Author Topic: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?  (Read 76174 times)

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Offline griffh

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #30 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.


Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #31 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
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 02:24:27 AM by Helen »
"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 Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #32 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.



"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 matushka

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #33 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.

Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #34 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. :-\
"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 matushka

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2010, 07:09:42 AM »
Helen, did you have access to those documents at GARF?

Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #36 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.
"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 matushka

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #37 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.

Offline matushka

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #38 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.

Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #39 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.
"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 Teddy

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #40 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.

Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #41 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.
"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 Teddy

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #42 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.

Offline Helen

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #43 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.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 05:04:28 PM by Helen »
"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 matushka

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #44 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?