Complete and Original 1941 Heroes of the Air War over Leningrad portrait portfolio.
Rare 11 1/2" X 8 1/4" portfolio printed in 1942 of HSU pilots who earned their Hero of the Soviet Union status flying against the Luftwaffe in the skies over Leningrad in 1941. The blue portfolio contains fifteen portrait folders, a patriotic 7 7/8" X 11" 16 page pamphlet and a four page table of contents. The folder and the separate table of contents have seen considerable wear and are in fair to good condition; the portrait folders and the pamphlet are in very good condition.
The heavily worn portfolio cover opens up to reveal:
A patriotic pamphlet showing portraits of Josef Stalin and Leningrad party boss & defense chief, Andrei Zhdanov along with other artwork, some dedicative text and a poem to the heroes. The is a separate "table of contents" folder. Other than a small, circular brown mark (probably caused by ash from a cigarette) that affects only the first three pages (but misses the artwork), the folder is in very good condition; the table of contents made of one sheet of paper (folded in half to make four pages ) is torn and has a missing corner on one side and a small area where about 1/2" X 1/2" of paper is also gone, but all of its text is complete and clearly shows that everything that was originally in the portfolio is still present.
There are fourteen tri-fold folders (and one "five-fold" folder) containing the portraits and showing the air victories of fourteen pilots (and one air crew of three men) who became Heroes of the Soviet Union fighting over Leningrad in 1941. Each plate has a charcoal portrait of a specific Hero (in the case of the air crew: all three airmen), an artist's rendition of the feat that led to the award, a short quote from a famous poem about courage written by Maxim Gorky, and a reproduction of the certificate for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union that was awarded. Each of the folders shows only minor wear and they are all in generally very good condition.
We have seen similar collections of portraits that celebrate the deeds of Heroes of the Soviet Union, but none were in as large a format as this set. A particularly interesting aspect of the entire set is that the portraits of the flyers show them in a variety of early war uniforms and headgear. This record of the air war over Leningrad would make a handsome addition to a collection of World War Two Soviet Air Force awards and artifacts. A row or two of these of these portraits carefully mounted in matching black mats with gold frames would instantly introduce real drama into any collector's study!