[ The Russian Revolution: Sir John Pollock and the Fund to Provide Comforts for British Refugees from Bolshevist Russia.] Notebook with miscellaneous entries, many of them relating to the Fund, including a draft appeal, details of individual cases/

Author: 
Sir John Pollock [ Sir Frederick John Pollock, 4th Baronet ] (1878-1963), author and journalist [ Fund to Provide Comforts for British Refugees from Bolshevist Russia; Russian Revolution ]
Publication details: 
[ 95 Bedford Court Mansions, London. ] 1920 and 1921.
£950.00
SKU: 19784

The author is not named, but this item is from the papers of Sir John Pollock, and is in his autograph. Sir (Frederick) John Pollock (1872-1963), 4th Baronet of Hatton (Eton; Trinity College, Cambridge; Harvard Law School) is a strangely-neglected figure. His brief obituary in The Times (23 July 1963) is headed 'Playwright and Author', but the best account of his career is the one he himself contributed to Who's Who. Pollock took great interest in Russian affairs, his numerous works including 'War and Revolution in Russia' in 1918, and 'The Bolshevik Adventure' the following year. His plays include an original piece titled 'For Russia!' (1915), as well as a translation of Tolstoy's 'The Man who was Dead' (1912) and a version of 'Anna Karenina' (1913). Around the time of the present item Pollock was forging a journalistic career as European correspondent of a number of Fleet Street newspapers, including The Times. The present item is a 15 x 9.5 cm reporter's notebook, with miscellaneous entries by Pollock, almost all in pencil, on a variety of subjects, covering 96pp. The only date is in a reference to 'Labour Deleg. To Russia 1920'. In pencil on cover: 'Some Notes for Truth about the Kinema and Little Chevalier'. It is in fair condition, aged and worn. A large part of the material in the notebook relates to the Fund to Provide Comforts for British Refugees from Bolshevist Russia, of which Pollock – who between 1915 and 1918 had been Chief Commissioner in Russia and Poland of the Great Britain to Poland and Galicia Fund under the Russian Red Cross – was clearly a prime mover. In 1920 (i.e. during the period covered by this notebook) Pollock married Princess Bariatinsky (1874-1921), who was well-known in Russia and England as the actress 'Lydia Yavorska'. (Offered separately is Pollock's journal of a trip to Russia with the Bariatinsky's in 1911, during which he made contact with theatrical and artistic figures including Stanislavsky and Andreyev.) Princess Bariatinsky's involvement in the Fund is reported in The Times, 14 January (helping to organise the distribution of clothes) and 3 March 1921 (to star in a fundraising matinée of a translation by Pollock at the Ambassadors Theatre). (The only other reference to the Fund in The Times, 25 February 1921, gives the Bishop of North and Central Europe as the its president, and lists a number of aristocratic 'patronesses'.) The subject of refugees from Bolshevik Russia would have had added significance for Pollock, as his wife's demise is said in her Times obituary (5 September 1921) to have been 'the result of privations she suffered' during the revolution: 'She narrowly escaped imprisonment by Bolshevists, only getting away from Petrograd in 1919, one day in advance of the order for her arrest.' The opening item at one end of the notebook is a draft for an appeal on behalf of the fund. It reads: 'Please!!! A Christmas Present to British Sufferers from the Bolsheviks. Please Don't think this is an ordinary appeal for charity. It is not an appeal for charity at all. But it is an appeal to you to do something simple, something good – something you can do. | 750 of your fellow countrymen have come back from hell – tortured in mind, ruined in fortune – back to their English home from the Hell that the Bolsheviks have made of Russia. | All British citizens | All true British citizens – men & women who have held the high honour of the <?> of Great Britain throughout the war and the revolution in Russia. | Many of them were rich – all were workers who had lived & worked in Russia their lives long. | The Bolsheviks have robbed them of all they had – because they were British – flung them into prison, killed some by starvation, disease, & brutality and the rest after infinite double dealing sent back to England. Bolsh[eviks]. hate them because they know the truth about B[olshevis]m. Now they are living in a workhouse – poor, neglected, miserable. | They want work | They need comfort | They are without attention | We ask you for just a moment of sympathy – just to help buy a Christmas present for them – just to let them feel they are not forgotten. | Do not give much – unless you wish – but give something. | However little it may be – clothes or money or toys for a Xmas tree or delicacies for invalids for there are old people as well as young ones – it will be welcome | Read this | Act on it. | Pass it on to a friend.' One page carries notes on the state of the refugees: 'Not more than 20 have got permanent work. | About 120 now at Mitcham – the rest living in lodgings on Govt allowance | A number work at Belgrave Sq. R. Red + doing piecework | Eng. treat refugees as Russians. Russians as English – so they are between two stools. | 30-40 women at Mitcham cd. take in needlework. There are only about 12 sewing machines at M.' Also present are 41 entries describing the conditions of individual refugees, whose names and addresses are given. For example: 'Finley Nicolas | 22 Cranworth Gdns | Flat 6. Brixton | bed, for child, 9 months | also clothes for brothers baby 4 months'; 'Mrs. Kringer – and 1 daughter | Finborough Road | Lane Lodge | Tooting junction | warm underclothes | material for dress | jumper | combination'; 'Mrs. Priestley | 84 Angel Road | Brixton': 'very poor woman with baby'; 'Bland Mrs. old lady | Mills Hotel | 107 Gower St | coat, jumper, linen stockings, dress'. 'C. S. Hopper (off[icer]. In Guards 9th. Dragoons)' is said to be 'now clerk in insurance | Brit. desc[ent]. - Russ[ian]. nat[ional] speaks English & Russ. | doesn't want help – might be useful in organisation'. Another refugee, Alexei <?>', 'wants help go South Am[erica]. c. £300', and another note reads: 'Qu. is there anyone named Cattley among the refugees?' There is also a list of seventeen names of suggested individuals 'For Organising Comm[ittee]. & Grand Council', with another of six individuals 'For President'. Also a list of 'Ladies' Committee for Matinée' (see Times, 3 March 1921, as described above). Names are also given of prospective 'Trustees'. There are also reminders of things to do, for example: 'Write – Ellen Terry | Viola Tree' and 'NB. Brit Mus. | Get Memoirs of Fanny Lear re Grand Duke Nicolai Constantinovich at Taskkent [sic]'. There is a note regarding his wife: 'Alexei Kvitko – Cossack who recognised LB in the train going to Moscow in Feb 1918'. Also a couple of pages of what appears to be an original dialogue by Pollock, between 'Petre' and 'Vera', with one character asserting that 'Jews and generally speaking wrong 'uns' in 'any democratic system' will 'form a mutual sustentation society', and ending 'I seem to have heard of a gentleman called Rasputin' (Pollock claimed to have broken the news of Rasputin's demise in Britain). Also a couple of pages of notes on 'Cinema & drama', with reference to 'Superiority in Russia' and 'Classic vulgarity of Ch. Chaplin'. Also a few memoranda relating to Russia, for example: 'Haden Guest saw peasants support B[olshevik]. régime: they have become de facto owners of the land - | lie: why? | speaks of “atrocious condition of Tsarism' and 'Lenin & Tr[otsky]. not idealists'. Also what appears to be a report of a parliamentary debate, with reference to Kerensky, who is 'execrated by all patriotic Russians'. Among the other entries in the notebook are recipes, addresses (several relevant to the refugees), lists (including items 'Left at Hove' and 'Xmas presents'), an inventory of furniture, financial memoranda, a few literary quotations, and a page describing 'Repairs & alterations needed at Montpelier [Road]'.