Email Vladimir Alexandrov
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    WELCOME TO THE BLACK RUSSIAN BLOG--DEDICATED TO TOPICS CONNECTED WITH, AND CIRCLING AROUND, MY BIOGRAPHY OF FREDERICK BRUCE THOMAS, THE SON OF MISSISSIPPI SLAVES WHO BECAME A MILLIONAIRE IMPRESARIO IN PRE-REVOLUTIONARY MOSCOW AND 'THE SULTAN OF JAZZ' IN CONSTANTINOPLE To subscribe to this blog's RSS feed, please click on the icon above

    Entries in Constantinople (19)

    THE BLACK RUSSIAN Is Coming to Turkey

     

     

     

    I’m very pleased that Frederick Thomas’s remarkable life will become known to Turkish readers in a translation to be brought out late next year by the publisher Kültür Yayınları in Istanbul.  One of the things I hope will happen as a result is that people who have photographs, family recollections, or other memorabilia pertaining to Frederick’s life in Constantinople from 1919 to 1928 will read the book and be moved to contact me. 

    This is what already happened during the past six months with distant descendants of Frederick who emailed me from such far-flung places as Luxembourg, Australia, Geneva, and Dubai to tell me what a revelation my book was for them because they knew hardly anything about Frederick. 

    Even more fascinating is that two people in Moscow—a descendant of one of Frederick’s Russian business partners in 1911, and a distant relative of a daughter Frederick had (the result of an affair about which I did not know!)—sent me remarkable photographs they had of him that had been preserved in their families for over a century and that were new to me.  (I’ve been told even more are coming.)  I hope to post about this later, once I’ve secured permission to share the information, especially the photographs and the story of the affair (about which very little is actually known, although there are photographs of the woman and her daughter).  If possible, I’d like to include several of these wonderful new photographs in the Turkish and Russian translations of my book (the latter should be out in a year as well).

    Family memories fade quickly, and are often largely gone by the third or fourth generation. So, dear readers, write down what you know, keep old photos in a safe place, and pass everything on to younger generations so that future biographers will have this invaluable information when they need it.

    Frederick, the “KKK” of Constantinople, and the American Pearl

    Frederick Thomas had a penchant for embracing people during spontaneous expressions of good feeling.  Once this even led him to treat in light-hearted fashion something as inherently humorless as the Ku Klux Klan. 

    On the night of July 4, 1923, his popular nightclub Maxim had filled up with American businessmen, merchant sailors, mining engineers, and, as an observer put it, other “adventurers” from every corner of the Near East—all of whom had naturally gravitated to the place to celebrate the holiday.  Feelings were running especially high and Frederick, “the jovial American Negro proprietor,” was generously “setting up drinks on the house time and again.”  Completing the inviting setting was a jazz band playing “Last Night on the Back Porch (I Loved Her Best of All)” and a bevy of Greek and Levantine dancing girls. 

    The night was progressing happily when, suddenly, “a dense hush fell on the noisy, singing, cursing assemblage as a beautiful young American girl entered with a handsome Egyptian and two ugly Lascar sailors.  ‘That’s her,’ whispered the habitués of Maxim’s, ‘and two of her guards’.” 

     

     

    Many of the Americans knew that Prince Mehmed Ali, a cousin of King Fuad of Egypt, had recently arrived in Constantinople on the Meteor, a stunning sailing yacht that had belonged to the German Kaiser, and that Pearl Shepard, an American chorus girl and film actress, was on board.  Many also believed that Pearl was a “semi-prisoner” because she was never seen to leave the yacht without the Prince or his “fierce” East Indian guards.  Rumor also had it that a woman’s “piercing screams for help from the direction of the Meteor were heard many nights.” 

    The combination of Pearl’s unexpected appearance at Maxim and the patriotic feelings that Frederick’s libations helped fuel emboldened one of the American mining engineers to suggest “we can rush those Lascars and rescue her!”  But a more sober voice prevailed by pointing out that “the Egyptian has a dozen more of his sailors outside, and they are armed to the teeth with automatics, knives, and blackjacks.” 

    For a while the Americans watched the Egyptian and his lovely companion, who seemed to be throwing “deeply appealing glances at her compatriots.”  But the Prince threatened her each time he caught her looking in their direction until, finally, he had enough and “dragged her” to a huge limousine outside with the Lascars covering his retreat in another big car. 

