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"We have just finished dinner. Alexei has come to Mother’s to pray. Sisters are sorting out the flowers sent from Livadia by the Yanovs. Mother is trying to send Anastasia to bed but she is desperately trying to find Shvybzik, who is missing. Everybody is calling him but he would not come, the git. He was found at last 10 minutes later. We all thought that he was under the sofa. Mother started to bark and Shvybzik answered. He appeared to be sitting under Mother’s couch and we all put a great effort in pulling him out of there. I continue writing next morning at 8 a.m. I’ve just drawn back the curtain and was delighted to see that it was 19 degrees above zero in the sun. Alexei has come into our bedroom and is now lying in my bed and is playing with Anastasia and Shvybzik. [OT] are still sleeping. Shvybzik is squeaking. I think, he wants to see the “Governor”. He has done it already and Anastasia has run in with a small shovel and took it away…"

—Maria in a letter to her father, 18 & 19 of April, 1915 (via romanovrussiatoday)

Was Jemmy Male or Female?

For those of you who don’t know, Jemmy was Anastasia Nikolaevna’s pet dog, and s/he was killed along with the family, and their corpse was thrown into the grave along with part of the Imperial Family and others. I’ve always wondered if Jemmy was a male or female dog (Usually I referred to it as a male dog, but I never knew for sure. I came across this post on the APTM forum, talking about the grammar that both Alexandra Fydorovna and Anastasia Nikolaevna used when writing about Jemmy, and how these tell us which gender Jemmy was.)

When writing about Jemmy in letters, Alexandra Fydorovna used the feminine forms of things. In a letter to Anna Vyrubova, on 8 December, 1917, she writes:

Ваша Jimmie лежитъ рядомъ пока ея хозяйка на роялѣ играетъ.

Which translates to:

Your [fem.] Jimmie is lying nearby while her mistress [Anastasia Nikolaevna] plays the piano.

However, Anastasia Nikolaevna speaks of Jemmy in the masculine form:

Джими здоровъ и веселъ.

Which translates to:

Jimmy is well [masc.] and in good spirits [masc.].

Olga Nikolaevna also talks of Jemmy in a masculine form:

Джими здороъ и довольно рамолен.

Which translates to:

Jimmy is well [masc.] and rather ga-ga [masc.].

I have two reasons to believe that Jemmy was a male

For the first reason, I believe that, since Alix didn’t grow up with the Russian language, and didn’t start to learn until her twenties, she would be influenced by the gender of the object’s word, rather than the actual object. For those of you who don’t understand, Russian (and other languages) nouns are classified by three genders, masculine, feminine, and neutral. One of the most well known examples of this is articles of the French language, le and la. The Russian word for dog (собака) is feminine, and she probably thought that using the other feminine forms of things would be okay (it totally was, if it was a female dog).

As for the second part, Olga and Anastasia were raised with Russian. They knew the language like the back of their hand, and would know how to inform someone of the dog’s gender without saying it directly. The fact that they indirectly let on that the dog was male, makes me draw the conclusion that Jemmy was male.


Some macabre Romanov Memorabilia : Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna´s favorite dog “Cony”. She loved him so that, when he died, she sent him to be dissecated and put in a Showcase

Oh my gaaawt!!

Now this is morbid.

Alexander Palace, 1917, with the French Bulldog, Ortipo, on Tatiana’s lap.


Oh Alexei.

With his spaniel Joy and Siamese cat Zubrovka (I don’t think that’s spelled correctly….) Sometime during WWI.