Monday, 24 October 2016

"Victoria: The Enduring Legacy of Lady Alexander"

I recently purchased from America a copy of this book by Denise Buese. It can be purchased directly from the author at It is very expensive, especially as postage costs are now so high. However, I am delighted to have my copy, and Denise Buese has done some impressive research. Strangely the book has no credits whatsoever, no copyright details, no ISBN number, which is a pity as it makes it very difficult to trace. Although primarily targetted at those who are interested in historical dolls, it does provide useful information on the doll's original owner, her parents and her life.

The cover of Denise Buese's book

There is a portrait of Carrie that I would guess was painted by Alessandro Ossani in 1874, when a portrait was painted by him of her brother Sidney Schiff.
Carrie Schiff c. 1874

The account of Carrie Schiff's life is interesting, and pretty much accurate. The author covers her mother's divorce from John Scott Cavell, the Schiff family's lifestyle and travels, Carrie's life in Faversham with her husband, a doctor and mayor of the town who was knighted, and the raffling of the doll in 1943 to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Carrie Schiff c. 1890

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Albert Schiff

For a long time I knew that Samson Schiff had only two children: Wilhelm, and his younger half-brother Friedrich, my great great grandfather. I knew most about Wilhelm because my grandfather's half-brother, Umberto Schiff, was in contact with his cousins, Wilhelm's two unmarried daughters, Guglielmina and Sofia, who spent their latter years in Trieste. Then two years ago I discovered that they had a sister Paulina, about whom a great deal is now known thanks to the researches of Dr Ruth Nattermann. This led me to discover five other children, thanks to a document in the Milan Hewish archives dating from 1859. There names are given in Italian, the girls being Augusta, Frida and Ottavia, and the other brothers being Lodovico and Alberto. I have found a possible marriage for Ottavia in Genoa, but nothing else. Then last week, whilst in hospital, a search revealed that Albery Schiff from Milan sailed from Hamburg to New York in 1866, aged 24, undoubtedly my uncle. I have found no further trace of him though after his arrival in America.