Author Topic: Alexandra and her education  (Read 8960 times)

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Offline kate1512

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Alexandra and her education
« on: May 22, 2009, 07:32:58 AM »
I`ve read somewhere (well, I think that it was Elisabeth Heresh`s book and some books written by russian`s writers, f.a. "Sunny-Alix-Alexandra" by Krylov-Tolstickovoch) that Alexandra had PhD. I`ve seen NO real historic documents so I think that it`s a fake fact, but...
Do you know anything about it? And about about her education in general (subjects etc).
G.D. Elizabeth told (according to G.D. Maria Pavlovna) that she (Maria Pavlovna) studied too much and in the time of her youth young girls didn`t get so much useless knowledge into their heads. Now it seems that Maria`s educational programme wasn`t too large . So is it correct to say that Alix`s formal education was simple (just german and english languages (and french,I think), drawing, music...What else?)
Thanks.

Offline Lemur

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 09:02:16 AM »
According to the book "Empress Alexandra" by Greg King, she had a degree in psychology from Heidelberg University. I've never seen this mentioned in other books. I had always thought Princesses were not permitted to go to public universities with regular people (and not many women of any standing did in those days) For someone with a psych degree, she sure let people mess with her mind. Go figure.

Offline Yelena Aleksandrovna

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 06:36:05 PM »
Very interesting... Thanks :-)

Offline James_Davidov

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 03:43:23 AM »
According to the book "Empress Alexandra" by Greg King, she had a degree in psychology from Heidelberg University. I've never seen this mentioned in other books. I had always thought Princesses were not permitted to go to public universities with regular people

I also have come across this anecdote, although once only (possibly via King), but I do not believe it is factual…

Often honourable and unusually gifted women were permitted to sit in on lectures at universities, but unfortunately the patriarchal system ensured that they could only ever achieve a sort of quasi tertiary education.  This was achieved by measures such as prohibiting women from engaging in lectures, and even segregating them in the great halls so they were merely isolated audience members, to barring them from sitting exams and having their results published, and in most cases graduating/matriculating. 

This was the case at Heidelberg University during Alexandra’s adolescence, as it was with Oxford and Cambridge; I believe one of the only possibilities may have been the University of Zürich at that time.  I am not sure however how ‘honorary degrees’ may have functioned in those days, if they did at all (but that is a possibility).

Either way, if Alexandra were to have undertaken a degree, it would have taken a considerable amount of energy, determination and influence from her family, and would have been quiet controversial (I am not sure how QV would have received it), so needless to say there would be a mass of sources confirming it.

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Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 05:11:47 AM »
I made enquiries from Oxford University, Cambridge University and Heidelberg University a couple of years ago. Alas, none of them had any records of Alexandra attending lectures or getting a degree.

Darmstadt has had a university since 1877, but it is a college/university of technology, so I doubt that it was possible for anyone to take a degree in Psychology there at the time -  or a degree in any other subject Alexandra might have been interested in.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 01:18:13 PM »
I made enquiries from Oxford University, Cambridge University and Heidelberg University a couple of years ago. Alas, none of them had any records of Alexandra attending lectures or getting a degree.

Darmstadt has had a university since 1877, but it is a college/university of technology, so I doubt that it was possible for anyone to take a degree in Psychology there at the time -  or a degree in any other subject Alexandra might have been interested in.

One of our parishioners, an older Russian lady, now deceased, while a student at Harvard made that same inquiry of Heidelberg University in 1967.

Here was the university archivist's reply:

[img]http://www.saintannas.com/Archived_Docs_HTM/AFtoUniversity.jpg[img]

Basically, he says that prior to 1900, women were not allowed to matriculate at Heidelberg.

Perhaps someone of the Forum with a better knowledge of German will want to translate the entire letter.

(This is my first attempt at posting an image, so if it does not work. Simply use the URL found between the image brackets.)
инок Николай

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 01:29:55 PM »
Were there psychology degrees at all in the period either side of 1890 when Alexandra might have attended university lectures?

Ann

Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2012, 02:54:46 PM »
So is it correct to say that Alix`s formal education was simple (just german and english languages (and french,I think), drawing, music...What else?)
According to Sophie Buxhoevden, Alix actually had a very broad and academic education at which she toiled diligently.

