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Topics - griffh

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Taking Janet Ashton's suggestion, I have decided to start a thread on the Empress's war relief work.

Having just published the first of my articles in Royalty Digest Quarterly, I thought this thread could also serve as a place where individuals could share their views of the articles.

Having just returned from England I am a still catching up a bit but all the same I wanted to establish the thread.

 

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Palaces in Moscow / Alexander Train Station in Moscow?
« on: March 17, 2011, 11:11:59 AM »
I am currently studying a description of the Tsar's arrival in Moscow on August 4/17, 1914 for the second Declaration of War ceremony and the article describes the Imperial train as arriving in Moscow at Alexander Train Station on the Nikolai track.  I have not been able to find any mention of Alexander Station in Moscow.  When I went online to find a period photograph of the station, the only Moscow-St. Petersburg station I could find was Konstantin Thon's Italianate Nikolayevsky Station which is currently named the Lenninevsky, I believe.  Does anyone know anything about Alexander Station in Moscow?  Thanks...Griff 

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Palaces in Moscow / Neskoutchnoe Palace
« on: August 17, 2010, 04:08:47 PM »
Does anyone have any information about Neskoutchnoe Palace? 

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CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE EMPRESS ALEXANDRA’S
PATERNAL RELATIONS, 1862-1906

[NOTE]:  The primary purpose of this chronology is to establish a clearer understanding of Alexandra’s paternal German relatives and their effect on the Empress both as a child and as an adult. Of course a chronology can only achieve such a goal by implication, by putting births, marriages and deaths in chronological order which reveal thought provoking issues.  I have included Alexandra’s paternal great-uncles and great-aunts and their issue.  I have referred to the children of Alexandra’s great-uncles and great-aunts as her “second cousins once removed” and the children of her “second cousins” as her “third cousins twice removed.” 

But most importantly, I have included Heinrich, Wilhelm, and Anna, the two brothers and sister of Alexandra’s father, the Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse.  By tracking the morganatic marriages of Heinrich and Wilhelm one gains a more intelligent context for Alexandra’s father’s brief morganatic marriage to Alexandrina Hutten-Czapska, Countess von Romrod.   

The only paternal relations that do not appear in the chronology are Alexandra’s great-aunt, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse, who died at the age of five in Lausanne on May 27, 1826 and Alexandra’s second cousin once removed, the Grand Duchess Alexandra, who died at the age of seven in St. Petersburg on July 10, 1849.  I wanted to integrate the Empress’s Windsor (Saxe-Coburg_Gotha) relatives but have confined myself only to those British marriages that directly involved Alexandra’s paternal German family. However I have included the issue of the Emperor Alexander II and his issue as he was the husband of Alexandra’s great-aunt, the Empress Marie.

The chronology begins 20 years before the birth of Alexandra, in the year 1862 with the passing of the Grand Duchess Mathilde, the wife of Alexandra’s great-uncle the reigning Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse.  The chronology ends when Alexandra is thirty four, in May 1906, with the marriage of her niece Ena to Alfonso XIII of Spain.  May 1906 seemed appropriate because it also includes the official opening of the Duma by Alexandra’s husband, Nicholas II and the inauguration of the first parliamentarian, dualist government in Russia.   

All the dates of the chronology are taken from the Georgian, New Style, Calendar.

1862
May 25, 1862:  25.5.1862 Alexandra’s Great Aunt Mathilde, Grand Duchess of Hesse, dies in Darmstadt.

July 1, 1862:  1.7.1862 Alexandra’s father, Prince Louis of Hesse and the Rhine marries Princess Alice of Great Britain, at Osborne House, the Isle of Wight. 

1863
April 5, 1863: 5.4.1863 Alexandra’s sister, Victoria, is born in Windsor Castle.

1864
May 12, 1864: 12.5.1864  Alexandra’s Aunt, Princess Anna of Hesse is married in Darmstadt to the Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  Princess Anna, who is twenty years younger than her husband, is the Grand Duke Friedrich’s second wife and inherits six children from his first wife.  The Grand Duchess Anna’s step-daughter, Princess Marie, will eventually marry Alexandra’s second cousin once removed, the Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia.

Sept. 28, 1864:  (confirmed) The Tsarevich Nikolai, favorite son of Alexandra’s great-aunt, the Empress Marie, is engaged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark.

