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Very Cordially…

When I picked Irina Skariatina as the subject for my European History Seminar research project, she was just a woman in Russian history that I was supposed to learn more about.  I would research her life, the time she lived in, and read one of her many memoirs that she wrote during her life time.  I had no idea that the book that I found on the shelf of Roesch Library would have an echo of the woman herself inside the front cover.  When I opened the obviously aged book, I first noticed writing on the inside cover.  At that moment I was in a rush, so I kept the pages turning.  I also saw that it was a first edition published in 1933.  Later, during my actual seminar, I was inspecting the book with one of my classmates and I realized one of the names was Victor Blakeslee, the husband of Irina Skariatina, otherwise known as Mrs. Victor Blakeslee.  I couldn’t make out exactly what the other words above his name said, but it looked like another signature and writing above it as well.  After some squinting, guessing, and sounding-out, a group of us finally figured out that it says, “very cordially, Irina Skariatina” and “Victor Blakeslee.”  Having this book and personal signatures really helps me picture the woman behind the words of First To Go Back.  Hopefully Irina Skariatina’s echo can stay with me during my research and assist me in doing her life the justice it deserves. 

- Anna Kinnen ‘15, History Major 

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