George Nathaniel Nash:
An Inventory of His Materials in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
George Nathaniel Nash was born on August 3, 1888. During the First World War, he was an officer in the British Army and stationed in Russia as a translator from 1917 to 1919. It appears that he had been to Russia previously in 1914 or 1915, though the nature of that trip is unknown. Nash had a command of the Russian language, and was promoted from lieutenant to captain in January 1918. He ended his military service after returning to London in 1920.
Nash's diary title page contains an address for St. Anne's Road, London. There is an entry in the 1901 UK Census for a George Nash of the correct age living with parents and a sister at a different address on St. Anne's, but further information on Nash is unknown.
The collection consists of a diary, scrapbook, and photograph album of George Nathaniel Nash, a British Army officer stationed in Russia from 1917 to 1919. These materials chronicle Nash's experiences during World War I and the Russian Revolution. The collection breaks down into three main components: first, two copies of Nash's unpublished diary, one a typescript and the other a carbon copy; second, a scrapbook extensively cross-referenced with the diary; and third, a photograph album with typescript index by the author.
The diary is summarized by a Table of Contents and covers experiences in Petrograd, Vladivostok, Moscow, and the Russian Southwestern front. Nash does not set out to provide in-depth analysis of political change in Russia, but does give a first-hand account of the unrest in the region at the time, as well as his own experiences there as a British soldier. Included are accounts of his meeting with Tsar Nicholas II, of a disorderly Russian army, and of his own imprisonment. Copy 1, Vol. 1 is the original diary, which contains several newspaper clippings, typescript translations, typescript tsarist proclamations concerning abdication, and two pages of paper money. Copy 2, Vol. 1 is a carbon copy; it omits the clippings and bills but contains English translations of news articles in the back. The original diary's three-ring binders have been retained.
Vol. 2 is Nash's scrapbook, which consists of numerous examples of the following: military cartoons and notices, personnel listings, programs, invitations, menus, receipts, seating arrangements, telegrams, visiting cards, travel permits, and newspaper clippings. Especially notable are a tsarist wax seal, an invitation to view the burial of Revolutionary victims, and a rare early Soviet propaganda pamphlet entitled "Say! What Are You!" and attributed to Lenin.
Nash's photograph album is a leather-bound volume consisting of 158 chronologically indexed photos. A folder houses the album, its typed index, and one loose picture. Included are photographs relating to the diary: revolutionary Petrograd; the "Kerenski" offensive and retreat; the Southwestern front; the Trans-Siberian Railway; Vladivostok; the journey from Tiflis (Caucasus) to Erzerum (Turkey); crossing the Astrachan Steppe; and the Boutirke Criminal Jail.
Open for research
Purchase, 1974 (R6493)
Sarah Norris, 2002
George Nathaniel Nash Papers--Folder List