Author Topic: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"  (Read 101872 times)

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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #75 on: April 01, 2011, 03:17:47 PM »
Wow, that sounds like an absolutley wonderful exibition, griffh!
I sincerely look foward to the release of your book, and I certainly want to read it when it does come out! I didn't read much of the threads you created, but I recently I came across some notes I made some while ago upon reading the first several pages of your first thread. They were made up mostly out of adjectives which you must have used, in fact here they are:
ALEXANDRA’S CHARACTERISTICS:
Truthful-forgiving-compassionate-quick learner-perceptive-brave-religious-intuitive-empathetic-greatly values and respects Nicholas-loves her children-would do anything for Russia-loyal friend-loving wife-values education-loves to learn-
It is hard to read all run together like that, like a run-on sentence, but when one really reads the words one at a time, one realizes what a remarkable woman she was. I look foward to learning more about her.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me". --Erma Bombeck

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #76 on: April 01, 2011, 04:01:18 PM »
   Re "griffh" and your Reply # 74:   I, too, made TWO flights to Wilmington, Delaware (Philadelphia airport, of course), especially to see the exhibition that you mentioned in your post. If I remember correctly, its next stop was in the state of Alabama, USA (only 4 appearances in the USA).  The admission price was exceptionally inexpensive, $12. (USD), and you were NOT hurriedly rushed through the rooms. I spent a combined total of approximately eight hours of viewing on my two visits. It was certainly THE most superior exhibition on that era that I have EVER seen.
   For me, the most impressive room of the entire exhibition was almost stark, with muted plain red walls and subtle black trim.  On one wall alone was displayed only three original documents:  the loss of confidence in the Emperor (several telegrams from top Imperial Russian military urging the Emperor to step down), the signed abdication document of the Emperor, and the refusal of the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich to outright accept the Throne.  End of the dynasty in only a few "ordinary" pieces of paper! On my second trip, I discussed the instrument of abdication in brief with a native Russian woman, who was viewing it intently.  She remarked, "These things we don't see in my country."    Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 04:11:02 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline bestfriendsgirl

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #77 on: April 01, 2011, 08:52:20 PM »

I think one of the things that struck me the most forefully, were Olga and Tatiana's court gowns with the extremely simple pastel rouched and rosetted designs that decorated the front panels.  It was as if everything I had ever read about Olga and Tatiana was being repeated by the gowns. 

It is funny what one is struck by.
 

How true! I remember being struck most by two things. The first was the Hussar uniform Nicholas wore on his wedding day. It seemed he were actually there for me, if only for an instant. The other thing was a blood-stained swatch of wallpaper from the basement room of the Ipatiev house. For me, that made their fate fearfully, sickeningly, real.

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #78 on: April 01, 2011, 09:08:01 PM »
  The "swatch of wallpaper" that was displayed bore the famous/infamous "Belsatzar" quote, but interestingly, the blood-stain was very minor.  
  In my opinion, the most evocative item was the pencilled diary of the Empress which was displayed opened to the last entry before retiring for the evening (and subsequent execution).  
  Somehow, I rather doubt that we will see the likes of the assemblage of this exhibition again any time soon.    Regards,  AP.  
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 09:16:02 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline historyfan

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #79 on: April 01, 2011, 10:48:22 PM »
When was this exhibition held?

Offline bestfriendsgirl

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #80 on: April 02, 2011, 07:42:32 AM »
The one in Delaware was in 1998.

Offline griffh

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #81 on: April 18, 2011, 12:10:43 PM »

I am afraid that all I talked about in connection with the Wilmington Delaware exhibit was how much I cried.  I clearly don't sound sufficiently detached from my subject, the late Empress Alexandra, to be writing a book about her, or so it seemed to me when I re-read my posts on this thread filled as it is with tearful memories.  I remembered an interview with the American poet and author, May Sarton who said that she struggled for years to become recognized in the US because her work was considered too emotional and critics said that it lacked detachment. 

Because I am writing a book on the Empress Alexandra during WWI I felt only embarrassment as I read my posts.  Then on this bright Spring morning, I picked up Jacque Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, and found this wonderful statement by the author that I have often quoted in the past:

"Claiming detachment need not raise the issue of objectivity.  It is a waste of breath to point out that every observer is in some way biased.  It does not follow that bias cannot be guarded against, that all biases distort equally, or that controlled bias remains as bad propaganda.  In dealing with the arts, for example, it is being “objective” to detect one’s blind spots–step one in detachment.  The second is to refrain from downgrading what one does not respond to.  One has then the duty to report the informed judgment of others.”

