Years ago, while researching my Ph.D. thesis, I found it surprising that many of the best archival resources about Russian philosophers were not residing in Russia, but actually held at various US repositories and, of course, Paris. Makes sense, right? My subjects were ignominiously kicked out of Russia, so their papers, memoirs and other materials would be stored in their newly-adopted homelands… (The story of Nikolai Berdyaev’s personal archive is actually so fascinating it would make a phenomenal thriller!)
Maynard Brichford, Archivist for the YMCA papers at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was amazingly helpful to me in unearthing all the facts around what happened to our Russians, “The 160”, after Lenin expelled them in 1922. And that’s how I happened on the tale of the YMCA Russian Division and all the amazing ways they enabled Russia’s spiritual philosophers to adapt and thrive in their new countries… Ditto for the wonderful folks at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, Father Sable at Scranton University in Pennsylvania and the State Department archivists at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Through a wonderful trick of fate, I’ve also become acquainted with Ryan Bean who’s fabulously maintaining the Kautz Family YMCA Archives @ University of Minnesota – which I’ve already seen contains another wealth of information!
Yet as Yakovlev said about the awful outcome of repression and state control … after he did so much work recovering Russia’s lost history, lost ideas, lost freedoms working with Gorbachev through perestroika and glasnost’ … “Papers are not destroyed, People are”
Personalism = All built around the personal touch…
So when I’ve gotten the chance to reconnect with people who were there or knew about the events in Revolution from Within, its like an explosion of understanding happens and whole new dimensions are introduced!
I just experienced this at the YMCA’s wonderful NAYDO event in Atlanta. After years operating under the impression that there were no living descendants of the YMCA Russian Division families… Paul Anderson, Ethan Colton, etc. … Mary Tikalsky, to my astonishment and delight, introduced me to the most wonderful couple: Bill and Mary Glenn.
Mary is Paul B. Anderson’s daughter, steeped in years of World Service with the YMCA in Uruguay (1957-1961) and Turkey (1961-1963), as interested and active in the world YMCAs and international affairs as her wonderful father. We spoke a few days later and are now regular correspondents and I’ll definitely be traveling up Chicago way soon to meet with her in person. As Mary wrote, most beautifully, after our first conversation: “Thanks to my father’s and my husband’s careers, I have led a varied and very interesting life and I am glad to find you and your knowledge adding to it.”
Today, Mary participates in the Anderson House Foundation www.snowqueen.us and is Senior Editor at Windy Press www.windypress.com which are both innovative publishing houses of interactive digital literature and media. International unity, publishing and media, above all the inspiration “to make this world a little bit better” carried on from father to daughter, irrepressible…