19th Meeting of Friends of the Museum of Russian Culture, February 7, 2015


Lada Tremsin, who compiled the memoirs of Colonel Avenir G. Efimov (1888-1972), reported that a second volume had been published in Moscow in 2013. A hero of World War I and participant of the Siberian Ice March (1919) and the Khabarovsk Campaign (1921-1922), A. G. Efimov was the first chairman in San Francisco of Izhevtsy and Votkintsy United Veterans of the Civil War in Russia. Materials from the Museum of Russian Culture were used in this work.

Valeria Kustova spoke about the collection of icons produced by Alexandra Dabbert, who was born in 1898 and lived 101 years. A degreed dentist, she was also a wonderful artist and painted icons according to the canons of the Russian pre-Petrine school. The details of her life in Russia, Germany, Ethiopia, Peru and the USA were recovered by her son Olgert Dabbert in his book “Riding the Century” (2006), which may be purchased at the Russian Center Library.

Yves Franquien presented a paper on the history of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco (1853-1924) which provided information about all the career and non-professional consuls and vice-consuls of Russia in San Francisco. The consulate’s last secretary, P. P. Antipin, was later one of the founders and active figures of our Museum. A demonstration of photographs and archival materials from the collections of the Museum and other institutions accompanied the survey of the location of the consulate and the places of residence of Russian diplomats over the years.

Michael Tolstoy spoke about four previously unpublished autographs of Alexander Vertinsky. Three of them came from the private archive of the Barsamov-Ituarte Family: one is on a book of A. Vertinsky’s verse and two are on the backs of photographs from different years and are addressed to the Barsamov sisters, Nina and Mousia. The fourth autograph, from the archive of the Museum of Russian Culture in San Francisco, is dedicated to Zinaida Arkadievna Bitner, a prima donna of operetta companies in Harbin and Shanghai. In San Francisco she was the director of the Operetta Theater at the Russian Center.

The Museum of Russian Culture warmly thanks those who support the activities of our archive, which is the only one of its kind outside of Russia.

The full version of this article appeared in “Russian Life”,
Newspaper, February 21, 2015, №14291