Author Topic: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)  (Read 56788 times)

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Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2004, 01:05:12 PM »
So Lanie--am trying to process all this, so bear with me!  :o --you found the leter and asked a friend to translate it . . . and then TennPat posted it, right? Just trying to make sure I thank everyone involved!  

I was aware of Alix's reference to Rita, and am glad that letter containing that reference has been posted--but the letter from Olga to Rita is definitely found gold!

Now, how did the Russian website obtain the letter, "one" would like to ask! (I don't know about you, but I'd like to find out more about Rita, who seems to have been quite a remarkable young woman.)

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2004, 01:17:41 PM »
Dang, I hit "post" instead of "preview" . . . excuse spelling errors.

Also meant to add that the letter reinforces the type of ambiance that Greg and Penny were talking about re: the months of captivity.  It wasn't a picnic, by any means--and Toblosk, of course, was much better than Ekaterinberg--but it says something for relationship between the prisoners and their captors that Olga felt comfortable enough the morning after Christmas to sit at the large table in the main hall, writing a chatty letter to Rita, with her father and "the others" (sans Alix) not so far away, drinking coffee.  

Offline Lanie

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2004, 05:47:31 PM »
Yes, Janet, that's exactly it. :) I found it online, sent the URL to an online friend, who translated it, put it on my Olga website and TennPat posted it! :)

I need to find that website again (I've got the URL saved on the other computer but my dad is currently on that one!) and use translate.ru or babelfish...

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2004, 02:14:42 AM »
Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo "Rita" came from a large family. Almost all of them survived the Revolution.

Rita was born in 1895 and died in New York in 1952. She married Vladimir Georgevich Erdeli b. 1883 d. New York 1959. He had a son Nikolai with his first wife Elizabeth Nikolaevna Stroganova. I don't know if Rita had any children of her own.

Rita's parents were Sergei Konstantinovich Khitrovo (1865-1931) a "Gentleman in attendance" Lyubov Vladimirovna Molostovova (1865-1923)

She had several siblings:

1) Maria (1899-aft 1921) m. Konstantine Nikolaevich Bogdanovich
They had four children: Nikolai b. 1914, Vera b. 1916, Tatiana b. 1920 d. 1921, and Maria b. 1921.

2) Konstantine (1890-1919) He was an artillery officer. He died in Voronezh.

3) Vladimir (1891-1968 ) m. Olga Alexandrovna Shepeleva-Voronovich (1892-?) He died in France. They had a son Sergei b.Kislovodosk 1919

4) Arkadi (1892-1893)

5) Alexander (1894-1951) m. Lydia Nikolaevna Rozenbach (nee Viddinova). He served as a Colonel in an artillery regiment. He died in Venezuela They had two children: Nikolai b.Ekaterinodar 1919 and Maria b. 1921.

6) Sergei (1896-1920) m. Alexandra Grigorevna Strizhevskaya. He served as an officer in a grenadier regiment.

7) Mikhail (1898-?)

8 ) Lyubov (1902-?) m. Lev Alexandrovich Grekov (1902-1952) Lev was an officer in the Atamanskogo? Regiment. He died in San Francisco. They had a daughter Maria b. Cannes 1938

9) Xenia (1907-1967)

So poor Rita lost two of her brothers in the Civil War.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Nadya_Arapov »

Offline TennPat

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2004, 10:09:49 AM »
Dear Nadya,

Thank you for posting such detailed information about Rita. Do you know any other personal information about her? Did she leave any writings--letters, memoirs? I'm particularly interested in her friendship with the Grand Duchess Olga and her life during the Russian Revolution. Do you have any other sources that might be useful?

Yours,  Pat

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2004, 02:20:58 PM »
I'd like to echo Pat's words of thanks.

I enjoy reading about Rita.  She seems to have been one of the few friends/confidantes in Olga's life.  We all know how important friends are--in good times, but especially in bad times--and I am so glad Olga had a friend to write to during those long days of imprisonment.  I am also grateful that Rita and most of her family survived the Revolution, and that she eventually married and found a new life in the United States; I hope it was a happy one.  

Yes, any additional information about Rita would be greatly appreciated.  We know that she was congenial and fun to be with--those grins on the faces of Olga and Rita are testimony!--and, given that she tried to see the Imperial Family during their Siberian imprisonment, we know Rita was not only loyal but quite brave as well.

I have heard Rita described as "foolish," but "foolish" is if you get caught--as she was--rather than achieving your goal, at which point you are lauded and decorated.  It's also a term used by people who will not put their own lives on the line for the lives of others. Apparently Rita did what she could; it must have haunted her for the rest of her life that she could not save her friend and her friend's family.

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2004, 08:21:35 PM »
You're welcome! :) I've always been interested in Russian History and was thrilled to find this website.

I'm afraid that's all the information I have about Rita. I came across a wonderful website quite by accident while researching my own family. http://www.vgd.ru/index.html This website has a ton of information about many noble Russian families. This is where I located the information about Rita. Every is in Cyrillic but you can translate it with AltaVista or WorldLingo.

I was so happy to learn that she survived the Civil War. As you both remarked she seems to have been one of the few real friends her own age that Olga had. How very sad that she lost two brothers in such a terrible way.

If I ever come across memoirs written by Rita or one of her relatives I'll be sure to let you know.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Nadya_Arapov »

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2004, 08:30:00 PM »
Quote
We know that she was congenial and fun to be with--those grins on the faces of Olga and Rita are testimony!--and, given that she tried to see the Imperial Family during their Siberian imprisonment, we know Rita was not only loyal but quite brave as well. .


Yes, she must have been brave. Traveling to Siberia, probably by herself, couldn't have been easy during the middle of the Revolution. It would certainly appear that Rita was a spirited young woman.

