Author Topic: Maria Started My Interest  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline Lee_Hutch

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Maria Started My Interest
« on: February 18, 2017, 03:44:54 PM »
I was 12 or 13 years old when I first saw the news that the grave of all but two of the Romanovs had been discovered. On one of the news stories, they flashed pictures on the screen of each of the Tsar's children. For some reason, I found myself drawn towards the photo of Maria. I have no idea why, exactly, but she seemed to reach out to me more than any of the others. Having grown up during the tail end of the Cold War, I had very little knowledge of Russia other than what they told us in school. But it sparked an interest which continues to this day. Suddenly, I wanted to learn as much about Russian History and the Romanov Family as I could. I ended up getting a history degree followed by a graduate degree in history. I even learned Russian (though I can read it better than I can speak it).

I never intended on teaching. I just wanted the degrees to further my own knowledge. Instead, I was a police officer. A few years ago, I was injured on the job and pensioned out. But because I paid attention to a news story decades ago, I had a degree I could put to use. Now I teach history at a community college.

Though it may sound strange, I credit Maria Nikolaevna for that. I feel, well, grateful to her in a way. She sparked my interest in history and sent me down a path that I'm still following. I do not consider myself an expert on Russia, the Romanovs, or much of anything, really. But to this day I still feel myself drawn more towards her than the others. I guess we all have that moment where we became interested with this subject, and that's mine.   

Hutch
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 04:25:10 PM »
Nice story there Hutch.

What type of history do you teach?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Lee_Hutch

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 04:37:17 PM »
I teach both US History surveys (US to and since 1877) and also both halves of Western Civilization (to and from 1660). The college only offers one other history class, Texas History, but I dodge teaching it by claiming ignorance since I was born in Louisiana! We are putting together an elective history course though which will be thematic (a different subject each semester). I'm pushing for a Russian History survey course, but we'll see. 
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 05:33:06 PM »
Given Russia's heightened visibility over the past couple of years and controversies swirling around Putin and the possible influence on the 2016 Presidebtial campaign I'd think it wise for young people to learn as much about Russian history and culture as possible...Good luck to you with that.

1877 is an interesting cut off point. I assume it has something to do with Reconstruction ending?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Lee_Hutch

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2017, 06:26:09 PM »
Given Russia's heightened visibility over the past couple of years and controversies swirling around Putin and the possible influence on the 2016 Presidebtial campaign I'd think it wise for young people to learn as much about Russian history and culture as possible...Good luck to you with that.

1877 is an interesting cut off point. I assume it has something to do with Reconstruction ending?

Precisely! That's why they go with 1877 as the cutoff.

Thanks. I'm arguing that a resurgent Russia is why a Russian History course would be popular. Better to learn the history so that you have a context to go with news stories, etc. We'll see. It'll happen, but it may be a couple of years. The longer serving faculty will have first crack at their own course first, which is fine. It just gives me more time to design my own.
Everybody counts or nobody counts.

Offline AdamPR

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 12:50:48 AM »
I'm glad this thread was created so I didn't have to make another.

Maria was also the first Romanov that caught my eye.

About two years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about the Romanovs or European royalty at all for that matter. One day in (September if I recall correctly) 2015 is when I saw a picture of Maria online for the first time. I was on Wikipedia, and I was going through pages related to World War 1 I believe. I can't remember EXACTLY what I was reading about, but it was something relating to WW1. (It may have even been Franz Ferdinand). Anyways I was just clicking on related pages and links to other WW1 related pages doing some reading and needless to say I 'stumbled' across the Wikipedia page for Maria. She was the first Romanov I became 'interested' in, for lack of a better term. I had already heard of Anastasia, but I knew pretty much nothing of her backstory. I was stunned looking at Maria in that photograph. It was a picture of her from a 1914 photo shoot. In fact, I think it's still her 'featured' photo on Wikipedia.

Honestly for a good 10 minutes I was almost in a trance looking at her; (I wasn't literally in a trance, but you get the picture) She was absolutely stunning, but that "trance" quickly turned into heartbreak when I began reading about what happened to her and the rest of the family. For a good 5 months after that I went on a Romanov learning binge, and I still like discussing the topic to this day.

Funny what a little "boredom surfing" on Wikipedia can bring about. Of course since then I've read about the rest of the Imperial Family (NAOTAA), along with other Grand Dukes, Grand Duchesses, relatives, etc.



BTW Hutch, what about that 'Russian Survey Course'? Did anything ever come about?

Offline edubs31

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Re: Maria Started My Interest
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 09:08:08 PM »
Adam you're story is not all that dissimilar to mine, albeit several years later. I gather it's quite common with many others coming of age in an era of internet/online encyclopedias. Maria was not my first point of contact, but she's certainly become one of the most enduring figures & faces of the saga.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...