That is clearly advice that I can follow and use as a standard for objectivity.  Barzon goes on to say that because he has not interpreted figures and events in the past as other historians have, often speaking in his own name and giving reasons for his “heresy,” he hoped that critics would not label his views as “personal.” 

He then asks:

“What book worth reading is not?  If Henry Adams were to echo Gibbon, we would not greatly value the pastiche. “

Barzon continues to explain:

“On this point of personality, William James concluded after reflection that philosophers do not give us transcripts but visions of the world.  Similarly, historians give visions of the past.  The good ones are not merely plausible; they rest on a solid base of facts that nobody disputes.  There is nothing personal about facts, but there is about choosing and grouping them.  It is by patterning and the meaning ascribed that the vision is conveyed.  And this, if anything, is what each historian adds to the general understanding.  Read more than one historian and the chances are good that you will come closer and closer to the full complexity.   Whoever wants an absolute copy of what happened must gain access to the mind of God.”   [Jacque Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, New York: HarperCollins, 2000, pp. x-xi.] 

It is hard not to be drawn into arguments about ideologies that simply present views of the Empress to prove their point; that are not interested in pursuing an understanding of the individual, but are only interested in arguing ideas.  This is especially true of our present epoch, for as Barzon points out, we are still living in the continuous “aftershocks” of the last of four mega -quakes that have changed the face of Western civilization:  “the 16C religious revolution; the 17C monarchial revolution; the liberal, individualist “French” revolution that straddles the 18thand 19th; the 20C “Russian,” social and collectivist. “ [p. 3.]

Even though research is opening to broader resources in Russia and Europe, recovering an accurate vision of the Empress in the continuing aftermath of a seismic event that has torn the face off Western civilization, giving it a completely new identity that even now is not completely understood, is the challenge that I continually face.     

There are so many statements in the Empress’ correspondence that have been used as evidence of the woman’s complicity in creating a revolution that tore the face off West.  Her over heated statements made during crisis in her own life have acted like “psychological cues” sparking the memory of carnage and loss and intensifying the need to assign blame for a catastrophic and universal  event we still do not fully understand or fully comprehend.  Who, from the perspective of the 17C, could understand the impact of the 16C religious revolution or be able to describe the new face it had given Western Civilization?    And though Marxists and liberals alike have attempted to understand the collectivist revolution of the 20C, their own demise has discredited their vision and rightly so as they have attempted the impossible.  The West’s new face will not be comprehended until we can get far enough away to see it. 

To create a vision of the Empress’ strengths and weakness in context with the vanishing world she was a part of, is an uphill battle.  However precarious, difficult, or taxing for an emotional person such as myself, it is non-the-less a worthy and health giving pursuit.  As Jacques Barzon so clearly states:  “To denounce does not free the self from what it hates, any more than ignoring the past shuts off its influence.”  [p.3]  Well back to my task….best Griff


Offline imperial angel

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #82 on: May 24, 2011, 04:35:26 PM »
I'm sure your book will be wonderful.I didn't read all of the vanished threads you made, but I remember when I was reading/ skimming through them at times I just would get overwhelmed at how much information there was, especially well sourced information, and I could never take it all in, and I would think, now this thread would make a great book! So I think this information would be better off in a book where it's more easily put together than in different threads spanning long distances of time, mixed with a lot of different people's replies.A lot of threads on Alexandra tend to go on to the individual posters' own answers/ speculation about Alexandra's life, but your threads always had a lot of facts/ sources.Of course, there's a lot about Alexandra's life that will always be open to interpretation and speculation, and I find that interesting to read, but that belongs on more on a forum,than in a book, that's one of the great things about this forum, being able to read different people's take on matters regarding the IF, other royal families, and history.The kind of stuff that you were posting always seemed to me book material, I would have a far easier time absorbing it all in book form.I first got really seriously interested in the Romanovs when I was 11, almost 12, so around the same age as everyone else on here did..but I didn't get on the forum until I was 19.

