Alexander Palace Forum

Books and Films about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia => Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia => Topic started by: Alixz on July 25, 2010, 06:26:14 PM

Title: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 25, 2010, 06:26:14 PM
I just noticed that in his thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"  Griffh mentions this book and is on a hunt to try to find out who Marfa Mouchanow was.

He has some ideas.

FA has said that this book is a complete fake and after looking around it seems that it must be because no one named Marfa Mouchanow served the Empress Alexandra from day one to 1917 or even for a short time.

Griffh is looking for a 1940s printing of this book as he is looking for more information on Marie Feodorovna Adelung (?) who is as known as Mrs. Geringer (also spelled Gueringer) who may have been the true author.

The book seems to have a lot of information about the Imperial Family and has intimate details.  But because the author is not sourced or even identifiable - nothing about it rings true.

Does anyone have any information about this book or the publisher (original John Lane Company 1918) or a second printing in the 1940s?

It just gives  the name of the publisher, as John Lane Company, London:John  Lane,  The Bodley Head 1918.  Then on the back of the title page,  copyright  by Curtis Publishing Company and John Lane.  And the  Press of J. J.  Little & Ives NYC.


I know that this book was reprinted in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but that is not what Griffh is looking for.

I know that many of you (as I do) love a good mystery.  Maybe working together, we can help Griffh solve this one.  Wouldn't that be exciting after over 90 years?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 26, 2010, 12:01:47 PM
This is a good question, I would like to know to know too!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 27, 2010, 07:54:25 AM
I have wondered about this book for a long time...I have a copy from 1918. This book was expensively mounted. There is  embossed lettering and crown on the cover done with gold leaf! Also a large supplement with very nice  illustrations was published in the Aug 1918 issue of The Ladies Home Journal.   I saw it on sale on eBay last year. This was a Curtis publication at the time...and Curtis Publishing Company is the US copyright  holder...according to the copywrite page, as Alixz  says.  This book had powerful backing it seems to me. The swiftness of its publication is dazzling. Indeed, it could have been  at press while the family was still alive... it speaks of them in the present tense...and the royal treatment is fascinating. Someone wanted the story sent in this direction and firmly and they moved in high circles imo. The author really despises Ella.  Mouchanow  generally  seems even handed until we get to Ella , Anya, ( who she calls Madame Wyroubieva,)  and the doctor  who ran the the lazarets and who she calls , The Princess Dondouoff .

The author  says the Princess gave AF  drugs behind  her doctors back's  and when the type of drugs became known it was said these were the medications that  shattered AF's nerves. The author states the Princess was reported to have lose morels! ...and that all three were deeply involved in  fostering AF's relationship with  Rasputin  . It seems anyone important who might yet come of Russia alive is discredited...

The author seems to have been with Alix from the moment she arrived in Russia and into captivity...was there anyone but Trina who did so?
A fascinating read for many reasons

(http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/th_myempress.jpg) (http://s792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/?action=view&current=myempress.jpg) (http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/th_copyrightpage.jpg) (http://s792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/?action=view&current=copyrightpage.jpg)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 27, 2010, 08:06:05 AM
My first thought was that the book came to publication so very quickly.  Someone either kept an amazing diary of the events of 24 years or was an incredibly quick writer.  Either that, or perhaps it was a compilation of information from several sources combined into one with one person taking credit for the text.

I have to ask, who is Trina?  That must be a nick name for someone that I am not remembering.

I am considering buying an inexpensive copy as I have never read the book in its entirety.  Some copies are in good condition and quite expensive!

Perhaps there are some clues in the text itself which might help us in our mystery solving.  For example - who would have not been a fan of Ella (other than Marie Pavlovna - the younger) with a reason to be hard on her in a book which may have been being written while Ella was still alive?

Because the book was published in 1918 and Ella and the others at Alapavesk and Nicholas and his family all were killed about mid year, it was either started before they were killed or written in a very big hurry.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Sarushka on July 27, 2010, 08:10:07 AM
I have to ask, who is Trina?  That must be a nick name for someone that I am not remembering.

Catherine Schneider, I think.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 27, 2010, 08:40:20 AM
yes,  I'm sorry , " Trina"  is Catherine Schneider.  Who else was with Alix the whole of her 23 years on the throne and even in captivity? The author  seems to be at hand just at the right moment over and over...The speed  of publication and the well mounted effort is very interesting and unusal, imo.  And really  the book's treatment of Ella, makes Marie Pavlovna, the younger, remarks seem very mild, even warm! In My Empress, Ella is portrayed as evil...not a word I throw around....and bent on destroying her sister from the start. Someone wanted EF's reputation ruined, it seems to me, in case she somehow  survived  and  could refute what is told here.  It's a great read however...  But an agenda is present , imo, in the writing and the mounting.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rgt9w on July 27, 2010, 09:00:58 AM
Is the general thought that the book is factual or is it a complete fabrication used as a propaganda tool?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 27, 2010, 09:11:05 AM
Is the general thought that the book is factual or is it a complete fabrication used as a propaganda tool?
That is the interesting mystery about it! lol! It's hard to say.  I think it's both factual and fabrication. The best propaganda has factual elements in it. There are a good number of excellent photographs as well....money was spent.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on July 27, 2010, 09:51:31 AM
The book is available to read on Open Library at:

http://openlibrary.org/works/OL13162053W/My_Empress_Twenty-three_Years_of_Intimate_Life_with_the_Empress_of_All_the_..
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 27, 2010, 03:14:21 PM
BlessOTMA, I liked your idea of "Trina" being a possible author for "My Empress". The main question is Ekaterina Adolfovna's relationship with Ella. As we remember, Trina was the one who first taught Russian to EF, and she was much more than a teacher for the Grand-ducal couple. She was a member of their circle, almost a good friend, always staying at Ilynskoe long years after Ella did not really need any teaching. She took part to all the evenings, promenades, plays, she composed some verses about their good company, people of the circle composed verses on her. She was sometimes the "victim" of some innocent jokes. That is what I know for sure. Does anyone know if Trina was happy to serve Alexandra? It was really a promotion, but could she felt herself somehow released? And what happened after years? Did you keep good relationship with Ella (or more exactly Ella with her)? As far as I understood Schneider did not publicly expressed herself about Rasputin and all the scandal nobility and press created themselves? Or does anyone no more. I think the answer to these questions could help us.
At the same time, BlessOTMA, I highly doubt Ekaterina Schneider is our mysterious author. First because  she had nothing to do with the Empress's jewels and wardrobe. Second because the author stayed at Tsarskoe when Trina went to Siberia where, as we know, she was killed.
Third because I just cannot imagine only a single second that Trina will call the Tsar a coward... Fourth because her letters from captivity have a very different tone.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 27, 2010, 03:56:22 PM
I don't think that Catherine Schneider is being discussed as a possible author of the book.  I had just asked who "Trina" was and blessOTMA was letting me know.

Somehow I didn't know that Catherine Schneider was called "Trina".  She would not be a good candidate for the author of this book as she did go into exile with the Imperial Family and the Author does not claim to have.

The author claims to have been in service from day one to the day the family went into exile.

Who is Ekaterina Adolfovna.  Is that also Catherine Schneider?  I didn't know that one could use a father's name as a patronymic if it was not a Russian name.

I think I need to catch up.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 27, 2010, 04:01:52 PM
Yes, Ekaterina Adolfovna is indeed Catherine Schneider!
Some little information here
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1630.0
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 27, 2010, 04:03:01 PM
I also wonder about the author's spelling of the names.  Like Anna Vyrubova whom she calls  "Wyroubieva".  Makes me wonder if that was a translation error or a type setting error or a proof reading error or just that the author didn't know how to spell the name to begin with.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 27, 2010, 04:08:06 PM
BlessOTMA, I liked your idea of "Trina" beeing a possible author for "My Empress". The main question is Ekaterina Adolfovna's relashionship with Ella. As we remember, Trina was the one who first taught russian to EF, and she was much more than a teacher for the Grand-ducal couple. She was a member of their circle, almost a good friend, always staying at Ilynskoe long years after Ella did not really need any teaching. She took part to all the evenings, promenades, plays, she composed some verses about their good company, people of the circle composed verses on her. She was sometimes the "victim" of som innocent jokes. That is what I know for sur. Does anyone know if Trina was happy to serve Alexandra? It was really a promotion, but could she felt herself somehow realesed? And what happened after years? Did you keep good relationship with Ella (or more exatly Ella with her)? As far as I understood Schneider did not publicaly expressed herself about Rasputin and all the scandal nobility and press created themselves? Or does anyone no more. I think the answer to these questions could help us.
At th same time, BlessOTMA, I highly doubt Ekaterina Schneider is our mysterious author. Firt because  she had nothing to do with the Empress's jewels and wardrobe. Second because the author stayed at Tsarskoe when Trina went to Siberia where, as we know, she was killed.
Third because I just cannot imagine only a single second that Trina will call the Tsar a coward... Fourth because her letters from captivity have a very different tone.

Oh dear...I never  said Ekaterina Schneider was the  possible author for "My Empress"! I mentioned her because I could not think of any other attendant Alix had though out  her  years on the throne  and later, but Ekaterina Schneider The author states she was with Alix all that time and that seems to catch her in a falsehood. We would know who this woman was if she was really with Alix for the 23 years and captivity . Trina would never have written this book!  Besides the fact she was a prisoner in Siberia who couldn't get regular post much less send out a manuscript , when it was being written! lol!  But she was also the upmost soul of discretion...and an the type of a attendant who would take her mistress secrets to the grave as a badge of honor ...which sadly,  she did .
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 27, 2010, 04:09:53 PM
O sorry, BlessOTMA! Forgive me to have misunderstood your post! Always this language problem... It is probably time for me to learn it properly!!!
Back to the topic!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 27, 2010, 04:21:48 PM
O sorry, BlessOTMA! Forgive me to have misunderstood your post! Always this language problem... It is probably time for me to learn it properly!!!
Back to the topic!
No problem....and I found what you said about her history quite  interesting! :)  and so back to topic. A friend  of mine has suggested this book was "a soviet fake". Interesting idea ...Whatever,  but when you are being published by Curtis and featured in the Aug 1918 edition of The Ladies Home Journal, ...which had to go to press before the family was even dead, you know powerful US forces at least are promoted it.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Greg_King on July 28, 2010, 07:16:01 AM
It is possible that the author's identity may be preserved in one of the major library catalogues-the Library of Congress or the British Library, say, as at least the former regularly recorded the actual identities of anonymous and pseudonymous authors in their file index system. That would take some searching by someone with access to their physical records, though, as (at least with the LOC) their older files remain on index cards in the old card catalogue system in Washington DC and are not digitized.

I had at one time wondered if the author could be Zanotti; there are several letters in Darmstadt, to which she returned from accompanying the Imperial Family to Siberia, by Ernst Ludwig that speak of Zanotti's "book," but I have been unable to trace any such publication using her maiden or married name. Then, too, Zanotti is out as possible author because 1) She would have had to write the work and arrange publication at a time when she was still in active voluntary service at Tsarskoye Selo and then Tobolsk; and 2) Had she really been the author, it is unlikely that Ernst Ludwig would have kept her on his payroll (which he did in a minor capacity through the 1920s).

It may come down to some disgruntled aristocrat with tenuous ties to the court or sources of information. In the case of this book, what matters is not what the author got wrong (quite a bit), but what (s)he got right-and how highly placed or intimate one would have had to have been to derive those correct details. I have seen a few names suggested as possibilities over the years but absolutely no proof whatsoever to tie any known individual to authorship.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 28, 2010, 09:24:40 AM
Marie Feodorovna Adelung (?) who is as known as Mrs. Geringer (also spelled Gueringer) who may have been the true author.


Has anyone ever heard of this lady?  This is the lady that Griffh has found in his research, but can not find anywhere else.  It seems that GARF has the name Julia Gueringer on file, but Griffh didn't say why.

However, Julia Geringer is the proposed "true author" of the book in the hard to find 1940s edition.

Marie  Feodorovna  Adelung is proposed as an acronym which spells Marfa.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 28, 2010, 09:33:56 AM
What edition of the Ladies Home Journal was the book mentioned in?  Did that publication come out weekly or monthly back in 1918?

And I wonder, why do you think that the US Government had anything to do with this book or its publication?  The US had entered the war in April of 1917, but didn't get any soldiers to the front for some time after that.

Wilson was not a fan of the Imperial Family and would not, IMHO, care if they had good or bad press while they were in exile or already dead.

The book is an enigma as it has so much information that was not available unless the author was there or privy to the personal information of those who were there.  And since no one knew in 1894 that the end would come as it did, who would think to keep such informative records to write such a book at the very end?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 28, 2010, 01:26:02 PM
What edition of the Ladies Home Journal was the book mentioned in?  Did that publication come out weekly or monthly back in 1918?
August  of 1918 and the magazine came out monthly. It had to be in the press well before the family's death. Curtis published the book and the magazine...and was ( imo) involved, like so many publishing houses ,  in  US propaganda efforts which got underway , really with the Spanish American war...but when into hyper drive during this time. Wilson got re-elected on the slogan "He kept us  out of war! "That had to be turned around  to"  kill the Hun ! " and was though efforts of those such as Curtis...which was a very large, and powerful  magazine publisher, in Philadelphia PA. It's hard to apprcate just how powerful today.
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And I wonder, why do you think that the US Government had anything to do with this book or its publication?
Well not the Government  directly surly. But often the more powerful work outside Government.  Simply because it had a great deal of backing and was so swiftly published..and given the"  royal " treatment . It seems an attempt to direct opinion  of on going events rather than a memoir of past ones. And it  seems to be about discrediting those, such as Ella,  who might yet survive. I believe there were elements in the Government and else where, who did not want the family returned to the throne. ...and were more than willing to deal with the new order, in fact, eager.
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Wilson was not a fan of the Imperial Family and would not, IMHO, care if they had good or bad press while they were in exile or already dead.
lol! well indeed, I feel the book, in short, pre-buries the family... sums up the story even before it had ended..there is no call to help them ...but a tear is shed for them as if they were dead...yet they were very much alive when this was written.  
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The book is an enigma as it has so much information that was not available unless the author was there or privy to the personal information of those who were there.  And since no one knew in 1894 that the end would come as it did, who would think to keep such informative records to write such a book at the very end?
Exactly. It had a purpose and seems to suggest the end was known.  It's very interesting for a number of reasons
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 28, 2010, 03:21:40 PM
This is an interesting quote from Griffh's thread

"1918 April 10:
> Copyright Account to John Lane Company for half of amount paid for worlds book rights ($250) 'My Empress' = $125.00"
>


This book was written before the family was in Yekaterinburg!  And a long time before Michael or Ella or the whole family was killed.

Did Curtis publish the American edition and John Lane the British edition?  If so did Curtis publish before or after Lane?

So we need to think about who would sit down to write a book like this between March 15, 1917 and the copyright date of April 10, 1918.  Just a little over a year from Nicholas's abdication and this book was written edited and ready to go!

No one knew (or should have known) during that period that the aristocracy would be gone forever.  And so, how did someone know to write a book about the family and Alexandra as though that person was present from the beginning?

Even those books written by authentic imperial confidants did not come into print until after the execution or "disappearance" of the family.  Sometimes many years after.  It took time to sit down and compose and write about 23 years of life.

So many people and so little information.  Perhaps it could have been a family member who supplied a "ghost writer" with some of the pertinent information?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 28, 2010, 04:18:56 PM
Sorry if I will add here some non relevant information, but at any case I dare. I thought about this family name Mouchanow and search a little. I found that family name Mouchanov (МУШАНОВ) exist, but is quite incommun. I found also that there was indeed a well known family, russian nobility of tatar root, the Moukhanov (МУХАНОВЫ). Among the differents parts of this big family and all the helpful people she gave Russia, there was a Maria Sergeevna Moukhanova: she lived in the 19th century and was the lady in waiting of Empres Maria Feodorovna, wife of Paul I. In a book about her own father, she let interesting stories about her Empress.
Then, closer to our subject, there was a Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting. In 1903 she married the coung F. M. Nirod. Nirod was adjudant of Nicolas II from 1905. At war time, notice this, Maria Dmitrievna worked as an assistant surgeon nurse at the Tsarskoe Selo hospital. She survived the revolution and died in Kiev in 1965.
Well, at any case I am asking myself some questions. First, did the author of "My Empress" know about Maria Sergeevna's book and used her family name in relation to this? That 's an hypothesis. Second question: who was this Maria Dmitrievna? Had she close connexion to Alexandra (I supposed not)? Would have she used her relations at court (maids...) to write this work with another surname? Or did someone used this family name knowing there were Mukhranovy at court?
Only modest suppositions, I agree.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 28, 2010, 04:41:33 PM
I have searched a little bit more as this name, Nirod, was familar. And that can be indeed interesting. I took the Sergey Fomin's book about Alexandra Feodorovna. In this book there is a chapter about princess Gedroits, the surgeon of the lazaret, you all know her. Interesting is that just after the revolution, Gedroits turned to a very harsh and vindicative "red", wearing clothes like a basis revolutionner. There are some phrases about this transformation in Tatiana Nicolaevna's letters from Tobolsk. Another day I can give it, if it is of any interest. And Maria Dmitrievna Nirod-Moukhanova was Gedroit's best friend. At revolution time, they were all the time together and then went together to Kiev with MD's children (Nirod was dead in 1913). They worked in Kiev as surgeon and nurse, their relationship is quite strange.
What do you, Alix, Grifft, BlessOTMA and all think about this? Could they have together, or just one of them have completed "My Empress",using all their relations at court and a fictionnal heroine? Could they had prepare the publication of the book?
Just my little contribution to this fascinating mystery!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 28, 2010, 09:58:06 PM

Fascinating matushka! I have wondered if this book was created by combining  the writings  from  a number of people ...simply because it has  both remarkably good and bad information and contradicts itself not a few times...which all adds to its mystery.  It would be interesting if Princess Gedroits was involved, because she is treated not kindly at all in the book!  (btw I would love to see a  bio of the Princess...she lead quite a life! )This book was so well connected in the West and came so out fast , that I feel it can't simply be a case of someone wrote a book  about AF and it was published.....the timing seems to suggest it was purposely published to be at hand just when  news of the family's death would start to filter out of Russia...the timing of the magazine supplement publication, within two weeks of their death, its very strange ...it's awfully convenient.  What adds to the mystery is we all know books and magazines need time to appear. This wasn't in a newspaper, with its quick turnaround...this book had to be in production  long before the family's deaths...and seems to be an effort to form  opinion just when the news came out. It seems to suggest the family's fate was known well before July 17 1918 among some very well placed people. 
 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 29, 2010, 10:06:46 AM
blessOTMA - I didn't understand the direction of your thoughts at first.  Now I wonder if there might have been some German collaboration as they sent Lenin into Russia.

I am not forming a conspiracy theory here, but who else knew that Lenin was going to Russia to undermine the government and perhaps ferment a revolution before it actually happened?  So who else would need to have a publication ready to document the whole 23 year reign in both a good and bad format?

Could My Empress have been a propaganda tool as you have been suggesting?  That theory might account for the gentle treatment of Alexandra and the harsher treatment of Ella.  Both Alexandra and Ella were first cousins of Wilhelm II, but Ella had rebuffed Wilhelm in favor of Serge.

But who would have known that the book should come out in April of 1918 (as I said before) which was before the deaths of Michael in June and Ella in July and the Imperial Family also in July?

Who would benefit from such a quick publication?

I know that you, blessOTMA, have been saying this all along, but I just got it through my thick head today.

I find matushka's input fascinating.  I hope that she can find more.

I also had begun to think in terms of Mouchanov instead of Mouchanow.  The "w" makes it look like a Polish translation.

How interesting that a woman named Moukhanova was at the hospital at Tsarskoe Selo.   

Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 29, 2010, 10:30:19 AM
Could My Empress have been a propaganda tool as you have been suggesting?
I think it's propaganda...but who was behind it and why is difficult to say. My husband suggests it was meant to whip up emontiions for the White cause in the West...which is a good idea...but if one reads the book, it is hardly a battle cry for the return of the Tsar! More like shedding a tear for dead people.  People who had the up most integrity, but were overmatched and foolish. It's not a call to save them ,much less return them or thier system to power.
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Who would benefit from such a quick publication?
Exactly that's the mystery...that and the money behind it
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I find matushka's input fascinating.  I hope that she can find more.
Indeed!!
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I also had begun to think in terms of Mouchanov instead of Mouchanow.  The "w" makes it look like a Polish translation.How interesting that a woman named Moukhanova was at the hospital at Tsarskoe Selo.   Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.

Amazing!! Where did you find out about her? That name is close...plus her caeer is close to the author's as well!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Laura Mabee on July 29, 2010, 12:03:32 PM
This is a great thread guys. Very interesting ideas on a question I've been pondering myself for a few years.
I look forward to seeing the results! : )
Thanks for all the hard work!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on July 29, 2010, 03:07:03 PM
I have just sent the Library of Congress the following question and am awaiting their reply:

Library of Congress - Rare Book & Special Collections has received your question. You will receive an e-mail message with the answer as soon as possible.




[Question]: I am currently working on a biography of the late Empress Alexandra of Russia and have been trying to verify the true author of one of the books included in my bibliography:  Mouchanow, Marfa, " My Empress, " John Lane, New York, 1918.  I have contacted both the John Lane and Bodley Head archives in this country and in England but have not been able to establish who the author was.  I seem to recall seeing a 1941 edition of the book with an author's note attributing the book to one of the Empress's ladies, Mme. Geringer, but this may be a false memory.

I have learned that "My Empress" was included by Corinne Bacon's in her article "One Thousand Titles of the Most Representative, interesting and useful biographies," which was published in 1919 by the Wilson Library Bulletin,  a professional journal published for librarians.  I have also learned that the book was reviewed in the Nation and Ladies Home Journal.  My researcher at the John Lane archives, William Fagelson was able to find one item in the accounts  journal  that mentioned "My Empress":  1918 April 10: Copyright Account to John Lane Company for half of amount paid for worlds book rights ($250) 'My Empress' = $125.00."

Other than that I have not been able to learn anything more.  I would be very grateful for any help you may be able to offer or any advice.  Thank you, Griff


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 30, 2010, 09:04:33 AM
How interesting that a woman named Moukhanova was at the hospital at Tsarskoe Selo.   Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.

Amazing!! Where did you find out about her? That name is close...plus her caeer is close to the author's as well!

That information came from matushka in her post just above.

Matushka - where did you find out the information about Moukhanova and her life?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 30, 2010, 09:21:40 AM
Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.

This is what matushka posted.  Wouldn't it surprising if finding the author was that simple?  Too simple, I expect, to be true but the coincidence is amazing.

Marfa could be a nick name or diminutive of Maria.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on July 30, 2010, 12:56:49 PM
Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.

This is what matushka posted.  Wouldn't it surprising if finding the author was that simple?  Too simple, I expect, to be true but the coincidence is amazing.

Marfa could be a nick name or diminutive of Maria.

Wow that is fascinating Alix and Matushka.  Helen also found a mid-19th century reference to the letters of a Russian Statesman with the same name in the Hessian archives. 

I will let you know the minute I receive a reply from the Library of Congress.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on July 31, 2010, 02:21:09 AM
Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting.
... Wouldn't it surprising if finding the author was that simple?  Too simple, I expect, to be true but the coincidence is amazing.
Too simple, indeed! I doubt that the authoress was Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova.  Marfa Mouchanow claimed that she was first presented to Alexandra 3 days before Nicholas' and Alexandra's wedding [Ref: page 15 of Mouchanow's book], because her name had been placed on a list of "ladies who were supposed to be eligible for the position" of "first maid".  Of course, this may be a blatant lie. But if it isn't: A first maid "had under her eight other maids, whose duties consisted in attending to the wants of the princess, but these took no initiative, and were entirely dependent upon her, having  to obey her and to listen to all her instructions. One had to have a certain rank or Tschin, as it is called in Russian, to be able to obtain such an appointment, and probably the fact that my husband, who had died a short time before the marriage of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, had been a Colonel, had something to do with the fact that my name figured on the list of women considered eligible for the position which I was to obtain." [Ref: page 12-13 of Mouchanow's book] The Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova mentioned above was born in 1879 and was not more than 15 years old by the time of the wedding - perhaps a teeny-weeny bit too young for such a responsible position, to be a widow and to be of a certain Tschin.  ;D
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on July 31, 2010, 02:58:49 AM
Helen also found a mid-19th century reference to the letters of a Russian Statesman with the same name in the Hessian archives. 
Yeap! A Russian Staatsrat ('state counsellor') of the name Mouchanow living, or staying, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, seems to have written a dozen letters to Alexandra's paternal grandfather in 1868. I've no further information about his identity or the contents of these letters.
I also quickly searched www.vgd.ru, which has info on a substantial number of Mouchanows, but I've found nothing useful so far.



Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 31, 2010, 01:00:53 PM
Alixz, sorry for not answering the same day, I was not at home.
You asked about my sources. Fist about Maria Dmitrevna Muhanova, I read at http://mukhanov.ru/, a site about this family made by a modern Muhanov. Then I read about her assisting Gedroits at AF's lazaret in the site of our AP member Nikolay about Tsarskoe Selo (pushkin-history.info, don't remember the exact page). And then I remember reading about her a long time ago in Sergey Fomin's book about Alexandra Fedorovna, Skorbny angel, in a chapter about Gedroits. His main source are the memories of I. Avdieva, a kievian artist, friend of them. You can find it online at http://kfinkelshteyn.narod.ru/Tzarskoye_Selo/Gedroitz2d.htm

Alixz and Helen, yes, I agree with you, it would have been too simple and it is almost unrealistic: at the moment the best "candidat" is till M. F. Geringer.  But it is interesting to think not only about the real author, but also about the reason of this name, or nickname Marfa Mouchanow. Why this and not another? That can be also a key. Is that an "echo" to the Notes of Maria Sergeevna Mukhanova about Maria Feodorovna (wife of Paul I)? Is that a simple utilisation of noble and known family name, a pure coincidence? Is that someone of the Mouhanov (Maria Dmitrievna?) help to write, to compil, to send, to translate or somehow edit the book? Could that been that some Muhanova (Maria Dmitrievna?) took someonelse book and edit it under her name? I am just asking, there are more questions than anwers!
I also wonder if the 1918 edition is a translation or was the book direct written in English? The possible fact it was a translation give an explanation to the unertain speling of mily names.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 01, 2010, 03:17:04 AM
Alixz and Helen, yes, I agree with you, it would have been too simple and it is almost unrealistic: at the moment the best "candidate" is till M. F. Geringer.  But it is interesting to think not only about the real author, but also about the reason of this name, or nickname Marfa Mouchanow. Why this and not another? That can be also a key. Is that an "echo" to the Notes of Maria Sergeevna Mukhanova about Maria Feodorovna (wife of Paul I)? Is that a simple utilisation of noble and known family name, a pure coincidence? Is that someone of the Mouhanov (Maria Dmitrievna?) help to write, to compil, to send, to translate or somehow edit the book? Could that been that some Muhanova (Maria Dmitrievna?) took someone else's book and edit it under her name? I am just asking, there are more questions than anwers!
I also wonder if the 1918 edition is a translation or was the book direct written in English? The possible fact it was a translation give an explanation to the uncertain spelling of mily names.
True, there are several possibilities one could explore; the authoress may have been a Mouchanov or she may have had reasons to use the Mouchanov name anyway, if she was not related to the family.

