Author Topic: What got you interested in the Romanovs?  (Read 119607 times)

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David

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2004, 08:20:45 PM »
It was 1974 and I was in the throngs of teenage angst. My European history class went to the movies to see Nicholas and Alexandra. What I thought was going to be an uninspired costume epic turned out to be indeed a lifelong passion. I soon gobbled up the meagre selection of books available on the subject of the Romanovs at all the local libraries. In 1975, as a senior in high school, I accompanied a teacher of mine to the tiny and cozy St Davids PA cottage of a Princess Tolstoi. She was minor nobility, or so she claimed, but she did attend Smolny and had vivid memories of the Tercentenary in 1913. While my teacher recorded the interview for a doctorate he was working on, I sat in amazement before this tiny, snowhaired relic of an age long gone. I was hooked!

Offline jenthered@msn.com

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2004, 11:42:33 AM »
As a child, I was friends with the daughter of the Indian consul in New York, and we spent many happy hours sharing our books. From the Astor Library, she borrowed a work of historical fiction, whose title I don't remember, and it mentioned very frequently the Russian Royal Family. I became instantly fascinated, and pestered my parents to get me anything on the family, to no avail.  However, when my father was transferred to Minneapolis, the small neighborhood library had a great selection of Imperial memoirs, making it easier to keep my interest alive.I never forgot my obsession; my family didn't either, and bought for me Robert K. Massie's classic work when I was fourteen. (I was seven when I first heard of them)  I grew up to be a portrait painter, and was so fortunate to be able to see the monumental exhibit of the family artifacts in Delaware several years ago, as well as the magnificent Faberge eggs and jewels in museums and special exhibits around the world. The Imperial family has figured in my art, partly because I specialize in portraits of people in period costume, and partly because their lives and terrible deaths seem to be a microcosm of representation of the extraordinarily violent and brutal 20th century. When I paint them, I can more readily comprehend with at least a glimmer of comprehension the whys of that century. Because of the enthusiam with which paintings of the Imperial Family have been received, I knew that there is still a lot of interest, but on line has been a revelation and a joy.

Offline Jackswife

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2004, 03:36:28 PM »
 Years ago, I read Massie's wonderful book "Nicholas and Alexandra" and was hooked. I watched the movie made from the book several times, and tried to read all I could find on the Romanovs. I also developed an interest in the English royals as a result, and that lead still further to an interest in the jewels of both royal families. I never seem to get tired of reading about the family and their history, and there are so many interesting facets to their lives, both as historical figures but most importantly, as ordinary people who just happened to be Romanovs.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2004, 12:16:04 AM »
In the mid sixties, I was walking through the libary of my middle school when "The Last Grand Duchess" fell off the shelf and on to my head. Of course I checked it out - and I read it in one sitting.

It all started then, over 35 years ago, and my Romanov collection is now spilling into a second bookcase.

Leksa

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2004, 09:38:48 PM »
I was first interested in the Romanovs when I saw the animated film Anastasia... I know it's entirely inaccurate but it caught my interest.  I then got a book from the library about Anastasia and her family.  I think it was a family album.  Anyhow I've become more interested as I've learned more and also the fact that we have the same birthdate intrigued me.  (Or at least it's the same by one of the calendars- at that time in Russia they used 2 different ones)

Offline Adele

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2004, 05:30:44 PM »
I'm originally from Ontario, Canada.  When my family moved to Detroit, Michigan, my parents, who talked endlessly about the Romanovs, told me that the Tsar's sister lived in a small farm house, in Southern Ontario.  I wanted very much for us to drive by there (this was the 1950's, if I recall correctly), but we never did.

Still, I could feel her presence.  I know that sounds strange, and perhaps it was just the imagination of a young girl, but it felt real to me.

My parents, who had a passion for Russian history, passed on  that passion to me...

So...here I am.  What a delightful dicussion group.  I'm so glad I've joined in!

--Adele

Offline JM

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2004, 06:07:39 PM »
   I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I'm pretty sure most people in my family still believe we're in the midst of the Cold War. I've never heard anyone speak of Russia at all and I didn't know anything until I was around ten. At that age I stumbled upon a book about the Romanovs, a book which I forget, however that's what got me interested in the Romanovs. An anonymous book. Interesting.

Offline Reed

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2004, 11:47:30 AM »
I like many others first got the Romanov bug when I read Nicolas and Alexandra by Massey.  That was when I was 16 and found it in the high school library.  I've been reading about them since.   :)

Offline Linda_G

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2004, 02:15:32 PM »
My family in Canada are decended from the Doukhobors who emigrated from Russia in the early 1900's.   I was raised surrounded by the Russian language and culture. As I researched our family history and the role of the Tsars in the persecution of this sect, I was captivated by the tragic story of the Romanovs.

