Maxime Shottland, international man of mystery

Posted on 14th August 2012 by simonbeattie

‘While the rigid Censorship exercised by the Russian bureaucracy would make the publication of such facts as are herein described impossible in the place where they occurred, the jealous care with which individual freedom of thought, speech and action, the most cherished heritage of the English people, is guarded, encourages the author to hope, that his work will be something to awaken the sympathy of the greatest of the nations for the tribulation of a people, striving, with a faith and courage of which little is known, and at a cost which has not yet been counted, to obtain that liberty of the individual which every Englishman regards as his birthright’ (Introduction).

This typescript novel, dated London 1913, is dedicated ‘To the sacred memory of my dearest Mother, the unfortunate victim of the Russian Revolution …’ and was published the following year, with a few changes, as The Iron Passport.  It appears to be the author’s only book.  Two other of his stories, as mentioned on the title-page here, ‘A Duel of Brains’ and ‘The Promotion of Petroff’, appeared in the World Wide Magazine in 1908.

But who was Maxime Shottland?  A short report in The New York Times from June 1908 calls him ‘a young Russian author who has passed most of his life in England and America’ and who was about to open a theatre in Paris ‘where an English or American author is able to produce pieces debarred by the prudery of London or New York’.  Online newspaper archives refer to a Baron Maxime de Sheyder Shottland in various court cases: to defend the honour of the granddaughter of Franz Joseph of Austria who had been insulted by a hotel manager (New York, 1911), a run-in with a bailiff (London, 1915), a bankruptcy order (London, 1916) … after which he suddenly disappears without trace.

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6 responses to “Maxime Shottland, international man of mystery”

  1. Kristina M Shottland says:

    Do you have anymore information on him? He is my great-grandfather and a bit of a mystery

    • Simon Beattie says:

      I’ve never seen a copy of “The Iron Passport”, but will let you know if I ever do.

      • Sherrie Shottland Mishukoff says:

        Simon, Kristina Shottland is my Niece and Sandee Nesbitt nee Shottland is my older sister. My grandfather’s full name was Baron Maximilian Stanford de Sheyder-Shottland born in Warsaw Poland in 1879. He had 2 children my father, Stanford Maximilian Douglas deSheyder-Shottland born in London, England and Maxine Valentine Shottland born in New York City. My grandfather passed away in Manhatten, New York, October 1960 and our step-grandmother in 1995. My father passed in Airdrie, Alberta Canada in 1980 and my Aunt Maxine passed away last April 2017. She was my godmother as well and I was named as her heir. I have my grandfathers book “The Iron Passport” that was published in 1914.
        My Grandfathers life was definitely interesting, and we keep finding many articles on the internet in old newspapers about him. He definitely was a man of mystery even to us. We have never seen any photos of our Grandmother Amelia as they divorced in 1923 and she remarried an Italian Prince. We heard that there was a portrait commissioned by a Russian Artist and displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York but still haven’t been able to find out anything. We do believe that our grandfather worked for the British and American governments during the 2 world wars as well as he was an officer in Hallers Army to help free Poland. My Aunt said that Grandfather spent a great deal of time in Russia and also lived in the St.Petersburg Palace on and off before the revolution. He dedicated his book to his mother the innocent victim of the Russian Revolution but did not include her name, so we are still trying to find out our Great Grandmothers name and nationality. He spoke many languages as my sister told you in her e-mail. We even found a complete FBI file on him and my Grandmother the Baroness Amelia and that is why we believe that he worked for them, as if not they would not have been given American citizenship in 1923. There was an article after the first world war where he was in the states raising money for producing oil fields in Siberia and also another on raising money for Poland. I have these articles saved if you would like to see them. We also think that he was smuggling wealthy people from Russia after the revolution as according to ship records which are many each at that time my grandmother Amelia’s, appearance seems to be quite different in height, eye color and hair. My husband and I have searched for other books but have yet to come across them. My father said that my grandfather also wrote under a pseudonym but I just can’t remember what it was. I was quite interested in seeing the original manuscript. If you would like to see any newspaper clippings I would be happy to e-mail them to you. We find that a lot of my grandfathers articles the name is misspelled so we have to try other spellings that are close to find things on him. He was an author, play write, journalist,investor, inventor, owned a toy factory in Chicago, philanthropist, world traveler and it seems a whole lot more .

  2. Sandee Nesbitt nee Shottland says:

    This article was very interesting. Maxime Shottland travelled under many different names which can be verified by ship manifest of passengers. He married Amelia Sarah Sprately-Johnson in London England in 11 Nov 1913 and my father , their son Stanford Maximilian Shottland was born 7 Jan 1914 in London, England. Amelia & Maxime were divorced sometime around 1923 when Maxime remarried Gertrude Violet Turner & Amelia married a Italian Prince (di Cariati). They lived mostly in New York City until his death in 12 Oct 1960 in New York. More information can be found in a number of articles published in newspapers in Chicago & New York. Ancestry.com also has some information but, my grandfather remains a mystery. He was widely travelled and spoke 8 different languages. I would love to have more information should any become available.

    • simonbeattie says:

      Glad you found it interesting. I found a few references on Ancestry.com, too, but no more than that, I’m afraid. Thank you for reading, and posting! Simon

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