The documents about M. F. Geringer at GARF provide some information about M. F. Geringer and the makeup of her family. If the authoress was M. F. Geringer, née Adelung, and the authoress was telling us the truth about how she became eligible for the position of first maid in 1894, there must have been a Colonel Nikolai Geringer who died in 1894, or shortly before 1894, leaving behind at least two sons and a daughter.  It might be possible to find information confirming the existence of such a Colonel. :-\
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on August 01, 2010, 07:09:42 AM
Helen, did you have access to those documents at GARF?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 01, 2010, 07:22:34 AM
Helen, did you have access to those documents at GARF?
Unfortunately, I have not,  :( but I know that an other member of this forum sent an e-mail message to GARF, asking for more details about the contents of Madame Geringer's fond. It appears that these documents include some letters and personal papers from several of Madame Geringer's children, who were mentioned by name.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on August 01, 2010, 07:40:12 AM
Helen, searching the russian internet, I found a page about the noble famiy Geringer, from the Governement of Riazan (Riazanskaya Gubernia). It seems they are the people we are speaking about. Here is the information:
Noble family from Riazan, of german origin and catholic confession. THe 30.01.1913, Nikolay Nikolaevich Geringer was introduced in the 1st part of the Book of noble generations of the Riazan Governement.
First generation: 1) Nikolay Ludwigovich Geringer, concellor in tittle (sorry, see the russian text; no idea about the translation). Wife: Maria Feodorovna.
Second generation: Nikolay Nikolaevich, born 13. 07. 1882. Baptised in the CHurch of the Intercession in Ivanovo-Voskressensk. God-parents: marchands of first class Leonid Petrovich Griaznov (from Moscow) and Varvara Fedorovna Adelung, daughter of a general-lieutenant. (More information in urssian about N.N, the time he entered the nobility, his wife and what he owned in russian).
Russian text for more precisions: 
Рязанский дворянский род немецкого происхождения, католического вероисповедования. 30.01.1913 Николай Николаевич Г. внесен в I ч. ДРК Рязанской губ.
Первое колено:
1. Николай Людвигович Герингер.
Титулярный советник.
Ж.: Мария Федоровна.

Второе колено

2. Николай Николаевич (1).
Р. 13.07.1882; крещен 22 июля в Покровском Соборе г. Иваново-Вознесенска; восприемники: московский купец 1-й гильдии Леонид Петрович Грязнов и дочь генерал-лейтенанта Варвара Федоровна Аделунг.
17.09.1911 утвержден в дворянстве Правительствующим Сенатом. 30.01.1913 внесен в I ч. ДРК Рязанской губ.
Ж.: Юлия Александровна. За ней в 1913 состояло 600 дес. земли в с. Авдеево и с. Трегубово Зарайского у.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on August 01, 2010, 08:11:05 AM
That's the site where I found this information <a href="http://www.history-ryazan.ru/node/10221">История Рязанского края: Герингеры</a>

About the found of M. F. Geringer, our forum member probably mean this information at http://mosarchiv.mos.ru/images/Putevoditel-lichnye/CIAM.htm
ЦИАМ, ф. 1737, оп. 1, 65 ед.хр., 1859—1905
Герингер (урожд. Аделунг) Мария Федоровна — камер-фрау императрицы Александры Федоровны, жены Николая II.
Переписка с родителями, Ф. и В. Аделунг, сестрами, С.Ф., Н.Ф. Аделунг, и О.Ф. Киселевой, сыном, Ф.Н. Герингером, родными и друзьями. Переписка родственников.
Материалы М.Ф. Герингер см.: ГАРФ, ф. 625.
So, the correspondance of Geringer Maria Feodorovna, kamerfrau of Empress AF with her relatives: her parents F. and V. Adelung, her sisters S. F., N. F. Adelung and O. F. Kisseleva, her son F. N. Geringer, other relatives and friends. Correpondance of her relatives.
So there are 2 fonds, the one of GARF: f. 625 and the one of TsIAM f. 1737 ith 65 items. The dates 1859-1905 seems to are relatives to the dates of the correspondance, not the dates of her life, but correct me if I am wrong. If this is correct, she was alive at revolution time.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 01, 2010, 12:31:18 PM
That's the site where I found this information <a href="http://www.history-ryazan.ru/node/10221">История Рязанского края: Герингеры</a>

About the found of M. F. Geringer, our forum member probably mean this information at http://mosarchiv.mos.ru/images/Putevoditel-lichnye/CIAM.htm
ЦИАМ, ф. 1737, оп. 1, 65 ед.хр., 1859—1905
Герингер (урожд. Аделунг) Мария Федоровна — камер-фрау императрицы Александры Федоровны, жены Николая II.
Переписка с родителями, Ф. и В. Аделунг, сестрами, С.Ф., Н.Ф. Аделунг, и О.Ф. Киселевой, сыном, Ф.Н. Герингером, родными и друзьями. Переписка родственников.
Материалы М.Ф. Герингер см.: ГАРФ, ф. 625.
So, the correspondance of Geringer Maria Feodorovna, kamerfrau of Empress AF with her relatives: her parents F. and V. Adelung, her sisters S. F., N. F. Adelung and O. F. Kisseleva, her son F. N. Geringer, other relatives and friends. Correpondance of her relatives.
So there are 2 fonds, the one of GARF: f. 625 and the one of TsIAM f. 1737 ith 65 items. The dates 1859-1905 seems to are relatives to the dates of the correspondance, not the dates of her life, but correct me if I am wrong. If this is correct, she was alive at revolution time.
Matushka, thank you for this information! The info I referred to was indeed from GARF, fond No. 625, but a bit more detailed than the info provided on the mosarchiv.mos.ru website.

M. F. Geringer's year of birth seems a bit of a mystery. I've seen various years suggested, among which the year 1859.
GARF did not specify the year of her death and just says that it was 'after 1915'. She may have been still alive by the end of 1917; there's an Internet article that seems to confirm that she was still among the living in August 1917.

As regards the info in your post #37:  The 'first generation' Nikolai Ludwigovich Geringer who married a Maria Feodorovna could indeed have been the husband of the M. F. Geringer we're interested. It would be interesting to know whether he held the rank of Colonel (polkovnik) and died shortly before November 1894, as Marfa Mouchanov claimed about her husband.

The M. F. Geringer whose papers are held at GARF also had a son Nikolai , which may have been the 'second generation' Nikolai Nikoalevich Geringer mentioned in your info.  She also had at least one more son and a daughter, which are not mentioned on the Ryazan site, but then, the info on that site isn't necessarily complete.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on August 01, 2010, 02:45:58 PM
Helen, did you have access to those documents at GARF?
Unfortunately, I have not,  :( but I know that an other member of this forum sent an e-mail message to GARF, asking for more details about the contents of Madame Geringer's fond. It appears that these documents include some letters and personal papers from several of Madame Geringer's children, who were mentioned by name.

I'm "that other member". For about EUR 500,- they want to give more information about what is held in the fond of Madame Geringer.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 01, 2010, 03:11:51 PM
I'm "that other member". For about EUR 500,- they want to give more information about what is held in the fond of Madame Geringer.
Hi Teddy, yes, you are the 'other member'. :) 
500 Euros is quite a lot of money. For a few Euros more you could fly to Moscow and go and see those papers for yourself at GARF.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on August 01, 2010, 03:46:45 PM
I'm "that other member". For about EUR 500,- they want to give more information about what is held in the fond of Madame Geringer.
Hi Teddy, yes, you are the 'other member'. :) 
500 Euros is quite a lot of money. For a few Euros more you could fly to Moscow and go and see those papers for yourself at GARF.

And, still what do you get for EUR 500,-.? Maybe not the information what you hope to get.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 01, 2010, 05:00:44 PM
And, still what do you get for EUR 500,-.? Maybe not the information what you hope to get.
I guess the only way to find out is to request access to these documents.

Surfing the Internet, I found some information that might relate to Madame Geringer's other son, Feodor:
http://www.uznal.org/book_of_memory.php?bukva=3&name=30&surname=119&repression=40 , executed for counterrevolutionary agitation in November 1937.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on August 02, 2010, 12:03:38 AM
It might be, indeed, same place of birth as for Nikolay Nikolaevich, Ivanovo. I was in Butovo, at the memorial place, a few day ago...

Teddy and Helen, ten years ago I had access to GARF for another question. As I let all my studies and did not became the scholar I prepared mylself to be, I have at the moment no special authorization or recommandation. Do you know what one need to access the Archive? If it is not so difficult, I could try one day...

About M. Geringer date of birth: the russian version of this wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_von_Adelung claimed that this scientist was her father, witch place her birth no later as 1843, but not earlier as the 1820s (well could a first maid be a 80 or even 90 years old woman?). At the same time I do not know if this is relevant information. Do you? The 2 others sons of Friedrich Adelung were born at the vey beginning of the 19th century; then that means that MF was already more than 40 when she gave birth to Nikolay, whitch is possible, of course, but not so ordinary. And how could she write to her father some letters in the 1850-60 years if he died in 1843?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 02, 2010, 02:05:42 AM
It might be, indeed, same place of birth as for Nikolay Nikolaevich, Ivanovo. I was in Butovo, at the memorial place, a few day ago...

Teddy and Helen, ten years ago I had access to GARF for another question. As I let all my studies and did not became the scholar I prepared mylself to be, I have at the moment no special authorization or recommandation. Do you know what one need to access the Archive? If it is not so difficult, I could try one day...

About M. Geringer date of birth: the russian version of this wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_von_Adelung claimed that this scientist was her father, witch place her birth no later as 1843, but not earlier as the 1820s (well could a first maid be a 80 or even 90 years old woman?). At the same time I do not know if this is relevant information. Do you? The 2 others sons of Friedrich Adelung were born at the vey beginning of the 19th century; then that means that MF was already more than 40 when she gave birth to Nikolay, whitch is possible, of course, but not so ordinary. And how could she write to her father some letters in the 1850-60 years if he died in 1843?

What a coincidence that you went to the Butovo Polygon just a couple of days ago!

:-\ There must be some error in the above-mentioned wikipedia  article, as Friedrich von Adelung cannot possibly have died in 1843 and been the father of a daughter who was born in 1859. I don't know what's wrong. One or more of the years mentioned may be wrong, or perhaps this Friedrich wasn't the father of this Maria at all.

If you're thinking about asking access to GARF documents, you could write to GARF, explaining the purpose of your research. They'll probably let you know how to proceed. And they probably provide procedural information on their website: http://statearchive.ru/index.html .
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on August 02, 2010, 07:10:01 AM
Helen, thank you, I will try in a few months, after we move in a new flat.
I read today an interesting and detailed article about the diadka of Alexei Nikolaevich, Derevenko. It was interesting to find that Derevenko wrote some letters to Maria Fedorovna Geringer at the end of 1917 (21 september, 14 november). She was in Petrograd at that time.
I could read the description of what is in GARF (letters of Geringer to Alexandra Feodorovna and Zanotti, materials about her children F. N., N. N. and daughter L. N. , materials about charity work, list of the Empress jewels.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on August 08, 2010, 11:32:27 AM
Helen, thank you, I will try in a few months, after we move in a new flat.
I read today an interesting and detailed article about the diadka of Alexei Nikolaevich, Derevenko. It was interesting to find that Derevenko wrote some letters to Maria Fedorovna Geringer at the end of 1917 (21 september, 14 november). She was in Petrograd at that time.
I could read the description of what is in GARF (letters of Geringer to Alexandra Feodorovna and Zanotti, materials about her children F. N., N. N. and daughter L. N. , materials about charity work, list of the Empress jewels.


Matushka that is so kind of you to visit the GARF!  Your move into a new flat sounds quite exciting and I hope it goes easily.  Thanks again to both you and Helen for all the fascinating information.  Just to say I have not heard back from the Library of Congress as of yet.  Washington D.C. is close enough for me to make a trip to the Library if I don't hear back from them in another month or so.  Well thanks again and aslo thanks to Alixz so very much for making this thread!  Griff
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on August 09, 2010, 04:56:01 AM
Maybe its a fascinating read if the documents of Madame Geringer would be published. The same goes for the memoires of Madeleine Zanotti!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on August 09, 2010, 06:44:30 AM
I will try in a few months, after we move in a new flat.
I hope your move will go smoothly! :)

I could read the description of what is in GARF (letters of Geringer to Alexandra Feodorovna and Zanotti, materials about her children F. N., N. N. and daughter L. N. , materials about charity work, list of the Empress jewels.
Quote from: Teddy link=topic=15262.msg456136#msg456136 date=1281347761a
Maybe its a fascinating read if the documents of Madame Geringer would be published.
Gerjo, Madame Geringer's papers might provide clues to the identity of Marfa Mouchanow, but her papers may be too incoherent and fragmented to create an interesting and coherent publication. The papers about charity work might be interesting though!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on August 09, 2010, 01:56:35 PM
OH Guess what?  The nicest gentleman just called me from the Library of Congress and apologized for not getting back to me sooner.  Honestly he had one of those wonderfully intelligent and at the same time, soothing voices.  He told me his name but I was too excited to remember it.  Anyway the gentleman told me that he is contacting two members of the staff, one who is a Russian authority on the collection and they will look into the authorship of the book.  I do hope that the gentleman I spoke with will email so that I can at least remain calm enough to register the information.  He said that he could make not promises that we will learn the actual identity of the author but that there is a good chance that we miight.  Too exciting for words.....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on August 09, 2010, 04:12:47 PM
Excellent griffh ! 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Laura Mabee on August 09, 2010, 10:12:52 PM
Fantastic news Griffh!
Look forward to seeing this thread progress. : )
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on August 10, 2010, 01:53:10 PM
Excellent griffh ! 
Fantastic news Griffh!
Look forward to seeing this thread progress. : )

Hey thanks so much for your suppotive remarks! If we can establish the identity of "My Empress" we can settle the dispute about it's authenticity and thereby analysis the point of view objectively.  Again it is so very kind of Matushka to check out the material on Mme. Geringer after her move into her new flat.  Given, not only her literary career, but her responsibilities involved in raising her children, that is such a generous offer.  I just realized that I haven't even told Helen about the call yet!  I had better do that right now.     
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on August 16, 2010, 12:54:52 PM
I was asked (a long time ago) to look into the Jacques Ferrand books that I have for mention of Madame Geurringer nee Adalung.

So far I have had no luck, but I have found two mentions of Mouchanow - but spelled Moukhanoff.

Book #2 Noblesse Russe - Portraits

Page 8 -  there is a picture of Nadejda Nicolaievna Moukhanoff (* 1904) and her brother Nicolas Nicolaievich (1906-1966) with their unnamed nurse.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Nicolas N Komstadius.

On Page 11 - there is a picture of a lot of young children who are the children of Cavalry General and Aide de Camp General of His Majesty Baron Theophile Bogdanovitch Meyendorff (1838-1919) and his wife Comtesse Helene Pavlovna Schouvaloff (1857-1943).
One child is named Anastasia (1885-1976), future Madame Ilya Moukhanoff.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Pierre I Danzas

I know that both of these children are too young to be the Moukhanoff that we are looking for, but it gives us an indication that the family was high enough in status to have had their pictures taken and included in M. Ferrand's books on Russian Nobility.

I might try to scan these pictures in just for fun, (since we know they are not the woman we are looking for - but could be related) but I don't want to put my books in danger.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on August 16, 2010, 12:59:31 PM
By the way, this looking takes a great deal of time.  If anyone has the set of M. Ferrand's books Noblesse Russe - Portraits and wants to lend a hand, that would be great.

The books are printed in French and my reading of French is somewhat useful, but a true French speaker would have a much better time of it than I am.

Thanks
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on August 16, 2010, 01:10:21 PM
Or maybe someone has the The Winter Palace Costume Ball 1903 book. With all the pictures of those who were invited on that ball. Maybe Madame Geringer (or Adelung) or Mouchanow or such a name appears in these volumes.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on August 16, 2010, 03:56:00 PM
Actually there is a section in every volume of Noblesse Russe: Portraits on the 1903 Winter Palace Ball and I didn't realize how many of the pictures that I have.

I have looked through the first three volumes, but nothing on Guerringer or Adelung. (I got very "motion sick", so I hope someone can look them over again.  Also someone who reads French better than I would be faster because I have to translate everything to understand it.)

What takes the time is reading every caption to look for maiden names on in the case of the children for their future married names.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Laura Mabee on August 29, 2010, 12:00:40 PM
Hey Alixz!
I will tag team the 1903 Winter Palace Ball book with you. What page did you finish on? I'll start up there and look for the name.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 01, 2010, 07:31:06 PM
Laura - thanks for the offer.

I don't have the Winter Palace Ball book.  I have Noblesse Russe:  Portraits.  I just got through the first three volumes.  I had never sat down and studied it before or translated the French.  I realized that every volume of this set has a chapter on the 1903 ball.  I have amazing pictures that I didn't even know I had.

I haven't gotten back to it for a few days.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: katmaxoz on September 01, 2010, 07:42:02 PM
Laura - thanks for the offer.

I don't have the Winter Palace Ball book.  I have Noblesse Russe:  Portraits.  I just got through the first three volumes.  I had never sat down and studied it before or translated the French.  I realized that every volume of this set has a chapter on the 1903 ball.  I have amazing pictures that I didn't even know I had.

I have noblesse russe, except for volume 1 & also the winter palace ball book. Overall, I'd say the winter palace ball book has more images...BUT...what it is lacking are the photos of couples that were taken. It's almost all individual photos of the people who attended the ball in line with what Alexandra wanted for the original book. There are a handful of pair images, but only in the supplementry volume...so those are the ones you really want to keep your eyes open for as rare pictures.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 01, 2010, 07:56:24 PM
Kat - thanks.

We are looking for pictures of  Madame Geringer (or Adelung) or Mouchanow to see if there truly was a member of the Tsaritsa's ladies with any of those names.

We thought that in 1903 or in the books by Ferrand, we might be able to find her mentioned in some way.

If you could help that would be great.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Laura Mabee on September 01, 2010, 09:36:21 PM
I will start looking through the Ball book to see if I can find anything as well :)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: katmaxoz on September 01, 2010, 09:58:55 PM
Kat - thanks.

We are looking for pictures of  Madame Geringer (or Adelung) or Mouchanow to see if there truly was a member of the Tsaritsa's ladies with any of those names.

We thought that in 1903 or in the books by Ferrand, we might be able to find her mentioned in some way.

If you could help that would be great.

I'd love to help you out, but I'm in the middle of moving and all these books are packed away and hard to get at for the moment....so this may need to wait a couple of months till things settle down again.


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 02, 2010, 09:54:52 AM
Everyone is so kind to keep this thread going and I think that we will find out, eventually, who was the author of My Empress, if indeed it was Mme. Geringer.  In the meantime it is really interesting to learn more about Mme. Geringer.  I have been working so hard researching for my article on the Empress, 1915: The Paralysis of Reason and a Reassessment of the Empress Alexandra.  But I did want to say that I heard again from Eric at the Library of Congress and he said that he has temporarily come to a dead end.  One of his researchers felt that book was a fraud while the other felt it was written by one or another of members of the Court.  Eric still feels that he might be able to contact someone who may know more about who the author was but says that it may be difficult as this particular source is apparently thorny.  Eric did not explain more.  He suggested in the meantime that I contact the NYC Library which I had intended to do.  Having the Corinne Bacon article behind me find a new doorway to the authorship of My Empress. 

I might also ask Bill at the John Lane archives in Texas U to start on the correspondence boxes.  Well I will keep everyone informed.  And just to say again thank you Alixz for making this thread and thanks to everyone who is contributing.... as alas, the search goes on... 

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 03, 2010, 02:30:23 AM
griffh - I was wondering about the Library of Congress contact and how it panned out.  Since they have every book published, one would think that they would have the edition that we are looking for.  Did your contact make it clear why they didn't have any information on the 1940's edition?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 03, 2010, 11:43:59 AM
Hi Alixz, fortunately Eric is still involved in our search and has not given up.  

Eric doesn't appear to believe that the book is a fraud, but he is puzzled by the lack of information about the book and he will contact a few more experts.  He said, just as Janet Ashton told me is happening in England, that budgets have been cut and that the Library of Congress is going to cut back which is tragic as available researchers are becoming scarse.  I think that these cut backs must be playing a part in the limited access to information.  Eric also said that NYC Library has had to cut back also and their Slavic's expert, who would probably have all the information on the authorship of My Empress,  and that the man has now had to try and find employment elsewhere.  Eric thinks the man has found a position at Columbia U. and is helpiing me track him down.   As usual I can't remember his name but have it written down somewhere.   

Alixz it is something of a mystery too that the section of the John Lane archives in 1918 is missing.  But there is still the large correspondence files which I will ask Bill my researcher in Texas to look into.  

While working on my article I was looking up something in the 1929 Hynes publication of the Tsar's letter to the Empress and saw that it too had been published by John Lane/Bodley Head which remains a well respected book.  And as I mentioned before, Behind the Veil of the Russian Court, was also published in 1913 by John Lane and the author's name, Count Paul Vassli was fictitious.  We learned after the Revolution that the book had been written by Princess Catherine Radziwill.  And again, as I mentioned before, the 1913 edition of Behind the Veil contains a rather extensive Publisher's Note in which it is explained that the book was one of the few chronicles of the Russian Court which had been written by a member of that milieu and that it was the hope of the publisher that the work would reveal the truth concerning Russian Society and the Imperial Family, while explaining that the author takes all responsibility for the judgments and facts shared in the book.  

If My Empress was a simple fraud, I can't help wondering why a well respected publishing house who had just a few years prior to the publication of My Empress openly displayed an interest in publishing the memoirs of members of the Russian Court.   It seems to me that there was already a process in place at John Lane that would have ensured the publisher's knowledge of the real author of My Empress, just as they knew the real author of Behind the Veil of the Russian Court, before publishing the work.  John Lane appears to have remained an important publishers of Russian History with the 1929 publication of the Tsar's Letter s to the Empress which forms half of theNicky - Sunny Letters.    It seems to me that a publisher such as John Lane would not have wanted to be part of a fraud.  If the book was published by some obscure publishing house then I suppose I would be more inclined to accept it as a fraud.    Of course my argument is not fool proof as Speller & Sons, a well respected publishing house that had published Russian histories for 38 years were responsible for publishing another Anastasia fraud, the "Anna Smith" debacle.  

Well I shall try and follow up the leads at the NYC Public Library and Columbia U. and continue my search in the John Lane Archives.  

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 04, 2010, 09:42:41 AM
griffh, thank you and the others for all your amazing work in this matter!To me, one of the  keys to this mystery is the timing of its publication. ..summer of 1918 ...alot was going on....Pressures were great  and a great deal of change was just in the wings.  This book, whether real or a fraud, has  strong view points it wishes to promote at this time . It's not merely an eyewitness account, but has an  strident agenda.. What I'm saying is, imo,  it was created to serve a purpose...what purpose, I can barely guess at. But I will note  a fraud can have real elements with in it ...indeed, the best frauds always do .
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 04, 2010, 11:03:17 AM
I finally got to read a copy of this book and it is amazing that it was published in the summer of 1918.  How was it that someone, anyone thought to keep records of 23 years of service in any kind of order and then compile and write a manuscript just before the murder of the Imperial Family?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 04, 2010, 12:56:12 PM
griffh, thank you and the others for all your amazing work in this matter!To me, one of the  keys to this mystery is the timing of its publication. ..summer of 1918 ...alot was going on....Pressures were great  and a great deal of change was just in the wings.  This book, whether real or a fraud, has  strong view points it wishes to promote at this time . It's not merely an eyewitness account, but has an  strident agenda.. What I'm saying is, imo,  it was created to serve a purpose...what purpose, I can barely guess at. But I will note  a fraud can have real elements with in it ...indeed, the best frauds always do .

blessOTMA I agree that there is quite an agenda behind the publication of the book and I cannot quite define it.  It appears to have been written prior to the fall of the Provisional Government and it is not as critical of the IF as other publications would prove to be.   Possibly this is because the Provisional Government had not been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.          

I finally got to read a copy of this book and it is amazing that it was published in the summer of 1918.  How was it that someone, anyone thought to keep records of 23 years of service in any kind of order and then compile and write a manuscript just before the murder of the Imperial Family?

Alixz another Russian memoir published in 1918 is from an anonymous member of the Russian Court, The Fall of the Romanoff's: How the Ex-Empress & Rasputin Caused the Russian Revolution.  It is written by the same author of the 1916 publication, Russian Court Memoirs: 1914-1916.  When one compares the tone of   The Fall of the Romanoffs with that of My Empress there is a considerable difference and though My Empress is critical of Alix in some respects, it is not filled with the kind of spite and misinformation one finds in   The Fall of the Romanoffs.   Actually that book sounds almost as insane as Princess Catherine Radziwill's 1918 book, Rasputin and the Russian Revolution, also written just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution.  I had forgotten that Rasputin and the Russian Revolution,  was published by John Lane.  

As we know from the nightmare experiences of those pro and con historian involved in trying to prove or disprove historic identities, it is a mine field.  

Just for the sake of argument let us say that authorship of Gleb Botkin's memoirs,
The Real Romanovs, was being challenged.  As proof of our doubt let's examine Botkin's description of Stolypin's assassination.  

According to Stolypin's biographer, Abraham Ascher:

Stolypin occupied a seat in the first row of the pit, not far from the governor-general's box in which the tsar and his daughters were seated.  During the second intermission, Stolypin stood up, facing the audience, most of whom were in the foyer, and talked casually to people who approached him.  Baron Frederiks, the minister of the court, and Sukhomlinov, the minister of war, were standing nearby, also chatting amiably.  Suddenly, a young man dressed in evening clothes walked toward the prime minister from the rear of the theater without ever being stopped or questioned by any of the policemen and detectives in the building.  However, according to one report, "Stolypin seems to have noticed him, and to have looked interrogatively at him, as if to ask him what he wanted.  Before...he could say anything the young man drew a revolver and fired two shots point blank at his Excellency.  One ball struck M. Stolypin's right hand, and the other entered his body just beneath the right breast, striking the cross of one of the orders which he was wearing."  Without losing consciousness, Stolypin sunk into his seat, tried to open his jacket, and looking up at the imperial box make what witnesses interpreted as a sign of the Cross...

