The American historian Frank Golder (1877–1929) was an eyewitness to some of the most historic events in modern Russian history. He was in St. Petersburg when tsarist Russia entered World War I in 1914. He returned to the city—now Petrograd—eleven days before the fall of Nicholas II in 1917 and witnessed the February Revolution that overthrew Russia's autocracy. He served as a relief worker and unofficial political observer for the US government during the Great Famine of 1921. In later visits, he beheld the changes in Soviet society after the death of Lenin. Golder faithfully recorded his impressions in diaries and letters, now in the holdings of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. His writings from Russia detail the dramatic events he observed, from the final years of the Romanov dynasty to the beginnings of Stalinism. Among the events he describes are encounters with key figures in the Russian Revolution, backdoor negotiations between Washington and Moscow on the issues of trade and political recognition, and meetings with prominent Russian ÉmigrÉs from which learned the fate of the old-regime intelligentsia. Golder's writings provide a firsthand account of the tumultuous events that transformed Russian politics, society, and culture.
About the Author
Terence Emmons, professor emeritus of Russian history at Stanford University, is the author and editor of numerous books on Russian history, including Time of Troubles: The Diary of Iurii Vladimirovich Got'e (1988), based on the original handwritten diary of a Moscow historian found among Frank Golder's papers in the Hoover Library & Archives.
Bertrand M. Patenaude is the author of The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (2002) and coauthor of Bread + Medicine: American Famine Relief in Soviet Russia, 1921–1923 (2023).