The next in my series of Russian/Soviet objects is a book by Frenchman Germain de Lagny, translated into English and published in London in 1854. The year of publication is significant, as the book came out soon after the start of the Crimean War.
The copy in my possession was awarded as a prize to a student at St Peter’s Commercial School, Park Street, Mile End, London, in 1857.
Two press clippings were pinned into the book at a later date. This first is from The Daily Mirror on 21 September 1912, ‘Russia can furnish some wonderful examples of longevity’, it says, ‘At the centenary celebrations of the battle of Borodino there were present eight old soldiers whose average age was 115.’
The second clipping is from The Daily News and Leader, 11 July 1913. It describes Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fedorovna, who had abandoned her royal lifestyle and become a nun. The article’s author, Rothay Reynolds, also penned several books including My Russian Year (1913), described by The New York Times as ‘the work of a witty and sympathetic observer’, and My Slav Friends (1916), which was published in the midst of the First World War and was described as having ‘a more definite purpose, which amounts almost to propaganda’.
It is interesting to see the changing line in propaganda over half a century.