Miss Margaret Hardcastle Jackson, "Madgie" as the Princess Alix affectionately called her later, was a broadminded, cultivated woman, who soon gained a strong influence over her pupils, particularly the eldest. She had impressed the Grand Duchess Alice by her advanced ideas on feminine education. She tried not only to impart knowledge to her pupils, but to form their moral characters and widen their views on life. A keen politician, she was always deeply interested in all important political and social questions of the day. Young as they were, Miss Jackson discussed all such matters with the children, awakening their interest in intellectual questions. Gossip of any kind was not allowed by her. The Princesses were trained to talk on abstract subjects. It was unfortunate that Miss Jackson felt too old and tired, and had to retire before having quite finished the Princess Alix's education, when her youngest charge was only fifteen, as she would certainly have been able to accustom her to break through her reserve and acquire a simpler and easier outlook on life.
With the thoroughness that ever characterized her, Princess Alix gave her whole energy to her lessons. She always had a strong sense of duty, and her teachers certify that she would always willingly give up any pleasure that she thought might prevent her finishing some task for next day. Samples of her handwriting at seven years old show it to be wonderfully neat and firm, and she had a very retentive memory. By the time she was fifteen, she was well grounded in history, literature, geography and all general subjects, particularly those relating to England and Germany. According to her letters to her eldest sister, she toiled without a murmur at dry works like Guizot's Reformation de la Litterature, the Life of Cromwell and Raumer's Geschichte der Hohenstaufen in nine volumes: compared with these, Paradise Lost, which she read in the intervals, must have seemed quite light reading! She had a French teacher, and though her accent was fair, she never became thoroughly at home in that language and always felt "cramped," as she said, in it, being at a loss for words. This hampered her later in Russia, where French was the official language at Court.
--from The Life and Tradgedy of Alexandra Feodorovna.

She apparently was very musical, and Sophie B. states that Alix "did not excell in drawing" but was a good needlewoman. So apparently Alix had in fact a very well-rounded education, I think that the Princess Alice was very much in favor of such and wished for her daughters not to be educated only in ladylike pastimes but also on other subjects, which in turn Alix desired for OTMA.
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Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2012, 03:07:44 PM »
One of our parishioners, an older Russian lady, now deceased, while a student at Harvard made that same inquiry of Heidelberg University in 1967.
Here was the university archivist's reply:
[img]http://www.saintannas.com/Archived_Docs_HTM/AFtoUniversity.jpg[img]
Basically, he says that prior to 1900, women were not allowed to matriculate at Heidelberg.
Perhaps someone of the Forum with a better knowledge of German will want to translate the entire letter.
Thank you for the information!

Dr. Weisert also wrote that this means that Princess Alix could not properly matriculate and study at Heidelberg University, but that there were women who took their Ph.D. at that university anyway, even before 1900. The reason why this was possible is that one could take a doctoral degree without having graduated. [In such cases, it must have been solely the scholarly or scientific quality of one's Ph.D. thesis and the defence of this thesis that decided whether the board passed out a doctor´s degree certificate.] However, Heidelberg University does not have any information confirming that Princess Alix took a Ph.D. at Heidelberg University in this way. Dr. Weisert also regrets that Mrs Hay did not mention the sources where she got her information about Princess Alix's alleged Ph.D. from.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline amartin71718

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2012, 04:36:36 PM »
I was looking through 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia' and came across a quote from a book called 'Selected Works' by A.F. Koni. It said that Alexandra graduated form Heidelberg University with a degree in philosophy.
I'm back on my bull****.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 03:39:20 AM »
I also wondered about philosophy, but is there any evidence of a degree.

Given Alexandra's very good education, I find it interesting that she allowed her own children's education to drift, particularly the younger three's.

Ann

Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 04:56:00 AM »
I also wondered about philosophy, but is there any evidence of a degree.
Apparently not at Heidelberg University, and I have never seen any evidence of her receiving professors or travelling to a university town to meet a supervisor.
The university at Darmstadt was nearby, but offered technical disciplines such as electrical engineering and mechanical engineer only at the time.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2012, 05:59:44 PM »
As others have mentioned, a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy and not a Doctor of Psychology. Although a doctor of psychology is usually a PhD.

Freud set up his first practice in psychological disorders in 1886, but did not publish The Interpretation of Dreams until 1900.


Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra and her education
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 02:52:02 PM »
As others have mentioned, a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy and not a Doctor of Psychology. Although a doctor of psychology is usually a PhD.
True, the 'Ph' in 'Ph.D' stands for Philosophy, but 'Ph.D' is also used for research doctorates in other disciplines.
Ernst Ludwig completed his studies in Leipzig and Giessen in 1891. I can imagine Alix taking up and reading one of his textbooks in the fields of Philosophy or History of Art. However, if Alix had taken a doctoral degree in any discipline before her engagement, one would expect that she spent a lot of time and energy on working on a dissertation by 1891-2 and that she referred to such activity in her correspondence. I've never seen any such references.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"