Friday, 26 June 2009

Lahovary family

***The Lahovary family ( freguently spelt 'Lahovari' ) was originally a Greek family, of rather modest origins. The two main branches descend from Emanoil ( Manolache ), who established himself in Wallachia in the late 18th century and received noble offices, and his sister Eufrosina. Eufrosina married a certain Gheorghe Luki who took his wife's name and transmitted it to his descendants. The family had a strong connection with the Valcea county, where Manolache, Luki, Luki's son Ioan Lahovary and this latter's sons Constantin I. and Nicolae I. Lahovary were all governors/prefects. Manolache had two sons, 1) Emanuel and 2) Nicolae. His nephew Ioan Lahovary ( Gheorghe Luki's son ) had four sons: Constantin, 3) Nicolae, 4) Gheorghe and 5) Grigore.

***1) Emanoil Lahovary held different public offices and was President of the Court of Appeal in 1862. He married Olimpia Arsaki ( daughter of dr. Apostol Arsaki, politician and head of government under Alexandru Ioan Cuza, and of Anastasia Darvari, whose brother founded the Darvari Priory in Bucharest ), they had a house on Victory Road ( in today's Revolution Square, where the High-Life building used to stand ). According to Emanoil Hagi-Mosco, Olimpia ( just like her sister Elena Manescu-Filitti, see penultimate paragraph ) was notoriously unfaithful and Emanoil was often subject of ridicule for tolerating it; most noteworthy, she seems to have had a long-time relationship with Nicolae Blaremberg, Conservative politician, who lived close to their house. Emanoil's and Olimpia's children were:
******- Maria, married to Emanuel Kretzulescu sr., head of the Diplomatic Mission in France ( 1867-1868 ), and mother of Emanuel Kretzulescu jr. and Radu Kretzulescu;
******- Zoe, married to Dimitrie Ghika-Comanesti, the famous traveller in Somalia and owner of the palace of Comanesti;
******- Alexandru Em. Lahovary ( 1851-1950 ), important diplomat, ambassador to Italy ( 1893-1896 ), Turkey ( 1902-1906 ), Austria-Hungary ( 1906-1908 ), France ( 1908-1917 ) and again Italy ( 1917-1928 ); he lived to be almost 100 and married Ana, Nicolae Kretzulescu's daughter ( from his father-in-law he inherited the small house on Roman Street in Bucharest, currently Nicolae Iorga Street ), with whom he had:
*********- Nicole, married to George Plagino, was Queen Marie's lady-in-waiting and was better known as Colette Plagino;
*********- Tatiana married General Vasile Rudeanu, who had divorced princess Eufrosina Sutzu;
*********- Sofia married archaeologist Emil Panaitescu, head of the Romanian School in Rome ( 1929-1940 );
*********- Nicolae was father to Emanuela, who was Alexandru S. Rosetti-Ciortescu's second wife ( his first wife was Olga Carp, still living if I'm not mistaken ) and had two daughters ( still living ) with him;
******- George Em. Lahovary ( 1854-1897 ), journalist, director of the newspaper L'independence roumaine; he was married to Zoe Alexandrescu-Cafegibasa and their house on Grivita Road, close to Victory Road ( no. 7 I think ) is still extant. He remains famous for being killed in duel ( sword duel, strange enough ) by Conservative politician Nicolae Filipescu, over a political dispute ( Lahovary and the traditionally Conservative L'independence roumaine were becoming friendly towards the Liberals ); it was one of the most sensational events of that age and it stirred a lot of scandal, Filipescu even serving time in jail. The duel took place in the hall of the Shooting Society, on Dambovita's embankment, where the Operetta Theater was later built ( and more recently demolished ); a few years after the tragedy, the widow ( who had married again, to Prince Alexandru Sutzu ) had a fountain-like monument erected, which stood for along time on the Embankment, next to the Operetta Theater; after the latter's demolition, it was kept out of the public eye for awhile, then placed in the courtyard of the Old Saint Spiridon's Church and recently in front of the Gioconda Building ( both in the former Operetta Square ).

***2) Nicolae Lahovary was involved in low-level politics, as were his son Grigore and his grandson Nicolae N. Lahovary. Grigore married Ecaterina ( Mita ), daughter of the famous poet Iancu Vacarescu and sister of diplomat Ienachita Vacarescu and of journalist Misu Vacarescu ( 'Claymoor' ); their daughter Maria married Prince Ioan A. Ghika. Grigore's house used to stand on Victory Road, in front of Berthelot Street.

