In 1864, a young resident of Ohio George Kennan joined the group of researchers in search of a possible route of laying a Telegraph cable from the Bering Strait through Siberia to Europe as an alternative to cable across the Atlantic ocean. Kennan spent two years studying the cold and wild lands of the Russian Empire and encountering a lot of local people. Plans for the construction of Telegraph lines were forgotten, once was laid the cable on the bottom of the Atlantic.
Frustrated, the Americans returned home with nothing but his journals, which he published under the name of Tent Life in Siberia (“Tent life in Siberia”), became a bestseller. In 1870, Kennan returned to Russia and went by ship from St. Petersburg along the Volga into the Caspian sea. From there he traveled through the Caucasus mountains, where he met Georgians, Armenians and representatives of many other ethnic groups.
More than ten years, Kennan worked in USA as a journalist and in 1885 came back to Russia. At this time, the researcher went from St. Petersburg to the East and was traveling through the Altai on the border with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China, across Siberia to the gold mines along the river Kara. He described appalling conditions of detention in prisons and camps in Siberia (from which the authorities later expelled him from the country), and also collected hundreds of postcards, which depict a huge variety of subjects of the Russian Emperor — from city officials to the recently freed serfs, religious leaders and soldiers on the periphery of the vast Russian Empire.
PHOTO: Library of Congress