Author Topic: What got you interested in the Romanovs?  (Read 107809 times)

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Offline Elizabeth

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #195 on: December 30, 2004, 10:15:02 AM »
I've officially "de-lurked" now and am enjoying posting messages to the boards.  I've been in love with this site for some time, but have never had the "gumption" (as we say in Kentucky) to post.   ;D

Anyway, my story begins in 1972, shortly after my parents went to see Nicholas & Alexandra at the local movie theater (I was out of town on a school field trip -- I was 11 at the time!).  My mom loved it and said, "I've GOT to take you to see this wonderful movie about the last King & Queen (!) of Russia."  It sounded positively BORING (although I was a big fan of history --  just not Russia!).  

Well, time got away from us and the movie left the theaters.  A few years (?) later, "Nicholas & Alexandra" showed up on the "Movie of the Week" (on ABC/CBS?) -- in two parts -- and mom says, again, to me, "Oh, here is that wonderful movie.  You're going to HAVE to watch it, BUT I won't tell you the ending!"  

So we sat down on two consecutive evenings and watched it and I was HOOKED.  Had my Mom take me out the next day and buy me Massie's "N & A" and read it cover to cover in a few sittings (and then read it again and again).  (My mom continues to tell friends to this day that I'm probably the only one with EVERY edition since I've worn the covers off of all of them -- that is, except the first edition hardback!).

So, that's my intro.  After reading N&A, I started in on other Russian books about the family ("The File on the Tsar" came out around that time, plus "Shadow of the Winter Palace" which I didn't care for - very derogatory toward N&A I thought), plus a lot of picture books (Lyons' "Nicholas II: The Last Tsar").

Not thinking there was much use (or $$) out there for a Russian history professor, I eventually got my legal assistant degree to make a living.  BUT, after a few years, I wanted to go back and get a degree in SOMETHING, so I went to the local University (of Louisville) and got my degree (in "Soviet Area Studies" -- now it's Russian studies).  Took some FABULOUS classes -- Russian lit, Russian Revolutions, Early Russian History, etc.  

Oh, and I got to hear Massie speak when he was in Louisville for some event and finally figured out that I had been mispronouncing Rasputin's name for the last 20+ years (it's like Vladimir Putin, but with the Rass in front of it -- hence, Ras -- poo -- tin).  Small piece of trivia -- RKM was born and raised in Lexington, KY, which is "down the street" (well, an hour's drive) from where I live!  

Also, I met Suzanne Massie a few years after that -- she was at a book signing at a local bookstore and we spoke for TOO long (her daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and I got to meet them too!).  What a classy lady -- she signed all of my books (her's and N&A).  A bit of trivia -- she said that when she and her (now) ex, RM, wrote N&A -- they were going to have BOTH of their names on it, but thought it looked better with just his (she said, laughingly, "We didn't want to have TOO many couples' names on the cover - Nicholas & Alexandra and Robert & Suzanne.  People might have gotten mixed up!).  

She's just a GREAT lady (and my two cents worth here, but I thought that RKM's other books after N&A weren't NEARLY as good as his work with Suzanne.  Compare the writing style in N&A with RKM's and SM's other books and you can see that Suzanne has the stronger "voice" of the two in N&A.  

Okay, I'll stop babbling.   :D

Offline Bitoelk

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #196 on: December 30, 2004, 11:50:34 AM »
This was a wonderful question and I must express my graditude for everyone's responses, I have enjoyed reading them all very much. As for myself... I grew up listening to my Grandfather tell me stories of Russia and how his father use to work on the grounds of Tsarskoe Selo and of how the family was released they escaped Russia in Feb 1917 before the abdocation.  Thus began a life long passion to discover more about my family history and a deep rooted love of history all together. I was thrilled a few years ago to come across this site, and am even more overjoied now to return and find this discussion board. It has been a wonderful experiance talking with everyone, sharing stories, learning so much and sparing on points of view. Thank everyone  :)

Offline Mandie, the Gothic Empress

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #197 on: December 30, 2004, 02:23:36 PM »
When I frist got insterested I got Anastasia's diary when I was 12, that time I had a diffiect time reading. A year later I can read much better and hard words then others. Now I love to read, But reading to others is diffiect. because I get nervous and I mess up.

But thanks to the Romanovs, that I can read :)

Offline jtareb

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #198 on: January 06, 2005, 10:23:46 PM »
I developed a fascination with 20th century Russian history when I first read Robert Conquest's books on the Stalin and the great terror of the 1930's. My favorite book on the Romanov's during this period is R Bruce Lincoln's "Passage through Armageddon" which I still read again periodically.

