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BURTON, Elaine.

Scrapbook albums from a British Parliamentary Delegation tour of Russia.

Availability: In stock

Published: 1954

Stock Code: 131618

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


Two scrapbook albums of photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera, compiled and neatly annotated by Elaine Burton MP (1904-1991) upon her return from the three-week British Parliamentary Delegation tour of Russia starting on 30 September 1954.
Burton was one of two women selected as a participant, the second being Conservative MP Edith Pitt. The Delegation's objectives were to "to get a better conception of Soviet life" and to "strengthen Anglo-Soviet relations" (newspaper clipping on p. 4 of vol. I). The scrapbook begins with Burton's letter of invitation to be a delegate, a sample application form for entry into the USSR, and eight pages of press clippings reporting on the imminent trip. The albums then continue chronologically. Burton's primary focus on the tour, alongside her assigned tasks of investigating merchandise and sport, was on women's lives and work. This is shown both in these scrapbooks in numerous photos and in her annotations; for example during a tour of a tractor manufacturing plant in Stalingrad, now Volgograd, she notes that 25 per cent of the 15,000 employees were women, and comments on the childcare services offered at the factory p. 31-2 of vol. 1. A post-tour newspaper article mounted on p. 33 of vol. II quotes Miss Burton's assessment of Russian women's opportunities and conditions, reporting that "there are very great opportunities for women in Russia today, but I didn't like the sight of them doing heavy work... most of the road sweepers the delegation saw were women". The report adds that, "Miss Burton's chief criticism of the U.S.S.R. was the consumer goods, especially the clothes for women".
The scrapbooks also contain many photos of notable Russians at the events held for the delegation, such as a large photograph of the acclaimed ballet dancer Galína Sergéyevna Ulánova, together with dancer and artist Yury Zhdanov, after a performance of Romeo and Juliet by the famous duet at the historic Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Prior to her involvement in politics Burton was a pioneering sportswoman; in 1920, at age 16, she claimed the title of world's sprint champion, as well as playing hockey and swimming competitively for her home county of Yorkshire. She continued this passion into her political career and campaigned for the creation of an independent grant supported body for sport in England, leading to her appointment as a member of the Sports Council in 1965, a role which she held until 1971.
This highly detailed and unique collection of photographs and ephemera provides an incredible insight into Cold War Russia and the relationship between the UK and the USSR at this time.

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Two ringbound albums (315 x 255 mm). Pale blue textured boards, titles to front board in red, vol. I with Baroness Burton's calling card pinned to front board. Housed in a black card folding chemise.


Text in English, Russian, and French. With 129 gelatin silver print photographs (various sizes, the smallest 75 x 40 mm, the largest 220 x 170, the majority 79 x 83 mm), 14 ephemeral documents printed in Russian, including lengthy entertainment programmes


Covers slightly browned at edges; in very good, fresh, condition.


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