Have You Ever Seen Slate Exercise-Books Like This One?

Recently my Facebook feed brought to me something I didn’t know about Soviet school writing materials. It appears there were slate exercise-books used in 1930s and 1940s (maybe earlier).

I’ve asked around, with almost no luck. My grandfather was born in 1925, but he didn’t remember any slate workbooks. However, he told me they were using miniature slateboards, they had to bring with them to school. He wrote with a small chalk-based pencil on that board.

Other friends and relatives didn’t remember anything like these workbooks either. However, my other grandmother helped me out. She read somewhere that slate exercise-books were used primarily at village schools (no surprise any of the people I have asked knew nothing about them). Supposedly, that allowed not to rely on supplies of paper-based workbooks in conditions of paper shortages of the early Soviet Union.

I suppose these slate workbooks were used only in primary school as copy-books. I’ve ordered one for myself from an antiquarian bookseller, and it is marked by a 2nd grade student.

Even while these books weren’t used in cities, they were produced in millions. My exemplar states that print run was 2,000,000 copies. And there were different editions – mine is with Lenin on the cover, and there were editions with Stalin, and both Lenin and Stalin on the front page.

This reminds me of wax tablets and some other non-permanent media used throughout the history. Have you seen anything similar?

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