Duke Alexis Romanov was the fourth son of Alexander II, the czar
of Russia (1855-1881). The
visit of the handsome, 21-year-old nobleman to America in
1871-1872 was a social event and journalistic story of the first
rank. He was the
highest-ranking Russian to pay an official visit to the United
States (to that point in time), and his tour revived fond memories
of the arrival of the Russian fleet in 1863.
The formal reception for him at the Port of New York on
November 21, 1871, included a U.S. Navy squadron, fleets from
local yacht clubs, and dignitaries from American politics,
business, and society. Thousands
of New Yorkers filled the sidelines of the parade route to welcome
the grand duke jubilantly to their city.
For several weeks, Harper’s
Weekly published news, feature stories, illustrations,
cartoons, and an editorial concerning his visit.
a meeting with President Ulysses S. Grant in Washington, D.C.,
Grand Duke Alexis returned to New York City.
He inspected the fortifications in New York Harbor,
reviewed the cadets at West Point and the Metropolitan Fire
Department in Manhattan, and attended gala dinner-dances in his
honor at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and the Academy of Music.
He then journeyed across the country to San Francisco,
stopping along the way at major cities, addressing a joint session
of the Missouri legislature, and hunting buffalo with General
Philip Sheridan and Buffalo Bill Cody on the Western Plains.
Returning east, Grand Duke Alexis fulfilled his wish to
visit a public school in Boston.
Throughout his travels, he was surprised and impressed by
the number of American politicians who began life in the working
class. He departed New York for Russia on February 22, 1872, after a three-month