Nov. 1, 1864: 1.11.1864  Alexandra’s sister Elisabeth is born at Bessungen.

1865
April 16, 1865: 16.4.1865  Alexandra’s Aunt, the Grand Duchess Anna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, dies during the childbirth.  Her daughter Anne survives childbirth.

April 24, 1865:  24.4.1865  The Tsarevich Nikolai, the favorite son of Alexandra’s great-aunt, the Empress Marie of Russia, dies in Nice.     

1866
June 23, 1866:  The new Tsarevich Alexander, Alexandra’s second cousin once removed, is engaged to his late brother’s fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark.

July 11, 1866: 11.7.1866  Alexandra’s sister Irene is born in Darmstadt.

Nov. 9, 1866: 9.11.1866  The new Tsarevich Alexander, Alexandra’s second cousin once removed, is married in St. Petersburg to Princess Dagmar of Denmark, who takes the name Maria Feodorovna.

1867
1867:  Princess N Lubomirska, mistress of Alexandra’s great-uncle by marriage, Alexander II, gives birth to an illegitimate son, Joseph Raboxicz. 

1868
May 18, 1868: 18.5.1868  Alexandra’s future husband and her third cousin twice removed, Nicholas Romanoff, is born in St. Petersburg.

June 9, 1868:  9.6.1868  Magdalene Appel, mistress of Alexandra’s great-uncle Ludwig III, is created Countess von Hochstädten.

June 20, 1868: 20.6.1868 Alexandra’s great-uncle the Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse contracts a morganatic marriage to Magdalene Appel, Countess von Hochstädten, at Darmstadt. 

Nov. 25, 1868: 25.11.1868  Alexandra’s brother, Ernst, is born at Darmstadt.


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The Final Chapter / Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« on: August 24, 2006, 04:11:01 AM »
I am currently reading several books by American diplomats and historians that cover the impact Pres. Wilson had on the Russian Revolution and indirectly on the fate of Nicholas II.  As I read the information in Kenan's, "Russia Leaves the War," it seems as if President Wilson has a disastrous impact on the welfare of the Imperial family.  First came Wilson's April 2, 1917 (new style) Declaration of War.  In his address to Congress, Wilson eulogized the Russian Revolution, which had just occurred on March 15, 1917 (new style), and he used the pseudo-ideological argument between democracy and autocracy as part of his reason for America’s entrance into Europe’s war.  Wilson refused to accept the formation of the Duma in 1906 as having ended the Autocracy in Russia.  He states that “No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith or observe it covenants.”  His misinformed statement not only insulted the sacrifice, stamina, and patriotism of the Emperor and his government to the Allied cause but, tragically, Wilson’s biased ignorance made the ex-Emperor Nicholas politically redundant within a week of his return to Tsarskoe Selo from Mogilev on March 22, 1917 (new style). 

Wilson’s advisor, Lansing, had pointed out in a Cabinet meeting as early as March 20, 1917 (new style), just five days after the Emperor’s abdication and before he had even returned to Tsarskoe Selo, that “…the revolution in Russia…had removed the one objection to affirming that the European war was a war between Democracy and Absolutism; that the only hope of a permanent peace between all nations depended upon the establishment of democratic institutions throughout the world;…”  Lansing’s statement not only destroyed any possibility of the Emperor’s restoration but made it abundantly clear that anyone who desired to reinstate the Ex-Emperor or any member of his family would immediately find themselves an enemy of the American government.  Wilson's Declaration of War changed the entire direction of the conflict by making it a battle between democracy and absolutism, which in turn made Nicholas into an war criminal. 

Nine months later, on January 8, 1918 (the fall of the Provisional Government had occurred on November 12/13, 1917 [new style] ), Wilson delivered his “Fourteen Points” speech to Congress which coincided with the separate peace Trotsky and Lenin were trying to negotiate with Germany.  Without formally recognizing the Bolshevik government, Wilson made it clear in his speech that he was in sympathy with the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty, using the same phrases as Lenin had, such as “anti-imperialistic war aims” and “a peace with out annexations and indemnities.” Again Wilson was misinformed as to the motives of the Bolsheviks in seeking a separate peaca and accused the Germans of duplicity during the negotiations.  Trotsky found Wilson’s Fourteen Points exceedingly helpful in propping up what little political clout the Bolsheviks had during the negotiations. 