The tsar who was in a drawing room with his daughters at the time of the shooting, made an uncharacteristically imaginative gesture: he returned to his box, stepped up to the front row, and pointedly faced the audience.  "He was enthusiastically acclaimed"; at the request of the audience the orchestra played the national anthem, which was sung by the entire opera company kneeling on the stage."

In the meantime, Stolypin had been rushed to the Makovskii Hospital, where he languished for four days.  [Ref: Abraham Ascher, P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia, , (2001), pp. 371-372.]  

Asher documents his description of the event with the with quotations from British Documents; Kokovstov's, Out of My Past,, and Von Bock's Reminiscences.

Now let's have the author of The Real Romanovs share his version of Stolypin's assassination:
 
Then came the fatal day of the gala performance in the Kiev theater.  The Emperor was in his box, with Stolypin and my father, who had been intimate friends for years, standing together in the orchestra.  Stolypin had just finished talking to my father and was moving in the direction of his seat, when a man took a pistol from his pocket and fired point blank at Stolypin.  My father rushed towards the Prime Minister and reached him in time to catch him in his arms.  Stolypin was still alive, and as my father, assisted by several other courtiers, was carrying him out of the theater, he raised his hand, made the sign of the cross in the direction of the Emperor, and said:  "May God save him."

A few minutes later he died...  [Ref. Gleb Botkin, The Real Romanovs (1931), p. 87.]  

If Gleb's identity rested on his accuracy we could really question whether the book was a fraud or not given the glaring errors in what should have been a perfect memory of such an important event.  And so it goes.....

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 04, 2010, 01:33:09 PM
This is really interesting because the obvious conclusion is that Gleb Botkin was not actually present at Stolypin's assassination in Kiev, that he was in fact lying about his presence at such a historical event in order to make his autobiography more interesting, more sensational even. We all know Gleb was not beyond wanting to make a sensation. He would have been perfectly at home in our modern age with all our YouTube videos and Facebook, both of which provide an easy means of self-promotion. It's quite possible that Gleb actually wrote The Real Romanovs but that most of it is exaggerated and embellished, or worse, a complete tissue of lies. I for one have always found it hard to believe that he was on such familiar terms with OTMAA.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 04, 2010, 06:06:14 PM
 It appears to have been written prior to the fall of the Provisional Government and it is not as critical of the IF as other publications would prove to be.   Possibly this is because the Provisional Government had not been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
griffh, I think they were kinder to Alix and the Tsar because they knew the IF would soon be dead...or at least permanently imprisoned .  While it speaks of Alix  and the family in the present tense, it seems to be speaking of people  forever gone. The book seeks to create a sweet legend  to replace a person.  imo...And it's a legend  that stood for many years. Alix:  kind hearted but wrong headed ...and at least partly responsible for her demise. I don't think you had to be psychic to know the family was doomed by the Spring of 1918 , if not before.  Just well placed enough to know not a finger was being raised to help them in any manner and attentive enough to notice the trajectory of their captivity.  Week by week , it was always getting worse. 
Quote
I had forgotten that Rasputin and the Russian Revolution,  was published by John Lane.
Well  that's interesting.
 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 04, 2010, 07:56:22 PM
griffh - as usual you put everything in perspective.  I didn't realize that so many books were already in production and publication before the murder of the family in 1918.

It seems that quite a few people rushed to get their opinion of the story told.  My Empress is not as critical of Alix, but it is much more critical of Ella and now, in another thread, there is discussion about Ella and her hatred of Rasputin and her maneuvering of facts.  Perhaps Ella was not the "saint" that she was thought to be and the author of My Empress somehow knew that.

Who would know something like that?  Only someone who was very close to those people involved and had an "ear to the ground" but was not seen to be an intruder.

I am getting "thread confusion".  I know this happens when posting in several threads that have tie ins to the same people.  But I know that in your thread "Alexandra Fights Back" we were just discussing Ella and the facts that have come to light about her hatred of Rasputin and her condoning his murder.  (However many of the members of the Imperial Family not only condoned the murder but rejoiced in it.)  
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 04, 2010, 08:05:59 PM
Perhaps the publisher - John Lane - had something to do with the proliferation of books published after Nicholas's abdication in 1917 and the murders in 1918.

That seems to be one of the common facts about all of the books even if the author's are subject to question.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 05, 2010, 12:13:16 PM
This is really interesting because the obvious conclusion is that Gleb Botkin was not actually present at Stolypin's assassination in Kiev, that he was in fact lying about his presence at such a historical event in order to make his autobiography more interesting, more sensational even. We all know Gleb was not beyond wanting to make a sensation. He would have been perfectly at home in our modern age with all our YouTube videos and Facebook, both of which provide an easy means of self-promotion. It's quite possible that Gleb actually wrote The Real Romanovs but that most of it is exaggerated and embellished, or worse, a complete tissue of lies. I for one have always found it hard to believe that he was on such familiar terms with OTMAA.

Elizabeth, I am sorry if I made it seem as if Gleb was present at the assassination, it was his father he was writing about.  But still as you said, Gleb is clearly making up a story that is appallingly filled with misinformation and yet Gleb's identity remains intact as we know he was the son of Dr. Botkin.  I was trying to use this as an illustration to those who accuse My Empress as a fraud because of similar mistakes.  I think one of the chief accusations is that those who accompanied the Tsar and Empress into exile was wrong, and similar things like that which critics say should have been known by the author if the book was genuine.  Well Gleb's book is genuine enough but filled with mistakes and misinformation.  Uising the absence of mistakes as an assurance of authenticity does not prove to be a reliable test.  



 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 05, 2010, 12:22:38 PM
 It appears to have been written prior to the fall of the Provisional Government and it is not as critical of the IF as other publications would prove to be.   Possibly this is because the Provisional Government had not been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
griffh, I think they were kinder to Alix and the Tsar because they knew the IF would soon be dead...or at least permanently imprisoned .  While it speaks of Alix  and the family in the present tense, it seems to be speaking of people  forever gone. The book seeks to create a sweet legend  to replace a person.  imo...And it's a legend  that stood for many years. Alix:  kind hearted but wrong headed ...and at least partly responsible for her demise. I don't think you had to be psychic to know the family was doomed by the Spring of 1918 , if not before.  Just well placed enough to know not a finger was being raised to help them in any manner and attentive enough to notice the trajectory of their captivity.  Week by week , it was always getting worse. 
Quote
I had forgotten that Rasputin and the Russian Revolution,  was published by John Lane.
Well  that's interesting.
 

This period beteen the rise and fall of the Provisional Government was so limited that it is amazing that three authors were able to publish their works during that narrow window of opportunity.  I makes our work all the harder in determing their point of view as these authors world was gone by the time their books were being read.  I believe that all three authors speak of their inabilitiy to predict the future but I am not sure that any of them suspected that they were about to be swollowed up.  Some of them even speak of the power of the Provisional Government to have kept the Left members of the Duma under controll and that the revolution had freed Russia from the threat of a "separate peace," and the "dark forces."   I can't help thinking that while the Provisonal Govenment lasted the Tsar and his family would have been treated in a civilized manner and exiled to another country after the conclusion of war. 

   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 05, 2010, 12:27:32 PM
griffh - as usual you put everything in perspective.  I didn't realize that so many books were already in production and publication before the murder of the family in 1918.

It seems that quite a few people rushed to get their opinion of the story told.  My Empress is not as critical of Alix, but it is much more critical of Ella and now, in another thread, there is discussion about Ella and her hatred of Rasputin and her maneuvering of facts.  Perhaps Ella was not the "saint" that she was thought to be and the author of My Empress somehow knew that.

Who would know something like that?  Only someone who was very close to those people involved and had an "ear to the ground" but was not seen to be an intruder.

I am getting "thread confusion".  I know this happens when posting in several threads that have tie ins to the same people.  But I know that in your thread "Alexandra Fights Back" we were just discussing Ella and the facts that have come to light about her hatred of Rasputin and her condoning his murder.  (However many of the members of the Imperial Family not only condoned the murder but rejoiced in it.) 

That thread on Ella sounds really interesting.  Ella's knowledge of Rasputin's murder is one of the most stunning aspects of Margarita's book on Rasputin.   

Perhaps the publisher - John Lane - had something to do with the proliferation of books published after Nicholas's abdication in 1917 and the murders in 1918.

That seems to be one of the common facts about all of the books even if the author's are subject to question.

I think that it is compelling that John Lane published both the Radziwill book and My Empress the same year and that they had published Under the Veil of the Russian Court in 1913 using the same formula as they did with My Empress.   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 05, 2010, 02:14:02 PM
Perhaps John Lane Company did not do proper research on their authors.  How many publishers actually check the sources that they are given for the information in the books they publish?

If they actually did that there would have been no publication of The Hunt for the Czar by Guy Richards.

The other thing that stands out is that some of the chapters seem to be written by different people with different styles and different information.  Some of the chapters conflict with previous ones as if they were written separately without first checking what had been said in the prior chapters.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 05, 2010, 11:22:58 PM
Perhaps John Lane Company did not do proper research on their authors.  How many publishers actually check the sources that they are given for the information in the books they publish?
I think if a request to  publish something comes from a high enough place,  just about any firm  will publish it. That would help explain the speed of publication. It seems to me to be about influencing  the public  mind about events as they  read about in the news paper at the same time. Near trick that, given how long it takes to get something printed in hardback....But this book was  out just as reports of the family's demise were getting about too .
Quote
The other thing that stands out is that some of the chapters seem to be written by different people with different styles and different information.  Some of the chapters conflict with previous ones as if they were written separately without first checking what had been said in the prior chapters.
I certainly agree it appears to be done by different people with  different  temperaments . Some chapters  are very level headed and others the writer gets quite worked up ...it's a hodgepodge  ( slang for : a mixture). The author doesn't just dislike Ella, but makes her into a fantastic cartoon. Which is starling after the level headed opening chapters. But do any of the forum's historians know of someone who with Alix  as a lady in waiting from the beginning of AF's Russian life to her captivity ? The author is in the thick of things remarkable.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 06, 2010, 09:16:31 AM
I think that someone already has said that they were unable to find any lady who was with Alexandra from day one to the day the train pulled out for Tobolsk.

This author says she was Mistress of the Robes and that is a position that should have made it into written history some where, but so far nothing.  That is why we are on this hunt.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 06, 2010, 12:22:19 PM
It is indeed a mystery which I hope will be solved one of these days.  

In the meantime, I returned to the 1913 -1918 section of my books on Russia and found three more books written during the Great War.  One that is really intersting is Princess Catherine Radziwill's Sovereigns & Statesmen of Europe, (1915) which has a very kind and patriotic tone and is supportive of Nicholas II.  Then I found Baroness Souiny's Russia of Yesterday and Today, (1917).  The book appears to be written prior to the Oct. Revolution and the Baroness warns her readers in the West that Russia has not quite won its freedom.  The other book that I completely forgot was Rita Childe Dorr's book, Inside the Russian Revolution, (1917) and it appears to have been written just after her trip to Russia in May of 1917 but not published just before the Oct. Revolution.  Dorr's judgment of Kerensky is interesting and I will have to really read it carefully.  She also appears to have no faith in the Bolsheviks and encourages the intervention of the Allies to rid Russia of them.  

What I love about my library is the penciled notes in the margins and I found one in Dorr's book.  She tells the reader that: Somewhere in Russia, in one of the universities perhaps, in some farmhouse, or on some lonely steppe, there lives a ruthless boy who can and will some day do the kind of ruling and guiding Kerensky talks about and would have enforced if he could. [Ref: Rita Childe Dorr, Inside The Russian Revolution, (1917), p. 201.]  Just next to the quote and written in pencil is a short question {Prediction of Stalin?}  It is interesting that Dorr admits that she is a Socialist but not an anarchist which is the way she characterizes the Bolsheviks.  In this early period of transition and change the perspectives are all so interesting to study.  As a Socialist Dorr is not opposed to a Constitutional Monarchy for Russia.  Well anyway it seems clear that, if nothing else is certain, the Court society of the Late Imperial Period were highly literate.    

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 07, 2010, 02:20:36 AM
I think that someone already has said that they were unable to find any lady who was with Alexandra from day one to the day the train pulled out for Tobolsk.
Exactly...so this book  lies to us from the start...but what is so odd is it's a lie  that would be easily exposed in Russia...but not in the West...which I believe this book was created for... to influence Western attitudes . It's almost a novel readlly   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 07, 2010, 07:39:10 AM
I think that someone already has said that they were unable to find any lady who was with Alexandra from day one to the day the train pulled out for Tobolsk.
Exactly...so this book  lies to us from the start...but what is so odd is it's a lie  that would be easily exposed in Russia...but not in the West...which I believe this book was created for... to influence Western attitudes . It's almost a novel really   


But that is why we are looking for someone who may have written under another name - a nom de plume. 

We know from some of the information that I gathered from J Ferrand's books Noblesse Russe: Portraits that there was indeed a family named Muchanow or Mukhanov as there are pictures of children by that name and also one young girl is shown as the "future wife of Ilya Muchanow.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 07, 2010, 11:08:20 PM
  Let's review. There was no lady in waiting that served Alix for her 23 years  on the throne....so the first thing the book  says, the very thing that  is supposed to make us feel confident the author knows what she  is talking about , is a falsehood. Now the whole book is in question.  If Muchanow is a false name for the author ,  a nom de plume,  then it doesn't matter there was a  family with that name as well.   The more I think on it , the more I come down on the clever fraud side....and it's this fantastic claim of serving Alix for 23 years in such a high profile position that seals it for me. If there was such a person,  we would know of them. I think the book was  whipped up for timely Western consumption. Just my opinion
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 08, 2010, 05:11:54 AM
You are right.  If someone served Alexandra in the capacity of Mistress of the Robes for 23 years, no matter what name was used in the book, that person would show up some where with her real name.

A false name wouldn't matter because the number of years would give the author away.

That is why I tend to think it was more than one person who wrote the book and the experiences of these "authors" were combined into one 23 year block.

However, if that is true, then it is even more amazing that all of these "authors" could get together in such a short period of time and compile notes and write their chapters.  That would explain, though, why some events are written about in different chapters from a different view point.

But knowing from posting in and reading this forum that writing even just chapters in a book takes time, talent, and hard work (EuroHystory has published several books that draw on the individual talents and expertise of the authors who post here and each chapter is by a different author) it again brings us to how this book was published so fast and who was behind it.  And, of course, why.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 08, 2010, 09:56:46 AM
It is funny but I had the same feeling when I first read Iliodor's book on Rasputin.  I felt exactly the same thing that there was such a change in mood from chapter to chapter.  One chapter sounded fairly sane and then another chapter would sound totally insane.  I think I actually posted this impression; however the more I read and studied the book the more the impression wore off. 

I am inclined to feel from spot reading My Empress this weekend that there is a good chance that it was not written by someone in the Empress' suite and that my memory of the book being attributed to Mme. Geringer is a false memory.  However this makes me all the more interested in learning who wrote the book. 

The thing that really makes me feel that the book could not have been written by anyone close to the Empress is the statement near the end of the book that Alix felt a sense of peace when she learned that Guchkov was going to Pskov.  I think the author even said something to the effect that the Empress had always admired Guchkov.  Anyone familiar with the Empress' views on Guchkov knows that this is absolutely untrue. 

The other thing is that I had not appreciated blessOTMA's point that the book had to be written in the Summer of 1918 [It was reviewed in the Ladies' Home Journal and in Nation Mag. in August 1918] just as the Civil War was starting and Russia's future was lost.  While the book may not have been written by one of the Empress' suite, it still seems that it was written by a fairly powerful, if uninformed member of Court Society.  Certainly some of the mistakes are no less ridiculous than some of the French Ambassador's that came from his belief in Court gossip.  His 3 vol. work is filled with ridiculous misinformation.  Whoever wrote the book had money and some kind of importance.  I say this because of the gold and whiite embossed reproduction of the Imperial crown on the cover of the book, a crown that the Empress wore at the opening of the Duma in 1906 is accurate.  Perhaps it is written as somekind of half-apology by a member of the right-liberail mileu.  Anyway I cherish everything that comes out of the Late Imperial Period and find it all worthwhile in one way or another.  That is why it will be so interersting to learn who worte this book. 

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 08, 2010, 10:57:31 PM
Quote
Whoever wrote the book had money and some kind of importance.
I agree with this,  the speed of publication and the handsomeness of the book speaks to this. And I would say whoever this was , knew the family would not be around to refute its contents. The book's task seems to be one of closing the book ( no pun intended ) on the family. And,  as I have said,  made for the West. I don't think it would have been difficult to gather stories about  the court to then weave them into this book. By this time, much could be had in Russia  for a good meal . Intelligence agencies , to this day , are engaged in this sort of mental manipulation by book to influence the public's  thinking about an event . One can find themes and ideas  in My Empress about Alix's character that would be taken as good coin nearly all the time since this book's 1918 publication. So in that sense, it has been a great success. 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 09, 2010, 01:29:04 AM
Quote
Whoever wrote the book had money and some kind of importance.
I agree with this,  the speed of publication and the handsomeness of the book speaks to this. And I would say whoever this was , knew the family would not be around to refute its contents. The book's task seems to be one of closing the book ( no pun intended ) on the family. And,  as I have said,  made for the West. I don't think it would have been difficult to gather stories about  the court to then weave them into this book. By this time, much could be had in Russia  for a good meal . Intelligence agencies , to this day , are engaged in this sort of mental manipulation by book to influence the public's  thinking about an event . One can find themes and ideas  in My Empress about Alix's character that would be taken as good coin nearly all the time since this book's 1918 publication. So in that sense, it has been a great success.  

In some ways I suppose the John Lane publication of Behind the Veil of the Russian Court could be considered a similar kind of book as Radziwill has set perceptions about the Empress that are still being quoted and are wrong.  I don't know if I would characterize My Empress as an entire invention but possibly as something akin to Behind the Veil, as the work of someone with a strong agenda.  

I think that it is helpful to remember that the distance between Russia  and the  "West" was far less pronounced in the Late Imperial Period.  Just quickly to review:  in 1907 novelist Elinor Glynn had written the first 20th century "sex novel" Three Weeks (1907) that was falsely rumoured to be based on the real paternity of Alexis and which aroused great interest in Alexandra even if it was the "unwanted" kind ;  in 1909 Diaghileff's Ballet Russe  took Paris by storm transforming the entire creative world's concept of "the modern" from dance to fashion :  in 1911 Elinor Glynn struck once again but with more aplomb when she was invited to Russia by the Grand Duchess Vladimir to write a contemporary novel on the Russian Court and several Romanovs had helped in the construction of her novel, HIs Hour,; this was the period when  Photoplay magazine reviewed  all the Russian movies and movie stars as Russian cinema reached an international audience (because movies were silent they could be seen in every country);  by 1914 the New York heiress  Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was being dressed by Leon  Bakst(Diaghileff's costume and set designer) and Bakst's  gowns were appearing in Vogue and worn in Paris, London and Berlin.  There were any number of wealthy Americans and international members of the "Smart Set" who had attended the 1913-1914 Winter Season and were back in the Summer of 1914 visiting friends among the Russian Aristocracy.  World premieres were attended in St. Petersburg just as they were in Paris, London, Berlin and NYC.  The Late Imperial Period was far more integrated and socially connected to the West than anything that has followed in the past one hundred years

And it is also true that Interest in the Young Empress was never far from the public's mind:  first came Richard Harding Davis' romantic novel on the young Empress, Aline (1895) that even Queen Victoria read as well as all of the civilized world; then came Gillson Willets portrait of the young Empress in Rulers of The World at Home, (1899) and the Countess A. Von Bothmer's depiction of the young Empress in The Sovereign Ladies of Europe, (1899); then followed the period in late 1902 - 1903 when the young hostess of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C., Countess Cassini  received  hundreds of letters from American women who were concerned for the  young Empress because she had not been able to produce an heir.  The Countess Cassini tells us:  When it was thought the Empress could have no heir, hundreds wrote me giving me advice for her and I learned much I had not know.  [Ref:  Countess Marguerite Cassini, Never a Dull Moment, (1956), p. 187].  And of course there was great rejoicing when Alexis was born.   1904 also saw the publication of Helene Vacaresco's  Kings and Queens I Have Known, with its delightful pen portrait of the young Empress as a young woman.  Then came in 1911 two portraits of the Empress; Kellog Durland's in his book, Royal Romances of Today, (1911), and Xavier Paloi in his Their Majesties as I Knew Them (1911); and these works were followed by Catherine Radziwill 's Behind the Veil in 1913 as already mentioned.    

One of the books I forgot to mention that was published in 1916 and contained a description of the Empress was the Infanta Eulalia of Spain's Court Life From Within.  I think it is safe to say that between the novels and Court memoirs, interest in the Empress Alexandra never appears to have wane.  I know my list is very incomplete and does not begin to tap both newspaper accounts or magazine articles.  

The world in some ways was a much smaller place in the early twentieth century.   The distance between Russia and the "West" was not separated by light years as became the case.   St. Pete's was just another stop on the international itinerary of the "Smart Set," and Alix was a woman who without any effort on her part attracted attention.   I guess what I am trying to get at is that works on the Empress are naturally varied and express the informed or uninformed perspective of the writer.  Mistakes are not necessarily lies.      

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 09, 2010, 06:16:17 AM
griffh , excellent post, very informative!

By  the "West"  I meant  readers of  The Ladies Home Journal,  where  sections  of the book appeared in Aug 1918 , ( beautifully illustrated, I might add ) ....certainly not other members of the international smart set ! lol!  That's another kettle of fish. I don't think of the smart set as being in one location , for  many of  reasons you point out.   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 09, 2010, 09:34:43 AM
griffh , excellent post, very informative!

By  the "West"  I meant  readers of  The Ladies Home Journal,  where  sections  of the book appeared in Aug 1918 , ( beautifully illustrated, I might add ) ....certainly not other members of the international smart set ! lol!  That's another kettle of fish. I don't think of the smart set as being in one location , for  many of  reasons you point out.   

Thanks blessOTMA for explaining and now I understand what you mean by the "West."  That makes perfect sense.  I didn't know that the book appeared in serial form in The Ladies Home Jounal.  I thought that it was only reviewed in the magazine.  Thanks so much for all your information and insights.  You and Alixz have really made me take a more careful look at My Empress and I cannot see how Mme. Geringer could have made the kind of mistakes, especially the one about Guchkov.  Now I am really interested in Mme. Geringer for her own sake.  Well thanks again and I will keep everyone informed as I continue my search. 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 09, 2010, 12:47:51 PM
Let’s turn to the directory Ves’ (whole) Petrograd 1916:
Under “Ministry of the Imperial Court”, attached to Her Highness the Empress we can count: 14  “Stats-dama”, 3 “Kamer-Frejlina” and 267 (!) “Frejlina”, three different ranks of the title “Lady-in-waiting”. Among these 284 we do not find any Adelung, Geringer nor Mukhanova.

In the alphabetical directory we find:
Adelung 1. Nikolai Georg. 2.Nikolai Nikolaievich, State councillor, Academy of Sciences. 3. Friedrich Nikolaievich, State Bank. 4. Emma Vasiljevich, wife of the above State councillor. I believe we can forget here about these persons.

Geringer Maria Feodorovna. Kammer-frau of HIH Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, widow of a Titular Councillor. Winter Palace, Commandant Entrance.

Mukhanov Ilya Dmitrievich. Court councillor in title Chamber Junker. Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. (lane) 4. Tel 503. Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Mukhanova Anastasia Feofanovna. Wife of Chamber Junker. Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. 4. Tel 503.
Mukhanova Maria Aleksandrovna Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. 4. Tel 503.

The other Mukhanovs (Boris Vladimirovich, Dmitrij Aleksandrovich, Dmitrij Grigorjevich, Nikolai Nikolaievich, Pavel Vladimirovich and Segei Petrovich) are not interesting for us here.

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 09, 2010, 02:30:56 PM
Geringer Maria Feodorovna. Kammer-frau of HIH Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, widow of a Titular Councillor. Winter Palace, Commandant Entrance.


Kammer-frau   is Chamber woman.

However in her book Marfa Mouchanow says on page 13

"One had to have a certain rank of Tschin, as it is called in Russian, to be able to obtain such an appointment, and probably the fact that my husband, who had died a short time before the marriage of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, had been a Colonel, had something to do with the fact that my name figured on the list of the women considered eligible for the position which I was to obtain."


So Marfa was a widow in 1894.  And it has been said before that Marfa could be a nickname for Maria Feodorovna using the MarFa from the full name.

This is not Julia Geringer, but a Marie Feodorovna Geringer is a lot closer that we have come to this point.

rudy3 - do you anyway to tell when Madame Geringer's husband died or how old she was in 1916?


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 09, 2010, 02:41:19 PM
A pity, of course, but Ves' Petrograd does not give any other information.
Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 09, 2010, 02:43:39 PM
Let’s turn to the directory Ves’ (whole) Petrograd 1916


Can we look at other years from 1894 to 1915 in this directory to see if Madame Geringer is listed?  That way if we find that her husband is listed and then stops being listed we will know when he died.  Or if he is never listed from 1894 onward we will know that she was a widow when she needs to be to be any kind of lead to the author of the book.

Let me know where to find this directory and I will be glad to help look.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 09, 2010, 02:49:56 PM
That would be nice! But, you will have to come to Helsinki. Ves' Peterburg 1894-1895, 1897-1901, 1902, 1905, 1908, 1910-1912 and 1914 are availabe on microfilm here in the University Library. I might be able to order them and check next week......
Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 09, 2010, 02:54:37 PM
I was hoping that they were in an on-line site.  I wish I could go to Helsinki....sigh....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 09, 2010, 03:30:10 PM
According to one source (a bibliography on Faberge), in the GARF archive there is a letter dated August 2nd 1895 from the company Faberge to Chamber lady M.F. Geringer. (Fond 625, op.1, d 667), this would confirm, that Mrs Geringer has been around for over twenty years....
Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 10, 2010, 02:56:09 AM
According to this webpage: http://stevemorse.org/russian/phonebookviewer?db=3&page=134 of the 1901 St Petersburg telephone directory Maria Feodorovna Geringer was already in 1901 a Chamber Lady of the Empress.