***3) Nicolae Lahovary held different public offices, including Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies ( 1865 ). He had five sons ( among whom the famous Lahovary brothers, Conservative politicians ) and two daughters.
******- Constantin lived in Paris and never married;
******- Alexandru Lahovary ( 1841-1897 ) was Justice Minister ( 1870; 1873-1876 ), Minister for Agriculture, Domains, Industry and Trade ( 1888-1889 ) and Foreign Minister ( 1889-1891; 1891-1895 ); he was widely considered no. 2 in the party's hierarchy and Lascar Catargiu's natural successor, but he died too early for that. His wife was Simona Ghermani ( German ), illegitimate daughter of Anastasia Konstantinovich ( nee Princess Obrenovic ) and of the Greek-Aromanian banker and ship-owner Joanikije German, her brother-in-law; she was named after her maternal aunt ( and father's late wife ) Simona German and she was a first cousin of King Milan I of Serbia. She was known as Simka Lahovari and was famous for her strong personality and sharp wit; she was also notoriously unfaithful to her husband; according to Queen Marie, she was the de facto leader of Conservative ladies. Their house was on Dorobanti Road, immediately next to the White Church; later, that section of the street, from the White Church to Dionisie Lupu Street received Alexandru Lahovari's name and then different others ( nowadays George Enescu Street ); the crossroads at the corner with Dionisie Lupu Street was ( and is today again ) called Alexandru Lahovari Square and the Conservative had a statue of him erected there. Also, an important high school in Ramnicu-Valcea bears his name;
*********- Ioan A. Lahovary, his son, was a diplomat;
*********- Simona, his daughter, better known as Simky Lahovary, was a lady-in-waiting and intimate friend of Queen Marie's.
******- Ioan N. Lahovary ( Jean ) ( 1844-1915 ), was Ambassador to France ( 1893-1895 ), Foreign Minister ( 1899-1900; 1907 ), Minister for Agriculture, Domains, Industry and Trade ( 1904-1907 ), Minister for Agriculture and Domains ( 1910-1912 ), President of the Senate ( 1913-1914 ); he was also President of the Conservative Party ( pro-Entente branch ) in 1915, but he died after a few months. He married Princess Smaranda ( Emma ) Mavrocordat and they lived in a house still extant on Dorobanti Road; from the unhappy marriage the following children were born:
*********- Princess Martha Bibescu ( 1886-1973 ), married to Prince George Valentin Bibescu, famous writer and legendary socialite. Like everyone in her family, she lived in Paris as much as she did in Romania. Baptised Orthodox, she was raised mainly in a Catholic environment in Paris and she later converted ( shortly after the marriage I think ). The marriage itself, at the Princess Balasa Church in Bucharest ( traditionally linked with the Bibescu family ), was a major event of Bucharest social life ( in 1902 or 1903 I think ). Despite the wit, the broad education and sharp intellect that made her famous, she was also known to be arrogant and very malicious; she was particularly plagued by the most classical symptoms of aristocratic snobbery, which made her resent the modest origins of her father's family and identify with her husband's family ( she would sometimes say 'our ancestor, Lord Constantin Brancoveanu' ). It is probably this snobbery that made her avoid a divorce, since her marriage had at one point become nothing less than a shamble. Among her lovers was German Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, Prince Charles-Louis de Beauvau-Craon, journalist Henri de Jouvenel ( Colette's former husband ) and Christopher Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson ( Secretary of State for Air in the Ramsay McDonald governments, 1924 and 1929-1930; he died in a plane crash while in office ). She was also a close friend of politicians like Aristide Briand, James Ramsay McDonald, after WWII General de Gaulle ( who said that he saw in her the personification of Europe ) and writers like Paul Valery, Jean Cocteau or Paul Claudel. Her most appreciated works were Les huit paradis ( based on a trip to Persia ), Isvor. Pays des saules ( perhaps the most successful, it's a depiction of peasant life in one of the villages 'owned' by her husband ), Katia, le demon bleu ( based on the life of Princess Ekaterina Dolgoruki, it was made into a film with Danielle Darrieux in 1937 ), Au bal avec Marcel Proust ( considered a very inspired portrayal of Proust, whom she had actually met only once or twice ) and Une victime royale: Ferdinand de Roumanie. This last work is usually considered the most perceptive description of King Ferdinand of Romania, who was an intimate friend of hers ( and perhaps more than that, though it's not clear ). In her youth she was also a good friend of the future Queen Marie, but the two strong personalities couldn't ensure a stable friendship. Princess Martha Bibescu was an important character in the Romanian circles of Paris, being involved in the female rivalries that were characteristic of these people, e.g. with Anna de Noailles, her husband's first cousin, and especially with Elena Vacarescu, whom she actually loathed. Her fight with Elena Vacarescu reached a peak in the early '30s, when a bestowal of the Legion of Honour upon her was attempted; this met with fierce opposition, because of her alleged pro-German attitude during WWI. In Bucharest in 1916-1917 she headed one of the several temporary military hospitals peopled with high-born girls as nurses; in that capacity she showed disloyal anti-war feelings ( took down the portraits of the King and Queen and replaced them with those of King Carol I and Queen Elisabeta ) and eventually left Romania suddenly in the company of a Prince Reuss; she crossed the enemy lines into Austria-Hungary and arrived in Switzerland, where she spent the rest of the war. In the end she did receive the Legion of Honour, but only after WWII, from President de Gaulle. Also after WWII she was received into the Royal Academy of Belgium, in Anna de Noailles' seat. In Romania she lived mainly in Mogosoaia Palace, the famous residence of Constantin Brancoveanu, Lord of Wallachia ( 1688-1714 ) near Bucharest; at her bequest, her husband had bought the domain from his first cousin, Marie-Nicole Darvari, and she had the palace restored by G.M. Cantacuzino ( see );
*********- Ioana ( Jeannette ) Lahovary, married first Constantin C. Olanescu, son of the namesake Conservative politician, with whom she had a son ( another Constantin ), and second Radu Vacarescu, son of General Theodor Vacarescu, sometime Marshal of the Palace; she died fairly young;
*********- Magdalena died young after only a few years of marriage;
*********- Margareta Lahovary also died young; she committed suicide the same year Magdalena died; this death affected very much Martha, as the two were close;
*********- George Lahovary, the only son of Jean and Emma Lahovary, died when he was 8 years old; his mother never got over his death and her grief permanently deteriorated the relationship with her family.
******- General Iacob ( Jacques ) Lahovary ( 1846-1907 ) was Chief of Staff of the Army ( 1894-1895 ), Defense Minister ( 1891-1894; 1899-1901 ) and Foreign Minister ( 1904-1907 ). He was particularly known for his stiff moustache and rash temper, which usually got him into a lot of troubles ( i.e. duels ). His first wife was Elena Kretzulescu ( they divorced ) and his second was Alexandrina Cantacuzino ( who had divorced Prince Ferdinand Ghika; see last paragraph ); from the first marriage he had Elena, married to a marquess de Kerguezec, and from the second marriage two boys without descendants ( Iacob and Leon ). Jacques Lahovary had himself built on Ion Movila Street in 1885-1886 one of the first houses in the so-called 'neo-Romanian' style, that was to become dominant between the wars; at that time the house, designed by Ion Mincu, was something of an experiment.
******- Emil Lahovary married into a Liberal family, Niculescu-Dorobantu; his wife Elena was sister of Liberal local leader Ilie Niculescu-Dorobantu. Ilie and his brother ( Constantin ? ), as well as their brother-in-law built houses very close to one another in downtown Bucharest, on family land ( Ilie and his brother on Gheorghe Manu Street, Emil Lahovary on Orlando Street, currently the Indonesian embassy ). Another Niculescu-Dorobantu ( probably their sister ) was Smaranda, Constantin Ghika-Deleni's second wife. Lahovary had one son:
*********- Nicolae E. Lahovary, diplomat, Ambassador to Albania ( 1936-1939 ) and Switzerland ( during WWII ), where he remained.