Offline griffh

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #83 on: May 31, 2011, 09:34:20 AM »
I'm sure your book will be wonderful.I didn't read all of the vanished threads you made, but I remember when I was reading/ skimming through them at times I just would get overwhelmed at how much information there was, especially well sourced information, and I could never take it all in, and I would think, now this thread would make a great book! So I think this information would be better off in a book where it's more easily put together than in different threads spanning long distances of time, mixed with a lot of different people's replies.A lot of threads on Alexandra tend to go on to the individual posters' own answers/ speculation about Alexandra's life, but your threads always had a lot of facts/ sources.Of course, there's a lot about Alexandra's life that will always be open to interpretation and speculation, and I find that interesting to read, but that belongs on more on a forum,than in a book, that's one of the great things about this forum, being able to read different people's take on matters regarding the IF, other royal families, and history.The kind of stuff that you were posting always seemed to me book material, I would have a far easier time absorbing it all in book form.I first got really seriously interested in the Romanovs when I was 11, almost 12, so around the same age as everyone else on here did..but I didn't get on the forum until I was 19.

Thank you for your encouraging words and kind thoughts imperial angel and it is great to know that you are a member of our "Precocious Pro-Romanov Pre-teens" group.  I am making good progress on my book, and at the same time I do miss all our discussions and interesting exchanges so much.  Best Griff

Offline Clemence

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #84 on: July 20, 2011, 02:23:07 PM »
just wanted to say I still miss the thread terribly ... wish your book could be in my hands to take it with me this summer!
hope to hear from you soon!
'' It used to be all girls without clothes. Now it’s all clothes with no girls. Pity.''

Offline koloagirl

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #85 on: July 20, 2011, 04:18:43 PM »

Aloha!
 :)
Well I too miss that thread terribly - because I learned SO much from it - constantly!

I am very happy to know though that there is going to be a book and that makes it completely worthwhile - and even more eagerly anticipated!

"Griffth" - you've always been such a wonderful source of information, inspiration and just a wonderful person - I'm very happy to hear the news!

Wishing you the absolute best and I'll be among those putting in a "pre-order" when the time comes - that is for certain! :-*
Malama Pono (take care)
Janet R.
Janet R.

Offline griffh

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #86 on: August 23, 2011, 07:26:25 AM »
just wanted to say I still miss the thread terribly ... wish your book could be in my hands to take it with me this summer!
hope to hear from you soon!

I miss everyone as well but just to say that things are moving ahead with my book.  I can't express enough gratitude for the help I have recieved as I continue my research and writing.  Thank you again Clemence for you kind thoughts. 


Aloha!
 :)
Well I too miss that thread terribly - because I learned SO much from it - constantly!

I am very happy to know though that there is going to be a book and that makes it completely worthwhile - and even more eagerly anticipated!

"Griffth" - you've always been such a wonderful source of information, inspiration and just a wonderful person - I'm very happy to hear the news!

Wishing you the absolute best and I'll be among those putting in a "pre-order" when the time comes - that is for certain! :-*
Malama Pono (take care)
Janet R.

Thanks Janet and I hope living in "Paradise" is a beautiful and inspiring as ever.  I tired of being awed by the golden, rich pastel sunsets.  Again I do miss everyone so much as well.  I have gradually "relaxed" a bit and am finding my stride.  I think it will be awhile before my book is completed as new research is forever appearing.  Well take care and thank you again for your support and I will let everyone know when my book nears publication.  Best Griff

Offline Clemence

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #87 on: September 28, 2012, 01:30:08 AM »
No news? Dear griffh I wish I could tell you how much the lost thread retutns to my mind every day! Hope everything goes right!
'' It used to be all girls without clothes. Now it’s all clothes with no girls. Pity.''

Offline griffh

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #88 on: December 14, 2012, 10:50:14 AM »
Forgive me Clemence for not responding sooner.  

Last March I presented a paper on Alix's war relief work at the Southern Conference of Slavic Studies in Savannah GA.  Since the majority of speakers were academics from the Eastern Seaboard and the South, I was recognized as an "Independent Scholar" as all my graduate degrees are all in the fine arts.  My paper was well received, though it created some stir among certain academics.  I became a member of the SCSS and will continue to renew my membership.  Below is the panel I was part of.