The directory here online, is Ves' Peterburg from 1901. Stevemorse.org also has the 1913 edition online as well.

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 10, 2010, 09:34:16 AM
rudy3 - This is wonderful research and information!

I don't think that griffh or I ever thought to use the St Petersburg phone books to look for employees of the Empress.

Living here in the US where our occupations are not in the phone book, it never occurred to me at all.  We used to have something called the City Directory (which few people knew about but was used by businesses and was always available in the Public Libraries) that had a lot of information on everyone in it.  It would show the people who lived at a certain address and who was married to whom and who their children were and how old every one was and also where everyone worked of if the children were students.

With everyone concerned about privacy (which is kind of a joke with the advent of the Internet) the City Directories slowly ceased publication.
The old copies are still a great source for genealogists if one can find a library who has put them on microfiche or scanned them into a data base.

But it is very interesting to find that Maria Feodorovna Geringer was a Chamber Woman to Empress Alexandra for at least 20 years!  That is not Mistress of the Robes, at least I don't think so, but now we actually have a person who did serve for a long period of time and the correct period of time to have intimate knowledge of the Empress and what went on in the Palace.

Perhaps she wasn't mentioned in most history books of biographies because authors are interested in those who made history like Anna Vyrubova or Lilly Dehn of Baroness Buxhoeveden, not someone who served faithfully in the background.

Thank you so much!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 10, 2010, 09:37:40 AM
According to one source (a bibliography on Faberge), in the GARF archive there is a letter dated August 2nd 1895 from the company Faberge to Chamber lady M.F. Geringer. (Fond 625, op.1, d 667), this would confirm, that Mrs Geringer has been around for over twenty years....
Rudy

Also, if Madame Geringer was receiving letters from Faberge then she must have had something to do with the jewels and that is what Marfa Mouchinow (Mukhanov) claims she did have control over in the book.

I wonder what Madame Geringer's maiden name was and how we would be able to find it?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 10, 2010, 09:43:37 AM
THANK YOU RUDI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND ALIXZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THIS IS SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 10, 2010, 09:47:58 AM
Her maiden name was Adelung, as has been mentioned in this thread before....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on September 10, 2010, 09:52:28 AM
According to one source (a bibliography on Faberge), in the GARF archive there is a letter dated August 2nd 1895 from the company Faberge to Chamber lady M.F. Geringer. (Fond 625, op.1, d 667), this would confirm, that Mrs Geringer has been around for over twenty years....
Rudy

Also, if Madame Geringer was receiving letters from Faberge then she must have had something to do with the jewels and that is what Marfa Mouchinow (Mukhanov) claims she did have control over in the book.

Maybe the name Geringer are still mentioned in the phonebooks of St. Petersbourg.

Further maybe the descendants of Carl Faberge still has correspondence of Madame Geringer in some kind of archive. One of the descendants Sarah Faberge is a artist, maybe there are still some papers and maybe she can tell us where to find.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 10, 2010, 10:10:32 AM
I do believe, there is no reason why there would be any other letters from Faberge (company) to Mme Geringer. The one letter mentioned, from August 2nd 1895 is pure professional (about crochet hooks, the question was: with or without stones). This letter is saved in the GARF with other Geringer's papers.
Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 10, 2010, 10:16:30 AM
I asked about Maria Feodorovna Geringer's maiden name because we thought that Adelung was the maiden name of Julia Geringer.  I was kind of hoping that Maria Feodorovna's maiden name might be Moukhanov.

Could Julia Geringer be a daughter in law of Maria Feodorovna? 



Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 10, 2010, 10:34:10 AM
Marie Feodorovna Adelung (?) who is as known as Mrs. Geringer (also spelled Gueringer) who may have been the true author.


Has anyone ever heard of this lady?  This is the lady that Griffh has found in his research, but can not find anywhere else.  It seems that GARF has the name Julia Gueringer on file, but Griffh didn't say why.

However, Julia Geringer is the proposed "true author" of the book in the hard to find 1940s edition.

Marie  Feodorovna  Adelung is proposed as an acronym which spells Marfa.

I need to get a better picture of all of the names we have been looking for.

Maria Feodorovna Geringer is the Kammer Frau who corresponded with Faberge about crochet hooks and if they should have jewels or not. She served the Empress Alexandra from at least 1895 through 1916. (This has been proven by two sources produced by rudy3 - the St. Petersburg phone book and a letter to Madame Geringer from Faberge found in GARF)

Julia Geringer is the author that griffh found as the "proposed author" of My Empress - This seems to have come from an elusive 1940s edition of the book.

Adelung is the "maiden" name of either Maria or Julia depending on what source we have.

Marfa is a nickname combined from either Maria  Feodorovna Mouchanow (or Adelung)  I like that last letter A less and less and I like the one taken from Feodorovna more and more. (That is unless Adelung is truly Maria's maiden name, but with that name being ascribed as a maiden name to both Maria Feodorovna and Julia, we have to think about that one.)

So we know pretty much who Maria Feodorovna Geringer is and was and where she was and what she did.

We don't know as much about Julia Geringer (unless she could be a daughter in law of Maria Feodorovna who helped her mother in law get the book published and did all of the contact work with John Lane and Co.)

I wish we knew how old Maria Feodorovna was in 1918.  She was a widow before 1895.  Perhaps she needed help in getting her book published and so another person (Julia?) helped her with that end.

My problem in looking for information is that I can't read Russian and so much of the information is in Russian.  But if anyone has needs research help that I can do, just let me know.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 10, 2010, 12:32:13 PM
Quote
Maria Feodorovna Geringer is the Kammer Frau who corresponded with Faberge about crochet hooks and if they should have jewels or not. She served the Empress Alexandra from at least 1895 through 1916. (This has been proven by two sources produced by rudy3 - the St. Petersburg phone book and a letter to Madame Geringer from Faberge found in GARF)
Alixz  and  rudy3 ! Amazing information!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 10, 2010, 02:12:53 PM
Yes, it certainly changes the dynamics of the whole hunt for the author of the book.

It is so hard to have to stop now and figure out where to go next, but that is what history research and genealogy is all about.  You get a couple of "hits" and then long periods of nothing.

I just wish I could go to GARF and look through the Geringer papers, but that is not going to happen in the near future or ever and if they are in Russian, I would need a translator to go with me.

I live close to Yale University and I have access to the original photo albums of Anna Vyrobuva, and that is such a "high" to be able to touch that history and see for myself, not through scans on line.  I would imagine that going to GARF is much the same.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 10, 2010, 02:54:32 PM
Wondering about the Geringers.... Sources like Wikipedia (russian) write, that Maria Feodorovna was the daughter of Fedor Pavlovich Geringer, (1768-1843, history teacher of Tsar Nikolai I, scientist, member of the Academy of Sciences). However, as has been written in this thread before, timewise this is impossible, Maria Fedorovna would have been hundred years old in the 1910s.
Fedor Pavlovich did have a daughter (and two sons), but she married in 1830 another well-known scientist Petr Ivanovich Keppen (1793-1864).

So we do not know who Maria's parents were, her father's name, of course, Fedor, her mother's initial V. She had three sisters, S.
Fedorovna, N. Fedorovna, and O. Feodorovna (married Kiseleva). Two sons: F. Nikolaevich, N. Nikolaevich and one daughter L. Nikolaevna (Nikolaevich, Nikolaevna, as her husband was Nikolai Geringer. (See also Matushka's posting from August 1st).

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on September 10, 2010, 03:40:51 PM
The childeren of Madame Geringer are: Fyodor, Nikolai and Lidiya.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 11, 2010, 10:04:09 AM
Wondering about the Geringers.... Sources like Wikipedia (russian) write, that Maria Feodorovna was the daughter of Fedor Pavlovich Geringer, (1768-1843, history teacher of Tsar Nikolai I, scientist, member of the Academy of Sciences). However, as has been written in this thread before, timewise this is impossible, Maria Fedorovna would have been hundred years old in the 1910s.
Fedor Pavlovich did have a daughter (and two sons), but she married in 1830 another well-known scientist Petr Ivanovich Keppen (1793-1864).

So we do not know who Maria's parents were, her father's name, of course, Fedor, her mother's initial V. She had three sisters, S.
Fedorovna, N. Fedorovna, and O. Feodorovna (married Kiseleva). Two sons: F. Nikolaevich, N. Nikolaevich and one daughter L. Nikolaevna (Nikolaevich, Nikolaevna, as her husband was Nikolai Geringer. (See also Matushka's posting from August 1st).

Rudy


Maria Feodorovna was the daughter of Fedor Pavlovich Geringer  The one we are looking for would have the married name of Geringer.  This one has the maiden name of Geringer.

Ours is a widow and was sometime before 1894.  We have to find a Marie Feodorovna (Adelung?) Geringer who married a man who became a Colonel and died before Marfa went into service with Alexandra.  

I think that the Wikipedia one is not the right person.

We are confusing two women with the same name.  One born a Geringer and one married to a man named Geringer.  

Two sons: F. Nikolaevich, N. Nikolaevich and one daughter L. Nikolaevna (Nikolaevich, Nikolaevna, as her husband was Nikolai Geringer. (See also Matushka's posting from August 1st).

This one sounds more like it - it would mean that Maria Feodorovna (Adelung?) married Nikolai Geringer and then her children would be the ones listed above.  So then we need to know if either of the sons married a woman named Julia (maiden name unknown) Geringer who might have been the "proposed author" mentioned in the 1940s hard to find edition of My Empress

But that still leaves us without a clue as to where the Mouchanow (Mukhanov) came from.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 11, 2010, 04:23:58 PM
First please accept my excuses for a mistake. I wrote in post No.108 "Fedor Pavlovich Geringer, (1768-1843, history teacher of Tsar Nikolai I"). This, of course, should read: "Fedor Pavlovich Adelung". But still, "our" Maria Feodorovna was not his daughter......

In this same post, I mentioned Matushka's entry from August 1st (post 37), where she gives us the answer to our question about who is Julia. (In the post her name is only in Russian, Julia Alexandrovna). Julia is the wife of Nikolai Nikolaevich Geringer, the son of Maria Feodorova and her husband Nikolai Geringer.

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 12, 2010, 12:18:10 AM
rudi - I checked back to post #37 and those written after it but so much was in Russian that I couldn't read it.

So - we now have a Maria Fedorovna (Adelung) Geringer who was Kammer Frau to Alexandera from at least 1895 through 1916.  

Her husband was Nikolai Geringer (whom we hope had enough Tschin) and...

their son Nikolai married a woman name Julia Alexandrovna (no maiden name known as of yet).

This is a close as as we have ever come to a real person who was in the right place at the right time.  Now we need to know the year of death and the rank of Nikolai Geringer husband of Maria Feodorovna.

If what griffh found about the "presumed author" listed in the 1940s printing of My Empress was Julia Geringer was true this could be very exciting.

It still doesn't explain the Mouchanow (Moukhanov), but perhaps that connection could be through Julia Alexandrovna - Marfa's daughter-in-law.

Again, my inability to read Russian has left me confused.  However, thanks to all of you again and again for all of the information that you have found.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on September 12, 2010, 03:17:52 AM
This has been touched on earlier in the thread, but if anyone is interested V.I. Chebotareva's son (Gregory Tschebotarioff) wrote a book entitled, "Russia, My Native Land" In the book he writes about the arrangements made by the Imperial Family for friends to take care of the three cats left at the Alexander Palace.  On page 194 he writes:

"Mother notes a conversation she had with Geringer, an old lady who was entrusted together with Bekendorff, to seal up the personal belongings of the Tsar's family which they had left behind at the Alexandrovsky Palace...(quotes Chebotareva) 'There was a drama with the cats.  The kitchen closed- there was nothing to feed them with- there was not a soul in the palace.  On the very first day Geringer arrived the unfortunate hungry animals dashed towards her...a dismal impression, a dead, empty palace, all exits locked and only 3 cats flit about like shadows..."

(this came from an other thread). Geringer was still there, at the Alexander Palace, at the moment that the family went to Tobolsk.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 12, 2010, 03:29:32 AM
A very interesting site on the dogs in the families of Alexander III and Nikolai II. http://www.dog.ru/index.php3?mode=40576&id=415036

At the bottom the text Teddy posted here above.

What is not translated is the remark of Chebotareva about Mrs Geringer: "Bednaya starushka": poor old lady.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 12, 2010, 09:06:47 AM
Noble family from Riazan, of german origin and catholic confession. THe 30.01.1913, Nikolay Nikolaevich Geringer was introduced in the 1st part of the Book of noble generations of the Riazan Governement.
First generation: 1) Nikolay Ludwigovich Geringer, concellor in tittle (sorry, see the russian text; no idea about the translation). Wife: Maria Feodorovna.
Second generation: Nikolay Nikolaevich, born 13. 07. 1882. Baptised in the CHurch of the Intercession in Ivanovo-Voskressensk. God-parents: marchands of first class Leonid Petrovich Griaznov (from Moscow) and Varvara Fedorovna Adelung, daughter of a general-lieutenant. (More information in urssian about N.N, the time he entered the nobility, his wife and what he owned in russian).


I went back to look at this information and in a way it makes a kind of sense, but then it doesn't.  "a German of catholic confession" is not all that usual.  But of course, not everyone in Germany would have been Lutheran.

But the part that makes sense is that Nikolay Geringer is listed in this Book of Noble Generation of the Raizan Government, perhaps that gives him the Tschen - now we need to know if he was also a Colonel before his death.

Maria Feodorovna and her sister Varvara Feodorovna were the daughters of Adelung who was a lieutenant-general. (Tschen?)

But the most important part could be that Adelung and Geringer were both of German descent and so it would make a great deal of sense for Maria Feodorovna to be posted to young Alexandra's suite as, early on, Alexandra spoke hardly any Russian, but was fluent in English and German.

Marfa Mouchanow, in her book, doesn't make any mention of what language she spoke to Alexandra.

The last thing.  The "old lady" Geringer who was left at the palace to help Benkendorf to pack up the remaining Romanov posessions and to tend to the cats, was an "old lady".  That fits with needing help to write a book and get it published with the help of Julia Geringer (prospective author in the elusive 1940s edition) and Maria Feodorovna had a daughter-in-law named Julia Alexandrovna (no maiden name as of yet).

(Let's hope we can find her Julia's maiden name and it turns out to be Mouchanow (Mouhkanov).
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 12, 2010, 09:46:10 AM
By the way, "Tschen", you probably mean "Tchin" - rank......

R
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 12, 2010, 10:29:24 AM
Rudy - I do mean Tschin.  I am sorry for the misspelling.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 12, 2010, 02:03:27 PM

I am so sorry I have been off line for awhile but all this information Rudi and Alix is amazing.  One of the byproducts of the search was seeing that amazing site on the Imperial family's pets and actually getting to see a picture of Ortipo.  She is such a cute little pub.  Just to say I got an update from Eric Frazier at the Library of Congress: 

Hello Griffith ...


One Russian scholar gave me this list-serve for you to try... 

http://www.h-net.org/~russia/

And a librarian I know in St. Petersburg had this response: 

A question about the author of the book is still open. Mukhanov family served by the court, but Martha Muchanow is a pseudonym. In St. Petersburg now nobody knows about this author. I need a time to make an inquiries in France.

If I hear back from her (sometimes I don't always) I will definitely let you know.

That is all I have.

I am very sorry that I couldn't be more service,

Eric Frazier
Rare Books and Special Collections Division
The Library of Congress

So we will see what transpires.  I think that the St. Petersburg Librarian may actually have a great deal more luck in France.  The thing is that my Uncle Morgan who lived in the Passy in Paris in the townhouse of my Aunt Ducle's Great Aunt, Princess Aimee Gallitzine, would have known who the author was simply by word of mouth.   I do wish I had listened more carefully to my Uncle and Aunt stories about the Princess and especially about the Russian Émigré community who lived in Paris. 

Well again thank you Rudi and Alix for all your incredible information and research!!!       

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 14, 2010, 10:11:33 AM
Maria Feodorvna Geringer is listed in the 1894, 1895 and 1898 Ves' Peterburg-directories as "lady of the class" (the teacher teaches, the "klassnaya dama" is in charge of watching the behaviour of the pupils) at the Smol'nyj Institute for Noble Maidens.
In the 1897 directoy she is listed with both: "Winter Palace, Smol'nyj Institute".
As we read above from the letter by Faberge, she was in some way involved with the court already in 1895. There were other women as well, who were connected both to the Smol'nyj Institue and to the Court.

Most probably Maria Feodorovna's father was Feodor Nikolaievich Adelung, who is listed from 1895 onwards in Ves' Peterburg, living on Litejnyj Prospekt 51 and working for the State Bank. He did not have any rank.

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on September 15, 2010, 06:18:03 AM
Rudy, I just want to tell you that I am very impressed by your investigation, that is so interesting! Thank you for all this information.
I can not prove it by today, but I have come to suppose that Julia Alexandrovna, wife of MF Geringer'son was born Selivanova.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 16, 2010, 05:11:21 PM
This has been such an interesting quest.  Eric sent me one last email from the librarian in St. Petersburg, at least I believe that is the individual who he quotes below.  It is really amazing that we have come full circle and I believe it is a tribute to how AP discussion forum is valued all around the world.  Eric emailed me today:   

Hello Griffith Henninger

I received this earlier in the week:

Dear Eric,

Unfortunately the case about the book "My Empress" by Marfa Muchanow is still controversial and in opinion of my friend Alexander Scriabine it will not be solved forever ....

A discussion on the site http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=15262.msg453780 looks realistic enough. I agree with "Matushka" who speaks about countess Maria Dmitrievna Nirod (nee Mukhanova) and princess Gedroits. They were husband and wife and after the revolution lived in Kiev...

If we are talking about a falsification, may be it will be useful to recall a "Complot of Empress" and "Diary of Anna Vyrubova" by "red count" Alexey Tolstoy and a historian Paul Shchegolev.  See:↑V. Kozlov  Deceived, but triumphant Clio (forgeries written sources on Russian history in the XX Century) В. П. Козлов. Обманутая, но торжествующая Клио (Подлоги письменных источников по российской истории в XX веке) . No one word about Muchanow but explained the principle of falsification.

In my opinion the most promising line of research is an archive of John Lane Company.

While this is all.

I hope that things are going well and all your plans are slowly but surely becoming a reality.

Good luck,

Ekaterina


I think that this is where I run out of ideas.  I hope that something above will guide you to a conclusion. 

Once again, sorry,

Eric


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 17, 2010, 01:19:48 AM
I have thinking all day about Ekaterina's response to Eric which I find really informed and interesting.  First of all Ekaterina really makes it imperative for me to get hold of my researcher in the John Lane Archives again.  I do feel, as Ekaterina stated, that this is the most promising avenue for us to explore as  my researcher able to find the following item which is the only actual document we have in connection with the book:     

"1918 April 10:
> Copyright Account to John Lane Company for half of amount paid for worlds book rights ($250) 'My Empress' = $125.00"

But what I had failed to pick up on was Ekaterina's statement below about Matushka's post on Maria Dmitrievna Nirod (nee Mukhanova) as possibly being the author of My Empress.   


Dear Eric,

Unfortunately the case about the book "My Empress" by Marfa Muchanow is still controversial and in opinion of my friend Alexander Scriabine it will not be solved forever ....

A discussion on the site http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=15262.msg453780 looks realistic enough. I agree with "Matushka" who speaks about countess Maria Dmitrievna Nirod (nee Mukhanova) and princess Gedroits. They were husband and wife and after the revolution lived in Kiev...  In my opinion the most promising line of research is an archive of John Lane Company.

...   Ekaterina


The posts that Ekaterina mentioned from Matushka are below:

...   Then, closer to our subject, there was a Maria Dmitrievna Moukhanova, born in 1879 in Tsarskoe Selo. She also had the tittle of lady in waiting. In 1903 she married the coung F. M. Nirod. Nirod was adjudant of Nicolas II from 1905. At war time, notice this, Maria Dmitrievna worked as an assistant surgeon nurse at the Tsarskoe Selo hospital. She survived the revolution and died in Kiev in 1965.

Well, at any case I am asking myself some questions. First, did the author of "My Empress" know about Maria Sergeevna's book and used her family name in relation to this? That 's an hypothesis. Second question: who was this Maria Dmitrievna? Had she close connexion to Alexandra (I supposed not)? Would have she used her relations at court (maids...) to write this work with another surname? Or did someone used this family name knowing there were Mukhranovy at court?

Only modest suppositions, I agree.


I have searched a little bit more as this name, Nirod, was familar. And that can be indeed interesting. I took the Sergey Fomin's book about Alexandra Feodorovna. In this book there is a chapter about princess Gedroits, the surgeon of the lazaret, you all know her. Interesting is that just after the revolution, Gedroits turned to a very harsh and vindicative "red", wearing clothes like a basis revolutionner. There are some phrases about this transformation in Tatiana Nicolaevna's letters from Tobolsk. Another day I can give it, if it is of any interest. And Maria Dmitrievna Nirod-Moukhanova was Gedroit's best friend. At revolution time, they were all the time together and then went together to Kiev with MD's children (Nirod was dead in 1913). They worked in Kiev as surgeon and nurse, their relationship is quite strange.

What do you, Alix, Grifft, BlessOTMA and all think about this? Could they have together, or just one of them have completed "My Empress",using all their relations at court and a fictionnal heroine? Could they had prepare the publication of the book?
Just my little contribution to this fascinating mystery!

I wonder if this was not so Matushka.  It appears that the militant Princess Gedroits was able to protect Countess Nirod and her children which might have been due to their roles as doctor and nurse.   

Then Rudi gave us this valuable information about the Mukhanov's: 

Let’s turn to the directory Ves’ (whole) Petrograd 1916: 
Under “Ministry of the Imperial Court”, attached to Her Highness the Empress we can count: 14  “Stats-dama”, 3 “Kamer-Frejlina” and 267 (!) “Frejlina”, three different ranks of the title “Lady-in-waiting”. Among these 284 we do not find any Adelung, Geringer nor Mukhanova.

In the alphabetical directory we find:
Adelung 1. Nikolai Georg. 2.Nikolai Nikolaievich, State councillor, Academy of Sciences. 3. Friedrich Nikolaievich, State Bank. 4. Emma Vasiljevich, wife of the above State councillor. I believe we can forget here about these persons.

Geringer Maria Feodorovna. Kammer-frau of HIH Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, widow of a Titular Councillor. Winter Palace, Commandant Entrance.

Mukhanov Ilya Dmitrievich. Court councillor in title Chamber Junker. Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. (lane) 4. Tel 503. Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Mukhanova Anastasia Feofanovna. Wife of Chamber Junker. Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. 4. Tel 503.
Mukhanova Maria Aleksandrovna Tsarskoe Selo, Torgovyj per. 4. Tel 503.

The other Mukhanovs (Boris Vladimirovich, Dmitrij Aleksandrovich, Dmitrij Grigorjevich, Nikolai Nikolaievich, Pavel Vladimirovich and Segei Petrovich) are not interesting for us here.

Rudy

I think that it is safe to rule out Mme. Geringer as the author of My Empress, but I am still going to see if I can track down that "illusive" 1941 edition and see what the NYC Public Library has to offer. 

Matushka I will also follow up on Maria Dmitrievna Nirod with the Bodley Head Archivist at Redding U in England and my researcher for the John Lane Archive in Texas to see if the name appears in their records.       

The only drawback that I can foresee is the fact that Countess Nirod remained in Russia so it hard to imagine how she could have received  revenue from the sale of the book or dared to publish her memoirs for that matter.  I don't know of a single instance of a member of Court Society as having been able to publish their memoirs whilst remaining in Soviet Russia. 

Though several former members of Court appear to have written their memoirs whilst still in Soviet Russia, such as Ania Vyrubova [correct me Rudi if I am mistaken about this]  and Mme. Narishkin-Kurakin who narrated her life story to René Fülöp-Miller in her barren little  apartment in Moscow after the Bolshevik revolution, no one to my knowledge ever published memoirs while remaining in Russia, both women were living in exile when their memoirs were published.  In the case of Mme. Narishkin-Kurakin, her memoirs were posthumously published in 1930 after her death in the Russian Emigrant's Home on Sainte Genevière des Bois in Paris. 

None the less Matushka I will follow your lead on Countess Nirod. 


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 17, 2010, 01:38:04 AM
Vyrubova wrote her memoirs when she was already in Finland, Vyborg. They were published in 1923, in Finnish.  This picture of her on the first page of the book.
(http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/8691/23353604.jpg) (http://img137.imageshack.us/i/23353604.jpg/)

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Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on September 17, 2010, 01:47:58 AM
Griffth, a precision: in fact, I am not especially supporting the candidature of Gedroits-Nirod as possible author for "My empress". I see this only as an hypothesis, not more valuable as another. I was triying to find a possible connexion with the pseudonym and the mysterious author(s). The numerous mistakes in the book, as well as some interesting precise information tell us that wrote someone, or differents people, with acess to court information and gossip, but not precisely informed. Countess Nirod was that kind of person - as well as many others were. Her husband was appreciated in the IF, as shows the diary of Olga Nicholaevna for 1913. The very harsh comments about Nicolas II remember me what wrote and told Gedroits, but she was not the only one with such opinion. So, to summarize, exploring this hypothesis is interesting, but not more than the Geringer's one.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 17, 2010, 01:48:53 AM
How I love this thread, it's becoming a thriller, almost worth a book by itself....

Ves' Peterburg 1901: Mukhanova Mar. Dm. frejl. Litejnyj 28. Chl. I dam. khudozh. kruzh. Tlf 1976.

i.e. Mukhanova Marina Dmitrievna. Lady-in-waiting. Litejnyj prospekt 28. Member of the First Women's Art Circle. Telephone 1976.

A pity it makes no sense to call that telephone number anymore....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 17, 2010, 02:09:16 AM
Ves' Petrograd 1916: Countess Maria Dmitirevna Nirod, widow of a colonel, Tsarskoe Selo, Magazejnaja street 97 bldg 5. In the 1913 edition she was still registerd with her husband Fedor Mikhailovich at the address in Petrograd, Konnogvardejskij Lane 2.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Pegschalet on September 18, 2010, 07:33:50 PM
Check out the Library of Congress as they have copies of most books published in the U.S.  You can request a book to be sent to your local library.  I actually borrowed a copy of one of Sophie Buxhuevoden (spelling).  I was so amazed when I picked it up at my local library as it was actually signed by her.  It was quite the experience holding that book in my hand.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 19, 2010, 02:36:52 AM
Yes, Pegschalet, I know that feeling of surprise, when you are confronted with the signature or dedication of the writer or the subject of a book. At our famous Slavonic Department of the Helsinki University Library looking for Anna Vyrubova's memoirs printed in Russkaya Letopis', book IV, Paris 1922, I found this:
(http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/9682/russkayaletopiskn4paris.jpg) (http://img148.imageshack.us/i/russkayaletopiskn4paris.jpg/)

Her dedication, written in Swedish, as gratitude to the University Library.
My excuses as this may be a bit off the topic, fortunately Anna Vyrubova was mentioned above, my next post will be inside the topic again...