Offline KaterinaHalm

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #199 on: January 10, 2005, 10:27:16 AM »
I think what I find so compelling is the tragedy of their lives combined with the beauty of the family and their evident love for one another. From the time I was 10 or 11, I've been captivated by Alexandra. I have a PhD in European history, although Russia was not my specialty, and so have a natural passion for history.  But what has really interested me in the Romanovs at this time is an exhibit I attended in November 2004 at the Newark Museum (in N.J.) which displayed letters, clothes and artifacts from the Imperial family. For some reason, although I have a natural sympathy for all members of this loving family, I have just not been able to get Grand Duchess Olga out of my mind.  I'm exploring why!

Offline Nell

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #200 on: January 10, 2005, 04:34:46 PM »
I have been reading the AP discussion board for the past month or so and was delighted to find many knowledgeable posters and authors of books I have read here. Thank you for all the new information and wonderful photos!

Many years ago I read an article in Life magazine on Anna Anderson and her claims to be Anastasia. This is where I first heard of the Romanov family.

I have always been interested in history and read many biographies of European royals. When Massie's book on Nicholas and Alexandra was published I devoured that book then saw the film.  After that came the Shadow of the Winter Palace and  I then went to my local library and read every book  they had on the IF. I started purchasing and collecting long out of print books on the Romanovs and attended several wonderful exhibitions on Nicholas and Alexandra. Also visited Hillwood in Washington D.C. with their wonderful collection of portraits and artifacts.

I think the tragic story of the family, the Rasputin connection, all the different personalities involved and the tumultuous period during the fall of the monarchies all fascinate me.

I look forward to reading more on this wonderful site!

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #201 on: January 15, 2005, 11:56:40 AM »
Every once in awhile,  I return to this thread to read how others became interested in the Romanovs.

So good to see so many new stories.

Thanks for sharing.  :)

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline ChristineM

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #202 on: January 15, 2005, 01:52:07 PM »
Indeed this is an excellent question, because, probably like the rest of you, I am constantly asked 'What first got you interested in Russia?'   My answer - 'I don't know.'   My earliest memory of an awareness was around the age of three or four - I do not know whether it was a dream, but I remember the night it occurred, even family details of the evening, quite clearly.   I was so young, nearer three than four - still in a cot - when I experienced, what now I can only explain as a couple of visions.   These are difficult to describe - one involved, what I realise now, was an enfilade - the first time I saw the enfilade in the Catherine Palace, I recognised it and its roccoco details immediately.   In the second I recall epaulettes, golden epaulettes and sitting on somebody's knee, running my fingers through the fringes.   Nothing more, just flashes - very vivid flashes, I can still feel the coils of the fringes on the epaulette.  

I am not particularly interested in 'past lives'/spiritulism and etc.   Many years later I worked on a tv documentary series entitled 'Is Anybody There?'   It did nothing to stimulate my interest in the subject.  

From this very young age, my interest in Russia and the Romanov Family ebbed then flowed into a passion some twenty years ago, resulting in regular visits to Russia, particularly Tsarskoe Selo, since 1989.

By the way, Elizabeth, we use the word 'gumption' in Scotland too and a darned good word it is.   I do not know if it is in the dictionary - I'll look it up, but I think it is almost impossible to explain - common sense - comes closest, but doesn't quite capture the essence of the wordl

tsaria

Offline AlexeiLVR

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #203 on: January 15, 2005, 04:27:56 PM »
When i was about 11 my mom would tell me about Russia's history (cause i am Russian) and she told me some stuff about The Romanovs!

But it wasent untill i watched "Anastasia" that i became interested in their story! so i searched up alot about them on the internet!

then i compleately forgot about them! and then i watched "Anastasia" 2 years later (i'm 13 now) and now i'm compleately OBSESSED with them! i've read probably everything about them that i could find, and i have over 10 pics of them!

but my favorite is Alexei Romanov! he is such a handsome boy! and i only wish i lived back then so i could become his girl friend! lol! and most of my pics of the Romanovs are of Alexei! (Alyosha) its just so sad that he suffered so much as a little kid, and that he had to die so young!

may god always be with Alexei Nicolaev Romanov!


Offline chintz22

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #204 on: January 15, 2005, 07:27:31 PM »
Hi All,

My mother had the first paperback printing of Nicholas and Alexandra. Like so many, it was Massie's book that sparked my interest.  I remember looking at the cover and the pictures from the time I was 5 or so (I was so fascinated with the gorgeous picture of Alix on the cover).  I still have the book, along with a hardcover copy.

I first read parts of N&A when I was 7 or 8 (The Tsar's Village, OTMA and Alexis and Royal Progress--I think I could quote those chapters by heart!).  I started checking books out of the library and I was completely obsessed with OTMA especially.  Ever since I found that Marie's birthday OS was the same as mine (June 14) I always felt a special affinity with her.  

