Deciphering Paul and Margaret Anderson’s Wedding Plate



After publishing Revolution from Within, I was thrilled to be introduced to remaining family members of one of our heroes in the story, Paul Anderson.  You can read about this fortuitous meeting in my post Synchronicity!


The family have shared many beautiful memories with me and, in many ways, done what my extensive reading and study of the historical archives could not … namely brought so many of these people to life in all the complex and wonderful multidimensionality of what it means to be human!  I am so blessed.


Deciphering The Wedding Plate Signatories

Along the way, they asked if I could help decipher who the signatories were on a wedding plate their parents received from Russians at the YMCA press and the Russian Students Christian Movement.  It’s astounding!  I’ve done my best and … Continue reading


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 … Continue reading

The Problem with Meaning

The Problem with Meaning

by David Brooks    January 5, 2015

Not long ago, a friend sent me a speech that the great civic leader John Gardner gave to the Stanford Alumni Association 61 years after he graduated from that college. The speech is chock-full of practical wisdom. I especially liked this passage:

“The things you learn in maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions. You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character.

“You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this … Continue reading