Rudy
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Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 19, 2010, 02:41:16 AM
On page 25 of "My Empress" we can read:
"One of my duties was to take care of the Empress' jewels"

This would fit very well with the August 2nd 1895 Faberge letter to Chamber Lady M.F. Geringer......

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 19, 2010, 12:55:55 PM
How I love this thread, it's becoming a thriller, almost worth a book by itself....

Ves' Peterburg 1901: Mukhanova Mar. Dm. frejl. Litejnyj 28. Chl. I dam. khudozh. kruzh. Tlf 1976.

i.e. Mukhanova Marina Dmitrievna. Lady-in-waiting. Litejnyj prospekt 28. Member of the First Women's Art Circle. Telephone 1976.

A pity it makes no sense to call that telephone number anymore....

So true Rudi!!!!  Thank you so much Rudi for sharing the picture of Ania and the siigned title page. 

This thread is a thriller.....I have no time this weekend to respond more than briefly...but just to say quickly, Matushka, I love and support your careful reasoning and the fact that you were sharing a theory based on logical conclusions which I feel is in the right direction.  Regardless of whether the Countess is the author or not, I feel you really caught the kind of Court figure that could have written the book and I think this is what Ekaterina appreciated too.  Well I have got to run...




Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 23, 2010, 11:37:34 AM
On page 25 of "My Empress" we can read:
"One of my duties was to take care of the Empress' jewels"

This would fit very well with the August 2nd 1895 Faberge letter to Chamber Lady M.F. Geringer......

Rudy

This is why I ,too, am leaning toward Madame Geringer.  I don't believe that the other road gives us a woman who was either old enough or widowed at the right time.  

Ves' Petrograd 1916: Countess Maria Dmitirevna Nirod, widow of a colonel, Tsarskoe Selo, Magazejnaja street 97 bldg 5. In the 1913 edition she was still registerd with her husband Fedor Mikhailovich at the address in Petrograd, Konnogvardejskij Lane 2.


If the above lady was born in 1879 she would have been only 15 in 1894 and not at all old enough to be a widow of a Colonel with enough tschin to be considered for "Mistress of the Robes" in that year.

Also, Madame Geringer had a daughter in law named Julia.  Julia is another name connected with the publication of the book - I think.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 23, 2010, 04:28:39 PM
Good Point Alixz!  Clearly the title page of My Empress trys to establish the author as a member of the Empress' Household but the thing that is confusing about my former claim that Mme. Geringer is the author is the fact that she is chasing around the empty palace with Count Beckendorff looking after the cats that were left behind shortly after the IF left for Tobolsk, and yet the author of My Empress is completely wrong about those members of the Imperial Suite that accompanied the IF into exile.  One would think that Count Beckendorff would have told Mme. Geringer this vital information.   The other problem I am having with Mme. Geringer as the author is the author's statement about Guthkov as being someone Alix admired and trusted.  Perhaps Alix did not talk to members of her Suite about her political views but certainly by the time Guchkov was on his way to Pskov with Shulgin, the situation would have become alarming enough to have perhaps changed the rules.  In connection with Guchkov and Shulgin's trip to Pskov, I still am startled to learn that they first took off in Prince Gabriel Konstantinovich's car and then had to retrace their steps and board a train because the roads were not cleared of snow. I don't mean to imply that Gabriel had anything to do with supporting the abdication by offering his car as it was requistioned long before by the military.  But none the less it is still a jarring detail. 

In the meantime I have found several more volumes that were published between 1915 and 1918 including Muriel Buchanan's first memoir on Russia that was published in 1918.  Oh and just to say that our only document from the John Lane Archives is dated April 10, 1918 which indicates that the book had to be written in late 1917 as it usually takes at least three months from time a publisher recieves a manuscript to the time it is printed I  believe. 

Well I really will try and follow up with the NYC Public Library in terms of trying to find the illusive 1941 edition and I will contact John Lane Archives and Bodley Head  about Matushka's theory.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 25, 2010, 10:52:05 AM
Good Point Alixz!  Clearly the title page of My Empress trys to establish the author as a member of the Empress' Household but the thing that is confusing about my former claim that Mme. Geringer is the author is the fact that she is chasing around the empty palace with Count Beckendorff looking after the cats that were left behind shortly after the IF left for Tobolsk, and yet the author of My Empress is completely wrong about those members of the Imperial Suite that accompanied the IF into exile.  One would think that Count Beckendorff would have told Mme. Geringer this vital information.  

Griffh -  We know that the Imperial Family left Tsarskoe Selo on August 13-14 1917.  The book was published (or at least paid for by the publisher) in April of 1918.  That is more than enough time to get it written perhaps with help.  Probably, now that I think about it, John Lane was looking for information on the deposed Imperial Family and might have expedited the buy of the rights and the publication to keep "current".

But you are right.  Marfa Mouchinow (Moukhanov) says that

"Count Benkendorff and Prince Dolgoroukoff, who declared that nothing but sheer force would part them from their former Sovereign, and two ladies in waiting on the Empress, the Princess Obolensky, and Mademoiselle von Butzov, who was specially attached to the service of the young Grand Duchesses, were allowed to travel with the prisoners..."

But Teddy's source says that Count Benkendorff was left behind and with Madame Geringer was directed to take care of the cats and to pack up the remainder of the Imperial Family's belongings.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1969/12/the-last-days-of-the-romanovs/3877/

Edmund Walsh says in Atlantic Magazine -March 1928:

"On August 14, at 6.10 in the. morning, the journey was begun, but not until the ex-Tsar had spent a dismal night—sitting in a large salon on the ground floor, waiting patiently for the train which had been promised for the previous evening. The Tsarevitch celebrated his thirteenth birthday on the eve of the departure. Forty-six court attendants voluntarily accompanied the family, making, in all, a party of fifty-three persons, exclusive of the military escort. It took two trains to accommodate the travelers, their baggage, the government representatives, the jailers and soldiers"

I have been trying to find a list of the names of the 46 court attendants who Walsh says "voluntarily accompanied the family".  Does anyone know where we can find one?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 25, 2010, 11:22:34 AM
Thanks to Teddy there is a list in the thread about "Servants and Retainers"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prince Alexander Dolgoruky, Adjutant-General to the Emperor
Ilya Tatischev, Adjutant-General to the Emperor
Countess Anastasia Hendrikova, Personal Maid of Honor to the Empress
Mlle. Katherine Adolfovna Schneider, Court Lectrice
Elizabeth Ersberg, Maid in Waiting to the Grand Duchesses
Marie Tutelberg, Maid in Waiting to the Empress
Anna S. Demidova, Maid in Waiting to the Empress
Dr. Eugene Botkin, Physician to the Imperial Family
Pierre Gilliard, French Tutor
Alexandra Tegleva, Nurse
Terenty Chemodurov, Valet to the Emperor
Stephan Makarov, Chemodurov's Assistant
Victorina Nikolaieva, Ward of Countess Hendrikova
Pauline Mejanz, Hendrikova's Maid
Katia (no last name given), Maid to Mlle. Schneider
Masha (no last name given), Maid to Mlle. Schneider
Alexei Volkov, Groom of the Chambers to the Empress
Ivan Sednev, Groom of the Chambers to the Grand Duchesses
Michael Karpov, Footman to the Grand Duchesses
Sergei Ivanov, Personal Servant to Pierre Gilliard
Tioutin (no Christian name given), Personal Servant to Tatischev and Dolgoruky
Francis Yuravsky, Waiter
Klementy Nagorny, Sailor-Nurse to the Tsarevich
Alexei A. Trupp, Footman
Gregory Soloduhin, Footman
Ermolay (no Christian name given), Footman
Gusev (no Christian name given), Footman
Stupel (no Christian name given), Valet
Ivan Kharitonov, Cook
Kokishev (no Christian name given), Cook
Ivan Vereshagin, Cook
Serge Mikhailov, Assistant Cook
Francis Purkovsky, Assistant Cook
Tershin (no Christian name given), Assistant Cook
Leonid Sednev, Kitchen Boy
Alexei Dimitriev, Barber
Roikov (no Christian name given), Wine Steward
Alexander Kirpitchnikov, Clerk.

After the Imperial Family arrived in Tobolsk, they were also joined by:
Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress
Vladimir Derevenko, Physician to the Tsarevich
Sydney Gibbes, English Tutor
Klaudia Bittner, Music Teacher.
Madelein Zanotti, Personal Maid to the Empress

There were several others who arrived in Tobolsk, but didn't get in touch with the Family.

Anna Utkina, Maid
Anna Romanova, Maid

For what I know, there were also:

Rita Chitrovo Maid in Honor to the Empress
The wife and daughter of the Cook Kharitonov
Gleb and Tatiana Botkin (childeren of Dr. Botkin)
Kolja Derevenko (son of Dr. Derevenko)

And somewhere I also read:

Alexandrine Nikolaeva, Maid to Countess Hendrikova (or is the same person as Victorina Nikolaeva?)
Sergei Kostritsky (dentist
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 26, 2010, 03:53:14 AM
Regarding this namelist, all these names are also in the list of arrested people in custody on 7 November 1917 with the following corrections:

Ermolay (no Christian name given), Footman  = Gusev Ermolay (Footman)
Tershin (no Christian name given), Assistant Cook  should read Terekhov (no Christian name given), Assistant Cook
Anna Utkina, Maid and Anna Romanova, Maid are among the 45 people mentioned in this arrest report

Rita Chitrovo Maid in Honor to the Empress, The wife and daughter of the Cook Kharitonov, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin (childeren of Dr. Botkin), Kolja Derevenko (son of Dr. Derevenko),  Sergei Kostritsky (dentist), Gregory Soloduhin, Footman, Klaudia Bittner, Music Teacher - these are not among those 45 people.

Among the 45 were Dormidontov (footman), Kiselev (footman) and Smirnov (assistant) (no Christian names given) missing in the above list.




Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 26, 2010, 11:24:58 AM
rudy3   thank you for your corrections.

Could you help me make a correct list and delete those who shouldn't be on it and add the names of those that you have changed?

The list of people who were in custody in November 1917.  Does that mean that those people on the list, even though they travelled with the Imperial Family, had been separated from them by November?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on September 26, 2010, 04:34:02 PM
The following persons were after November 7th, 1917 with the Imperial Family in Tobolsk, where they were kept under surveillance, illegally deprived of freedom:
1.   Botkin Evgenij Sergeevich, Physician to the Imperial Family
2.   Buxhoeveden Sophia Karlovna Baroness, Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress
3.   Vereshchagin Ivan, Cook
4.   Volkov Alexei Andreevich, Groom of the Chambers to the Empress
5.   Hendrikova Anastasia Vasilievna Countess, Personal Maid of Honor to the Empress
6.   Gibbes Charles Sydney, English Tutor
7.   Gusev Yermolaj, Footman
8.   Demidova Anna Stepanovna, Maid in Waiting to the Empress
9.   Derevenko Vladimir Nikolaevich, Physician to the Tsarevich
10.   Dimitriev Alexei Nikolaevich, Barber
11.   Dolgoruky Vasilij Alexandrovich Prince, Adjutant-General to the Emperor
12.   Dormidontov (no Christian name given), Footman
13.   Zhivaya Ekaterina, Maid to Mlle. Schneider
14.   Gilliard Pierre, French Tutor
15.   Zhuravsky Francis, Waiter                                                                 
16.   Zanotti Magdalina Frantsevna, Personal Maid to the Empress
17.   Ivanov Sergei Ivanovich, Footman
18.   Karpov Michael, Footman
19.   Kiselev (no Christian name given), Footman
20.   Kirpichnikov Alexander Petrovich, Clerk
21.   Kokichev (no Christian name given), Cook
22.   Makarov Stepan Makarov, Chemodurov's Assistant
23.   Maria (no last name given), Maid to Mlle. Schneider
24.   Mazhants Paulina Kasperovna, Hendrikova's Maid
25.   Mikhailov Sergei, Assistant Cook
26.   Nagorny Klementy Grigorievich, Sailor-Nurse to the Tsarevich
27.   Nikolaeva Victorina Vladimirovna, Ward of Countess Hendrikova
28.   Purkovsky Francis, Assistant Cook
29.   Rozhkov (no Christian name given), Wine Steward
30.   Romanova Anna Pavlovna, Maid
31.   Sednev Ivan Dmitrievich, Groom of the Chambers to the Grand Duchesses
32.   Sednev Leonid, Kitchen Boy
33.   Smirnov (no Christian name given), Footman
34.   Stupel (no Christian name given), Valet
35.   Tatischev Ilya Leonidovich, Adjutant-General to the Emperor
36.   Tegleva Alexandra Alexandrovna, Nurse
37.   Terekhov (no Christian name given), Assistant Cook
38.   Trupp Aloise (Alexei) Yegorovich, Footman
39.   Tutelberg Maria Gustavovna, Maid in Waiting to the Empress
40.   Tioutin (no Christian name given), Footman
41.   Utkina Anna Yakovlevna, Maid
42.   Kharitonov Ivan Mikhalovich, Cook
43.   Chemodurov Terrenty Ivannovich, Valet to the Emperor
44.   Schneider Katherine Adolfovna Schneider, Court Lectrice
45.   Ersberg Elizabeth Nikolaevna, Maid in Waiting

Rudy
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 27, 2010, 09:26:38 AM
Rudy - Thank you again.

So the author of the book My Empress should have known that Count Benkendorf did not accompany the Imperial Family to Tobolsk and yet she says that Benkendorf was granted permission to accompany Nicholas as he did not want to be parted from him.

However, Benkendorf may have been granted permission, but Nicholas may not have let him accompany the group.  I wonder who actually made the decision as to whom would make the trip.

And then, the author does not mention most of the people who accompanied the family, just that few that I quoted from page 251 (my copy) chapter entitled Exile - I am Dismissed.

I suppose that it is possible that Marfa did not know all the names of those who accompanied the family into exile - it was a big group after all.

But if Benkendorf had been granted permission in July or August to go with the family and then was instructed not to (for whatever reason) unless Marfa wrote the book in a few weeks (before Madame Geringer returned to the palace to take care of the cats and to pack up the remaining possessions along with Count Benkendorf) she would have then known that the count did not go.

That brings us back to - when was the book written?  

If the author was truly a 23 year employee of the empress, would she have been writing a book of her experiences even before the abdication with the expectation of publishing it on her retirement?  Did the idea of a book come after the abdication and then all of the information was put in writing during the 5 months that Nicholas and Alexandra were imprisoned at Tsarskoe Selo but before the refusal of Great Britain to take them in?

Or, as has always been assumed was the book a fake and written by several people during the period after the family left for Tobolsk but obviously before April of 1918 as that is when John Lane & Co. paid for the publishing rights?

Was Maria Geringer and her position used as a pattern for a long time palace employee that would sound real (because she was real) but the true author(s) only used her position and perhaps her memories, but not her true story?  That is what makes me wonder about the age of Madame Geringer.  I know that the book that Teddy quotes says that she was an "old woman" in 1917.  Perhaps a foolish old woman living in the past of better times but willing to share her intimate knowledge with someone who told her that they would be writing a book about the empress and needed her insight?

As someone has already said, it is not what the author got wrong that is interesting, but what the author got right.

This publication always raises more questions that it answers.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 27, 2010, 09:44:35 AM
But another thing that is interesting as time and research go by.

Lately, there are revelations that Ella was not the saint that she was thought to be by previous researchers and historians.  It appears that she may have played a bigger part in the murder of Rasputin that previously thought.  We have always been told that she was the loving and long suffering sister of Alexandra the "autocratic".  But now we are finding more information that she may not have been so loving or so long suffering and that she might have been cruel to Alexandra.

The author of My Empress makes this point and made it in 1918!  Someone (or many someones) who were actually there and actually might have been witness to the contact between Ella and Alexandra said very early on that Ella was not always the "nicer" sister.  Chapter The First Revolution pages 183 through 186.

To tell the truth, I have not always bought the "Saint Ella" story.  Her early life in Russia and her conceit and self interest at the time before the murder of Serge did not mesh with the "epiphany" she is supposed to have had after his death.  I am not saying that people can not change, but this change was so great that it always made me wonder.

As the widow of Serge, Ella would have disappeared into history as the sister of Alexandra.  As the rebel founder of the Convent of Mary and Martha, Ella secured her place in history.  Now I am not saying that she didn't do good work and that she did not give up material things.  Of course she did.

And how many "society" ladies could have gone into the "ghettos" of Moscow and worked with the sisters as Ella did?  Probably not too many.  So Ella did a great deal of good with her "new life" as a religious sister of mercy.

But that does not mean that she didn't continue to work in the background of society and that she did not participate in the decisions of the extended Imperial Family (that she was still a part of) or that she did not work to bring down Rasputin or Alexandra.

My Empress says that Ella was not nice to Alexandra (not as nice as we have come to believe) and that alone, along with the new information that has recently been brought to light about Ella and her interaction with the extended Imperial Family are just one more thing that the author(s) appeared to know when the book was written.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 28, 2010, 01:19:24 AM
I think My Empress's depiction of Ella is over the top...even given her involvement with  Rasputin's murder. Just as I have felt Ella as saint  has been over done as well.  Also the author ( ?) of My Empress   portrays  Alix as soft wax in Ellas's evil hands...I doubt that was the case.  I'm  still  of a mind  that this is a cobbled together manuscript created to  lay a  sweet, sad, but definite grave stone on the Romanov family. Whoever wrote and published this book with such speed(  as to be clairvoyant, ) knew the family's fate before it happened. imo, it's PR ...made to be published and at hand  just as word of the family's death started to surface  I recently got a print from  Illustrated London  News  for Sept 21 1918...the page's headline reads " The Reported assassination of the Tsaritsa and her Daughters

(http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/th_thereported.jpg) (http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/thereported.jpg)

and the caption says it was first reported on Sept 13th
(http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy202/blessOTMA/Romanov%20this%20and%20that/caption.jpg)

The family's fate  was known and fairly quickly given all the secrecy around it ....and the way this head lines reads, makes me think Nicholas and Alexis's  death was   reported even before....since they are not mentioned
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Kalafrana on September 28, 2010, 05:02:30 AM
I will check, but I think the murders where known quite quickly. In 'My Memories of Six Reigns', Princess Marie Louise says that George V asked her to break the news to Louis of Battenberg and Victoria Milford Haven that the entire family were dead. From memory, I think that was the end of August or beginning of September 1918, but I will look it up when I get home tonight.

Ann
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: ashdean on September 28, 2010, 05:07:18 AM
Rudy - Thank you again.

So the author of the book My Empress should have known that Count Benkendorf did not accompany the Imperial Family to Tobolsk and yet she says that Benkendorf was granted permission to accompany Nicholas as he did not want to be parted from him.

However, Benkendorf may have been granted permission, but Nicholas may not have let him accompany the group.  I wonder who actually made the decision as to whom would make the trip.

Count Paul did not make the trip because of his wife Marys poor health (actually the Countess outlived him by many years dying in Nice in 1936!).No doubt Nicholas thought too he would be useful as a negotiator dealing with the many issues of the family property etc.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 28, 2010, 09:16:17 AM
It is the matter of the seeming clairvoyance that makes this book, for some, hard to take a face value.

While it does not in any way tell the reader about the murder - the book ends with the train carrying the exiles pulling away - it has always felt too convenient.

I just realized that the book itself gives us a clue to the knowledge of the author(s).  Chapter 15 is entitled The First Revolution.  That means that the author(s) were still writing the book after the second revolution in October 1917.  Even though the book does not go farther than the August 13/14 1917 when the family left the Alexander Palace, and never mentions in print that there was a second revolution, the author(s) knew about the second revolution or they wouldn't have entitled chapter 15 The First Revolution.

So while the book may have been in some one's thoughts before October of 1917, it was written or being written after October 1917.  That may mean that it was not a long term project by a long term employee of the Empress who had been gathering up information to write a book at retirement.

Griffh has proof that John Lane & Company purchased the world wide rights to the book in April of 1918 - which was during the time that the family was being transferred to Yekaterinburg.  As far as the world knew, there was, as of that time, no plans to execute the whole family or even part of it.  We have to forget that we know what happened after the book was published.  We have to think in 1918 terms.

So we are back to wondering just who would profit from a book about Alexandra that made her seem more "human" and less "autocratic" and cold.  Certainly not the Bolsheviks, as it was in their best interest to maintain that Nicholas and Alexandra were the horrible Imperial rulers who didn't care about anything except their own pleasures.

We can't forget that, with no TV or Internet or even radio, information was gotten by the general public only in print.  Newspapers and magazines and books.

Now griffh has found a lot of other books that were published during 1918.  Some of them, i.e. Muriel Buchanan's book, we look to as factual because we can trace the provenance, but she was very fast at getting her book published.  So I guess that the speed of the publication of My Empress shouldn't surprise us.  That speed alone doesn't make it a fake.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 28, 2010, 09:34:12 AM

So we are back to wondering just who would profit from a book about Alexandra that made her seem more "human" and less "autocratic" and cold.  Certainly not the Bolsheviks, as it was in their best interest to maintain that Nicholas and Alexandra were the horrible Imperial rulers who didn't care about anything except their own pleasures.


I don't think that the Germans would have profited from such a book either.  The only thing that this book does is make the final fate - which in April of 1918 the author(s) couldn't have known -  more unpalatable.  Again, we know the final fate, but we should suppose that in the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918 the author(s) could not have known.

There has been thought that the author(s) did know in advance what was going to happen, but the only ones who would have known for sure were Lenin and Co.  I don't think they had enough time, or the inclination, after the October Revolution to sit down and write a "nice book" about Alexandra.

This book makes the Bolsheviks look even more horrible as they eventually murdered the entire family.  But again, we have to stop thinking in terms of a nice epitaph to the reign because even though the reign was for all intents and purposes over, and the author(s) could have known that - they could not, at that time in April of 1918, have known that within a few months the entire family would be gone.

So again we have to ask ourselves who would profit from a book that made Alexandra look nice and Ella look bad?  Or was profit, either in currency or in the revelation of things long hidden, even a motive?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 28, 2010, 12:03:38 PM
I have my own questions about the veracity of this "Marfa Mouchanow." I suspect she had an inside source (or sources) but that doesn't mean she was an insider herself. Or even that she in fact existed. That is, I doubt an ordinary Russian or Polish lady-in-waiting to Alexandra would have been 1) so quick in getting out of Russia, if in fact she did so, and 2) quite so entrepreneurial, in so far as she found an English-speaking publisher outside of Russia in record time. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if the author "Marfa Mouchanow" wasn't the convenient invention of a publishing house with a variety of "inside" sources into the private life of the imperial family -- some of them legit, some of them perhaps not so much. After all, I think we should remember that a woman named as Mouchanow is listed NOWHERE in imperial records as a private attendant to Alexandra Feodorovna.

Unlike many of you here, I didn't find Mouchanow's portrayal of Alexandra very sympathetic. The young empress comes across as obsessive-compulsive, superficial (very preoccupied with clothes and fashion and at the same time with penny-pinching), one step away from serious mental illness. If her terrible presentiments about the end of the Romanov dynasty had not in the end proved to be true then she would indeed be considered, if Mouchanow's description is anything to go by, certifiably mentally ill...  She's only "sympathetic" in comparison to her older sister Ella, who is, indeed, the "evil genius" in the text.

But obviously neither Alexandra or Ella were evil people. Ella was a great beauty stuck in an absolutely miserable marriage with a homosexual who wouldn't or couldn't give her children - of course she obsessed on clothes and fashion -- a clear case of over-compensation. Alexandra was miserable because she had one daughter after another when she needed to produce an male heir to keep everybody happy with her (Mouchanow makes this clear, it rings true, but then it's an obvious conclusion, even an outsider could have made it).

In short, I tend to agree with the general consensus that this book has a strand of truth in it, but that strand is largely obscured by falsehood and total invention, to the extent that it is virtually impossible to sort out fact from fiction.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 28, 2010, 01:52:19 PM
I have my own questions about the veracity of this "Marfa Mouchanow." I suspect she had an inside source (or sources) but that doesn't mean she was an insider herself. Or even that she in fact existed. That is, I doubt an ordinary Russian or Polish lady-in-waiting to Alexandra would have been 1) so quick in getting out of Russia, if in fact she did so, and 2) quite so entrepreneurial, in so far as she found an English-speaking publisher outside of Russia in record time. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if the author "Marfa Mouchanow" wasn't the convenient invention of a publishing house with a variety of "inside" sources into the private life of the imperial family -- some of them legit, some of them perhaps not so much. After all, I think we should remember that a woman named as Mouchanow is listed NOWHERE in imperial records as a private attendant to Alexandra Feodorovna.


What makes you think that she was so quick in getting out of Russia?  Where does anyone say that "Marfa" left Russia.  Also according to the book, Marfa is no ordinary lady in waiting.  She was Mistress of the Robes and had many other servants who reported to her.  She was also the widow of a Colonel with a high amount of "Tschin" and she spoke German which made her a good choice for the young newly married Alix who was not yet fluent (and never would be fluent) in Russian.

The Kammerfrau that Rudy 3 found in the St Petersburg phone book was Maria Feodorovna Geringer.  Marfa was a nickname taken from the letters of her name.  She was from a family of Germans (maiden name Adelung) who were of Catholic confession.  Her daughter in law was named Julia and a Julia Geringer has also turned up in griffh's hunt for the proposed author of the book.

Marie Geringer served (as far as Rudy 3 can tell) from at least 1895 (there is a letter from Faberge to Madame Geringer about crochet hooks and whether or not they should have jewels on them dated 1895) through, as Teddy found, September of 1917 when another source tells us that Madame Geringer and Count Benkendorf were asked to attend to the cats still at the Alexander Palace and to pack up the remainder of the Imperial Family's possessions which had to be left behind on the trip to Tobolsk.  Marie Geringer was said to be an "old lady" in 1917.  That covers the right 23 years.  Even the contacts that griffh has have said that they believed the name to be a "nom de plume".

I would love to find that Marie Geringer and her daughter in law Julia were behind the book, but of course we are a long way from that.