My teachers didn't know what to make of my interest; We did a mosaic project (with the pebbles you use in fish tanks!) when I was in fifth grade and I chose to do an outline of the double headed eagle.  At a show and tell I shared the notebook I made with drawings of OTMA's outfits from the photos I saw in books.  I still remember my sixth grade teacher being shocked!  

I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Beinecke Library at Yale when I was 19 and look through Anna V's albums there.  I was really moved by turning those pages.  When I was 20 I won an essay contest in college, the prize was a paid trip to Russia as an exchange student.  Our accomodations at the Hotel Sputnik were bare bones but I had an amazing time.  Leningrad (as it still was in eighty eight) surpassed my wildest dreams of beauty and I was amazed at how small Red Square was "in person".  However, to my sorrow, I wasn't allowed to break from the group when we went to Pushkin to see the Alexander Palace (I remember the guide said there was nothing to see).  I am hoping to go with Bob on his trip this year, so perhaps fate meant for me not to see it until I was with the expert!

I've loved participating in this group, especially for all the new photos I've seen posted.  It is great to commune with folks who are as interested as I am.

Best,

Sarah

Offline Olga

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #205 on: January 16, 2005, 02:43:22 AM »
Quote
may god always be with Alexei Nicolaev Romanov!


Nicolaev? Surely you, a Russian, should know how to spell the Naslednik's name.

Offline hissunnywife

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #206 on: January 19, 2005, 01:21:44 PM »
Reasons for my interest in the family of Nicholas Romanov II :

1) Entire family was deeply spiritual
2) They did not hook on power or wealth despite being in a ruling position
3) Had high ideals and morals
4) Had a very human side to them which they tried to preserve
5) There was continual humility in the midst of all temptations
6) Solzenitzin said: The Lord tempts those whose spiritual progress He promises. This family has passed the test. The fact that so many people around the world are still intrigued by them speaks plenty about the purity they had as the more pure something is, the longer it lasts.
7) Gives hope to people
8) Gives role models to people, especially in today's world
9) At the end they consciously followed the Christian path of sacrifice. The Russian documentary movie "Ruskaya Golgofa", released in year 2000 by Kinostudio Troitza described this very well

Offline bball33

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #207 on: February 05, 2005, 08:34:52 PM »
Quote
Reasons for my interest in the family of Nicholas Romanov II :

1) Entire family was deeply spiritual
2) They did not hook on power or wealth despite being in a ruling position
3) Had high ideals and morals
4) Had a very human side to them which they tried to preserve
5) There was continual humility in the midst of all temptations
6) Solzenitzin said: The Lord tempts those whose spiritual progress He promises. This family has passed the test. The fact that so many people around the world are still intrigued by them speaks plenty about the purity they had as the more pure something is, the longer it lasts.
7) Gives hope to people
8) Gives role models to people, especially in today's world
9) At the end they consciously followed the Christian path of sacrifice. The Russian documentary movie "Ruskaya Golgofa", released in year 2000 by Kinostudio Troitza described this very well

I really like this list. My favorite ones are 1&3. That's what impressed me. They didn't get all snobby and shallow. They stuck with their morals.
I have a new obsession with HP

Offline samcr

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #208 on: March 01, 2005, 09:44:50 AM »
when we moved into are new family home I was 11 years old  , the lady who use to live there had died , so her husband left all her russia books behind when he sold to house to us, she also used to go and visted " Anna Anderson "  (who I dont think for one moment is anastasia , ) every year. so I started to read her books and thats how I became intrested . and I have been hooked ever since.

Offline matushka

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #209 on: March 24, 2005, 03:57:08 PM »
I found this thread, it is so sweet to read all your stories. My is so banal, I am not sure I must write it (for whom?) but I will try, simply.
So... I was 14. I was young and I felt alone. Scholl s friends were not interesting, my soul was looking for something romantic, something pure, something beautiful wich could take my heart ;). One sunday, the entire family go to grand parents. After a good diner the children started to play, the adults started to chat. I was to old for playing, to young for appreciate conversation about the health of aunts, uncles, cousins and so on. Boring. I took an old numer of "Madame Figaro" and look at these annoying pages about fashion... I do not know that this simple magazine would in a few minutes decide of all my life!!
Suddenly, I saw beautiful, o so beautiful young face, visage of angel, a call from the past. It was made, I just became obsessed in OTMA. My passion grow, I search all that I could find in libraries and bookshops, made photocopies, spent all my time and my pocket money on this.
I grow together with my passion, and started to learn russian, started to have interess in russian history, then in Russia. The romantic passion of a teenager became something more calm, more historic, and first of all more religious.
Some years later, I can say with a smile that without the prayers (and the beauty) of the four daughers of the last Tsar, I never would be where I am, I never would have the husband I have and this wonderful child I can take in my arms :)
That is all. Thank you for your patience and attention! Forgive my mistake.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by matushka »