Eleonora Prey: an American with a Russian soul

Eleanor Prey - a native of the United States, came to Vladivostok in 1894 and lived in this city for 36 years. It is possible that she would remain forever in the Far East of Russia, just fate forced this unique woman to leave from the city she loved. What makes Eleonora Prei such an extraordinary and remarkable representative of the beautiful half of humanity? We answer: absolutely everything connected with it. It is worthy of praise that she was not afraid to leave her country to distant Russia, of which many responded with fear. Only the most courageous people can do this: the very ones that make history. And this woman, no doubt, wrote several chapters in her chronicles.

American with Russian soul

We all have to say thanks to Eleanor for being able and loving taking pictures. Just imagine: a camera of the late XIX century - this is a fairly technically complex device that not every man could then learn how to use, and in fact it must be said that at that time the photographers were entirely representatives of the strong half of humanity. However, our heroine, and here she showed her courage pioneering, beginning to capture with the help of this technical for that time novelties surrounding her world. Thanks to what today we can see Vladivostok at the beginning of the 20th century with her eyes. It is worth noting that Prey was a wonderful photographer, her work is amazing with its realism and beauty.

Stories in letters

Eleanor Prey captured her life not only in photographs, but also in letters, each of which is a short story about the life of the city and its way, describing in detail some event. Reading these letters, intended for the relatives of Eleanor in the United States, you understand how far the cosmopolitan city was in those years Vladivostok. Here people from many nationalities worked: people from the Old and New Worlds, Asia. In particular, Japanese people served in the American house, the Chinese helped to look after the garden and the garden.

In the United States, letters from Vladivostok Eleonora Prey flew. Of these, the American people learned about this wonderful city, which Eleonora called "the fortress of the Russian Empire," more and more new details. In one of her letters, she told me very figuratively that Russian officers of the highest ranks often come to her house: at first it aroused her, but soon she got used to such a number of military guests.

Eleanor Prey. Biography

In Vladivostok, she arrived with her husband Frederick in 1894 to help her husband's son-in-law, Charles Smith, who owned the "American store" located in the city. Russia then experienced very difficult years and, of course, Eleanor fully experienced all the hardships and deprivations of that time. She was a witness of the development of the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the revolution, the policy of intervention. Nevertheless, even in such a difficult time Vladivostok American was not disappointed with her life in Russia, she loved her new homeland, and when in 1916 her relative Sarah Smith invited her to leave for Shanghai, she rejected this proposal. In 1923, fate again checked Eleanor for strength: her husband died. Left alone, the woman continued to live in Vladivostok. She worked in the trading house "Kunst and Albars" until 1930. I left Russia only when there was no money left for existence. Eleanor Prey went to China. Unfortunately, even here she had to live very difficult years.

On a visit to Eleanor

Our heroine is remembered and honored not only in Russia, but also in the United States. Her records are kept in the Washington Library of Congress. The journalist Sergey Mayorov decided to make the film "Letters of Happiness of Eleanor Prey". To get a detailed idea of the life of this wonderful American, he and his colleagues went to her historic homeland - to South Brevik. In this small American town today there is a very respectful attitude towards Eleanor Prey, although the inhabitants of this locality learned about its history quite recently. It struck the Americans with its scope, eccentricity, love of life and sacrifice. Now they want to open a museum of her name, which, I think, will be very popular among tourists from Russia.

Her view of the world

Eleanor's records are, really, real letters of happiness. Many of these stories are filled with positive, joyful emotions experienced by a person who is drawn to new knowledge, new sensations. Of course, not always the world through the eyes of Eleanor is bright and clear, he was sad, and lonely, and sad, but the general intonation of the letters is still positive.

There is no doubt that Eleanor Prey possessed an acute mind, a good memory and a talent to notice the subtleties of life. She reacted very sensitively to what was happening around and could find many answers.

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