In the wake of the measles outbreak tied to Disneyland, the Associated Press reports that a letter written by Catherine the Great has set an auction record for a letter, selling for $1.3 million.
The letter, which was written on the eve of the Russian Revolution, was addressed to “the head of the parents of the chief ships of the Russian Navy” to inform them that Catherine’s father, Admiral Nomin, had ordered Russian schools to be vaccinated against German and Austrian diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, and mumps. Catherine’s father had been shot for treason by the Bolsheviks, but she believed her father’s death was unjust.
The article goes on to describe the Russian leader’s letters and notes, detailing the hardships faced by the average people under the increasingly oppressive Soviet regime. Read the entire article from The Associated Press by clicking here.
By the way, it isn’t the first time Catherine the Great’s interest in vaccination has made headlines. Nearly two years ago, a letter of Catherine’s appeared in a “Danish treatise on history,” with the single parent-themed title “How to Make Your Children Speak Danish: Children who Don’t Learn Danish Through Trying Poems.”
For instance, here is the letter Catherine penned to her father:
Long live our poethead Admiral Oleg Nomin! Fear and wrath of the enemy are all but banished here, which goes against all the educated opinions of the people. It is the economic agent of all our governmental offices who have really damaged us. Expulsion from Germany and Austria together with their right to oppress us is a humiliation on the Russian people. Our Savior said that we must not tremble from their horns and to this we must not relent. Let us not give the evil men the strength to dent us and fill their coffers. We shall get rid of them either by the actual elimination of them or a manly resistance for God knows how long it will take to reach the objective. Do what we can to keep Russia safe against the aggressors by getting our own country off to a good start. I do not expect a single from your courtesy that we as mothers should oppose the education of our children; but come to me to examine their reports and objections, and if they serve you well, place the decision into your hands. Never submit to her influence, would you? Don’t let the fool’s have any scruples; she is an idiot. Do we have a government?… Her fondness for men first in line is our most disgusting hindrance and thus to her style, the attitude of life and hostility toward women as her enemies.
As for Catherine the Great, she died in 1768, and only months later, at the age of 62, willed $12 million to the “Russian Foundation for the Relief of the Poor.” On Wednesday, the Tribune-Review newspaper in Illinois commemorated Catherine’s would-be scruples with a series of articles devoted to the Empress and her “indomitable spirit.” Read them here.