[Posted as 6 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Fuller_1In 1977, alumnus Henry Fuller received a letter from a friend who shared his interest in Russian history and, specifically, the Romanovs—the last Russian royal family.  Accompanied by a signed photograph of a Romanov relative, the letter suggests, “”Why don’t you stuff them in with Anna Viroubova’s watercolors and let some graduate student at Palo Alto sort it out in 2196, the bicentennial of Nicky and Sunny’s coronation?”  Trinity’s not Paolo Alto, but Fuller did take his friend’s advice, donating his collection of Russian history books, scrapbooks, letters, and, yes, Anna Viroubova’s watercolors, to the College Archives upon his death in 2001.  (A lifelong supporter of Trinity, he also donated $39 million from his estate to the College.  New Hampshire’s Currier Art Gallery and the Manchester, New Hampshire Historical Society also received gifts from his estate.)

Although the items themselves are incredible, the story behind his collection is equally amazing.   Throughout his high school and college years, Fuller had a habit of requesting autographs from world leaders and famous individuals.  Sometimes, he also included a small gift, like when he sent King George V “an unusually centered guideline strip of four of the current 1¢ U.S. Postal issue” to add to his stamp collection. (These, along with Mr. Fuller’s self-addressed envelope, were returned because “His Majesty only collects stamps of the British Empire.”)Fuller_2

In 1934, he wrote a letter to Anna Viroubova, a former lady in waiting to the last Tsarina of the Russian Empire.  Fuller was interested in the history of the Russian Revolution (as well as in purchasing some of Viroubova’s photographs of the royal family), and they began to correspond regularly, eventually making plans for Fuller to visit and interview Viroubova in Finland that summer.  Later, in an English class at Trinity, he would write the story of her relationship with the Royal Family and her harrowing escape from Russia, attempting to redeem a woman many viewed as despicable and dangerous.  Whether he succeeded in convincing his professor is another story!Fuller_3

2196 may be a long way off, but if you’d like to start sorting out the many stories this collection has to tell, just stop by the Watkinson and ask to see the box inventory.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at 3:51 pm and is filed under College Archives, Interns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed at this time.