    By then the sun was beginning to rise behind the Bosporus.  The mining engineer decided that it was time to act and proposed that all the Americans present form the first “Ku Klux Klan in the Near East,” a suggestion that was greeted enthusiastically.  Thus it came to pass that the “mining engineer, the vice president of one of the largest New York shipping companies, an American lawyer from Paris, and half a dozen other Yankees, including several Jews and Catholics” all solemnly chanted, their tongues firmly in their cheeks: “I swear to be faithful to this K. K. K. and rescue our American compatriot from that awful Egyptian.”  Given where this all happened and whom it included, it may well have been the first time in history that an American black man witnessed an oath such as this. [To be continued]

    A Young Turk’s Disdain for Western Popular Culture, or Not Everyone Loved Frederick’s Jazz

    One warm summer evening in 1921, a well-born and sharp-eyed young Turk visited Frederick Thomas’s nightclub in Constantinople and noted his impressions of the place.  These are jolting because they hint at some of the nationalistic forces that were already at work in the country, and that would transform it, and everyone’s lives in it, in just a few years. 

     

     

    Mufty-Zade K. Zia Bey had lived in the United States for a decade before he and his American wife returned to Constantinople during the Allied occupation.  Together with a Greek friend, they decided to sample the town’s nightlife and began with a Russian restaurant in Pera, which they followed with a performance by dancers from the Imperial Russian Ballet in Petrograd.  Then, at the Greek’s suggestion, they continued the evening at a “café chantant” that was widely thought to be the “best” in the city. 

    Frederick’s “Anglo-American Villa” was crowded when the three arrived, and Zia Bey, who was very proud of his conservative and traditional Turkish values, was immediately put off by the libertine atmosphere he witnessed:

     

    Every one seems to be intoxicated and the weird music of a regular jazz band composed of genu­ine American Negroes fires the blood of the rollick­ing crowd to demonstrations unknown even to the Bowery in its most flourishing days before the Volstead Act. Much bejeweled and rouged “noble” waitresses sit, drink and smoke at the tables of their own clients. The proprietor of the place, an American colored man who was established in Russia before the Bolshevik revolu­tion and who—it seems—protected and helped most efficiently some British and American officers and relief workers at the time of the Revolution, is watching the crowd in a rather aloof manner. Frankly he seems to me more human than his clients; at least he is sober and acts with con­sideration and politeness, which is not the case with most of the people who are here.

     

    Despite his sophistication and familiarity with the United States, Zia Bey disapproved of the drinking, the unbridled exuberance, and the women on gaudy display.  By contrast, his sketch of Frederick is very un-American—and quite Turkish—in its respectful acceptance. 

    Zia Bey also bristles at the way everything about the Villa reflects the Allied presence in Constantinople and the secondary role that has been forced on the city’s Muslim natives:

     

    Not one real Turk is in sight. Many foreigners, but mostly Greeks, Armenians and Levantines—with dissipated puffed-up faces, greedy of pleasure and materialism. We have a liqueur. The show is a vaudeville which is not very interesting. Every minute that passes makes the crowd more and more demonstrative.  Carayanni [the Greek friend] is enjoying it immensely, but I realize that our presence puts a damper on his good time and although he de­fends himself in the most exquisite manner when I tease him about it and accuse him of being evidently an “habitué” of the place, the glances that he exchanges surreptitiously with one of the waitresses—a real Russian beauty with pale skin, fire-red lips and languid black eyes—confirm my suspicions.  

     

    After a short while, Zia Bey decides that the Villa’s alien atmosphere has gotten “decidedly too tense” for him and his wife, and starts to think about leaving, when, suddenly, a party of two couples enters a private box near the stage and “immediately pulls the curtain, thus cut­ting itself entirely from the view of the public.”  Zia Bey’s wife looks at him with genuine surprise, as if she has imagined that the four are about to launch into some sort of incredible debauch behind the curtain.  “We really must go,” he quickly concludes, and after leaving the Greek friend to his Russian beauty, they hurry to take one of the automobiles waiting outside in a long line by the curb. 

    Before long, Zia Bey and his wife are safely out of Pera, across the Galata Bridge, and back home in “our Stamboul, the beautiful Turkish city, sleeping in the night the sleep of the just; poor Stamboul, ruined by fires and by wars, sad in her misery, but decent and noble; a dethroned queen dreaming of her past splendour and trusting in her future.” 

    Zia Bey’s attitude represented manifold concealed threats to the world of which Frederick was a part, although few could have foreseen at the time how these would develop.    

