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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Governorate, Russian Empire [now Tula Oblast, Russia]
Died in Valley Cottage, New York, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameAleksandra Lvovna Tolstoy

Mini Bio (1)

Countess Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoy (Aleksandra Tolstaya) was the youngest daughter of the famous Russian writer Count Leo Tolstoy. She was born in 1884, in Yasnaya Polyana, the ancestral estate of the Tolstoy family. Her mother, named Sofia Andreevna Bers, was the literary secretary for Leo Tolstoy, and made Alexandra an assistant to her writer father. Alexandra managed most of the secretarial work for Leo Tolstoy during his later years. She became the keeper of the Tolstoy archive after the writer's death in 1910.

Alexandra shared the "Tolstoyan" ideas and was the follower her father's position of non-violence, but she felt a duty call at the beginning of the First World War. She participated in action by helping the wounded, and became one of the leading organizers of hospitals for the wounded soldiers. Alexandra Tolstoy was decorated for her courage with three Medals of the Order of St. George, rising to the rank of Colonel.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Countess Alexandra Tolstoy was arrested five times by the Communists. She was sentenced for supporting the right of free speech and assembly. After release she worked as a keeper of her father's estate in Yasnaya Polyana, which was turned into a Tolstoy's National Museum. She left Russia in 1929, and settled in the United States. There she co-founded the Tolstoy Foundation in 1939, with the sponsorship from such prominent intellectuals as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Igor Sikorsky, Tatiana Schaufuss, Boris Bakhmeteff, and Boris Sergievsky. Former President Herbert Hoover became the first Honorary Chairman from 1939-1964.

Under the leadership of Alexandra Tolstoy, the Tolstoy Foundation assisted more than 500,000 people to escape from political persecution and the horrors of war. In 1948, she testified before the government on behalf of the Displaced Persons Act and was instrumental in its passage. In 1941, on a generous private donation the Tolstoy Foundation acquired Reed Farm north of New York City. She provided the 70-acre Farm for a resettlement center for over 30,000 refugees directly sponsored by the Foundation during the Second World War and after. She organized English classes and occupational therapy for the immigrants, as well, as a summer camp for needy children.

Countess Alexandra Tolstoy was known for her remarkable calmness and dignity. She died in 1979, at age 96, and was laid to rest in the Russian cemetery of Spring Valley, New York, USA.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Trivia (2)

Youngest daughter of Leo Tolstoy.
Sister of Ilya Tolstoy.

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