But the most disasterous impact of Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech on January 8, 1918 was that it finished off the ex-Emperor and the entire Romanoff family as there was no room for such people in his new world order.  To me, this helps explain in part, why the Counter Revolution made no real efforts to liberate the Imperial family.  The Imperial family’s death 6 months after Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech could be seen as simply a heartless political afterthought of a new world order; a new world order Wilson would promulgate at Versailles in 1919; a new world order that would end in a catastrophic nightmare for Russia by 1920; a new world order that would bankrupt Europe for a century; a new world order that eventually caused the Cold War between the America and the Soviet Union by 1950’s with it’s threat of nuclear extinction that would hang over the world until the end of the century, a century now referred to as “The Century of Blood.” 

I guess I got a little carried away in that last sentence but I never realized how similar Wilson and Lenin were.  By the time Wilson became aware of what was really going on in Russia, he was in a state of total mental collapse.  One of the unanswered questions of the period was the sudden recall of the American Ambassador in 1916, a man that Nicholas had confidence in.  I know that my views are highly personal but still I think that there is something valid to ponder in all of this.   

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Russian Noble Families / Titled America Ladies in the Russian Court
« on: August 07, 2006, 05:54:01 PM »
In another thread I contributed the information below and was encouraged to start a thread on the topic and thought that this might be a good place to begin.  Even my modest American family has ties to several european titles, however only one is to the Russian aristocracy.  Well enough of that, and here is the information about the titled American women that comprised the last Imperial court of Russia.  If anyone has more information about these American women or knows of more American women who carried Russian titles I hope that they contribute the information.

At the Russian Court of Nicholas II there were quite a few American titled women. 

Princess Suzanne Belosselsky-Belozersky, nee Miss Whitier (the Belosselsky-Belozersky's had been the original owners of Serge Palace in St. Petersburg);

Princess Julia Cantacuzene, Countess Speransky, nee Miss Grant (the granddaughter of President U.S. Grant);

Countess Lili Nostitz, nee Miss Bouton (widow of Baron von Nimptsch); Madame Marian Artizimovitch (wife of the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs);

Baroness Hoyningen-Huehne, nee Miss Lothrop (who created the fashion house, Yteb in Paris after the Revolution and whose brother George became the famous fashion photographer);

Baroness Fanny Ramsay, nee Mis Whitehouse (who looked so much like the young Empress Alexandra and was considered one of the great beauties of the beau mode);

Madame Mamy Bachmeteff, nee Miss Beale, (whose husband was the the last Czarist Ambassador to America). 

I am sure that there were even more but those are the only one's I currently know of.  Titled American Women even had their own magazine which was published in NYC up until the end of WWI, which I believe was called "Titled American Women".  I must add that I am eternally grateful to this fourm as I have learned the identity of the two Russia Princes that I am related to distantly through marriage, and a contributer to this fourm grew up blocks away from my Great Aunt's townhouse in Paris in the Passy!  I had memorized her address as a child and was even told that such a street did not exist in the Passy, however this gentleman, who was a decendent of Russian aristocrats and whose grandmother's home was in the Passy, recognized the address of my Great Aunt's home immediately.  You can imagine that it has been so difficult to sort fiction from fact and it is so reassuring that what I was told by both my maternal Aunty and my paternal Uncle turned out to be true. 

I possess all three of Princess Cantacuzene's books and Countess Nostitz's book, but I am not clear if there are other biographies on the other American titled ladies in Russia. 



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Russian Noble Families / Princes Golitzin
« on: February 26, 2005, 12:23:05 PM »
I am not sure that there will be any responses to this thread but does anyone know anything about a certain Princess Aimee Galitizine.  I am starting to do some research about her.  She appears in the history of my mother's family as the first wife of my Aunt's grandfather Porter Ashe of Ashville and San Francisco.    

Aimee was born a Crocker of San Francisco and married Porter at first secretly and then openly.  I think Porter had trouble with gambling.  The marriage did not last even though they had a daughter and I believe Aimee got a divorce within a few years of the marriage.  

In her autobiography, "And I'd Do It Again," she mentions her marriage to my Aunt's grandfather and details about the honeymoon, etc, but then she confines herself to stories of her romances with men like the King of Hawaii and her visit to him.  He gave her an Island and she managed to shock all the good Christian women by her antics.  She does mention husband's names in passing but never gives any details and uses her Galitizine title but never shares his name.  I don't know whether she wrote her book hoping to have it made into a movie or not but it reads like the adventures of an untamed Asian Godesss.