    The Tragedy of the Russian Waitresses in Constantinople

    When dining at one of the popular Russian émigré restaurants in Constantinople in the 1920s where the waitresses were all attractive young Russian women--the city’s renowned “dames serveuses” (please see my previous posts)--more than one visiting foreigner was moved by the sight of an exiled Russian officer rising from his table with an expression of somber respect on his face to kiss the hand of the waitress approaching him because they had known each other under very different circumstances in their previous lives. 

     

    Princess Lucien Murat

     

    Princess Lucien Murat, a French tourist who took an interest in the plight of the Russian refugees in Constantinople, had a series of similar heart-wrenching encounters with a number of people she had known in pre-Revolutionary Petrograd:  a Baron S., whom she found working as a street bootblack, a Colonel X., who now manned a cloakroom in a restaurant. And then, at a bar

    I fall upon my old friend, the Princess B. . . Fortunately for her, she had once been to America and there had learned the now lost art of mixing cocktails.  Here in Pera, all night long, in order to feed her child, she shakes Martinis and Manhattans.  To talk to her, I climb awkwardly on one of the high, bar stools, my legs hanging loose.  I think of the last ball in Petrograd at which we met.  How beautiful she was that night in a silvery dress, with her marvelous emeralds in a diadem on her lovely forehead. . . . The Princess tells me her lamentable tale, her escape from the Bolsheviks, her flight in a crowded cattle-car . . . A client interrupts us.  She smiles and suggests an American cocktail.  Meanwhile, the “Boss” hovers around, an ebony black, who, in the old days, kept the most fashionable restaurant in Moscow where, many a time, the Princess dined and danced to the music of the tziganes.

    Princess Murat does not mention it, but Frederick Thomas (he is not named in the sketch, which appeared in Vogue in 1922) developed a reputation among Russian refugees in Constantinople as a humane, as well as a watchful, employer, who protected his waitresses from aggressive clients.

    Princess Murat’s reaction to seeing her old Russian friend in Frederick’s employ is jolting because it is a reminder of how anomalous his entire enterprise actually was; how much it depended on a political and social situation that was just a small eddy in the broad flow of history after the Great War; and, consequently, how vulnerable it would be to any shift in the flow’s direction.  Her reaction also provides a glimpse of the dames serveuses from a different point of view than that of an admiring male.

    The Russian Waitresses/Seductresses of Constantinople

    The styles of dress that these sirens (see my previous post) adopted  varied from restaurant to restaurant, but were of course always designed to enhance their appeal. 

    In one place they would flaunt their Russian boldness: “white Caucasian jackets, high black boots, thin scarves around their hair and heavy makeup.” 

    In another, they cultivated a softer, decadent seductiveness, as the famous singer Vertinsky promised in his nightclub Rose Noire: “the serving ladies will whisper to the clients the poems of Baudelaire between the courses.  They are to be exquisite, select, delicate and to wear each a black rose in their golden hair.  (Note:  If the hair is not naturally gold, it will be made so).” 

    Some wore dainty white aprons that made them look like soubrettes in light comedies, an impression that they augmented with their shyness and apologetic manner. 

    The reactions to them from Constantinople’s population fell along predictable lines, but was strong in any case. 

    A group of thirty-two widows of Turkish noblemen and high officials sent a petition to the governor demanding the immediate expulsion of “these agents of vice and debauchery who are more dangerous and destructive than syphilis and alcohol.” 

    The British ambassador to Turkey, Sir Horace Rumbold, explained wryly in a letter to Admiral de Robeck, the British High Commissioner, that the “little Princess Olga Micheladze” from Russia plans to marry “one Sanford, a nice quiet fellow in the Inter-Allied Police . . . He has money.” 

    A tourist visiting from Duluth, Minnesota, gushed that the owner of a restaurant “is an escaped Russian grand duke, and all the waitresses are Russian princesses of the royal family.”  The latter “were pretty and flirted terrifically.  I asked one if she spoke any English and the answer, with a quaint accent, was, ‘Sure, I know lots American boys’.”

    A cartoon in a local British newspaper showed a Turk asking a Russian woman:  “Parlez-vous français, mademoiselle?” to which she replies “No, but I know how to say ‘love’ in every language.” 

     

     

    French cartoon entitled “Everything is More Expensive in Pera”:

    “Client to the Russian waitress:  --What! Ten pounds for this meal? . . . although it is true that the sum includes your charm . . .”