As to the discordant views of Alexandra and Ella, the views of every person who was personally attached to the Imperial Family would be different.  Some would like Alexandra and excuse her for her actions and some would dislike Ella and attack her for hers.

My problem is where did the "Mouchanow" come from.  We have found a family named Moukhanov, but there seems to be no connection to the Geringers.

Another problem to me is the obvious Polish spelling in the translation of the names, but that might just be the publisher trying to make the names easier for the English speaking world to read.  But that does not make Marfa Polish.

It is possible that the publisher was trying to put together an expose with the help of various people and had used or hired a "ghost writer" to put the entire thing together.  But since it was published in early 1918 what would be the point (expect making money and driving future generations
 - like us - crazy) the fate of the Imperial Family had not yet been decided.

So as I asked before - who would have profited from the publication of the book (other than John Lane & Company) and was $250 for the world wide rights a good price in 1918?   Was $250 enough to tempt someone to write the book? (Stephen King received just $2500 for the rights to Carrie when it was published in 1974)  so we have to remember that inflation has made the amount (as it has made King's amount) look terribly small.

There seems to be so much more to the book than just a clever fake "cobbled together" by the publisher.  Another poster suggested that the name Marfa Mouchanow was taken from an earlier book written by an earlier Imperial servant.  That sounds like an interesting road to explore, but would John Lane & Company and/or the author(s) of My Empress been aware of the earlier book?

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 28, 2010, 02:18:20 PM

Among the different parts of this big family and all the helpful people she gave Russia, there was a Maria Sergeevna Moukhanova: she lived in the 19th century and was the lady in waiting of Empres Maria Feodorovna, wife of Paul I. In a book about her own father, she let interesting stories about her Empress.
Well, at any case I am asking myself some questions. First, did the author of "My Empress" know about Maria Sergeevna's book and used her family name in relation to this?  Or did someone use this family name knowing there were Mukhranovy at court?
Only modest suppositions, I agree.

This is the quote from the poster who thought that the author of My Empress might have used the Moukhanov name.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 28, 2010, 03:54:48 PM
Unlike many of you here, I didn't find Mouchanow's portrayal of Alexandra very sympathetic. 
Oh I quite agree...in the book she comes off as a sweet dope really and greatly to blame for her own fate . This portrait of Alix found in  My Empress  is partly why this book seems to me about easing the effect of  news of her and the family's death... to reduce the shock when it became known  ....because it shows her as a foolish person who would not listen to the Buddha wise Mouchanow (and for 23 years too !lol!) and who goodheartedly  , but  heedlessly, ran to her own demise...to me it's a device to reduce the  shock of their assassination...and help  the world to move on faster . I think it's  important  the book is called called My Empress and the focus is  Alix....the world might expect Nicholas death...but not so readily those of Alix's and the children's  as well . This book goes far to make  it seem , whatever her fate , it's  Alix's own fault. imo
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Kalafrana on September 29, 2010, 03:31:50 AM
Some Russians were leaving at an early stage. The American-born Princess Cantacuzene and her husband sent their children to America via the Trans-Siberian Railway as early as July 1917, and left themselves via Finland and Sweden at the beginning of 1918, so an early departure does not of itself imply a fake.

BlessOTMA, I really must return your books!

Ann
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on September 29, 2010, 04:30:57 AM
Some Russians were leaving at an early stage. The American-born Princess Cantacuzene and her husband sent their children to America via the Trans-Siberian Railway as early as July 1917, and left themselves via Finland and Sweden at the beginning of 1918, so an early departure does not of itself imply a fake.

BlessOTMA, I really must return your books!

Ann
lol! Thanks Ann , I'd love to have the Princess back if you are finished with her books... I'll PM you about it.

Early  departure is one thing...getting published and sections  of the  book appearing in Ladies Home Journal the same month of the family's death...is another. Seems a coordinated effort  to me to ease the public's shock  just when they will  learn  of the family's death in their daily paper .... Ladies Home Journal was a sort of upper middle class publication then....its audience  the wives of  medical doctors and up to the wives of important men. Just the ones who might feel the shock of Alix's and the children's murders and expect something to be done about it.  The book seems an effort to nip that in the bud. I saw the LHJ 1918 magazine  offered on eBay last year ( and the magazine  went for a good deal of money )The book's excerpt  had beautiful, dramatic  illustrations and that  reminded  me of the beautiful mounting of the book ( gold leaf on the cover )  It's pretty handsome treatment for someone who seems untraceable early on  ....Public Relations as we know it got its start about then and
My Empress smacks of it . imo
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 09:05:11 AM
Unlike many of you here, I didn't find Mouchanow's portrayal of Alexandra very sympathetic.  
Oh I quite agree...in the book she comes off as a sweet dope really and greatly to blame for her own fate . This portrait of Alix found in  My Empress  is partly why this book seems to me about easing the effect of  news of her and the family's death... to reduce the shock when it became known  ....because it shows her as a foolish person who would not listen to the Buddha wise Mouchanow (and for 23 years too !lol!) and who goodheartedly  , but  heedlessly, ran to her own demise...to me it's a device to reduce the  shock of their assassination...and help  the world to move on faster . I think it's  important  the book is called called My Empress and the focus is  Alix....the world might expect Nicholas death...but not so readily those of Alix's and the children's  as well . This book goes far to make  it seem , whatever her fate , it's  Alix's own fault. imo

But that supposes that the author(s) of the book knew in late 1917 and early 1918 about the fate planned for the family. The magazine excerpts may have been published in August about the time of the murders, but the writing and publishing of the book came much earlier.  Well before anyone who wasn't Lenin or Trotsky or anyone else high up in the Politburo would have even thought about the fate of the entire family.

Who would have known that at that early time?  Only the Bolsheviks and as I said earlier. I doubt that Lenin & Co. had the time or inclination to sit down and try to prepare the world for the murder of the entire family especially when they truly didn't care about the fate of the family themselves.  And I am not even sure that Lenin knew, at that time, what he was going to do with them (but he probably had given it some thought).  He had just overturned the Provisional Government and was in the process of moving the entire seat of government from St. Petersburg to Moscow.  

We are concentrating too much on seeing this book as an epitaph to the family.  Something to try to prepare the world for the end - the final fate.  Why would anyone want to make Nicholas or Alexandra look even better or worse than they already were thought to be?  Find someone who would benefit from this.  I don't see that someone as the Bolsheviks or the Germans.  They both had too much going on at the time to even think about the Imperial Family's image or epitaph.

We need to go back to the period between August 1917 and April 1918 and put our minds into that way of thinking.  Forget what we know about what would happen in August of 1918.  Concentrate on what was going on in Russia and in Germany and even in the rest of the world during that period of time.

The second revolution took place in October 1917, Lenin moved the capital to Moscow in January 1918.  The Treaty of Brest Litovsk was signed on March 3, 1918.  The Imperial Family was moved to Yekaterinburg beginning in April of 1918 and all were finally there by middle of May 1918.

My Empress was accepted for publication by John Lane & Company in April of 1918 just about the time that the family was being moved - supposedly to Moscow.  If the original intention of the move was to take the entire family to Moscow and then try Nicholas and Alexandra - or at least Nicholas - then the idea that the book was written to gloss over the murders doesn't make sense.

In April of 1918 (so far as we know) there was no plan to send the entire family to Yekaterinburg.  Nicholas and Alexandra and Marie were on their way to Moscow.  The train was stopped by the soldiers of the Yekaterinburg Soviet and made to change direction.  Yakovlev tried to keep the train from being diverted, but couldn't.  He may have been betrayed by Sverdlov (but I doubt that Sverdlov had the book written) or not.

All of the above happens after the end of the book.  My Empress ends with the train pulling out of the station at Tsarskoe Selo.  Marfa (or Marie) didn't go to Tobolsk and so her narrative stops.

Quote from BlessOTMA

Early  departure is one thing...getting published and sections  of the  book appearing in Ladies Home Journal the same month of the family's death...is another. Seems a coordinated effort  to me to ease the public's shock  just when they will  learn  of the family's death in their daily paper .... Ladies Home Journal was a sort of upper middle class publication then....its audience  the wives of  medical doctors and up to the wives of important men. Just the ones who might feel the shock of Alix's and the children's murders and expect something to be done about it.  The book seems an effort to nip that in the bud. I saw the LHJ 1918 magazine  offered on eBay last year ( and the magazine  went for a good deal of money )The book's excerpt  had beautiful, dramatic  illustrations and that  reminded  me of the beautiful mounting of the book ( gold leaf on the cover )  It's pretty handsome treatment for someone who seems untraceable early on  ....Public Relations as we know it got its start about then and My Empress smacks of it . imo  

I think that publication in August of 1918 in Ladies Home Journal was just the natural route of the book.  Excepts of books recently published would have to go into the publication pipe about three months before they actually come out.  That seems about the right time for the magazine to get excerpts of My Empress or any book that was published early in 1918 ready to go into print.

As to the beauty of the illustrations and the cover of the book itself - that was a much more flowery period in journalism and many books and magazine articles would have been done that way.

My copy of My Empress is not like BlessOTMA's.  I have a copy that was especially bound to conform to the library of its owner, Igor W Reed.  The cover is different and every chapter has an embossed imprint of the owner's initials surrounded by Library of Igor W Reed.  On the back of the title page it lists;  Copyright, 1918, by Curtis Publishing Company and Copyright, 1918, by John Lane Company.  Press of J.J. Little & Ives Co. New York.

It is true that the photographs in the book are of good quality and that makes one wonder how even a 23 year employee of the empress would have had access to those photos.  In the book all of the photos (except one) are attributed to International Film Service.  I don't know what that means or what body that would have been.  But I wonder if the photos were just generally available to the International public at the time and could be picked up easily.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 09:05:25 AM
Just because we find it hard to obtain photos of the Imperial Family, does not mean it was always hard to get them.  Remember many photos would have been available in shop windows to those who could afford them.

Even before the advent of the Internet, I believe that newspapers and publishers kept a "morgue" of photos of celebrities for use in their articles so as not to have to keep going out and getting more.

Back to the "one exception".  The "Old Banquet Hall of the Czar" was furnished by "Paul Thompson".  Now we have a new name and a new lead to begin looking for Paul Thompson and who he was and why he would contribute a photo to the book.

I am going to leave this for now.  I will be back later.  I hope to find more.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 29, 2010, 09:51:41 AM
Some Russians were leaving at an early stage. The American-born Princess Cantacuzene and her husband sent their children to America via the Trans-Siberian Railway as early as July 1917, and left themselves via Finland and Sweden at the beginning of 1918, so an early departure does not of itself imply a fake.

BlessOTMA, I really must return your books!

Ann

Yes Kalafrana that is correct and even Stavka General Vasilii Iosifovich Gourko and his wife had fled Russia and were in Paris by December 1917.  The General's wife immediately resummed her work as a Red Cross Nurse and was killed the following March on French front lines when a German shell destroyed the Bandaging Station where she was working.  General Gourko published his memoirs in 1918.  I think what skews our sense of exile is the fact that we assume that the aristocracy did not leave Russia until the Empress' Dowager's departure from the Crimea in mid-April 1919.   I have continued to make a list of books and memoirs published about Russia prior to 1919.  Several are books that are written by British or American individuals caught up in the Revolution.  

Here is our growing list of Russian memoirs published between 1915 -1918 is as follows:

1915:
Princess Catherine Radziwill, Sovereigns and Statesmen of Europe, (1915)
Charles Christian Young MD, Abused Russia, (1915)
William Barnes Steveni, Petrograd: Past and Present, (1915);
A. Vivanti Chartres, Marie Tarnowska, (1915)

1916:
Sir Bernard Pares, Day by Day with the Russian Army, (1916)

1917:
Baroness Souiny, Russia of Yesterday and To-Morrow, (1917)
Anonymous, Russian Court Memoirs 1914-1916, (1917)
Rita Childe Dorr, Inside the Russian Revolution, (1917)
Stinton Jones, Russia in Revolution, (1917)

1918:
Marfa Mouchanow, My Empress, (1918)
Anonymous, The Fall Of The Romanoffs, (1918)
Muriel Buchanan, Petrograd: The City of Trouble, 1915-1916, (1918)
General  Vasilii Iosifovich Gourko, Memories and Impressions of War and Revolution in Russia 1914-1917, (1918)
Ernest Poole, The Village, (1918)
Elihu Root, The United States And The War: The Mission To Russia: Political Address, (1918)
E. J. Dillion, Eclipse of Russia, (1918)
Ruth Pierce, Trapped in Black Russia, (1918).  

I thought that Margueritee Harrison's, Marooned In Moscow was written in 1918, but came to find that it was written in 1921.  The first books that I have in my library that are written on Lenin all start in 1919.  

Again this is only a partial list and does not take into account newspaper or magazine accounts or series such as Princess Cantacuzène was publishing in the Saturday Evening Post:  

Sep 21, Sep 28, 1918………………..Last Days of the Russian Autocracy
Nov 9, Nov 16, Nov 23, 1918……….From the Romanoffs to the Bolsheviki

There were many books being published on the War as well.  
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 09:53:13 AM
Ok - I have found a Paul Thompson who was a photographer in 1918 and before.

There are images of his works at the:  

NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive
BB-39 USS ARIZONA
Construction - 1918
 
and also:

The Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY

an image of:  Italy's Famous Alpini and Bersaglieri - photographed by Paul Thompson.

It looks like Paul Thompson would have been in the right place during the right time period to take pictures of the Imperial residences.  This may just mean that his photographs were also available generally to publishers and printers.

This may also mean that he had nothing to do with the publication of the book and his only contribution was permission to use his photograph.

And griffh - thank you for putting all of those publications into order.  That helps in the search.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 29, 2010, 10:19:36 AM

My copy of My Empress is not like BlessOTMA's.  I have a copy that was especially bound to conform to the library of its owner, Igor W Reed.  The cover is different and every chapter has an embossed imprint of the owner's initials surrounded by Library of Igor W Reed.  On the back of the title page it lists;  Copyright, 1918, by Curtis Publishing Company and Copyright, 1918, by John Lane Company.  Press of J.J. Little & Ives Co. New York.


Alixz your remarks about your copy of My Empress reminded me of my grandfather's Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary (1934).  It was just a small reference book and yet he chose the rich blue leather edition and had his name stamped in gold in the lower right-hand of the cover to match the gold embossed title of the book.  It just reminded me all over again of the amenities that were associated with the life of a gentleman until the Second World War finally wiped that standard away.  While I am as egalitarian as the next guy, I do love those details of refinement that gave charm to even the act of picking up a book.  Well anyway onward and upward....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 10:34:11 AM
http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/International_Film_Service::sub::History


In 1914, William Randolph Hearst expanded his International News Service wire syndicate into the International Picture Service, a syndicate formed to create newsreels, when newsreels were an entirely new idea. The success of the Hearst Newsreel led the media magnate to create International Film Service IFS in 1915. The purpose of this company was to translate Hearst's top comic strip properties into "living comic strips", to be added to the tail-end of the newsreels.

I still haven't found out how much the International Picture Service and the International Film Service over lapped.

World War I proved the death-knell for IFS. Hearst had been pursuing an aggressive pro-German position for decades under the assumption that German immigrants were the core of his newspaper consistency. As a result, International News Service lost its credibility. The spiraling debt this created forced Hearst to cut out his least-profitable business, and that was IFS. The entire staff was laid off on July 6, 1918, a date referred to in animation history as "Black Monday".

If this International Film Service is the one that granted use of its photos of the Imperial Family to John Lane & Company, it was still in business in April of 1918 when My Empress was published.

And --- it also gives us another person who might have profited by the publication of the book.  William Randolph Hearst.

I said that we should stop looking for Russian reasons to print the book, but I never even thought about Hearst and the USA connection.

I wonder if Hearst had any connection to John Lane & Company or Curtis Publications Company.

All of the pictures used in the book have a USA connection.  All but one were furnished by International Film Service (which may be the same one owned by Hearst) and one by American photographer Paul Thompson who photographed the construction of the battleship Arizona and also photographed in Italy during World War I.

I have contacted the Museum of Modern Art in New York to ask them if they have any other information about Paul Thompson and his work.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 29, 2010, 11:28:52 AM
Hey I just remembered three more books that were published in the same time-frame as My Empress

1918

Florence Macleod Harper, Runaway Russia, (April, 1918)
Florence Macleod Harper and Captain Donald Thompson, Blood Stained Russia, (1918) [I think that this book, which is bascially a book of photographs, is included among AP's books]
Donald Thompson, Donald Thompson In Russia, (1918)

Oh and I forgott to add Princess Catherine Radziwill's two "pot-boilers"  Rasputin and the Russian Revolution (1918) and Russia's Decline And Fall: The Secret History of the Great Debacle, (1918).

There is a great list of books written on Russia at War and during the two Revolutions.  Out of the approximately 400 listings, 35 are available to read. 



http://openlibrary.org/search?place_facet=Soviet+Union&subject_facet=World+War%2C+1914-1918
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 11:52:20 AM
Interesting and probably coincidental.  Captain Donald Thompson published two books in 1918 containing pictures of 1917- 1918 Russia.

Paul Thompson is credited with the picture of the Old Banquet Hall of the Czars.

Thompson is probably a very common name and so this is most probably coincidental - just interesting.

Also, the picture of Alexandra that is credited to International Film Services in My Empress is the same one used in Massie's book

Nicholas & Alexandra.  In Massie's book it is credited to:  Mrs. Merriweather Post Collection, Hillwood, Washington, DC.

This doesn't mean it is the same actual picture.  Both sources could have had copies of it if copies were made.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 29, 2010, 04:23:48 PM
Back to William Randolf Hearst.  From what I can find, Hearst was completely on the side of the Bolsheviks from as early as January 1918.  He felt that the Bolsheviks were the most democratic government:

"To the Editor of the New York American

"I think our whole cause is likely to be injured by any delay in recognizing and supporting the Bolshevik Government in Russia.

"What are the Bolsheviki?

"They are the representatives of the most democratic Government in Europe.

"Why are we in this war?

"We are in it for democracy.

"Then for heaven's sake, why not recognize a democratic Government?

"We recognized THE IMPERIAL Government of Russia, but when Russia secures a DEMOCRATIC Government we have so far not recognized it.

"Russia must be saved from Germany.

"Russia must be preserved for democracy.

"The one cannot be done without recognizing the other, and neither one can be accomplished without recognizing and aiding in every possible way the democratic Government of Russia. We have waited so long that it may be too late to save the situation, but let us not wait a day longer. Let us recognize the truest democracy in Europe, the truest democracy in the world today. [emphasis added] Then we can fight an inspiring fight for democracy with some truth, some sincerity and some conviction.

--William Randolph Hearst"



From the New York American February 26, 1918.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 30, 2010, 11:41:18 AM

Wow I didn't realize that "Citizen Kane" was such a Bolshie Boy!  That reminds me of this tragic documentary made a decade ago by the son of the last President of the American Communist Party.  The boy's father was destroyed in the 1950's by the McCarthy Purge and even more demoralized but the disclosures about the Red Terrors of Stalin.  The documentary said that American Communists had been able to idealize Stalin and were shielded from his real character until after the Russian Premier's death.  That is what apparently destroyed the boy's father.  I don't know if the man committed suicide or was imprisoned for his beliefs but something happened where the son lost his father and spent the rest of his life trying to learn who his father had been.  It was such a brilliant documentary.

George F. Kennan speaks to the American bias against Tsarist Russia.  In his Forward to Gregory P. Tschebotarioff's, Russia, My Native Land, (1964),  Kennan states:

Among the factors tending to impede the formation of a balanced understanding of Russian problems in American public opinion, not the least has been the fact that among the millions of people who came to this country from Eastern Europe on the great tide of immigration from that area that marked the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, so few were genuine Russians and  so many were members of non-Russian nationalities who had suffered in one way or another under Tsarist imperialism or Tsarist oppression.  For decades on end, Jews alone made up the overwhelming majority of those who received immigration visas on the "Russian" quota.  Finns, Poles and members of other non "Great Russian" elements also came in large numbers.  The "Great Russia," on the other hand, was a rarity among the immigrants.  Thus, the tone of much that was said and written about Russia in this country tended to be set by people who had bitter memories and negative feelings with relation to the Russians as a nation.

This situation combined with, and contributed to, a similar distortion with relation to the non-national ideological issues which divided people in the area of the traditional Russian state.  There was, of course, from the outset a natural tendency for Americans to sympathize with any opposition, revolutionary or otherwise, directed against a wholly autocratic and monarchical system of government.  Beyond that, serious American students of Russia (not least the namesake of the writer of these lines: George Kennan, 1845-1923) found their sympathy and interest attracted, time and time again, by the Russian oppositionists and revolutionists, and tended to constitute themselves the spokesmen and defenders of the latter, particularly since there was often no other way that their views and feelings could find expression at all before world public opinion.  And the one-sided nature of the immigration to this country contributed to the resulting imbalance; for the Russian revolutionary movement of the decades immediately preceding the Revolution was made up in its greater part by people of the non-Russian nationalities, in whose feelings toward the Tsar's regime both national and ideological resentments had a part. 

It is not to deny the tremendous stupidities committed by the Tsar's Government with relation to the non-Russian national elements within the Empire, not is it to deny the evils of the early industrialism and the disaffection of the intelligentsia by which Russia was so grievously affected around the turn of the century,  if one points out that an American opinion fed so largely on the views of the anti-Russian, anti-Tsarist and anticapitalist elements within the territory of the old Empire could scarcely have been a well-balanced one.  All these shortcomings of the Tsarist system and of Russia's national development did indeed exist, and did indeed deserve the sympathy and concern of others.  But they were not all there was.  In the view of Russia thus created, a number of important features of the Russian scene were inevitably given the short end of the stick—such things as Russian national pride, those curious elements of tolerance which seemed always to be woven into the warp of Tsarist autocracy, the tremendous economic and educational advance that marked the final years of the dynasty before the First World War, and the brilliant fireworks of cultural productivity of all sorts which illuminated the Russian scene as the old Empire went to its doom.

Out of the distorted image of prerevolutionary realities have come certain of the real and serious failures of understanding with relation to the Revolution itself and the ensuing Soviet period.  Of these, the most serious has no doubt been the assumption that the prerevolutionary Russia was both an underdeveloped and underdeveloping country to which neither popular education nor economic development could conceivably have been brought on a scale commensurate with the needs of the modern age other than by the huge cruelties and sacrifices of a Stalinist era.  But scarcely less serious has been the widespread underestimation by Americans of the strength and legitimacy of Russian national feeling, an underestimation which has made it difficult for people to understand the ambiguity of the average Russian towards the Soviet regime—the curious way in which national pride is mingled with shame or uneasiness over the enduring deficiencies of the Soviet system, and the resulting sensitivity to foreign criticism (of which there had been no lack in the United States in recent years) that appears to disparage people as well as ideology, the nation as well as the system.  [Ref: Gregory P. Tschebotarioff', Russia, My Native Land, (1964),  pp. ix-x.]         

Given Kennan's superb analysis of American's distorted view of Russia, I can find the reasons for Hearst's anti-Tsarist views.  I think much of what Kennan wrote 40 years ago is still accurate and I would also include many of the British historians in this group that Kennan described.  The bitterness and harshness of most current British as well as American historians still reflects this distorted view of Russia. 

Sorry if I have taken us off the subject of Alixz thread, but in a way I do feel that we are also looking for a better understanding of the atmosphere of thought or mental elements that comprised the period My Empress was written in order to determine the perspective of the book.   

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on September 30, 2010, 11:58:48 AM

I just wanted to quickly add an interesting item from C.C. Young's, Abused Russian, (1915) which in light of the Kennan information, appears to be an attempt to bring a more balance view of Tsarist Russia to Americans. Young, who had come to the United States with his father to establish a large farming operation in Texas had returned to Russia almost every year from 1907-1914. 

Just to say, C.C. Young's book is written in an era that makes assumptions about the superiority of the white race that dominated many of the social sciences until the horrors of Nazi Germany. 

C.C. Young seems to make anti-Semitic statements as part of his white supremacy assumptions, but when you study his work you see that he wanted equal opportunity for Russia's Jewish population and even correctly prophesied the removal of the Pale of Settlement which was accomplished shortly after the book went to press. 
 
However, in spite of the book's limitations, Young does remind us that America was considered a third world power prior to WWI and not quite civilized because of the tremendous stupidities committed by the American Government in relation to its non-white population, i.e. the racial terrorist "lynch laws" of the South which may not have been completely eliminated to this day.
 
Dr. Young tells us of a heated conversation he had with a Russian Countess over the horror of the "lynch laws." When Young said that the USA should bring in "well drilled" European soldiers to stop the lynching of black men in the South, the Countess sharply interrupted Young, telling him in no uncertain terms that:

...that the President ought to be executed for not exercising his power to stop these inhuman and outrageous death penalties, which proved conclusively that the Americans were not entitled to be called civilized people.  [Ref: C.C. Young, M.D.,PH.G.,Abused Russia, (1915), p. 18]

When Young attempted to explain that it was not possible to hold the American President responsible for mob violence, the Countess retorted that if the President was not responsible for:

 ...lynchings—of which we read pages and pages—why do you Americans hold our gracious Emperor responsible for the deeds of criminals—deeds which often make us blush for our country—and this when your own United States seem to have their share of the lawless and unrestrained!"   [Ref: C.C. Young, M.D.,PH.G.,Abused Russia, (1915), p. 18]

I am quoting this short exchange as I believe it is addressing the very points that Kennan addressed about factors tending to impede the formation of a balanced understanding of Russia by Americans. 

Well do forgive this lengthy posting but I do feel that hopefully it contributes to our understanding of the general mood and feelings about Tsarist and revolutionary Russia by Americans.   

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on September 30, 2010, 03:33:54 PM
Griffh, Thank you for your insight.

I do think that the American view of Russia at the turn of the 20th century is very important to illustrating the general mood and feelings about Tsarist Russia at the time of the publication of My Empress.

Since you mentioned Citizen Kane, I read an interesting article about Wells and Hearst.  It seems that the move, while overtly about Hearst, was also a semi-autobiographical look at Wells's own life.  In particular, Hearst did not lose his mother at an early age but Wells did.  But in the movie Kane loses his mother at an early age.

I have been thinking about the fact that most of the photos in My Empress were used with permission of the International Film Service.  I can't find any other connection to those photos, and as I said earlier, one of the photos was also used in Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra but used by permission of the Mrs. Merriweather Post.

Where the photos came from, is probably not important, as I still feel that IFS was a kind of photo collection or syndication that was available to any publishers who needed photos to illustrate a book.  Hearst, while the owner of IFS, probably had minions who dealt with the everyday requests that the service received, and probably knew nothing about where the photos would be used when permission was requested.

