This postcard was sent from Helsinki (Swedish: Helsingfors), the capital of Finland, to the Finnish port town of Hanko (Hangö) on February 16, 1915. At that time Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Because Russia was engaged in the First World War, the card had to be cleared by a wartime government... Continue Reading →
This portrait of two friends was probably made in late imperial Russia (1910-1917). The only thing written on the back is a pair of names, which look to me like Tyosha and Marusya (Tеща и Маруся). I'm not sure about the name Tyosha, as I haven't encountered it before: The girls are both dressed... Continue Reading →
The Soviet Union (USSR) formally came into existence on December 30, 1922, after three years of world war and five years of civil war. When this photo was taken, sometime in 1933, the country had existed a little more than ten years. On the back is the following note in Russian: Собрание уполномоченных артели "Кр.... Continue Reading →
This postcard has no message or information on the back, but it came from a dealer in Pennsylvania who specializes in photographs from Imperial Russia (pre-1917). The empire of the Tsars was truly vast, encompassing areas of northeastern Europe and Central Asia which today are made up of independent nations. It's impossible to say exactly... Continue Reading →
I bought this photograph from a dealer in Finland, who told me it had come from the estate of a Jewish family. Finland was part of the Russian Empire from 1809 until December 6, 1917, when it declared independence from the new Soviet government in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg). A note about dates: the Julian calendar... Continue Reading →
These two young men may have been students at a military academy or members of a cadet corps, which was another type of officer-training program. They're both wearing a military-style tunic with no insignia. It's also possible the tunic was part of a uniform at an educational institution not connected to the military. I'll update... Continue Reading →
I joked in an earlier post about sibling portraits being amusing, but a more appropriate adjective for this studio portrait might be "intense." Looking at the back, the postcard was likely printed in the United States. A note is written in a young hand in Russian: "To dear Grandma and Grandpa from Tamara."
On December 15, 1917, an armistice was signed between the Central Powers and the new revolutionary communist government of Soviet Russia. It went into effect two days later, on December 17. The Soviets would officially leave the war the following March, after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, but the December armistice clearly felt like the end... Continue Reading →