    (Le Journal d’orient, December 30, 1921, p. 1)

     

    (To be continued)

    Frederick and the Ladies of Constantinople

    Frederick Thomas knew well that variety was the spice of entertainment and therefore one of the keys to his success.  As he had in earlier seasons, he periodically introduced innovations as a way to expand his clientele and to keep the regulars coming back:  these included a roller-skating rink, a “genuine” black American jazz band (in contrast to earlier white European “imitations”), and even Friday afternoon matinees especially for “Turkish ladies.” 

    Frederick’s aim with them was of course purely pragmatic:  if he succeeded in getting women who had been used to a traditional, housebound Ottoman existence to venture into his entertainment garden for the sake of some staid secular entertainment, he would be developing an entirely new category of clients.  But whether he realized it or not, he would also be abetting, in yet another way that complemented couples dancing, the revolution in Turkish mores that was beginning to gather momentum in Constantinople.

     

     

    Contributing to this change was a second, and very different category of women that Frederick began to attract to Stella in increasing numbers during the 1920 summer season.  These were the famous “dames serveuses,” or “serving ladies,” or, most simply, “waitresses,” that he and other restaurateurs hired and who left an indelible impression on the imaginations of locals and tourists alike during the early and middle 1920s.  There is hardly a memoir of the city during these years that does not mention these alluring young women.

    Among the waves of refugees from the south of Russia who kept arriving in Constantinople after every new setback for the White Army that was battling the Bolsheviks were numerous members of the Russian nobility.  Many of the women who belonged to this class had never had to work for a living and had no professions or salable skills.  At the same time, quite a few of the younger ones were very attractive, had well-developed social graces, and often knew foreign languages, in particular French.  The majority of the refugees were also destitute, whatever their class, and were willing to take any work they could find. 

    Owners of restaurants quickly realized that they had an exploitable resource.  Pretty and graceful young women, in particular blue-eyed blondes who were real “princesses,” “countesses,” or “duchesses,” could be a very effective draw for any establishment that was trying to attract more customers.  This was especially true if most of the clients were men used to seeing only waiters, which had been the norm in conservative Ottoman society, or women who were olive-complexioned, sloe-eyed, dark haired, and usually swathed in fabric from head to toe. 

    Thus it happened that the French term “dame serveuse” came to denote a young Russian noblewoman who occupied a tantalizing place in Constantinople’s collective male imagination—whether that of a Muslim Turk, a Levantine, an Allied officer, a fellow Russian refugee, or a tourist taking in the city’s exotic sights. 

    The thrill that a title of nobility would give a customer, and the resulting tips, were sufficient reason for many of these ladies to enhance their birthrights, sometimes quite shamelessly: never did any city in Russia have as many women of blue and even royal blood as Constantinople in the early 1920s. 

    It was also inevitable that the ambiguous status the young women had—underpaid and frequently obligated to dance with any male client who took a fancy to them—made it easy for some to slip into the demi-monde.

    (To be continued)

    A Singer’s Revenge Saves Frederick’s Nightspot

    Shortly after the scandal with the Russian Imperial anthem (please see my previous post), Yury Morfessi’s Turkish benefactor unexpectedly died.  His heirs had no interest in continuing to sponsor the nightclub he had established, as a result of which Morfessi had to look for a new home.  He found a new partner, the famous Russian Gypsy singer Nastya Polyakova, and for the new location settled on an abandoned garden in the Chichli neighborhood.  What attracted them to this outlying location was that Frederick’s Stella was nearby and appeared to be doing very well.

     

    Yury Morfessi.  If you click on the image, you'll be taken to a recording of one of his famous songs--the tango "Chernye glaza" (Black Eyes)

     

    Nastya Polyakova.  If you click on the image, you'll be taken to a recording of one of her famous songs--"Rasstavaias', ona govorila" (While Parting, She Said)

     

    Morfessi and Polyakova named their garden “Strelna,” after a famous restaurant in pre-Revolutionary Moscow.  The name’s additional advantage, especially for foreign ears not attuned to the niceties of Russian phonetics, was that it echoed Frederick’s “Stella,” which, moreover, was only two short blocks north on the same street.  Thus, anyone heading to Stella from the city center would automatically pass Strelna first, whose entrance beckoned with a dazzling array of electric lights. 

