Update: CIA library manuscript released

Personal circumstances have kept me from writing the last few months but that will soon be remedied.I have news that the CIA library has released my grandmothers unpublished (lost) manuscript and expect a copy of it soon. (Thank you Scott Hodes)How did it end up in the possession of the CIA?  I hope to answer that question.Since I have at least a partial copy of one version and a nearly full copy of the another version (seemed she re-typed the story at least twice,) it will be interesting to compare the two complete versions.

It is a grand idea to publish her work, (unpublished manuscript), at least on the internet. Then I could help to accomplish what she didn’t see in her life.

Rest in peace dear dear grandmother,
       your love did not return void.

Portrait sent to John DeLawder in WWI via special delivery a favor from Humes Houston Whittlesey, Lt Commander, USN

Copyright  ©amanoffamily.com 2012

P.S. The manuscript did arrive! Fortunately it is the first version she wrote. The CIA preserved her work. No indication how it ended up in the library but the manuscript is complete.

Wordless Wednesday: Katherine "Katie" Dosenberg

Katherine “Katie” Alide Kunan nee Dosenberg
born:1887 Russia; died: Sept 1955 Boston, MA

Finding Katie:

Immigrant women virtually disappeared from the records upon marriage, changing their surname. No United States birth record exsists, and there is no record of Naturalization because at the turn of the 20th century the name of the wife appeared on her husbands record with no documentation of her maiden name.

Aided by cousins her married name was revealed as Kunan. Thanks to John Dosenberg’s step-daughter, her picture was recovered from an ancient pile of pictures relegated to her attic. Katherine “Katie” Alide Dosenberg married Andrew Kunan in 1907 in Fall River, MA (see the MA archives site) and then found her listed in the 1920 Census in Boston, MA with her two sons. Subsequently found her listed in the Boston City directory for 1915, 1916, 1920, 1934, 1940’s, 1955, and 1956. My heart raced as a paged through the 1956 directory looking for the name of her widowed daughter-in-law (Alvina Kunan), living with Katie (her youngest son had passed away at the young age of 35yrs). I found the listing for the daughter-in-law and to my great surprize Katie was listed along with her death date in 1955.

It sounds simple now put into words but this was over the course of several years. In part because the Boston city directories just became avaliable on Ancestry.com for the later years. Katie has been found!

Copyright  © amanoffamily.com 2012

The Cast of Characters

Every good story has charming and endearing characters and this one is chock full of them. Some of them are easy to spot; a Russian spy, a Russian Red Army general, a USN intelligence officer, Victorian women, a handsome young man, a baby girl, and some not so well known; a medical doctor, mobsters, counterfeiter’s, unidentified Gmen, and a myriad of accomplices all set against the backdrop of the turbulent 1930’s.

First and foremost is Nicholas Dozenberg, or “Nick,” as he preferred to be called by his friends and family. He was charismatic, intelligent, “generous to a fault,” with an impeccable sense of timing. He was described by his surviving spouse as the, “cleverest spy between two continents,” an interesting insight given the adamant plea that she, “knew nothing,” of his candestine career. He was a typical man in the sense that he admired beautiful and charming women. In 1904 he was a young Russian-Lettish immigrant following his oldest brother Carl Dosenberg who had already settled in the bustling Lettish community of Boston. He was one of 8 children and their parents most of them completing the journey to the promised shores.
Not much is known of Nick’s first wife, Katherine Peagle or “Ancit,” her casual name. She was also of Russian Lettish descent. She was his constant companion even following him into the Russian spy circles upon Nick’s recruitement in 1928 until her death January 1, 1936 in China.
Albert Davis with daughter Mary Frances Davis
named for one her paternal aunts

Upon the death of his first wife Nick wrote an American woman whom he had meet several years earlier and had corresponded with through letters and postcards sent from around the world. The letter of proposal reach Frances DeLawder Feb 14, 1936 in New York City. She cabled back her response and set out for Japan.

Born Mary Frances Davis in the year 1895 she was the sixth  of eight children. Her birth was preceded by the death of the second male child barely 14 months of age. Frances grew up under the tutelage of her older sisters, Ruth, Nina, and Emma. Mother Emma was preoccupied with George Easton the third male born a short 21 months later and the baby Winifred born in 1899.
Frances and John DeLawder
wedding portrait
April 1920

Frances was blessed with a “porcelain complexion,” and long lanky frame imbued with female charm that could not be ignored. She won the heart of her handsome childhood sweetheart, John Lurman DeLawder and with his safe return from the war front they where wed in April 1920 shortly after Frances’ 25th birthday. It was without any exaggeration the happiest day of her life. Her domestic future was secured at least for a short while.

The story that follows is not included in the “official version,” promoted and scrubbed clean by two well intentioned Victorian women, also sisters, but it is the truer to life and much more interesting, “warts and all.”

copyright © amanoffamily.com 2011