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Slideshow: <br>The 2019 Russian Tea Party

Slideshow:
The 2019 Russian Tea Party

Posted: January 18, 2019

Each year, when seniors read Russian novels as part of the seminar curriculum, Thomas Aquinas College’s librarian hosts a soirée, like those portrayed in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The centerpiece for these gatherings, which take place in St. Bernardine of Siena Library, is an elegant vessel: a century-old Russian samovar.

  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party
  • Russian Tea Party 2019
    Slideshow: Russian Tea Party

The samovar — a copper urn used for heating water and serving tea — and its accoutrements come from St. Petersburg, where they were made in 1906. They are the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Shore, local ranchers who are members of the President’s Council. The Shores presented the samovar to the College in 1996, and the College’s long-serving, Lithuanian librarian, Viltis Jatulis, began using it to entertain seniors and their tutors shortly thereafter. The samovar sits on an ornate drop-leaf burl wood table, also a gift of the Shores, which is used each year at Commencement to hold the graduates’ diplomas.

Mrs. Jatulis retired from the College’s faculty last year, but the tradition she created lives on. Her successor, Richena Curphey, hosted this year’s Tea Party last Thursday night, in honor of the seniors’ discussion of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. To add to the festivities, many members of the Class of 2019 donned furs and Russian shawls.

Through the generosity of the Shores and the creativity of its librarians, the College’s students are given a taste — literally! — of the life and times described in two of the great novels they read as part of the College’s unique curriculum.