That probably brings us back to John Lane & Company.  By the way, John Lane published in the USA as well as in England.  Curtis Publishing Company published magazines (Ladies Home Journal and others).  

On my copy I also have J.J.Little and Ives Co. Does anyone else have a copy with that name on the back of the title page?  If not, then Little would be the private press who printed my copy to be bound to match the rest of the Library of Ivan W. Reed. (Imagine having that kind of money?)

So did Curtis Publishing normally take excepts from books published by John Lane?  Did they have business agreement to do this or was this the only book that Curtis printed excerpts from in Ladies Home Journal that was originally printed by John Lane.

I wish there was a way to find out why Curtis picked up the rights to put excerpts from this particular book in their magazine.

I am still waiting to hear from the Museum of Modern Art about Paul Thompson the only other photo contributor to My Empress.

I am also trying to match the other photos used in My Empress to other books where they were used and thereby see who else besides International Film Service had access to these photos from 1918 to present.  I feel sure that the photos changed hands when IFS was sold by Hearst, but where did they go?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 01, 2010, 09:45:37 AM
Griffh, Thank you for your insight.

I do think that the American view of Russia at the turn of the 20th century is very important to illustrating the general mood and feelings about Tsarist Russia at the time of the publication of My Empress.

Since you mentioned Citizen Kane, I read an interesting article about Wells and Hearst.  It seems that the move, while overtly about Hearst, was also a semi-autobiographical look at Wells's own life.  In particular, Hearst did not lose his mother at an early age but Wells did.  But in the movie Kane loses his mother at an early age. 

Alixz that is really interesting about the blend of Wells and Hearst's lives in Citizen Kane


I have been thinking about the fact that most of the photos in My Empress were used with permission of the International Film Service.  I can't find any other connection to those photos, and as I said earlier, one of the photos was also used in Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra but used by permission of the Mrs. Merriweather Post.

Where the photos came from, is probably not important, as I still feel that IFS was a kind of photo collection or syndication that was available to any publishers who needed photos to illustrate a book.  Hearst, while the owner of IFS, probably had minions who dealt with the everyday requests that the service received, and probably knew nothing about where the photos would be used when permission was requested.

I know that all the big newspapers have always had their own picture files of prominent people.  One of the major newspapers even had a file of photographs on my grandparents and used them when society items were written.   So I imagine that the same was true with publishers or that they had access to photo archives.   It is helpful to remember that postcards of Royalty, the aristocracy and society matrons  appeared in store shop windows and that these individuals were the "Movie Stars" of their day so there were many beautiful court photographs in circulation.  It wasn't until the socialist revolutions and the destruction of most of Europe's thrones, accompanied by the rise of Cinema Stars and Hollywood, that this practice stopped. 



That probably brings us back to John Lane & Company.  By the way, John Lane published in the USA as well as in England.  Curtis Publishing Company published magazines (Ladies Home Journal and others). 


I do think that all roads seem to lead back to the John Lane archives in Texas.   As I understand it, when John Lane published their work in England they used their John Lane, The Bodley Head company which was located in London. 



On my copy I also have J.J.Little and Ives Co. Does anyone else have a copy with that name on the back of the title page?  If not, then Little would be the private press who printed my copy to be bound to match the rest of the Library of Ivan W. Reed. (Imagine having that kind of money?)

 My copy also has J. J. Little and Ives Co. so I think we can safely assume that it was a press that John Lane Used to print their books in that period.


So did Curtis Publishing normally take excepts from books published by John Lane?  Did they have business agreement to do this or was this the only book that Curtis printed excerpts from in Ladies Home Journal that was originally printed by John Lane.

I wish there was a way to find out why Curtis picked up the rights to put excerpts from this particular book in their magazine.

I believe that Curtis Publishing owned John Lane as my copy of My Empress has two copyrights and one is the Curtis Publishing Co. 

According to the archivist in Reading U. in England, their John Lane, The Bodley Head archive is part of the Curtis Publishing Company 0so that is why, unlike the John Lane archive in Texas, no one is allowed to research the Bodley Head archive as it is part of the Curtis Publishing archive which is filled with sensitive information about current publications. 


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on October 02, 2010, 06:09:46 AM
Thank you Griffh for this insight on american's perception of Russia. It was really interesting.
Alixz, I second you on thinking that the book has nothing of a "pressentiment", a preparation before the murder, a murder noone really expected or planed.
I see personnly My Empress as a journalistic product, a response to a demand, some commercial offer, you know. Royalty, and furthermore fallen royalty are a very popular thema, there was and there is an immense curiosity. For differents reasons (psychological, historical, patriotic, ideologic...) people are hungry about their life, their fall, their death. The fall of such a monarchy like Russia was a great event and people were looking for picture, information, details, exactly as we are today! Griffh gave a list of english book about Russia for this period. Same can be written about France. The Librairie Payot (Paris) published in the 20's a huge amount of books about imperial Russia: Meriel Buchanan, George Buchanan, Rodzianko, Spiridovich, Correspondance of NII and AF, Diary of NII, letters of NII and MF, letters of the Grand-dukes to NII, letters of NII and Wilhelm, the Sokolov file, some others books about the murder, Sazonov, Gilliard, Vyrubova, Vyruboval's fake diary. Add to this at other editions Purishkevich, Youssoupov, Paleologue and numerous others publications. That were the 20's about I know for sure. But I remember that this began earlier, at War time. I had in hands about 15 years ago (so forgive me to not remember the author!) a biography of Nicolas II written in the first months of 1918 (before July) by some french man, sympathizing the revolution. And we are not speaking about the newspapers! L'Illustration, beginning with the end of the 19th Century regularly gave russian news and published numerous pictures, photos or paintings. There were pictures of curents events, but also formal pictures of the Tsar, his wife and their children .
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on October 02, 2010, 06:21:54 AM
Sorry, I carry on. I remember formal pictures of the family or even only the children for 1901, 1904, 1906, 1911, 1913. L"illustration covered the entire revolution, there were articles about the events, but also articles about how is living the Imperial family under arrest at Tsarskoe (with differents pictures). Later, on the early 20's they published Gilliard's memories and pictures. And how many people, aristocrats published their own memories: there are plenty of them!! All of them have their memories, their little stories. So My Empress is not at all an original thing, one mysterious book, it is part of a big editionnal and journalist tendancy, just one of the first. If I correctly understood, it was first published in one lady's journal, which is easy to understand. About what will a lady's journal write? Of course about beautiful, powerful, whealty women, or ex-beautiful and powerful women!
I liked very much this idea of, sorry was that Alizz or Rudy, about people using the experience and life of Mrs Geringer to write a more attractive book. Sounds very plausible, much more than a book written by Mrs Geringer herself (she should have known at least that GD Elisabeth was not a friend of Rasputin, the less to say!!). Someone could have used her life without any scrupul. Or could some reporter have approach her at some period and took some interview? Is that possible? I would like to know when and how did she die!! The last we know about her are these letters of Alexei's diadka Derevenko to her in november. She was in Petrograd.
Alixz and Griffh, carry on!!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on October 02, 2010, 06:29:23 AM
Alixz, I have not the book, I only read it on the internet. Could you tell me/us which pictures are here reproduce? Are they rare or common?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: ashdean on October 02, 2010, 06:51:31 AM
Mme Geringer may have collaberated with a journalist on the book.Years later Madame Narishkine the actual mistress of the robes would tell her story to Rene Fulop Muller who published it in her name under the title "Under Three Tsars".In the preface he mentions the elderly grand dame and as a postscript that eventually she had been able to leave Russia for Paris where (very soon afterward) she died in 1928.  He saw her in Russia....perhaps this was the same case as with Geringer...a savvy journalist hurriedly interviewed her or whipped the already scribbled memoirs into shape and brokered the deal.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on October 02, 2010, 07:57:40 AM
Thanks, Ashdean! There was also this interview of GD Elisabeth by an american journalist (see the Palace main site). So it was a common practice, indeed really interesting for our subject...
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 02, 2010, 08:49:15 AM
Alixz, I have not the book, I only read it on the Internet. Could you tell me/us which pictures are here reproduce? Are they rare or common?

So far they appear to be fairly common.  The sort of "cabinet photo" which would have been available to any one who could afford to go into a photographer's shop at the time.

If I can scan them in without damaging the book, I will put them all on and let everyone know what other books I have found them used in as I did with the picture of Alexandra which is used in My Empress credited to International Film Services and in Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra and credited there to Mrs. Merriweather Post.

Unfortunately my new scanner doesn't work well with bulky items like books.  For some reason the cover has to bee almost completely closed for the scanner to work.  In my old one, I could prop the cover up on the book and the scanner would still work.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: BobG on October 03, 2010, 05:47:43 PM
Alixz,
I have the same problem with my scanner.  I've found covering it with a dark bath towel seems to make it work pretty well.

We all find ways to make technology work for us!

BobG
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 04, 2010, 02:46:24 PM
Thank you Griffh for this insight on american's perception of Russia. It was really interesting.
Alixz, I second you on thinking that the book has nothing of a "pressentiment", a preparation before the murder, a murder noone really expected or planed.
I see personnly My Empress as a journalistic product, a response to a demand, some commercial offer, you know. Royalty, and furthermore fallen royalty are a very popular thema, there was and there is an immense curiosity. For differents reasons (psychological, historical, patriotic, ideologic...) people are hungry about their life, their fall, their death. The fall of such a monarchy like Russia was a great event and people were looking for picture, information, details, exactly as we are today! Griffh gave a list of english book about Russia for this period. Same can be written about France. The Librairie Payot (Paris) published in the 20's a huge amount of books about imperial Russia: Meriel Buchanan, George Buchanan, Rodzianko, Spiridovich, Correspondance of NII and AF, Diary of NII, letters of NII and MF, letters of the Grand-dukes to NII, letters of NII and Wilhelm, the Sokolov file, some others books about the murder, Sazonov, Gilliard, Vyrubova, Vyruboval's fake diary. Add to this at other editions Purishkevich, Youssoupov, Paleologue and numerous others publications. That were the 20's about I know for sure. But I remember that this began earlier, at War time. I had in hands about 15 years ago (so forgive me to not remember the author!) a biography of Nicolas II written in the first months of 1918 (before July) by some french man, sympathizing the revolution. And we are not speaking about the newspapers! L'Illustration, beginning with the end of the 19th Century regularly gave russian news and published numerous pictures, photos or paintings. There were pictures of curents events, but also formal pictures of the Tsar, his wife and their children .

Thanks Matushka for your insights and information.  The link actually includes works published in Russia, France, Britain and Germany between 1915 and 1918 on Russia. 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 04, 2010, 02:51:32 PM
Mme Geringer may have collaberated with a journalist on the book.Years later Madame Narishkine the actual mistress of the robes would tell her story to Rene Fulop Muller who published it in her name under the title "Under Three Tsars".In the preface he mentions the elderly grand dame and as a postscript that eventually she had been able to leave Russia for Paris where (very soon afterward) she died in 1928.  He saw her in Russia....perhaps this was the same case as with Geringer...a savvy journalist hurriedly interviewed her or whipped the already scribbled memoirs into shape and brokered the deal.

Great point Ashdean!!!  I actually finally contacted a reference librarian at the NYC Public Library with the history of our quest and will share their perspective when I hear back.  In connection with the article I am writing on the Empress, I also found an archive that has information about the Empress' extensive War Relief organizations located in the Morgan Library  and it came to me when I make my appointment to do research there I should also mention our quest for the author of MY Empress.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 04, 2010, 02:54:51 PM
Alixz, I have not the book, I only read it on the Internet. Could you tell me/us which pictures are here reproduce? Are they rare or common?

So far they appear to be fairly common.  The sort of "cabinet photo" which would have been available to any one who could afford to go into a photographer's shop at the time.

If I can scan them in without damaging the book, I will put them all on and let everyone know what other books I have found them used in as I did with the picture of Alexandra which is used in My Empress credited to International Film Services and in Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra and credited there to Mrs. Merriweather Post.

Unfortunately my new scanner doesn't work well with bulky items like books.  For some reason the cover has to bee almost completely closed for the scanner to work.  In my old one, I could prop the cover up on the book and the scanner would still work.


Alixz I wish I had my new scanner as I would scan the pics for you because my copy of My Empress is pretty beaten up and I can't stand thinking that your really charming book might be damaged.  When I pick up my computer which is being worked on I will buy my new scanner.  Do you think you could wait a week?   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 05, 2010, 10:44:32 AM
Griffh, thank you.

I really miss my old scanner.  It would do just about anything!  (Except the dishes.)  ;-)

My son wanted a wireless printer/scanner/fax so that every computer in our house (we have five) could use it easily.  My old trusty bulky scanner made way for the new streamlined wireless one, but it is not as useful for scanning from books. (Remember that my son is an IT and that is why we have so many computers in a house for three people.)

I will wait for you to scan in the photos.  I am still coordinating the sources and where the photos have been used since they were originally put into My Empress.

I have more thought about looking for clues in the book itself and I am also trying to gather all of our information and theories into one cohesive place.  That way we will be able to know just what we have found and where we need to go from here.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 05, 2010, 03:44:38 PM

Griffh, thank you.

I really miss my old scanner.  It would do just about anything!  (Except the dishes.)  ;-)

My son wanted a wireless printer/scanner/fax so that every computer in our house (we have five) could use it easily.  My old trusty bulky scanner made way for the new streamlined wireless one, but it is not as useful for scanning from books. (Remember that my son is an IT and that is why we have so many computers in a house for three people.)

I will wait for you to scan in the photos.  I am still coordinating the sources and where the photos have been used since they were originally put into My Empress.

I have more thought about looking for clues in the book itself and I am also trying to gather all of our information and theories into one cohesive place.  That way we will be able to know just what we have found and where we need to go from here.

Wow that is a lot of computers…too cool.  I am so grateful that you will wait. I could not decide whether or not to upgrade to Professional word or to buy my new scanner, but saving your lovely book made me choose.  Hopefully I will have it by the end of next week.  I do miss my old scanner too.  It was such a great old work horse and I did all my scans on the Winter Season of 1913-1914 on it. 

I think that is such a great idea about gathering and analyzing all our information to gain a sense of our present theory as to the authorship of My Empress.   Hopefully the NYC Library will be able to add some new leads.  I am hopeful as I seem to recall that the head of NYC Public Library in 1919 was one of the individuals that recommended that My Empress be included by every library in the USA as an example of an important historic biography.   Hopefully they will have some archival information about this too.

Alixz I really like the idea of sitting down and carefully reading through My Empress once again to try and establish its content.  I have read it a million times but never with the purpose of establishing its perspective.   

D. Fedotoff White who was assigned to the Russian Embassy in early 1915 as a Russian Naval attaché shares some interesting information about American socialite’s obsession with Rasputin and his own ignorance of the strannik.   White tells us that his first few months at the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. were boring but that all changed when the summer of 1915 came and the Embassy removed to the fashionable Newport, Rhode Island.

Fedotoff states:

At one of the larger dinners given by a leading Newport hostess, I was asked, together with a small group of intimate friends of the lady of the house, to stay on after the rest of the guests had left (White was young and handsome).  We settled down comfortably before the fireplace of the small salon on cushions and rugs, and the hostess addressed me:  “We’re all friends here.  This is my most intimate circle.  Do tell us what you know about Rasputin.”

Unbelievable as it may sound today, I had never heard that name until then.  My service abroad and my absorption in my work on board ships in Russian waters had kept me far from the gossiping circles of St. Petersburg.  Furthermore, my father took his duties as a servant to the Crown very seriously and at our table at home any tittle-tattle about matters involving the Imperial Family was unthinkable.

As the name did not mean anything to me, I answered: “I am very sorry Madame.  I haven’t the faintest idea who this Rasputin may be.  Judging by his name, he is probably a Siberian peasant.  I have never lived in Siberia and am not, therefore, in a position to know a great deal about Siberian affairs and people.”

The whole group stared at me in utter astonishment.  After a few moment’s silence, Mrs. X., my hostess, said with some annoyance:

“You really don’t need to be so frightfully discreet!  As I said, we are among friends and anything discussed will not go any further.”

It was my turn to be surprised.

“Mrs. X., you are really very much mistaken.  I know nothing of the fellow.  The is the first time I’ve heard his name!”

Unable to restrain her temper any longer, Mrs. X. exclaimed, “Then you’d better speak to Jack Bakhmetev [the Russian Ambassador] tomorrow and ask him to tell you about Rasputin.  You’ll learn something, I assure you.”

The party broke up and I went home wondering at the strange happening and the perversity of Newport socialites in showing such interest in a Siberian peasant.

The nest morning, immediately after breakfast, I went to see the Ambassador and, having related the incident of the night before, asked him who Rasputin was.  Never in my life have I seen Bakhmetev laugh as long and as heartily as he did that morning.  Finally, he managed to say, between loud guffaws, “The less you know about Rasputin, the better for you!!”

Later one of the Embassy secretaries enlightened me as to the reason of Newport’s interest in the Siberian peasant.  I must say I was as deeply shocked by that information as by anything I had ever heard.  I simply could not reconcile what I had heard with my ideas about the Imperial Family and the conduct of state affairs.   [Ref: D. Fedotoff White, Survival: Through War and Revolution in Russia, (1939), pp. 44-45]   

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 05, 2010, 03:46:17 PM

By late 1916 the Newport socialites got their fill of gossip about Rasputin and the Empress.  I had forgotten to add to my list of books and publications on Russia, the Metropolitan magazine article by Iliodor, Rasputin: The Holy Devil of Russia, which appeared in the September 1916 issue.  A trailer to the article informed readers that this article was to be followed in November by The Biggest Story of the Year!~”

After the publication of the September article, the Russian Consulate, after failing to reach an agreement with Iliodor, convinced Metropolitan magazine to cancel the series of articles by Iliodor.   While the October issue of Metropolitan magazine carried the announcement of the cancellation, the November issue, which had already gone to press removed the promised article but left the cover illustration which featured a full color illustration of a menacing Rasputin bullying the vulnerable young Empress.   

Iliodor would not be silenced that easily and took his case against the magazine to court.  On November 3, 1916 the New York Supreme Court heard the case in which Iliodor testified:
… that his account of Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had been suppressed  by the Russian government.  He alleged that Rasputin:

…is strongly pro-German and has such influence over the Tsarina as to obtain her influence against the Allies… he is now engaged in a conspiracy to bring about a separate peace, with the Russian Government to apply for a loan of three million roubles from the English government, with the threat that in case the money is forthcoming separate peace will be signed this winter.   [Ref: Andrew Cook, To Kill Rasputin, (2005), pp. 150-151]

 Metropolitan magazine settled out of court with Iliodor but not before he had used the court to spread rumours of treason about the Empress and Rasputin which British SIS head, Sir William Wiseman took seriously enough to have one of his officers, Captain Norman Thwaites, send reports of Iliodor’s claims to the British Intelligence Mission in Petrograd. 

So that rather establishes the fact that by late 1916 the American public had been fully exposed to the rumours of treason circulating about the Empress and Rasputin.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 07, 2010, 10:28:34 AM
Just a quick update to say that the NYC Public Library contacted me to say that they had sent my inquiry on to their research dept.  So that is good news.  I hope everyone has a good weekend which is coming up soon.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 09:29:10 AM
Well in my ongoing computer saga I picked it up on Friday, took it home and found that it had not been fixed so I had to take it back yesterday and I just got a call saying that it is fixed so I will pick it up today, but in the meantime I purchased my printer/scanner yesterday and was able to start scanning, via my lab top, the photographs from my Empress.  So thanks for your patience.  I will pick up my computer and finish scanning the pictures today and hopefully will be able to post them in a day or so. 

Also just to say I have begun an exchange with a reference librarian at the NYC Public Library over the author of My Empress which may or may not lead anywhere.  Well onward and upward....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 01:52:07 PM
Well don't ask me about my computer.... however here are the promised 16 photographs that illustrate My Empress.  It is such a joy to have a printer/scanner once again!!!

I have included a photo of the beaten up cover of my copy, still one can see that someone went to some expense in the cover design which is not simply printed, but embossed.

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/image1.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/image2.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/image3.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/image4.jpg)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 01:53:01 PM

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image2-1.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image1-1.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image8.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image6.jpg)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 01:53:50 PM

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image7.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image10.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image11.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image18.jpg)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 01:54:40 PM

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image12.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image13.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image14.jpg)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 10, 2010, 01:57:18 PM

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image15.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image16.jpg)

(http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/Romanov11/Image17.jpg)


Hopefully I posted the photos in the order that they appear in the book.  The order of the photos almost tell a story in and of themselves.  I made sure to include the credits for each photo and the headings.  I hope everyone has had a great weekend.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 11, 2010, 09:30:47 AM
Griffh - Thank you.  I missed some information the first time I listed the photos.

Three of the interior shots are attributed to Paul Thompson not just one as I originally thought.

The photos scanned in beautifully and the photos of the family are the typical cabinet photos taken at that time.

I know that I have seen the photo of Rasputin in other books, and I am on the lookout for it.  That is the photo that makes Rasputin look very clean and holy - and also very young.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Teddy on October 11, 2010, 11:19:57 AM
I don't have this book. But is there a whole section about the youngest daughter GD Anastasia in this book?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 11, 2010, 01:22:12 PM
No, Teddy.  There is not any section devoted to any of the children.

It is a story about Empress Alexandra and it ends on the day that the family left Tsarskoe Selo.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 11, 2010, 09:00:08 PM
Alixz I am so glad that you like the quality of the scans.  I got the Kodak scanner/printer because I liked the quality of the photoshop etc.  I was able to apply some of the color correction tabs so that it brought back the integrity of the photos.

Teddy while that is true, as Alixz said, there are no chapters devoted to strictly to the children; however there are quick sketches of Alexis in Chapter XIII, The Japanese War and the Birth of the The Czarevitsch, ; and short descriptions of the children in Chapter XIV, The Czarina, Her Children and Her Charities.   The book also contains scattered references to the children.  I can't help remembering the poignant description of Olga's talent as a pianist included in Chapter XII, The Czarina's Daily Occupations, during the author's discussion of the Empress' talent as a pianist.  The author tells us:

The Empress tried to develop a love for music in her children, and greatly succeeded with her eldest daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga, who had a really wonderful talent for the piano.  She could compose wild, melodious airs, imbued with that Russian and Slav sadness which is latent in all Northern characters.  I remember on day last May [1917] when, entering unexpectedly the apartment where the young Grand Duchesses were sitting, I was entranced by the playing of Olga, who seemed to put into her music all the agony and anxiety of her soul.  Things were dark then.  The possibility of seeing exchanged the prison of Czarskoi Selo for another was already looming on the horizon... [Ref: Marfa Mouchanow, My Empress, (1918), pp. 144-145]


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 12, 2010, 08:26:45 AM
The book is available to read on Open Library at:

http://openlibrary.org/works/OL13162053W/My_Empress_Twenty-three_Years_of_Intimate_Life_with_the_Empress_of_All_the_..

I thought I would bump this up.  Those of you who don't have the book can read it here.

You will find many things that look familiar, but I have noticed that they were used in other books most notably Nicholas & Alexandra by Robert Massie.  He relied heavily on the information in this book.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 12, 2010, 10:59:24 AM
Alizx that is interesting that Massie used My Empress as a source for his book.  I noticed that Carolly Erickson also used My Empress in her book, Alexandra: The Last Tsarina.  Just as a quick update, I am still working with a reference libarian at NYC Public Library on the question of the authorship issue.  So we shall see where this goes.  Onward and upward....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on October 12, 2010, 01:54:05 PM
Look what is up for auction  on eBay

http://cgi.ebay.com/MY-EMPRESS-Alexandra-Romanov-OTMA-Nicholas-II-Nanny-/290486468661?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item43a257c035

in a much plainer edition  than the 1918 one I have! The seller says it's by a nanny...??

Thanks for posting the book's  photos!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 12, 2010, 03:26:20 PM
Very Interesting!

That copy is nothing at all like the ones that I have seen.

If that is a true scan, that picture of Anastasia is no where near the chapter that it shows it to be near.  In my copy there is no picture at all by the beginning of Chapter XI -The Czarina and Her Mother in Law page 129.

And that picture of Anastasia is between pages 220 and 221 in my copy.

Griffh - Could this be the 1940s edition?  It looks way to modern to have been printed in 1918.

The seller says it is by the Nanny in the listing title but by the "first Maid' in the description.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on October 12, 2010, 10:38:30 PM
It could be the 1940's edition...by says 1918 copywright on the inside ...and  why they mention that 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on October 13, 2010, 02:50:22 AM
That copy is nothing at all like the ones that I have seen.
If that is a true scan, that picture of Anastasia is no where near the chapter that it shows it to be near.  In my copy there is no picture at all by the beginning of Chapter XI -The Czarina and Her Mother in Law page 129.
And that picture of Anastasia is between pages 220 and 221 in my copy.
Griffh - Could this be the 1940s edition?  It looks way to modern to have been printed in 1918.
The seller says it is by the Nanny in the listing title but by the "first Maid' in the description.
It looks exactly like my edition, which is a photographic reprint of the 1918 edition by John Lane Company, New York/London, printed and distributed by Paul Gilbert, Canada, in the 1990s. The title page does not identify Marfa Mouchanow as a nanny, but as 'First Maid in Waiting to Her Former Majesty the Czarina Alexandra of Russia'. My copy has one photo section between pages 128 and 129, before Chapter XI, which includes exactly the same pictures as posted by Griff, although in a different order,  as well as portraits of Nicholas and Alexandra.

Paul Gilbert produced similar photographic reprints of books by Anya Vyrubova, Miss Eagar, Princess Anatole Marie Bariatinsky, the three books by Sophie Buxhoeveden, and probably some other authors. The covers are plain, but of good quality, and the paper quality and binding are excellent.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 13, 2010, 08:39:19 AM
I didn't mean that the author said it was the by nanny, I meant that the eBay lister said in her listing title that it was by the nanny, but then later down in her description, she says "first maid".

So it is not the elusive 1940s copy that griffh and I are looking for but a reproduction printed by Paul Gilbert.  I wonder why Paul chose to move the photos into one section?  In the original book the photos are scattered throughout the volume as we can see by the scan that griffh has posted.

Oh well, onward and upward.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Helen on October 13, 2010, 09:00:54 AM
I didn't mean that the author said it was the by nanny.
I know, I just included the words from the title page to make clear it was the eBay seller who was creating confusion and that there's no need to look for a nanny who might have used 'Mouchanow' as an alias .

