c.1907-1915: The Romanov Family Albums

‘The shooting of the Romanov family, of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov, and those who chose to accompany them into exile, took place in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918′

- Wikipedia

The albums were rescued by the Tsarina’s friend, Anna Vyrubova.

23 Responses

  1. John Simpson

    I wonder if you might be able to link to the specific location in the websites that you sourced the pictures and information from. That’d be really appreciated, as often really useful extra information can be found on the original site, but it can take ages to negotiate it and find the right place. Some times are harder than other times.

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  2. Avatar of Chris
    Chris

    Sure. In this example, the images are sourced from here, John. The site leads to selections from the albums on Flickr, and the Beinecke collections.

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  3. Hillary

    Wow, what a haunting series of photographs. It really reminds you that although the Romanov name may have just been one more fact you were forced to memorize in History 101, they were real, living people. These pictures show a family that enjoyed the same things we do: family dinners, picnicks, trips to the seaside… They look so happy, especially the children. Sacrificed in the name of revolution… It’s heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this.

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  4. Roger Carroll

    Also hunt up Paul Gilbert’s fabulous Russian site:

    Royal Russia

    Unbelievable wealth of Romanov information.

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  5. Alice

    When you see people living it up like that, while their people starved, you can only assume that they either didn’t give a toss, or they lived in a bubble. I’d like to think that they lived in a bubble, totally out of touch with the real world. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?

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  6. Sardonic_Sob

    Alice: You live in a country with Internet access and apparently have sufficient leisure to browse obscure websites and make moral judgments on people who have been dead for a hundred years. Does the knowledge of those who go to bed hungry and cold in the rest of the world disturb your slumber overmuch?

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  7. Jacqui

    Alice: The children just lived. They did what all children do – live in the world into to which they are born.

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  8. George

    Alice: The Imperial Family truly did live in a bubble. During the Great War, the Tsar was at the front and had no idea at all what was going on in Petrograd or anywhere else in the Empire. The Tsarina spent most of her days in the palace or volunteering in military hospitals. And the children just went about their lessons and didn’t understand anything happening outside the palace gates.

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  9. Jinx

    Wow, that Rasputin was a good photographer! Given that he was “always around”, it’s amazing that there aren’t more pics of the Mad Monk. I know of only 4.

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  10. Betsy

    Knowing how they died, it’s so sad for me to see these photos. Truly haunting. And yes, I do believe they lived in a bubble. It’s amazing that a family who obviously embraced progress and technology (of the times) were so out of touch with the rest of the country still living a medieval-like existence.

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  11. Anne

    Given they were in a bubble, the mettle they showed in the 16 months of ever worsening captivity was remarkable.

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  12. Leah Allen

    Wow, these are awesome. My dad is a Russian history buff with a special interest in Nicholas II, his reign and his family, so when I was growing up there were always Russian history books around the house. I’ve seen TONS of pictures of this family and had already seen most of these, but some of them were new to me. Absolutely amazing.

    Also, Alice, yes, they did “live in a bubble.” Alexandra, the tsarina, made it so because, as offensive as you find this family, the Russian court over which they ruled was even more so–rowdy and lascivious aristocrats who cared only for their own pleasure and truly “didn’t give a toss” about anything else. Nicholas II and his wife wanted to protect their children from the world of the Russian aristocracy, so, yes, they secluded them. Their private lives were very intimate and tightly controlled, which makes these photos, glimpses into their everyday lives, even more remarkable. Nicholas II was a weak ruler because the autocratic system was already messed up and outdated before he even took the throne, plus he was never properly educated in statecraft, and he and Alexandra made a lot of mistakes as monarchs, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been (and I believe they were) genuinely good people. Of course, I don’t claim to know whether they were or not, since they lived and died almost a hundred years before I was born. You also shouldn’t judge them for the same reason, and especially not from a couple of photos that don’t even begin to scrape the surface of what their lives were really like.

    Sorry for the rant; as the daughter of a Russian history scholar, these people and their history have been a big part of my life. I guess I’m just a little protective.

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  13. Gail

    The reason I am on this site: Just finished reading a historical novel by Kathryn Harrison “Enchantments”. I was curious about photos of the Romanov family. The book, in my opinion, is well-written and told through the “voice” of Rasputin’s daughter, Masha. These photos make the story even more tragic.

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  14. SuzieB

    I love all the photos of past entities as my life will one day be one of them. Maybe someone that knows me will post a stream of pictures of my life. It is an interesting one.

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  15. SuzieB

    The children are innocent, as children are, the parents did only what they knew, how does a great power like that teach their children failure,,

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  16. HollyH

    They didn’t sleep through the night much in the fall of 1912, when Alexei,who was 8 and a hemophiliac, suffered bleeding into his abdomen and leg muscles for several days straight,screaming from the pain, and asking if it would stop hurting when he was dead. The Tsarina was said not have eaten, slept, or changed her clothes for the first three days of his illness, and the Tsar once went outside and stood crying. The death notice was written out for the press. The only painkillers at the time were aspirin, which worsens bleeding, and morphine, which no one dared give to a child. They had their own hell, and their own motivations for enjoying the good times as much as they could.

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  17. costernocht

    I read somewhere that the Romanov’s lived more simply than people might imagine. Nikolai slept on a camp bed, and the girls were expected to help the maids clean tidy up.

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  18. Shandi

    I wish you had a way for people to save their favorite picture collections. Like say, each person had to have a profile and there was a save option, so they could view photos they really enjoyed with ease and their “friends” could view their collections as well. I really enjoyed this series of photos as I have always been captivated by the Romanov tragedy. As another poster commented, seeing these people in everyday life makes them feel more human and down to earth. Wonderful collecton.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Chris
      Chris

      Funny you should say that, Shandi. We are as we speak building a brand new version of the site where you will be able to do exactly that. When you join the site, you will get a set of shelves on to which you can put any of the time capsules in the site. Plus you will be able to create your own time capsules on any subject and time, and share them with anyone you want to. Also, if you see an image in a capsule you want to put in one of your capsules, you can. Its coming out in the next few months.

      Reply
  19. Michael

    Alice — you’re the one who is spot on with your comment. When you contrast these scenes with the lives of the average Russian citizens of that time….it’s quite repulsive. And unlike Alice, the Romanovs were the rulers with the power to change things. So, Alice being able to sleep at night is in no way analogous to the situation to the burden of guilt — felt or ignored — by the Russian royal family.

    People seem to have so much more compassion for the aristocracy than they do for the countless millions of ordinary people who suffered and died under this backwards royal family.

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    • The Libertine

      @Michael & Alice: And do either of you recall offhand how many Russians were murdered on Stalin’s watch? While I’m not justifying monarchist rule, I think Russians may have gladly kept their Tsar had they a crystal ball for the next 70 years of communist oppression.

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  20. Bryan

    such a great ruler, o yes..this man shelled and murdered his own people just like those before him. Stalin gets the credit for sending millions to die in gulags?! I’m not defending Stalin, but this guy invented the gulag. Ole Nicky the II slaughtered thousands that dared to protest his thuggery or that had been conscripted to go fight in an unjust imperialist war.

    Reply

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