    Whether plotted and planned, or the result of fortuitous coincidence, Morfessi’s and Polyakova’s strategy worked.  Strelna began to siphon off Stella’s clients, leading Morfessi to boast that as Thomas’ “‘Stella’ dimmed,” Strelna’s affairs “blossomed” and went “blissfully well.”  The drop in attendance at Stella could have been its death knell, especially because of all the other financial difficulties that still hung over Frederick.  But fortunately for him, this is when Isa Kremer decided to pay Morfessi back for insulting her when she refused to rise for the singing of “God Save the Tsar.”

    Fuel shortages in Constantinople at this time resulted in electricity being rationed, and the Allied High Command established curfews for restaurants, nightclubs, and bars.  Owners naturally chafed at the restrictions, and some, like Frederick, tried unsuccessfully to appeal for permission to stay open later.  However, others, like Strelna, simply ignored or circumvented the regulations and often continued to operate until daylight broke over Chichli. 

    One night, when all seemed to be going very well, the Interallied Police suddenly arrived and shut Strelna down.  They also announced that as an additional penalty Strelna had to stay closed for eight days.  Someone had denounced Morfessi to the authorities.  Rumors soon reached him that it was Isa Kremer, and he of course concluded that she had done it to pay him back. 

    Establishments such as Strelna stood on a very fragile financial base and needed a constant flow of cash to function, so an eight-day closure meant the end.  Soon after, another disaster fell on Morfessi in the form of a huge municipal tax bill.  All of this proved too much for him.  He abandoned his Constantinople affairs, surreptitiously boarded an Italian ship, and left Turkey forever.  But Polyakova followed Kremer’s example and switched to performing in Stella as well, thus giving Frederick a second, highly popular singer. 

    Frederick had survived a close call, and although others would try to resurrect Strelna, none succeeded long enough to challenge him directly again.  Isa Kremer continued to perform for him twice weekly during the summer and with such success that he extended her booking through the fall and winter, after he had moved to a theater in Pera for the coldest months.  She drew crowds so large that many had to be turned away; a newspaper commented that even if Stella had been “three times” the size, it would still have been unable to fit everyone who wanted to hear her.  Only in February of 1921, after a collaboration with Frederick that lasted nearly nine months, did she move to another theater in Constantinople; then in the spring she left for Europe and the United States. 

    When I was working on my book, I learned that Kremer's papers were in a Jewish center in Buenos Aires and I had hopes that they might contain something about her time singing for Frederick.  But, alas, that was not the case.

    Frederick's Application is Sabotaged by the American Consulate General

    When Frederick tried to apply for a new passport at the American Consulate General in Constantinople, his long residence abroad immediately emerged as a major problem because it raised suspicions that he had expatriated himself (although Frederick must have blessed his foresight in concealing what he had actually done in 1915, as I describe in my book).  There was little that Frederick could say to Allen, the consul in charge, to mitigate this, but he tried.

     

    Entrance to American Consulate General in Constantinople c. 1919, when Frederick Thomas went there to try to get a new passport (Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress)

     

    Frederick explained that he had intended to return to the United States in 1905 when he accompanied a Russian nobleman as an interpreter on a trip to San Francisco, which, however, had to be aborted in Manila in the Philippines because of the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War.  Whether or not Frederick took such a trip is uncertain, although he did mention it to other Americans later and provided some plausible-sounding details. In any event, such a trip would hardly have satisfied Allen’s misgivings about Frederick’s decades-long residence abroad and consequent automatic expatriation.

    For his part, Allen responded to Frederick’s duplicity with a carelessness that was negligent or worse.  This ranged from not bothering to correct the typo “Frederirick,” which was the first item that appeared on the passport application, to not filling out several important sections in accordance with instructions found on the forms themselves, including those about the applicant’s family, his identity as an American, and the Consul’s evaluation of the application.

    These omissions would have been sufficient to invalidate the application in the eyes of the State Department, had it been sent.  But Allen did not even bother to forward what he had to Washington and let the documents languish in the Consulate General for the next fourteen months.  The most likely conclusion is that Allen sabotaged the application simply by setting it aside, and that he did so because of his distaste for Frederick specifically or for black people in general.  This is in fact suggested by some slighting comments he made to the State Department the following year when he finally did submit paperwork on Frederick’s behalf.

    (To be continued)

     

    Frederick Has to Lie to American Diplomats in Constantinople

    The note in Orient News was a wonderful endorsement for Frederick’s new nightspot in Constantinople, and a “Winter Salon” did open in the Anglo-American Villa a month later with a program similar to what had proven successful during the summer.  But Frederick’s optimistic plan to travel to the capital of Romania to book new acts ran into a serious obstacle. 

