Images of imperial Russia
Fascinating photos of Moscow and St. Petersburg taken 102 years ago have reappeared.
By Jonathan Earle
May 25, 2011
When Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings, the millionaire founder of petrochemical giant Union Carbide, took his prize-winning trotters on a goodwill tour of Eastern Europe in 1909, he brought along horse-racing journalist Murray Howe to chronicle the trip in weekly dispatches to The Horse Review magazine.
In addition to being an able and witty journalist, Howe was also an amateur photographer.
Howe snapped more than 400 photographs in Moscow and St. Petersburg with his handheld Graflex camera, a state-of-the-art device that allowed its user to shoot without a tripod. His photographs of pedestrians, street venders and aristocrats are rare glimpses of everyday life before the upheavals of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution — and sparked huge interest in Russia among history buffs and local museums.
The photographs re-emerged a few months ago when Howe’s great-grandson, Andrew Howe V of Atlantic Beach, Florida, posted about 75 of them on his Flickr account. A link soon appeared on the popular EnglishRussia blog, and the photographs started popping up in the Russian blogosphere.
Read the full article (which includes a link to the Flickr account) at http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=34060