SCSS Conference March 29-31, 2012

Session 4: Friday, March 30, 3:15pm
3.7 Relief During and After World War I

Chair: Michael Melancon, Auburn University

Griffith Henninger, Independent Scholar
To Lessen Their Suffering: A Brief History of the HIH Empress Alexandra's War Relief Organizations, 1914-1917

Olavi Arens, Armstrong Atlantic State University
Herbert Hoover, the ARA, and Food Relief to the Baltic States in 1919

Matthew Adams, Savannah Technical College
A Call to Harm’s Way: American Relief During the Polish/Soviet War

Comment: Randall Law, Birmingham Southern University

Our panel's commentator, Randall Law, was amazed that Alix was actively writing her brother Ernest Ludwig letters during the war letters which were full of admiration for the Russian Army which I quoted from Petra's great book.  He also was amazed that I had so much information from the Russian Press which Rudy researched for me from the Helsinki Library.  My sister and niece went with me for moral support and laughs which I really needed as the atmosphere was so serious, though the people were very friendly.

After getting home, my sister and I flew to England to celebrate Easter with my niece and nephew and their son and family.  After Easter, we all drove down to Ticehurst for the Royalty Weekend where I gave an "in-progress" PowerPoint presentation on my book on the Empress' war work.   I owe Richard Thornton and Sue Woolmans so much because they allowed me to speak even though I was the only non-published historian in the group.

ROYALTY WEEKEND  2012

Saturday 13, 2012
10.15   Hugo Vickers, DL:  The Coronation of 1953
   Hugo, historical consultant for the film The King’s Speech, is an author and    lecturer. His recent works include Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece (2000), Elizabeth    the Queen Mother (2005), Behind Closed Doors (2011). Today he speaks about the    Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

11.15      tea/coffee will be served and books will be on sale in the book room. Follow the signs.

11.45   Griffith Henninger II: To Lessen their Suffering: Empress Alexandra’s War Relief Organisations, 1914-1917
   Griff became interested in Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s war work while writing a history of nursing during his time as Director of the Nursing School at the Tenacre    Foundation, Princeton, NJ. The lecture throws new light on the Empress’s extensive war    work and includes illustrations from primary sources.
   

I was so scared to follow Hugo Vickers and was terrified that my American accent would sound so awful after hearing Hugo's posh British accent.  I was also terrified that I would not pronounce the Russian names correctly, even though I am currently studying Russian. Dr. Will Lee saved my life and I was able to pronounce Tsarskoe Selo, etc. in the proper Russian manner.  I had included 56 slides for my Power-Point presentation and as many of the photographs came from Russian magazines, hardly anyone in the audience had seen them so they created quite an interest.  I tried to compose them in an artistic manner as well so that the presentation would be pleasing.  

Well I must admit when Janet Ashton came up to me and said I did a good job, I almost fainted from joy.  Just before I began to speak and while I was standing at the podium while Niel Rees was helping me with tech questions, Helen Rappaport came up and I don't know what she said, but it completely calmed me down and gave me a quiet reassurance.  Richard Thornton joined our dinner table the last night of the conference and said how much he enjoyed my talk which was such a thrill and Sue Woolmans was like a sister to me.  

When I got back to NJ I must have slept through May as I was so exhausted from all the excitement.  In June the family from England arrived for three weeks of summer fun and once they left in July I really pulled it together and started waking up every morning at 7am and started expanding my SCSS paper into an article on the Alix's war relief work which I have just finished and sent off to my proof readers.  It took six months to write but I was able to include so much more information as my research increased.  

I am now working hard on my book and have had to rework so much of what I had already written.  I have been given so much help along the way from so many wonderful individuals.  I think that my book will go much faster than my article but at the same time I do not want to rush things.  I have material from GARF on the way which I will use in my book.

Well that is the latest scoop from Pennington, NJ.  

Thanks so much Clemence for your continued interest and support...

Best,

Griff  

 



  

  


    
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 10:52:57 AM by griffh »

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Removal of thread "The Empress Alexandra Fights Back"
« Reply #89 on: December 14, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »
Thanks for the update, griffh (Griffith) So many here on the Forum miss your a work and posts and your wonderful ongoing thread re Alexandra. Do chime in whenever you can on her or any others of the Imperial Family (or others) regarding nursing work, other efforts during the War, or for that matter anything of interest regarding them. We admire you whether you're an amateur or a "pro".
Rodney G.