June 6, 2016: In May 2014 Taganrog Foreign Relations Office received an inquiry through TaganrogCity.Com from Mrs. Patricia Elizabeth Engel in the city of Norwalk, Connecticut, USA. In the family archive of her late mother, the American found many 19th century drawings and photographs - the so-called "De Bottari Collection".
Mrs. Engel is presumably a relative of composer Achilles Alferaki
on De Bottari side. Achilles Nikolaevich spent all of his childhood in the city of Taganrog in the magnificent palace on Catholic Street (currently "Alferaki Palace" on Frunze Street). In 1880 he was elected Mayor of Taganrog and held this position until 1888. It is known that representatives of De Bottari family resided in Russia and Italy: Antonio lived in Rome, Italy and Alexander worked at a steel company in Saint Petersburg, Russia. According to Patricia's late mother, Achilles Nikolaevich Alferaki
was her first cousin once removed.
Patricia Engel learned more about Taganrog, the beautiful building that belonged to Alferaki family and its new resident - the Taganrog Local Lore and History Museum. The American tried to find out more about the persons featured in the "friendly jests" similar to those that are kept at Taganrog Museum Reserve, and about people on the old photographs. Engaging into communication with the editor of TaganrogCity.Com Mr. Alexander Mirgorodskiy, she found some answers with the help of Taganrog Museum's senior researcher Mrs. Alla Tsymbal and deputy director of Taganrog Arts & Culture Council Mrs. Marianna Grigoryan. The communication resulted in Mrs. Engel's decision to donate the collection in favor of Taganrog Museum Reserve.
Director of Taganrog Museum Reserve Mrs. Yelizaveta Lipovenko, director of Taganrog Museum of Local Lore & History ("The Alferaki Palace") Mrs. Galina Krupnitskaya and Taganrog Foreign Relations Officer Mr. Mirgorodskiy made preparations for the arrival of the American descendant of Alferaki
family to Taganrog. Thanks to sponsorship of Mr. Boris Romanenko ("Agroprom-Impex Company") and Mr. Gennady Dubovoy ("Bristol Hotel"), the visit of Mrs. Engel will take place June 7-10, 2016. Within the framework of the program, June 9 at 3PM a special donation ceremony will be held at the Alferaki Palace, where a part of materials will be revealed to public.
"De Bottari Collection" consists of some 50 photographs and about 40 drawings made by various authors; some of the former feature the same persons as those depicted in the friendly jests and drawings. A special place among these materials are photographs of Achilles Alferaki
's children and his wife - Maria Alferaki. Besides, there are many photos of people with whom De Bottari and Alferakis communicated and were on friendly terms in 1850-1890s. Some of them were very well known people in Taganrog and in the South of Russia, such as Pavel Sarandinaki.