Monday, 15 August 2016

Empress Alexandra’s Library in the Winter Palace

A library was built for Empress Alexandra on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace. The Court Ministry appointed V. Shcheglov on April 18th, 1896 as the ‘Head of Her Majesty’s Library’.

I have a partial inventory of the library contents. One of the books listed was ‘The Coronation Album 1896’. The document notes that the album was ‘kept on a table in the Empress’ drawing room’.

The Empire Drawing Room (photo below) in 1899 with albums on the table.

‘The Coronation Album 1896’ Cover

By 1899, the library began to include books with bookplates of three-year-old Grand Duchess Olga.

However, a decision was made in March 1900 to release Shcheglov ‘in view of the relatively insignificant numbers of books and publications entering the library annually’. The library then came under the Office of the Empress and duplicate books were transferred to the library of Nicholas II.

In Petra Kleinpenning’s book in a letter to her brother Ernest on 5/17 July 1895, Alexandra wrote “… only I must ask Anna Berbenich [caretaker of the Neues Palais, Darmstadt] to get me photos: of all the rooms in the house stuck into an album, as remembrance …”

Does anyone know if the Neues Palais photo album was made and if the photos have ever been released? 


  1. I don't know whether such an album was actually created. However, the Hessen State Archive has pictures of some of the rooms. And Petra Tücks wrote a PhD thesis on the design, decorations and furnishing of the New Palace over the years: "Das Darmstädter Neue Palais. Ein fürstlicher Wohnsitz zwischen Historismus und Jugendstil". Publisher: Hessische Historische Kommission Darmstadt & Historische Kommission für Hessen, 2005.

  2. Thank you very much. I wonder if GARF or Krasnorgorsk will have any info.

  3. GARF's database does not seem to include a reference to the 1895 album under fond 640, opis' 3, that is the Empress' photo section. Too bad.