Dearest Ones At Home: Clara Taylor's Letters from Russia, 1917-1919

Dearest Ones At Home: Clara Taylor's Letters from Russia, 1917-1919


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On November 5, 1917, Taylorville, Illinois native Clara Taylor stepped off a Trans-Siberian Railway train into a city then called Petrograd, Russia. Employed by the YWCA as an industrial expert, Clara had been sent to Russia to help establish Associations in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) and Moscow. Her main charge while in Russia was to survey and report on factory conditions, but Clara only spent a fraction of her stay in Russia visiting factories; due to the vagaries of the political, social, and economic revolution—the upheaval of an entire culture—Clara and her colleagues spent most of their first year in Russia teaching English, home economics, book keeping, literature, and basketball, and sponsoring lectures, dances and sing-alongs for Russian working women.

Clara’s letters, collected in this book, tell of both the mundane and the extraordinary: what the YW staff ate for dinner; how the Bolshevik suppression of free speech impacted Americans’ ability to communicate with those at home; shootings in the streets; bartering for pounds of sugar; conversing with nobility, with intellectuals, and with workers; attending the opera; and sight-seeing at monasteries. Together, Clara’s letters to her family—her “dearest ones at home”—tell a compelling story of one American woman’s experiences in Revolutionary Russia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631529313
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Katrina Maloney, a former college professor of natural sciences, was born and raised in suburban Connecticut, but now lives and writes in southern New Hampshire, where she and her husband raise chickens and keep cats and retired horses and greyhounds on their small farm. When not mucking out the barn or writing, Katrina plays classical violin and ukulele.

Patricia M. Maloney grew up in Nebraska but went east to attend college. She and her husband raised their three children in Connecticut. After her career as a Director of Christian Education, she retired, and she now enjoys boating and swimming at her lake cottage and traveling abroad. She is actively involved in her church, plays the organ and piano, and sings in local chorales.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part 1 1

Chapter 1 Taylorville to Honolulu 5

Chapter 2 "Vladivostok is as rugged as Japan is dainty" 19

Part 2 27

Chapter 3 Arrival in Petrograd 31

Chapter 4 "Kerensky called out the women's battalion" 41

Part 3 55

Chapter 5 "The climate here in Moscow is much better" 61

Chapter 6 "Fighting goes on constantly in a small way" 67

Chapter 7 "More and more girls are coming to us" 85

Chapter 8 "…three times now I have wished that I had only one trunk" 97

Part 4 109

Chapter 9 Living as "refugees" in Samara 113

Chapter 10 "Today we bought nine pounts of sugar at ninety cents a pound" 127

Chapter 11 "We are only thirty hours late now" 139

Part 5 149

Chapter 12 "…here we are on the very front line" 155

Chapter 13 "The anxiety has been keen here as to the present situation" 167

Chapter 14 "Tomorrow I begin my visitation of the factories" 181

Chapter 15 Clara's Line Diary, June 27-Sept 15, 1918 197

The Historical Context of Clara's Sojourn 209

Questions for Discussion 221

Acknowledgments 223

Bibliography 225

Index 227

About the Editors 251

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