Monday, November 29, 2010

Grand Duke Alexander arrives in US to lecture

November 29, 1928

Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, brother-in-law of the late Nicolas II, arrived in New York City late tonight on the Leviathan, reports the New York Times.
Alexander, a "tall, slender, gray-haired man of ascetic appearance," seem "overjoyed by the reunion at the pier with his son, Prince Dimitri," who has lived in New York for the past five years, and his niece, Princess Xenia, who is married to William B. Leeds.
Another son, Prince Rostislav, who lives in Chicago, and another nice, Princess Nina Chavchavadze, were unable to be present, "but the Grand Duke is looking forward to visiting them during his stay in this country."
The title of the Grand Duke's lecture series is "Out of My Life," and he will open the series at the Town Hall on December 12.  He was "also touch upon spirituality, which he asked be not confused with spiritualism, in his lectures."
Since fleeing the Revolution, the Grand Duke has lived in Paris, where he has written several books.
"A time has come in civilization when there is an overemphasis of materialism," the Grand Duke said, "and I am simply trying to point out that there can be no further progress unless the spiritual note is struck in man's life. A change is coming and that change will be wrought through a recognition of spiritual values.  I am not a philosopher -- a man given to flying in the skies.  I am an entirely practical man."
Although his niece, Princess Xenia, is one of the supporters of Anastasia Tchaikovsky, who claims to be Grand Duchess Anastasia,  the Grand Duke said "he had investigated the matter," and he did not believe that the "young woman was actually the Czar's daughter."
He also does not believe there will be a "speedy change in the political conditions in Russia."   The exile of Russia's former ruling class "has had its benefits as well as its adversities," the Grand Duke said. 
"It has taught us to be good workers, simple livers.  The aristocracy of Russia has renewed itself."
This is Grand Duke Alexander's third visit to the United States.  He came here "with a Russian squadron in 1893 to represent his country at the Chicago World's Fair."  He returned in 1913, when he visited New York and Newport.

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