I do know that she married the Prince and that they lived in the Passy near the Trocadoro on 20 Rue Vinuce? or Venice?  One of my friends was able to find the house in the 1960's and said that it had been turned into an upscale apt house and a very old concierge still remembered a Princess Galitizine.  At least that is what my friend said but his French was not too good at the time.  He even managed to get a photograph of the building.  It is on a wedged shape street and appears to be three blocks long, however I lost the photograph when I lent my photo file on Russia to a publisher.  My Uncle said that the Princess bought the property because it had three stories, was three blocks long and had a triple basement and that this was all highly significant to the Princess and meant that somehow the place was destined for her.

Personally I have never heard of a triple basement or a house being three blocks long (how does someone determine that?) but this is why I am trying my best to finally get the courage to sort out fact from fiction.  I really don't even know for sure if my friend just gave upp and photographed any building he could find, but he was a very kind hearted and honest man.

My father's brother, who was in Paris attending the Ecole de Beau Arts and was on a Fisher Scholarship to the Sorbonne (I know I am mispelling all these names) was introduced to the Princess and she became his patron.  He kept his studio at 75 Blvd. Montparnasse but he moved into the Princess' town house.  

I know that address is accurate as I have some of the letters he wrote to my father from Paris.  My Uncle was to be the next great ex patriot American portrait painter and studied under the famous Lucian Simon.  

I do know that my Uncle, though he lived in a wing of the Princess' town house was never invited to her parties as he was not considered a peer but he was often included in her fabulous luncheons in the Bois.  

He was given a valet and car and driver however and according to one of his letters he was a member of the Russian Basket Ball Club.  He even included sketches of his excellant performance and they have been lost.  I don't know if he was joking about the existence of such a club or not.  He did see many of the exiled Romanoffs and Royalty and did recieve at least one commission to paint the portrait of an Italian Princess.  He had many wealthy young friends and he told me many fabulous stories about the Princess, her passion for pearls, for men, for excitement etc., just as my Aunt did, but I have never been able to trace her marriage to the Prince.  

My family was split by sharp divisions created by wealth and poverty and vastly separate social status and I have lived in fear of them most all my life.  Now as most all of the family is dead, I feel less afraid to find out as much as I can.  I simply do not like to be lied too and misinformed and I find my entire family to be very fascinating.  There has been so much disimulation in the family on both sides that my cousins and sister simply refuse to believe anything and have no connection to their own history.  

My feeble attempts, within my family, to find out more about the Princess have been roughly rebuffed by the few surviving senior members who have been further embittered over multiple divorce suits.  But as so much of my life has been directed by my fascination in the stories of the Princess that I started hearing as a little boy and the eventually led me to reading my first Russian memoir at twelve, has made me want to openly search for more information about her.  

Does anyone have a clue as to how I should start.  My Uncle said that there is a line of the Galitizine family that is not very nice and he thinks that Aimee married a member of that line.  I hope that I am not repeating something that will be interpreted as slander, I am just trying to get as much information out there as I have.
Thanks griff, see bluetoria I am actually trying to go forward!!!!


 

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Alexandra Feodorovna / The Princess Aline, A Story Based on Young Alexandra
« on: February 20, 2005, 11:44:52 AM »
I just finished reading the three installments of "The Princess Aline" in Harpers Magazine,Jan, 1895, Feb. 1895, and Mar. 1895.  It is a novel about Alexandra who appears in the novel as the young and beautiful Princess Aline, Helene, Victoria, Beatrix de Hohenwald et de Grasse who is on tour in Europe with her brother and sisters.  An American portrait painter has fallen in love with a photo of her in an international society magazine and travels 4000 miles to try and meet her and confess his love.  The novel is written by the famous journalist and novelist, Richard Harding Davis and illustrated by the even more famous Charles Dana Gibbson who was married to one of Lady Astor's sisters and who was the model for Gibson's famous Gibson Girl.  Richard Harding Davis is clearly the model for the American painter in the story and he was also Charles Dana Gibbson's model for the Gibbson man.  Gib  

I was just wondering if anyone had some more information about it.  Gibson did some wonderful drawings of Alexandra for the story and she fits into his ideal of intelligence, wholesome nobility, and beauty perfectly.  

