George Nathaniel Nash:
An Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Since Nash was not a famous person, but simply a lieutenant who kept an interesting diary, it has thus far been impossible to find biographical information about him. From his diary, we know that he was born on August 3, 1888. He was stationed in Russia as a translator from 1917-1919 and it appears that he had previously been there in 1914 or 1915, though the nature of that trip is unknown. Nash had acquired a command of the Russian language during this 1914 or 1915 trip, or perhaps earlier. He was promoted from lieutenant to captain in January 1918 and ended his military service after returning to London in 1920.
There is an address for St. Anne's Road, London, on the title page of the diary, but it is unknown how long Nash lived there or where he died. There is an entry in the 1901 census for a George Nash of the correct age living with parents and a sister at a different address on St. Anne's, but this cannot be completely confirmed to be the Nash at hand. Searches for London obituaries have revealed nothing, and a successful search of military records would have to be conducted in London, most likely at the Public Record Office.
The collection consists of the papers of George Nathaniel Nash, a British Army officer stationed in Russia from 1917-1919. These papers chronicle Nash's experiences during World War I and the Russian Revolution. The collection breaks down into three main components: first, two copies of Nash's unpublished diary, one a typescript and the other a carbon copy; second, a scrapbook extensively cross-referenced with the diary; and third, a photograph album with typescript index by the author.
The diary is summarized by a Table of Contents and covers experiences in Petrograd, Vladivostok, Moscow, and the Russian Southwestern front. Nash does not set out to provide in-depth analysis of political change in Russia, but does give a first-hand account of the unrest in the region at the time, as well as his own experiences there as a British soldier. Included are accounts of his meeting with Tsar Nicholas II, of a disorderly Russian army, and of his own imprisonment. Copy 1, Vol. 1 is the original diary, which contains several newspaper clippings, typescript translations, typescript tsarist proclamations concerning abdication, and two pages of paper money. Copy 2, Vol. 1 is a carbon copy; it omits the clippings and bills but contains English translations of news articles in the back. The original diary's three-ring binders have been retained.
Vol. 2 is Nash's scrapbook, which consists of numerous examples of the following: military cartoons and notices, personnel listings, programs, invitations, menus, receipts, seating arrangements, telegrams, visiting cards, travel permits, and newspaper clippings. Especially notable are a tsarist wax seal, an invitation to view the burial of Revolutionary victims, and a rare early Soviet propaganda pamphlet entitled "Say! What Are You!" and attributed to Lenin.
Nash's photograph album is a leather-bound volume consisting of 158 chronologically indexed pictures. A folder houses the album, its typed index, and one loose picture. Included are photographs relating to the diary: revolutionary Petrograd; the "Kerenski" offensive and retreat; the Southwestern front; the Trans-Siberian Railway; Vladivostok; the journey from Tiflis (Caucasus) to Erzerum (Turkey); crossing the Astrachan Steppe; and the Boutirke Criminal Jail.
Open for research
Sarah Norris, 2002
George Nathaniel Nash Papers--Folder List