Posts Tagged ‘hungary’

A Hungarian Countship, 1878

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Oh, Sergeant de Badal, I hope you have a way to pay your friend back for what you borrowed — from the Bismarck Tri-Weekly Tribune, 3/26/1878:

“The reported fortune of 2,000,000 florins that, according to Dame Rumer, has been bequeathed to Sergt. Louis de Badal, U.S.A., caused considerable comment around town yesterday. It was received with doubtful comment by many, while some were firm in their belief in the authenticity of the claims of de Badal to a Hungarian countship and the 2,000,000 florins aforesaid. So far as we can understand, he has as yet received none of his fortune, but a well-to do friend is advancing him sufficient money to pay current expenses until he receives the first installment of the same.–Omaha Republican.”

Now that I know what to look for, these stories jump out at me these days — the clues are an enormous fortune, left by a distant relative to someone with a foreign name living in the United States, in a Dutch currency: that’s the Amsterdam Fortune Scam right there.   This is the earliest one I’ve found thus far, hailing from 1878.   de Badal was still receiving a pension from the military in 1901 and passed away in 1905 or 1906 according to the Washington Post.

Maurus Jokai In His Vineyard

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Here we see elderly Maurus (on the far right) in his vineyard, surrounded by family and servants. Maurus Jókai — or, more familiarily, Jókai Mór, was one of the most famous Hungarian novelists. As with many novelists devoted to the love of their country, Jokai was politically active..eventually running afoul of the Habsburgs and fleeing to Russia. Twenty years later he returned, continuing to write but also assisting in the country’s new independence as a governmental adviser. Later in life, he lived in Balatonfüred, known for its beautiful villas alongside private vineyards — this is probably where the above photo was taken.

Now, we have this picture. We know it is from the early 1900s, but no later than 1905 (based on inspection of other photos in the Scrapbook). Jókai was well-known in the US because many of his revolutionary compatriots ended up here in the 1840s and 1850s, but the timeframe brings us to a more poignant point in Jókai’s life. In early 1904, at 79 years old, Jókai developed difficulty breathing and became greatly ill. On May 5th, 1904, he passed away. I would expect that the magazine article that this photo accompanied was a profile on the recently-deceased author, showing him in a setting other than posing for a portrait.