Author Topic: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?  (Read 76248 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline blessOTMA

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Tell me the truth, monsieur
    • View Profile
    • Stay at Home Artist
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #15 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.

"Give my love to all who remember me."

  Olga Nikolaevna

Offline Greg_King

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 588
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
    • Atlantis Magazine
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #16 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.

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #17 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.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 09:26:45 AM by Alixz »

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #18 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?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 09:01:56 AM by Alixz »

Offline blessOTMA

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Tell me the truth, monsieur
    • View Profile
    • Stay at Home Artist
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #19 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.
Quote
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.
Quote
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.  
Quote
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
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 09:02:21 AM by Alixz »

"Give my love to all who remember me."

  Olga Nikolaevna

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #20 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?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 03:26:19 PM by Alixz »

Offline matushka

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
    • View Profile
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #21 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.

Offline matushka

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
    • View Profile
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #22 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!

Offline blessOTMA

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Tell me the truth, monsieur
    • View Profile
    • Stay at Home Artist
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #23 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. 
 

"Give my love to all who remember me."

  Olga Nikolaevna

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #24 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.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 10:13:24 AM by Alixz »

Offline blessOTMA

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Tell me the truth, monsieur
    • View Profile
    • Stay at Home Artist
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #25 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.
Quote
Who would benefit from such a quick publication?
Exactly that's the mystery...that and the money behind it
Quote
I find matushka's input fascinating.  I hope that she can find more.
Indeed!!
Quote
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!

"Give my love to all who remember me."

  Olga Nikolaevna

Offline Laura Mabee

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2175
  • Art in Avatar done by Lisa!
    • View Profile
    • Frozentears.Org
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #26 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!

Offline griffh

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #27 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



Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #28 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?

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #29 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.