Offline Sarai

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2004, 12:15:53 PM »
Along these same lines of getting to know each other here, I am curious to know what categories people here would consider themselves to fall into as far as being either professional historians, authors, scientists, or just regular people interested in this subject (or a combination of these)? Does your career directly involve the study of the Romanovs? For instance, I know we have professionals here such as authors Greg King and Penny Wilson, jewelry & antique expert/author Nick Nicholson, etc.

From reading some of the other people's posts, it seems that some of you have quite a bit of knowledge and influence with regards to this subject matter, meaning you have met important people connected to the Romanovs, know authors of Romanov books, and some of you have even personally met some of their descendants! I admit I feel a bit jealous of you having had these privileges ;), and am curious to know how people who started as just regular fans of this subject could have achieved so much?

As far as myself, while I majored in History, I am not a professional scholar, and would categorize myself more as an amateur historian and just a "regular person" who is simply very interested in this subject.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline nerdycool

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2004, 01:32:27 PM »
I too, am just a regular person who is very interested in the Romanovs. My history major didn't have any classes on Imperial Russia (though there was one on the Soviet Union), so I see this as a supplement to my degree. But this doesn't make me a professional scholar... it's for my own personal enjoyment. I am however a professional daydreamer and I often visualize scenes of the family life at Tsarskoe Selo.... hmmm......... maybe I should write a book (fiction of course).

Offline sara

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2004, 06:39:39 PM »
I remember sitting in my western civilization class, listening to my professor speak about late imperial Russia.  He talked about Nicholas II and I instantly became fascinated. I soon bought Radzinsky's The Last Tsar (the only non fiction book to make me cry) and have been intrigued ever since.


Offline sara

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2004, 06:41:52 PM »
I just noticed Sarai's post and I'm a history major with plans to go to graduate school. I would very much like to do more in-depth study of the last Romanov family.

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2004, 06:17:18 AM »
Quote
Along these same lines of getting to know each other here, I am curious to know what categories people here would consider themselves to fall into as far as being either professional historians, authors, scientists, or just regular people interested in this subject (or a combination of these)? Does your career directly involve the study of the Romanovs? For instance, I know we have professionals here such as authors Greg King and Penny Wilson, jewelry & antique expert/author Nick Nicholson, etc.  


Another Romanov author I'd specifically like to mention is my friend (and the friend of several others here too)  Gretchen Haskin. This is because Gretchen (who is posting under a screen name) wrote "An imperial affair" which in my opinion is the best work of Romanov escape fiction ever written (and I've read a lot, because I did an article on the last imperial family in fiction!). A lot of other escape fiction consists of pulpy adventure stories or is too terribly romantic. "Imperial affair" though is beautifully written as well as being pretty down to earth about Nicholas II -all the characters are plausible, I think....
Anyway, I'd recomend that people read it if they get a chance!

Janet


Offline CarolynnB

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Re: What got you interested in the Romanovs?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2004, 06:59:33 PM »
I have to weigh in with Robert and Suzanne Massey being incredibly influential in my fascination with Russian history, along with 2 terribly gifted teachers.  

The first teacher was my high school freshman Amercian History teacher.  He saw that I was incredibly bored with basic American history, and loaned me not only his personal copy of "Nicholas and Alexandra" but his copy of Hedrick Smith's "The Russians."  Understand, this was still cold-war America---a 14-year old kid in central Missouri knew absolutely nothing about Russia except that it was "the enemy."  Imagine my surprise.  I can still remember that I was sitting in his class when I read the section in Massie about the execution of the family---I remember that I was outraged--I had no idea that the book would end that way, and I can remember that I acutally yelled at him that he had gotten me hooked on this stupid book and on these people that I had come to care for, and that they had died!  Well, that was the beginning.  

In college, I decided to take classes in Russian language so that I could fulfill my foreign language requirement, and learn a little bit more about Russia.  I was blessed with an absolutely brilliant professor, who introduced us to Russian literature, Russian history, and Russian music.  I was hooked.  I changed my major from economics to Slavic Studies, and took 3 more years of language, Russian history, literature, economics, politics, and culture (I think basically everything that was offered).  I have never regretted my choice, and I love that now I am teaching and can pass my love of Russia on to other students.  The greatest latest blessing has been a non-traditional, older student who has taken maybe 3 of my Russian history classes.  She has also grown to love all things Russian, and found out recently that she has terminal cancer.  This dear lady gave me all of her Russian history books so that I could pass them on to other Russian students---that's what this passion that we all share does for us, I think---it gives us a connection that makes us a "family" in some way.

Joy!
Carolynn