Discussions about Russian History > Their World and Culture

1903 Costume Ball

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brnbg aka: liljones1968:
 i realize there other threads about and/or that contain the topic of the 1903 ball, but I'm still hoping this thread won't get "merged" with any of those.   no one else may care, but one of the first thoughts i had after looking through the plates once i got home, was that i wanted to share it with others on the APF.    so, if the fate of THIS thread is to disappear into some other thread, I'd rather it be removed.  thank you.

 San Francisco Public Library holds huge book sales (some are enormous!) at least once a year...sometimes several.  the books for sale are former library books and books donated to the library and books donated for these sales.    at the last one, i came across a large folio (2 feet long!) containing 50 loose plates & an explanatory "insert".   when i saw what the folio contained, i knew I'd beg, borrow or steal to get it....well, maybe not steal.  i got it for $20!    i know nothing about it, though.  it may be an extremely common item.   regardless, i count myself very lucky to have found it.

Historical Russian costumes, XIV-XVII century. Worn by the Russian imperial family and their guests at the ball in the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, on February 27, 1903.   published by H.C.Perleberg, New York

there's no publishing date given, but it was after the revolution.   of course, it's not one of the original 1903/1904 albums, which contains hundreds of images.

the folio itself is crumbling, but the plates are, for the most part, in amazingly good condition.   

since most of us have seen the images of N II & AF, MP the elder & Ksenia Aleksandrovna, i decided i wouldn't bother posting those.
the ones i'm posting are those i hadn't seen before.

a note about the identification:  every sitter is identified, but i'm feeling lazy at the moment, so i'm doing what was done in the folio. 
each plate is numbered, and the corresponding number in the table of contents identifies the sitter & who or what they are costumed as.
so the images in this post are numbered;  i'm including the title page, "editor's page & the table of contents;  and y'all will have to go back and forth yourselves to see who is who....just like i did.

btw, i'm not going post all of them cuz it takes so long & it'd be a pain in the a**

b]click the following images for larger versions[/b]
























Forum Admin:
Merge this or DELETE THIS??


BRIAN - Sir you are AMAZING! How fortunate you were to find this. How GENEROUS you are to SHARE THIS. Are you mad to think I would merge or worse delete this treasure you have been so wonderful to SHARE? perhaps you will scan the ones you did not post?

A thousand times I thank you!


What a brilliant acqusition, Brian! Congratulations! Some of us have the 2 volume  book, but we paid considerably more than you did for the folio. How generous of you to post the pictures. I really must pay more attention to the library sales!

I am a little curious as to why not merge it--there are so many pictures on the 1903 thread and this would serve as an excellent companion to it--as well as re-igniting a slumbering thread. I wouldn't merge (let alone delete--perish that though immediately!) it since you had specifically requested not to, even before the FA weighed in. I'm just curious is all.

BTW, yes it is a truly great find and once again you are more than generous in taking the time and effort to scan and post them for us, Brian.  :) :-* Congratulations on the find and bargain.

There was a question in the Elizaveta Feodorovna section regarding this ball and some IDs--I provided some of the royal ones but hopefully that poster will find the chart you provided quite enlightening as well.

Here is the link for that question:

And for those interested, the 1903 thread:

And a discussion on the book

then a plea on behalf of the FA not to discuss it anymore (I guess it was getting wild & woolly)

brnbg aka: liljones1968:

my reading glasses for scale


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