Sytin, Ivan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sytin, Ivan Dmitrievich


Born Jan. 24 (Feb. 5), 1851, in the village of Gnezdnikovo, Kostroma Province; died Nov. 23, 1934, in Moscow. Russian publisher active in the field of education.

Sytin was the son of a peasant. In his early youth he worked in the Moscow lubok (cheap popular print) shop of the merchant P. N. Sharapov. In 1876 he opened his own lithography shop in Moscow and began printing lubki.

In the 1880’s, Sytin became the most popular publisher of lubok literature (cheap popular literature) in Russia. In 1884 his printing house began publishing the books of the Posrednik Publishing House, founded by V. G. Chertkov with the participation of L. N. Tolstoy; its aim was to publish books accessible to the people. Beginning in the 1890’s, Sytin printed school textbooks, children’s books, popular science literature, and works on applied science, including the series Library for Self-Education and The Popular Encyclopedia of Scientific and Applied Knowledge (vols. 1–14,1910–12).

Important among Sytin’s publications were the collected works of A. S. Pushkin, N. V. Gogol, and L. N. Tolstoy, as well as the multivolume works The Patriotic War and Russian Society, 1812–1912 (1911–12), The Military Encyclopedia (vols. 1–18, 1911–15), and The Children’s Encyclopedia (vols. 1–10, 1913–14). Sytin also published popular calendars, the journals Vokrug sveta (Around the World; from 1891), Iskry (Sparks), and Khirurgiia (Surgery), and the newspaper Russkoe slovo.

In the mid-1890’s, Sytin’s publishing house became the Association of Printing, Publishing, and the Book Trade. It continued to expand, becoming the largest publishing enterprise in Russia. After 1917, Sytin’s printing house was nationalized, and Sytin became a consultant for Gosizdat (the State Publishing House). In 1928 he was assigned a personal pension.


Zhizn’ dlia knigi. Moscow, 1960.


Konichev, K. I. Russkii samorodok. Leningrad, 1966.
Polveka dlia knigi. Moscow, 1916.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.