I wonder why Paul chose to move the photos into one section?  In the original book the photos are scattered throughout the volume as we can see by the scan that griffh has posted.
The photo section in Paul Gilbert's edition is printed on glossy paper. Perhaps it was more convenient from a print-technical point of view to put the photos together.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 13, 2010, 09:57:58 AM
Helen - Thanks.

I misunderstood your post. 

I can see that in most cases, people who are trying to sell Romanov items on eBay always mention Anastasia or something to do with the children as the sellers know that the popularity of OTMA is greater than that of their parents to many people.  So the sellers use it for a "hook" to draw people in.

When a seller mentions OTMA, I know that they have done enough research on the family to have come up with the combined letters for the names, but that doesn't mean that the seller knows anything else.

I checked this particular seller's other items for sale and found nothing else that has to do with the Romanovs.  Obviously not a seller of great quantities of Romanov memorabilia.  It made me wonder how she came by the book.

But now that I know about the Paul Gilbert reprints, it gives me more information when I need to ask questions of others who might be able to help us in our quest for the true name of Marfa Mouchanow or for the 1940s edition.

I have not yet heard from the Museum of Modern Art in answer to my question about Paul Thompson and his photographs.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on October 14, 2010, 12:21:06 AM
Very interesting! I had not realized Paul Gilbert printed the book. ...so there are at least 3 hardback edtions : the 1918 , the one in the 1940's and Paul's
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 14, 2010, 07:44:49 AM

Gosh I missed all the action.

Part of my current question to Stephen, the reference librarian at the NYC Public Library, is if he could help establish if there was actually a 1940's edition of My Empress so that we know the truth once and for all.  There are several current 2008-2010 paperback editions of My Empress as well:

Kessinger Pub. 2008

General Book LLC 2010

Nabu Press 2010

Nabu Press prints the paperbook on demand.  I think these are all just photographic repros of the 1918 edition, though the General Book paperback does not include any illustrations. 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: historyfan on October 14, 2010, 09:00:03 PM
Alizx that is interesting that Massie used My Empress as a source for his book.  I noticed that Carolly Erickson also used My Empress in her book, Alexandra: The Last Tsarina.  Just as a quick update, I am still working with a reference libarian at NYC Public Library on the question of the authorship issue.  So we shall see where this goes.  Onward and upward....

So did Joseph Fuhrmann for his "Rasputin:  A Life".
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on October 15, 2010, 09:50:41 AM
I wonder when this book came to be known as a fraud.  It would seem that many of the books written by knowledgeable authors used My Empress as a source.

I would have thought that any author writing his/her own book about the Romanovs would have vetted the source books that they used more carefully.  That is if the book truly is a fraud.

Of course, in our recent research, we have not yet gotten all of the answers to the questions we have asked and may not for a while.  As you can see from this course of this thread, information can come from a lot of different sources.  That is why I threw this question out to all of you knowing that, with your help, we would get a lot of bits of information and we might not get by other means.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: historyfan on October 15, 2010, 10:41:29 PM
This discussion is fascinating.  I can't imagine being someone who relied heavily on a particular source to create a highly respected (and respectable) work, only to find out that source is a fake.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on October 20, 2010, 02:59:44 PM
This discussion is fascinating.  I can't imagine being someone who relied heavily on a particular source to create a highly respected (and respectable) work, only to find out that source is a fake.

I agree and had also forgotten that Greg King used My Empress in his book on Alexandra, The Last Empress too.  Just as a quick update, I have not heard anything from the NYC Public Library but have to go there in a week or so and I will enquire as to the current status of my questions or possibly I will be directed to sources that I can use in the Library to further our research.  I have been slowly doing a comparitive study of the books written on the Empress just prior to the Great War and up to 1918 to compare descriptions of events, etc.  Of course it is hardly a definitive study as I do not have access to magazine or news paper articles which are often filled with detials that don't appear in books.  I don't know if such a study will be rewarding in determining the why the book was written or not but I suppose it is worth while in one way or another.  It also occurs to me that we may have exhausted most of our avenues except for the correspondence files in the John Lane Archives.  After Christmas, or possibly sooner, I shall contact Bill again and see what we can learn about the authorship of My Empress.  An well known historian shared some really interesting items about Mme. Gueringer that she came across during other research in GARF.  I am going to ask her if I have permission to share the information on our thread.  Well onward and upward....   
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on February 15, 2011, 08:30:19 AM
I never heard from the Museum of Modern Art about the photographs by Paul Thompson that are included in the book.

I have emailed griffh and asked him about his trip to the NYC Public Library in October of 2010.

We seem to have hit a slow patch in our research.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: petzia on July 16, 2011, 11:31:15 PM
I was asked (a long time ago) to look into the Jacques Ferrand books that I have for mention of Madame Geurringer nee Adalung.

So far I have had no luck, but I have found two mentions of Mouchanow - but spelled Moukhanoff.

Book #2 Noblesse Russe - Portraits

Page 8 -  there is a picture of Nadejda Nicolaievna Moukhanoff (* 1904) and her brother Nicolas Nicolaievich (1906-1966) with their unnamed nurse.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Nicolas N Komstadius.

On Page 11 - there is a picture of a lot of young children who are the children of Cavalry General and Aide de Camp General of His Majesty Baron Theophile Bogdanovitch Meyendorff (1838-1919) and his wife Comtesse Helene Pavlovna Schouvaloff (1857-1943).
One child is named Anastasia (1885-1976), future Madame Ilya Moukhanoff.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Pierre I Danzas

I know that both of these children are too young to be the Moukhanoff that we are looking for, but it gives us an indication that the family was high enough in status to have had their pictures taken and included in M. Ferrand's books on Russian Nobility.

I might try to scan these pictures in just for fun, (since we know they are not the woman we are looking for - but could be related) but I don't want to put my books in danger.
Dear member,

I was surfing a month ago thru internet and found this topic about Marfa Mouchanow.

My grandfather name is Sergio Muchanow (Sergei Muxanov-Сергей Ильич Муханов) he was born in Tsarskoe Stelo in 1915. I saw that some members have photos & books where my relatives are mentioned (Muxanov & Meyendorff).

How can I obtain pictures that you have mentioned on this post? There are very important for me. If you can give me help on this I will be eternally grateful.

I have asked some things to my grandfather and told me that Marfa Mouchanow didn´t exist.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Olga Bernice on July 16, 2011, 11:53:01 PM
How interesting - I'm sorry, I'm no help with the photos. Can you tell us more about your grandfather? Can he remember Tsarskoe Selo? Indulge us, please!  :)
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 17, 2011, 04:29:11 AM
Quote
I have asked some things to my grandfather and told me that Marfa Mouchanow didn´t exist.
Not surprizing at all. Thank you for that infomation....I hope you find the pictures!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 17, 2011, 08:50:46 AM
petzia - I am sorry but I have no pictures of Marfa or her family.  The pictures we have are used in the book by "marfa"mouchanow" and are attributed to Paul Thompson and also to the William Randolph Hearst news agency.  They are not pictures of Marfa, but pictures of palaces and other sites around Russia.

The book itself is in question because we can not find out just who Marfa Mouchinow is or find any link to a family who might be hers.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: petzia on July 17, 2011, 12:07:34 PM
petzia - I am sorry but I have no pictures of Marfa or her family.  The pictures we have are used in the book by "marfa"mouchanow" and are attributed to Paul Thompson and also to the William Randolph Hearst news agency.  They are not pictures of Marfa, but pictures of palaces and other sites around Russia.

The book itself is in question because we can not find out just who Marfa Mouchinow is or find any link to a family who might be hers.

Dear Alixz,

Maybe my english is bad. You mentioned that you have this material: "- there is a picture of a lot of young children who are the children of Cavalry General and Aide de Camp General of His Majesty Baron Theophile Bogdanovitch Meyendorff (1838-1919) and his wife Comtesse Helene Pavlovna Schouvaloff (1857-1943).
One child is named Anastasia (1885-1976), future Madame Ilya Moukhanoff.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Pierre I Danzas"


This child named Anastasia is my grandfather´s mother and Ilya Moukhanoff is his father.
If you can scan this and post it...

Thank you!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: petzia on July 17, 2011, 12:14:14 PM
Quote
I have asked some things to my grandfather and told me that Marfa Mouchanow didn´t exist.
Not surprizing at all. Thank you for that infomation....I hope you find the pictures!

Yes, maybe it can help: Mouchanow is a french translation of this surname. Thank you!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: petzia on July 17, 2011, 12:42:06 PM
How interesting - I'm sorry, I'm no help with the photos. Can you tell us more about your grandfather? Can he remember Tsarskoe Selo? Indulge us, please!  :)

He always remember Tsarskoe Selo. He left Russia when he was 9 years old and luckily he was able to travel in the 90´s. In Russia, nobody believed that somebody from this family was still alive! Now I am trying to connect all stories and collect all possible material.
I also saw that somebody posted about Gueringer´s family. He told me that this family and his family were neightbour´s in Tsarskoe Selo. They lived beside his home-
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: matushka on July 17, 2011, 01:49:04 PM
This last information can really be of some interest: it could be a plausible "explanation" why Mrs Geringer choose such a pseudonym. Of course if she really is the source for this book, if she, and not anyone else gave an extensive interview to some american journalists who then rewrite the story. That seems a possible scenario.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 17, 2011, 06:44:40 PM
To me the book is made from several sources/people ...which accounts for the unevenness.  The author is not one person...but many. Because on one hand it shows great knowledge, then on the other ,it makes simple mistakes no one in this position ,( an important lady in waiting no one has heard of ) would make. It has true elements, but  the idea it was writen by  one person is imo, a fiction . I believe it's  purpose was as  propaganda in the West  , where it was thought, the mistakes would  not noticed and I believe those who put this together  were  correct in that thought....Plus it can't be forgotten it went to press  before the family was murdered...and was for sale just as the news of their deaths was beginning to come out.  Remarkable timing
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on July 18, 2011, 09:09:05 AM
petzia - I am sorry but I have no pictures of Marfa or her family.  The pictures we have are used in the book by "marfa"mouchanow" and are attributed to Paul Thompson and also to the William Randolph Hearst news agency.  They are not pictures of Marfa, but pictures of palaces and other sites around Russia.

The book itself is in question because we can not find out just who Marfa Mouchinow is or find any link to a family who might be hers.

Dear Alixz,

Maybe my English is bad. You mentioned that you have this material: "- there is a picture of a lot of young children who are the children of Cavalry General and Aide de Camp General of His Majesty Baron Theophile Bogdanovitch Meyendorff (1838-1919) and his wife Comtesse Helene Pavlovna Schouvaloff (1857-1943).
One child is named Anastasia (1885-1976), future Madame Ilya Moukhanoff.  This picture was provided by Monsieur Pierre I Danzas"


This child named Anastasia is my grandfather´s mother and Ilya Moukhanoff is his father.
If you can scan this and post it...

Thank you!

I am sorry, I misunderstood.  Those photos are in Noblesse Russe: Portraits put together by Jacques Ferrand in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Unfortunately, I can't scan them because my scanner won't let me scan books and the books are so rare and so expensive that I don't want to damage them in any way.

I know that others in the forum have some of these books, perhaps their scanners work differently than mine.  Check in the "Books" Thread for books by J Ferrand.  You may find the names and email addresses of those who can help you.


Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 18, 2011, 09:20:59 AM
Not that I'm suggesting you do this, but I have begun to take pictures of the photos in books with very good results .
I put my digital camera on the micro setting ( for taking pictures up close to the object ) It works well and is less stressful on  the books. 
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: TsarAlexeiII on July 30, 2011, 10:37:48 PM
Marie  Feodorovna  Adelung is proposed as an acronym which spells Marfa.
It's interesting that in the 1901 St. Petersburg directory provided by rudy3 (http://stevemorse.org/russian/phonebookviewer?db=3&page=134), Maria Geringer's name is listed (English translation) "Mar. Fyod." ("Map. Фед.") Her maiden name is obviously not listed, but this goes to show that the idea of the acronym (whoever's idea that originally was) is not unsubstantiated. The directory itself lists her name nearly as the acronym everybody has been suggesting.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: TsarAlexeiII on July 30, 2011, 10:49:08 PM
The Wikipedia article on Friedrich von Adelung may refer to Julia's grandfather. Born in 1768, he is definitely too old to be the father of an employee of Tsaritsa Alexandra, but he may be the father of "our" Maria Feodorovna, who in turn is the mother of Julia. Just a thought......
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on July 30, 2011, 11:07:34 PM
I just don't think it's  the voice of one real person and  that's it's almost a novel
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: TsarAlexeiII on July 30, 2011, 11:42:41 PM
Griffh -  We know that the Imperial Family left Tsarskoe Selo on August 13-14 1917.  The book was published (or at least paid for by the publisher) in April of 1918.  That is more than enough time to get it written perhaps with help.  Probably, now that I think about it, John Lane was looking for information on the deposed Imperial Family and might have expedited the buy of the rights and the publication to keep "current".
As a British publishing company, I wonder how the intense political atmosphere in Britain impacted the book's publication. The head of state (who had a lot of authority and influence at the time), King George V, while perhaps acting selfishly by refusing to give the Imperial Family sanctuary in 1917, undoubtedly cared about his cousins and may have at the very least supported the publication of a pro-Romanov book.
Title: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: griffh on December 27, 2011, 07:24:45 PM
I just recieved Prelude to the Revolution: The Murder of Rasputin, (2011) by the late Ronald C. Moe and he identies the author of My Empress as Alexandra's First Maid-in-Waiting, Madeleine Zanotti who wrote under the nom de plume of Marfa Mouchanow.  He first mentions this on p. 49 and again on p. 53 when quoting passages from the book.  In his End  Notes on p. 71 he goes into some detail about how important Zanotti's view are, having written them only months after the first Revolution.  However the late Ronald C. Moe does not go into detail about how he learned Zanotti was the author of My Empress.  He worked in the Library of Congress for most of his life, and possibly his friend and adviser, Idris Traylor, retired Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs at Texas Tech University knows the details.   
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: historyfan on December 27, 2011, 09:26:28 PM
Hi Griff! Nice to see you. I hope you're enjoying the holidays.

Thank you for the update. It's a shame he didn't provide more details as to the source of his knowledge, however, it's a clue.
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: Sunny on December 28, 2011, 12:57:31 AM
I just recieved Prelude to the Revolution: The Murder of Rasputin, (2011) by the late Ronald C. Moe and he identies the author of My Empress as Alexandra's First Maid-in-Waiting, Madeleine Zanotti who wrote under the nom de plume of Marfa Mouchanow.  He first mentions this on p. 49 and again on p. 53 when quoting passages from the book.  In his End  Notes on p. 71 he goes into some detail about how important Zanotti's view are, having written them only months after the first Revolution.  However the late Ronald C. Moe does not go into detail about how he learned Zanotti was the author of My Empress.  He worked in the Library of Congress for most of his life, and possibly his friend and adviser, Idris Traylor, retired Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs at Texas Tech University knows the details.   

This sounds interesting but alas it does not give answer to a lot of questions of mine. I mean, if really Zanotti wrote it, why is it so full of odd stories & rumors about Alexandra? Alexandra liked Zanotti very much, and so we can assume she wrote the truth; but we know a lot of things in "My Empress" are not... well, i'm confused  ::)
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: griffh on December 28, 2011, 09:53:45 AM
Hi Griff! Nice to see you. I hope you're enjoying the holidays.

Thank you for the update. It's a shame he didn't provide more details as to the source of his knowledge, however, it's a clue.

Gosh it is nice to hear from you as well!!!  Just like the Old Times!!!!  The holidays are great and I hope yours are too.

I just recieved Prelude to the Revolution: The Murder of Rasputin, (2011) by the late Ronald C. Moe and he identies the author of My Empress as Alexandra's First Maid-in-Waiting, Madeleine Zanotti who wrote under the nom de plume of Marfa Mouchanow.  He first mentions this on p. 49 and again on p. 53 when quoting passages from the book.  In his End  Notes on p. 71 he goes into some detail about how important Zanotti's view are, having written them only months after the first Revolution.  However the late Ronald C. Moe does not go into detail about how he learned Zanotti was the author of My Empress.  He worked in the Library of Congress for most of his life, and possibly his friend and adviser, Idris Traylor, retired Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs at Texas Tech University knows the details.    

  

This sounds interesting but alas it does not give answer to a lot of questions of mine. I mean, if really Zanotti wrote it, why is it so full of odd stories & rumors about Alexandra? Alexandra liked Zanotti very much, and so we can assume she wrote the truth; but we know a lot of things in "My Empress" are not... well, i'm confused  ::)

I know what you mean Sunny, but then Spiridonovitch says that Zanotti seems to have had a falling out with Alix at some point.  I will have to try and find the reference.  I don't know exactly what to make of Moe's claim but as his close friend and adviser lived in Texas, perhaps Idris Taylor went ahead and continued my priliminary research at the John Lane Archives at Texas U. (see former thread on My Empress) and found proof of Zanotti's indentity.  I never asked my researcher to look for Zanotti's name and I can't remember if I asked Mrs. Rose archivist in England for Bodely Head either.  I just wish Moe had given us some kind of proof.   

Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: Forum Admin on December 28, 2011, 10:11:29 AM
I saw that in the book too Griff. I had the same feelings. Bob thinks it's impossible Zanotti wrote "My Empress"...Sadly that citation was one of the few missing from the end notes!
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: blessOTMA on December 28, 2011, 01:26:26 PM
Again, the book's odd nature and uneven tone....( from amazing reasonably in all things, to a crazy hated of Ella for example ) , hinders finding one author for it...plus the claim its author was a lady in waiting for AF during the whole time she was on the Russian throne. I think it would be easier to find one of the books  authors  than a author....it doesn't seen like the voice of one person though out. And what about John Lane company itself ?  I noticed they were the publisher of, "  Behind the veil at the Russian court " by Paul Vasili, ( actually Catherine Radziwill ) ....so hardly an impeccable source. But thank you  for your continued efforts!
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: Helen on December 29, 2011, 04:55:44 AM
I just received Prelude to the Revolution: The Murder of Rasputin, (2011) by the late Ronald C. Moe and he identifies the author of My Empress as Alexandra’s First Maid-in-Waiting, Madeleine Zanotti who wrote under the nom de plume of Marfa Mouchanow.  He first mentions this on p. 49 and again on p. 53 when quoting passages from the book.  In his End  Notes on p. 71 he goes into some detail about how important Zanotti’s view are, having written them only months after the first Revolution.  However the late Ronald C. Moe does not go into detail about how he learned Zanotti was the author of My Empress.
I am doubtful whether Madeleine Zanotti was ‘Marfa Mouchanow’. Zanotti was unmarried and only 3 years older than the Empress. She had worked at the court in Darmstadt in the early 1890s, but she was as unfamiliar with Russia and Russian court life in 1894 as Alix was. If she was the author of My Empress, this background makes her account and interpretation of the Empress´ early months/years in Russia less reliable, as she would have had to fill in many gaps in her knowledge of the court and courtiers with second-hand information. A fake identity as a lady of a high rank that made her eligible for such a responsible position at the court  and as a widow of a Colonel who had died shortly before N&A’s wedding may have been useful in such a situation, but it would have been rather stupid of the author to undermine the credibility of her book by misrepresenting any situations she actually did have first-hand information on. Yet this is exactly what Zanotti did, if she was the author behind the alias. My Empress includes at least one statement of which Zanotti must have known it was utter nonsense and which was unfair to the Empress, whose interests Marfa Mouchanow pretended to have at heart: On page 110, Mouchanow states that “Besides the Princess [Galitzyne] there were four maids of honour attached to the person of the young Czarina. The first was the Countess Lamsdorff, with whom the Sovereign could not get on and to whom she took a violent dislike…”. This is a misrepresentation. It’s true that Countess Lamsdorff did leave quite soon, but she didn’t leave because of any conflict with the Empress; she left because she got engaged to the Russian ambassador to Munich. And the Empress did not  take a violent dislike to Countess Lamsdorff. On the contrary, she thought her charming and was very sorry to part with her, and the Countess was in tears when she bade the Empress farewell. [Ref: P. H. Kleinpenning, “The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse”, pp. 188-190] Madeleine Zanotti was staying with the Empress in Russia when Countess Lamsdorff got engaged and left the Empress’ service, so she would have known the truth. If Marfa Mouchanow was Madeleine Zanotti, the author was deliberately telling lies.

I read Mouchanow’s book many years ago and felt that her words had a sly, false ring. Mouchanow pretended that she had “nothing to say but good of the unfortunate Czar and Czarina” [p.94], but her book is actually full of criticism disguised as ‘motherly’ comments. And if I remember rightly, most ‘errors’ in her book didn’t work out in the Empress’ favour, but ‘accidentally’ added more criticism.
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: rudy3 on December 29, 2011, 05:41:01 AM
In "My Empress" the author writes in the end of her book how she is dismissed and took farewell of the Empress in the Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. Mrs Zanotti followed the Imperial Family to Tobolsk.....
Title: Re: Update on author of "My Empress"
Post by: blessOTMA on December 29, 2011, 06:28:45 PM
This mix of inside knowledge and nonsense has always added to the book mystery and perhaps it was done purposely  to keep hidden the author or authors . We are  stuck questioning  who wrote it and rarely get to  the why
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on December 30, 2011, 04:54:51 AM
Just posting here, to have this thread closer to: "Update on author of "My Empress""
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Sarushka on December 30, 2011, 08:01:00 AM
Just posting here, to have thirs thread closer to: "Update on author of "My Empress""

Thanks -- I've merged the two topics to ensure the information stays together.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rudy3 on December 30, 2011, 08:22:35 AM
Thank you, Sarushka, for combining the threads. Together they make interesting reading, isn't it? And now we can go on with this exciting subject.....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 02, 2012, 10:49:46 AM
Bob and I were talking about this again. It simply could not have been Zanotti. She was with the Empress her entire life, and was almost her "little sister".  She went to Tobolsk with them. The Empress went into her own jewels to give her a present for her years of service. Afterwards, she went to Victoria Milford Haven, who supported her, and then she went back to the Neue Palais in Darmstadt to run the house.  When the Nazis tried to evict her, she starved herself to death rather than leave.  I simply can't fathom someone so devoted to the family could write that book.  I think it was a serious mistake for the author to attribute "My Empress" to Zanotti without some genuine substaniation. Bob now refuses to read the book as a result of this.  I also have great doubts now as to why he didn't read Richard Cullen's forensic examination of the Rasputin murder, which is the single most important piece of the puzzle IMO.

I'll finish it tho.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on January 02, 2012, 10:12:09 PM
I think as long as one tries to make one person fit as the author  this book, it will confound. I believe it's a stew. It's not just how it  was written...but how it rocketed to publication and was in  the book stores in Aug 1918....just as news of the family's murder ( or at least the Tsar's death ) was coming out. Also, after reading this entertaining stew,  can anyone see AF having this person with her for the whole  23 years? She's constantly telling Alix's she's wrong lol!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 03, 2012, 09:58:11 AM
I'd forgotten "My Empress" was in the stores so early.  That is the clue as to why Zanotti could not possibly be the author. She was still in Tobolsk at that point and had not yet gotten out to England!
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: griffh on January 03, 2012, 06:43:29 PM
GREAT POINT....
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on January 03, 2012, 07:19:41 PM
Indeed. One can't forget the timing...we have so little else to go by. Not only was the book in stores in 1918,  but sections were published in the Aug 1918 Ladies Home Journal, with art work. The  magazine went to press months before and so the book must of been complied well before even that.

I think when it ends is a clue to its beginning and it was concocted soon after the family was sent to Siberia.  Whatever, it was very well connected to appear that fast and in such a manner. The speed tells us it was made for a reason...if that was found, perhaps the authors would be as well . It's not simply one person penning thier memories....those books appeared later in the 20's
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: historyfan on January 03, 2012, 09:00:09 PM
Maybe this has been brought up before, but if indeed the author of "My Empress" is not one person but several, perhaps their names can be found embedded in the pseudonym "Marfa Mouchanow"? Any codebreakers among us?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on January 04, 2012, 10:48:32 AM
So the family left Tobolsk in two parties beginning in the spring of 1918 but Zanotti was still in Tobolsk in July of 1918. Nicholas and Alexandra and Marie left Tobolsk in April of 1918 and the others left on May 23.

When did Zanotti get out of Tobolsk and into service with Victoria Milford-Haven? When she went back to Neus Palais did she run the house for Ernst?

Someone who gave such unswerving loyalty to a family does not look likely to have written a book where she disparages her employer.

Does anyone know what Zanotti thought of Ella?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 04, 2012, 11:17:07 AM
Zanotti was left behind in Tobolsk when the rest went to Ekaterinburg.  She stayed there and left the same time the Gibbes and Buxhoeveden did. Yes, she ran the house for Ernie. I don't know what she thought of Ella. But I can tell you that Bob is in contact with Zanotti's great niece in England these days.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Alixz on January 05, 2012, 03:02:05 PM
How odd that Moe would use her as the source for My Empress.  Is there anyone who helped him do his research or editing or anything else with the book who might be able to shed some light on his reasons?
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rgt9w on January 05, 2012, 05:44:06 PM
Adding to Alixz's question....did Mr. Moe complete the manuscript prior to his death or did someone assist with finishing it?  I wonder if the Zanotti issue was a working theory that may have been either addressed further or ultimately discarded if he had had further time to work on this project.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: blessOTMA on January 06, 2012, 12:22:26 AM
Maybe this has been brought up before, but if indeed the author of "My Empress" is not one person but several, perhaps their names can be found embedded in the pseudonym "Marfa Mouchanow"? Any codebreakers among us?
Interesting idea! It also could be like"  Häagen-Dazs "  ice cream...a totally made up name lol It seems  a sterling example of WW1 propaganda
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 06, 2012, 09:26:57 AM
I is my understanding that the manuscript was finished before he passed.  Also, we DO have the thread pertaining to Mr. Moe's book for this specific discussion. Thanks.

Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: rgt9w on January 06, 2012, 04:49:42 PM
Please accept my apologies. I got confused on which thread I was posting as I was reading both. Please feel free to move my post to the correct thread.
Title: Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
Post by: Laura Mabee on August 27, 2013, 08:26:49 PM
Zanotti was left behind in Tobolsk when the rest went to Ekaterinburg.  She stayed there and left the same time the Gibbes and Buxhoeveden did. Yes, she ran the house for Ernie. I don't know what she thought of Ella. But I can tell you that Bob is in contact with Zanotti's great niece in England these days.
Did Zanotti write a memoir of her time with the Empress?

*bumping* this thread to spark discussion again. Maybe we can find out new clues to put a real name behind this work?