I spoke too soon! I searched a bit more online and found another tidbit about her family.

Rita's Aunt Maria Khitrovo b. 5/31/1866 m. 1891 Prince Boris Borisovich Golitsyn b. 2/18/1862.

Boris was a very accomplished man. He served in the Marines during his youth but retired shortly after graduating from the Naval Academy. He an advocate for the creation of a Russian air fleet. He was also a physicist, a university professor, the President of the International Seismological Association (1911-16), Director of the Central Physical Observatory (1913-16), he invented the first seismograph in 1906. Boris died in 1916.

Maria remained in St. Petersburg after the Revolution. There seems to be some disagreement about when she died. She died either in 1930 or in 1942 during the Siege of Leningrad. They don't appear to have had any children.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Nadya_Arapov »

Offline TennPat

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2004, 11:18:08 PM »
I will check the New york Times Obituary Index for Rita K.when I return from vacation in mid-June. Also, Grant Menzies has some articles in Atlantis Magazine re memoirs of Russian emigres. Another site that might yield something interesting is  http://www.russiarevisited.com

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2004, 12:37:48 AM »
It seems that Rita's sister-in-law, her brother Vladimir's wife Olga, founded a fashionable lingerie store in France. There is a short biography of her life included in the book "Beauty In Exile," by Antonina W. Bouis, Anya Kucharev, Aleksandr Vassiliev.

Olga was the youngest of four daughters and apparently considered the ugly duckling, but she was very intelligent and industrious. She was a nurse at the front in W.W.I. and was awarded the St. George Cross for her service. She met her future husband Vladimir Khitrovo in Kiev during the War. They married during the Revolution and soon after followed the White Army to Kislovodsk where their son Sergei was born on July 18, 1919. She fled the Caucasus aboard the ship Hannover with the Prince MS and Princess VP Trubetskoi. She landed in Constantinople and stayed there for the winter departing for Marseille the following spring and from there made her way to Paris. In 1924 she established the Hitrovo House of Lingerie at no. 21 rue Saint-Augustin, near the Grand Opera.       

Her lingerie was made only from the best silk with very fine embroidery. As a result many of her clients were wealthy Americans. Very few French women could afford her lingerie. Her business was so successful that she was able to build the family a mansion during the 1920s (designed by Vladimir's sister Lyubov) which was "furnished like an old Russian estate."  Her business survived the stock market crash and she continued to do very well during the 1930s. Her designs were often published in magazines like Vogue at that time. The Hitrovo House of Lingerie remained open until 1956.

She had many emigres working for her. One of her models was Countess Marina Rehbinder for example. I wonder if Rita might have worked for her at one time?

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2004, 01:28:07 AM »
Thank you for the additional information!  I am becoming almost as interested in Rita as I am in the Romanovs!


Offline hikaru

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2005, 08:52:50 AM »
I have read in the memoirs of the Voyeikov that he was extremely admired with Rita , especially for her brave.
She did not afraid to pass Olyga , who was under arrest in Alexandr Palace the letters signed with her full name: Rita Khitrovo, while a lot of the friends of IF passed anonymouse letters of letters sighned by nick names.

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2005, 04:11:40 PM »
TennPat, I'm just catching up in this thread, and I thank you so much, in advance, for checking the NY Times obituary index for Rita Khitrovo later this June.

Obviously Rita would have been one of the "key" people to have interviewed! I have to wonder if she left any descendants who were aware of her experiences or perhaps came into possession of unpublished memoirs, etc.

Offline lexi4

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2005, 12:12:39 AM »
Ok. I'm hooked. I knew nothing about Rita until I read this thread. i will see what I can find. In the meantime, thank you all for sharing the information.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

Offline lexi4

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Re: Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo, "Rita" (1895-1952)
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2005, 12:18:07 AM »
This from Aleksandra Fyodorovna The Last Russian Emporess
Much harm was unwittingly done at this time by the sudden arrival at Tobolsk of a girl friend of the Grand Duchesses, Marguerite (Rita) Serguevna Khitrovo, one of the honorary maids-of-honour. She had had no post at Court, but had nursed in the Empress's hospital, and had conceived a great admiration for the Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna. During her journey she behaved most foolishly, and wrote imprudently worded postcards to her family, which excited the suspicion that she was con-ling on a political errand. When she reached Tobolsk in September, she walked straight into the Kornilov house to see Countess Hendrikov. No one was allowed to enter the house without a special permit. She was, of course, seen by the soldiers the alarm was given, and Mlle. Khitrovo was immediately arrested and taken to Moscow. She had brought some perfectly innocent letters for the Imperial Family, which she intended to give to Kobylinsky to pass on to them, but she had broken the rules, and her visit to Countess Hendrikov resulted in a cross-examination and a day's arrest in her room for the Countess, and many anxious moments for the Commander. It was ultimately proved in Moscow that Mlle. Khitrovo had no political importance at all, and that her journey was undertaken solely from a desire to see her beloved Grand Duchess. She was released, but the prisoners at Tobolsk suffered from her escapade. Though the Imperial Family had not seen her, the soldiers were incensed by this breaking of rules, and increased their vigilance and severity. They feared that "plotting" was going on, and it was in consequence of Mlle. Khitrovo's visit that the suite were allowed out only under armed guard. When, in November, the Empress's dresser, Madeleine Zanotti, and two maids arrived from Tsarskoe Selo, they were not admitted, though they had the necessary authority from Kerensky. A similar fate befell me also, when I arrived. Though I was allowed to stay at the Kornilov house with the other members of the Household for some weeks I had ultimately to lodge in the town, though I could see the members of the suite every day; and while I lived in the Kornilov house, I was never once allowed to go out for a walk.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"