    To leave Constantinople, he would need a passport, and to get one he had to apply to the American Consulate General.  This would be more complicated and risky than dealing with Jenkins, the American Consul in Odessa, had been.  Unlike him, the American diplomats in Constantinople were not facing a panicked evacuation and would not act without authorization from the State Department in Washington.

    Frederick took the plunge on October 24, 1919, and met with Charles E. Allen, the Consul in Charge.  Allen was a young southerner and a fairly low-ranked figure among the Americans at the Consulate General.  And as documents in the National Archives demonstrate, he resented the black man in front of him, who had arrived trailing stories of riches and fame in Moscow, and with a white wife and a clutch of mixed-race sons to boot.

     

    Charles Allen, the American diplomat with whom Frederick Thomas had to deal in 1919

     

    Without going into all the details that I discuss in my book, it is clear that Frederick tried to do whatever he could to protect himself and his family.  For the first time in many years, the long arm of American racism was reaching out to him across oceans and continents. 

    During his interview, Frederick told Allen a series of big and small tactical lies about his past, such as inventing a sister in Nashville who could supposedly vouch for him.   He was also very canny about his future intentions and said exactly what he thought Allen would want to hear.  This included that Frederick wanted the passport to go to Russia and France because he intended to “settle my property interests en route to the U. S. to put my children in school.”  Frederick also indicated that he planned to return to the United States within six months and to reside there permanently. 

    This was all a smokescreen and it is unlikely that Allen believed him.  Frederick had no financial interests in France (although he might have fantasized about moving there because Paris was becoming famous for its hospitality toward black Americans after the Great War).  And he could not possibly have wanted to return to Russia while the Bolsheviks were in power and a civil war was raging. 

    Frederick also undoubtedly understood that he and his family would not be able to lead normal lives in most of the United States, where Jim Crow was riding triumphant and where Frederick’s marriage to Elvira would be seen in many states not only as reprehensible, but illegal. 

    The situation of black people in the United States was well known in Constantinople, where English and French-language newspapers regularly ran lurid articles about American racial policies and lynchings. 

    (To be continued)

    Frederick Thomas and First Jazz in Constantinople

     

    On August 31, 1919, or two months after the Anglo-American Villa opened, and only four months after Frederick arrived in Constantinople, he made history.  An ad in Orient News, the authoritative newspaper of the “Army of the Black Sea,” as the British occupiers of Constantinople pompously called themselves, announced the first performance of a new kind of music, one that would become a key to Frederick’s future success:  “For the first time in Constantinople a Jazz-Band executed by Mr. F. Miller and Mr. Tom, the latest sensation all over Europe.”  

     

    A Russian émigré journal’s illustration suggesting what Frederick Thomas’s “Anglo-American Villa” looked like—with a dancer in a skimpy outfit on stage, a band to the left, and civilian and Allied military customers at tables.


    Freddy Miller was an Englishman who did parodies of musical acts and sang humorous songs—his most popular was the stuttering hit “K-K-K-Katie”; while “Mr. Tom,” a black American, was an “eccentric” dancer with an amusing routine.  They were not professional jazz musicians and probably put on a comedy act that included some jazz interludes.  Nevertheless, their performance was a hit, and together with Frederick they get credit for introducing this quintessentially black American music to Turkey just as it was beginning to conquer London, Paris, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, and everywhere in between. 

    As he had in Moscow, Frederick clearly continued to follow new trends in entertainment that were developing in Europe and the United States, and he would import much more real jazz to Constantinople in the years ahead.  Even with his nose for successful innovations, however, he could not have foreseen the way that this jaunty, raucous music would contribute to the revolutionary transformation of Turkish society, or the extent to which he would himself become an unwitting player in the process.

    By the end of the first summer season, the Anglo-American Villa was pronounced a resounding success by the Orient News:

    Far the best evening entertainment in town is to be found at the Villa Anglo Americain, Chichli.  Mme. Bertha and M. Thomas have succeeded in engaging the finest talent for their stage and attracting the most elegant monde to their tables. This enterprising summer effort which has established their reputation is now drawing to an end with this season of outdoor entertainments and we understand that the indoor premises of the Villa are about to be enlarged to meet the needs in winter. There is no doubt that the Chichli Villa will continue to give the best vaudeville in Constantinople. That fine hunting ground for artistes, Bucharest, is to be searched by M. Thomas for new talent for the winter season.

    (To be continued)