I had mentioned the fact that I was reading this story in another discussion and did not have my dates correct so my assumptions that I was drawing were all incorrect as I thought that the story had appeared in 1894 before Alix married Nicky.  

Be that as it may, it does give a fascinating glimpse of Alix's impact on international society and how her beauty was celebrated.  The one part of my reasoning that can be held in tact is that no one, not even Alix's ravishing sister Ella, ever managed to capture the imagination of a novelist in her own time.  The thing that I find so valuable about the story is that there is no "hindsight" reasoning here (I will explain what I  mean by that term a little bit later).  "The Princess Aline" was so popular that even Queen Victoria read it.  

In the last installment, the hero, Morton Carlton, the American portrait painter, has followed Princess Aline and her brother and sisters all the way to Athens.  

The brother has promised to introduce Carlton to Princess Aline on several occasions and for one reason or another at the last minute there were complications that prevented it.  Carlton has followed the Royals from London to Paris, to Constantinople and finally to Greece where the brother promises that he will introduce his sister to the famous American painter at a ball the King of Greece is giving.  

A day or so before the ball, Carlton decides to go sight seeing at the Parthenon and spots Princess Aline stilling on a ruin and looking wistfully into the distance with a note book in her lap and a pencil.  He is able to keep the reporters away who have spotted the Princess and she is able to escape without any unpleasantness and passing right in front of Carlton bowed her thanks and dropped her eyes without speaking to him or stopping.

Alone and disappointed yet once again, Carlton muses, "'If that had been any other girl," he thought, "I would have gone up to her and said, "Was that man annoying you?" and she would have said, "Yes, thank you,' or something; and I would have walked along with her until we had come up to her friends, and she would have told them I had been of some slight service to  her, and all would have gone well.  

"But because she is a Princess she cannot be approached in that way.  At least she does not think so, and I have to act as she has been told I should act, and not as I think I should.  After all, she is only a very beautiful girl, and she must be very tired of her cousins and grandmothers, and of not being allowed to see any one else.  These royalties make a very picturesque show for the rest of us, but indeed it seems rather hard on them.  

"A hundred years from now(Mar. 1895) there will be no more kings and queens, and the writers of that day will envy us, just as the writers of this day envy the men who wrote of chivalry and tournaments, and they will have to choose their heroes from bank presidents, and their heroines from lady lawyers and girl politicians and type-writers.  What a stupid world it will be then."

Does anyone know anything more about this delightful story and Richard Harding Davis' fascination with Alexandra?  I do know that after "The Princess Aline" appeared that Hearst made Davis an offer he could not refuse to cover the Coronation in May 1896 which he did.  

That wonderful new memoir by Alexandra's personal Aide posted on the site (I can't think of his name! He was in the service of the GD Paul before he joined the Imperial suite) says in his memoir that during the Coronation the disaster at Khodynka field was not generally known and was not mentioned as a bad omen until many years later.  It is that sort of "hindsight reasoning" that historians use all the time and that distorts an accurate view of the time.   And Richard Harding Davis seems to corroborate V's point of view by the fact that Richard Harding Davis who was still in Moscow when the disaster happened did not even know that it had occurred.  And later, when newspaper men blamed Richard Harding Davis for not covering the disaster he said that he was unaware of it because a rigid censorship had suppressed all news in order not to cast gloom on the remainder of the festivities.  

He also said that even the other reporters had not been unable to pierce the censorship.  Davis wrote his brother Charley who was American Consul in Florence, "I was disappointed in missing the accident in Moscow, it must have been more terrible than Johnstown."  

Well I have gotten a bit off tract here and again want to know if anyone has any more information about "The Princess Aline" and its impact?     ???  thanks Griff    

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Servants, Friends and Retainers / Countess Rantzau
« on: November 10, 2004, 01:22:12 PM »
Have any of the letters between Countess Rantzau and Alexandra survived?  Prince Von Bulow states in his autobiography that:  

"Among the friends of her youth was a Countess Rantzau, a sickly and somewhat underdeveloped girl, but good at heart ans what people used to call "a beautiful soul."  Princess Alix, even after her marriage, corresponded with the young Countess, and when the latter, who had been sickly from childhood, died young, the Empress of Russia did not hesitate when traveling to Darmstadt on her first visit to take the roundabout way via Kiel in order to lay flowers on the grave of her friend."  

 

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