Thank you Google Books!!!
At some point between 2001 and now, I came across a “scrapbook” by a woman from one of those northern Midwest state (like Wisconsin or Minnesota) who attended the coronation of Nicholas and Alexandra. I remember trying to request this scrapbook through ILL but no luck. It was archival. And I couldn’t figure out how to get to Minnesota or Wisconsin or wherever it was housed to take a look at it.
Then at some point closer to now (in the last 10 years), I found a copy of said “scrapbook” on Abebooks or Alibris for like $400. I never have an extra $400 lying around to purchase something I’ve never seen. Even something that might rock my world!
This “scrapbook”, supposedly documenting another American’s experience at the Coronation of N & A, was my Love In The Time of Cholera. Let me explain. There’s this great John Cusack movie, Serendipity. He meets this girl in Bloomingdale’s at Christmas time, they both want to buy the same pair of gloves (the last pair in all of NYC), and end up going to coffee or something. He asks for her phone and she makes this whole speech about fate and puts her full name and phone number in the front cover of a copy of Love In The Time of Cholera. So he spends the next 10 years or so looking inside every copy of Love In The Time of Cholera that he finds in every used bookstore in New York.
So this “scrapbook” had become my Love In The Time of Cholera. Every so often I’d google it and see what was out there. I even looked in antique stores. You never know!
Since rebooting this whole thesis thing, it’s been in the back of my head. But my head has been pretty full with plantation records, other family connections, and KCB letters. Well today it popped back into my head. And after about 20 minutes of searching I found the name of the author, googled her and found Russian Coronation 1896. I was self published in the 1940s by Katie Koon Bovey and a copy sold at an online auction in October 2010 for $47. Can you see the steam coming out of my ears?!?!?!?!?
Now that I had an actual title and author, I went to Worldcat thinking maybe a library might, just might, ILL it to me!!!! And guess what!??!?!?! It’s been scanned by Google books!!!! And in the introduction I found this.
Mr. Breckinridge did what!?!?!?!?!?! A list of 15 American “Strangers of Distinction” got an invite to the Coronation!!!! How did Mr. Breckinridge pick these “Strangers of Distinction”? How did he know these people were in Europe? Did he know Mrs. John A. Logan? Was her husband, the Civil War general, Union or Confederate? I mean if he was Confederate then it might make sense. Breckinridge being the son of Confederate General John C. Breckinridge that’s probable!
Oh this is so exciting!!!! I’ve gotta go read now!!!!