratov, is particularly original.
Quite often there are postcards published by Alexander Erofeevich Fedin (the father of the future Soviet writer K. A. Fedin) and Vladimir Ivanovich Pokrovsky. They have released several series of postcards featuring different fonts and lettering colors. In 1909, the partners split up and opened their own stores: A. E. Fedin on Ilyinskaya (Chapaeva) Street, and V. I. Pokrovsky on Alexandrovskaya (Gorky) Street. Each of them continued publishing Saratov postcards.
Several postcards with views of Saratov and the inscription “Warm greetings from the Volga” were published in 1912 by M. V. Klyukin, who had a book trade in Saratov. A few years later, he released a tear-off album “Views of Saratov”, where each postcard at the spine of the album had a perforation.
Postcards with views of the city were published by I. I. Brendel, the owner of the Domashnaya Biblioteka and Aviator bookstores in Moscow and the Soyuz store on German Street in Saratov.
Several dozen views of Saratov – the Volga coast, wharves, steamboats, barges can be seen on the postcards of the Samara publisher Ya. L. Mytnik.
The largest publishing house that produced postcards in the last decade before the revolution was the Counterparty of A. S. Suvorin and Co. Suvorin-the owner of the newspaper “Novoe Vremya”, using his connections, obtained a monopoly of the book and newspaper trade, at all railway stations and wharves in Russia. He also took over the postcard business from the former tenant “Counterparty of Printing”.
To create the postcard, local and nonresident publishers used photographs of famous Saratov photographers A. S. Murenko, D. G. Finogeev, P. P. Pyatnitsky and others whose authorship is not indicated on the postcards.
There are about two thousand stories depicting Saratov on postcards. This is an image of streets, individual buildings, the surrounding area of the city, the landscapes of the Volga. The vast majority of postcards display the central quarters of the city. There are almost no views of the outskirts, only a few general plans of Bolshaya Gornaya Street, a narrow bridge over the Glebuchev Ravine, etc.
Most of the postcards were issued with the image of Nikolskaya (Radishchev) Street and the adjacent Cathedral (Kommunarnaya) Square. Nikolskaya Street – the business part of the city. Here were the buildings of government offices, the ecclesiastical consistory, the state bank, other institutions, a lot of shops, offices, educational institutions. The entire Cathedral Square was occupied by the city’s Lipki Boulevard, next to which stood the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with a bell tower-a monument to the Saratov militia of 1812.
Many postcards depict this cathedral from different points of view, well-groomed corners and beautiful pavilions of the Lime Trees beloved by Saratovites.
The concert hall and the Ochkin Theater located on the square were very popular.