Moussia 15: From the Orient to the Sunshine Belt



Moussia and Vladimir left Yokohama on the 14th of December 1917 on the SS Ecuador, a new ship just built in 1915 at a Dutch shipyard (picture at the end of this article). There would only be one stopover, in Honolulu.

I quote from the Honolulu Star Bulletin of 26 December 1917, the date the ship left Honolulu for San Francisco:

“The Pacific Mail steamer has nearly a hundred cabin passengers in all. A number of these are prominent or wealthy Russians seeking peace in the United States. T. Bosse is a rear-admiral of the Russian Navy and V. Baranovsky, a very rich Russian who, with Mrs. Baranovsky and a number of servants, is en route to the States for an indefinite stay. All of these Russians said they are not familiar with the English language to comment on the chaotic state of affairs in their native country.”

I have been unable to find out anything about Rear-Admiral Theodore Bosse. We see him on the photo above with  Vladimir on the left, dressed in a brand-new elegant English tweed suit, and a cheerful Moussia in the middle. It is my impression that she wears one of Vladimir’s shirts and wants to look like a sailor. I could not identify the cap badge of Mr. Bosse and for a while I thought that he was the captain of the ship. However, press photos taken on their arrival in San Francisco leave no doubt that he is the man who called himself Admiral Bosse.

The ship’s manifest is shown below, visibly double-checked in minute detail which, we may assume, involved a look at official proof of all identities including proof of marriage. We see First Class passengers Mr.Vladimir Baranovsky, 28, and Mrs. Mary Baranovsky, 22 (she became 23 years old on 25 January 1918) and Rear-Admiral Theodore Bosse, 55. Under “Names and adresses of nearest relatives”, both Vladimir and Moussia have entered: “Parents: Vsevolod and Lydia Baranovsky”, living at the Petrograd address we saw on Vladimir’s business card in article 9:  Grand Puskarshkaya Street 59, apartment 10. So it may have been in that apartment that they last saw Alexander Kerensky and Vladimir’s sister by the end of October 1917, if it was not in Vsevolod’s other apartment, in Helsinki. In the same column, Bosse has entered the name and address of a friend, Nikolay Bogdanov, a well known Russian portrait painter of the day. I intend to do a little more research on Rear-Admiral Bosse and to look for the names of Vladimir’s ‘servants’ on the ship’s manifest.

It is also clear that our protagonists were determined to keep their mouths shut where the press was concerned, on the pretext of being unable to speak English – until their arrival in San Francisco.

(to be continued)

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