***4) Grigore Lahovary was jurist and judge; he was deputy ( i.e MP ) and division president at the Court of Cassation. He married Princess Smaranda Sutzu, daughter of Prince Constantin, niece of Sevastia Mavros, granddaughter of Alecu Ghica 'Red-beard' and sister of Prince Mihail C. Sutzu, founding father of Romanian numismatics. Among their children:
******- Zoe, lady-in-waiting of Queen Elisabeta, married Prince Dimitrie Sutzu; their daughter was Marie-Jeanne Carp, mother of Olga Racovita ( see above );
******- Filip Lahovary, diplomat, worked at the League of Nations and was Ambassador to Egypt ( 1928-1929; 1930 ). His first wife was Valentina Boamba ( they had issue ), who after the divorce married again to the famous politician Constantin Argetoianu and again to diplomat Henri Catargi. Filip Lahovary's second wife was the famous writer, socialite, centenarian, but above all pianist Cella Delavrancea, who had divorced banker Aristide Blank; their correspondence has been published.

***5) Gheorghe I. Lahovary was engineer and author; he served as Director of the Post and Telegraph ( 1873-1876 ) and later President of the Court of Audit ( 1893 ); as Secretary-General of the Geographical Society he supervised the publication of the Great Geographic Dictionary of Romania. He wrote minor works, both fiction and non-fiction, and was elected honorary member of the Romanian Academy in 1909. From his marriage with a Cocorascu he had several children, among whom:
******- Alexandrina, married to Rear-Admiral Emanoil Koslinski, head of the War Navy ( 1901-1909 ). Their son, Rear-Admiral Gheorghe Em. Koslinski was Undersecretary of State for the Navy in the Department of National Defense ( 1940-1941 ).
******- Dimitrie, married to Elena Arion, General Eracle Arion's niece;
*********- Paul Lahovary, their son, was diplomat and appreciated writer ( novelist ); he married a Swede ( with issue ) and lived after the war in Sweden ( information for which I thank his son, Mr. André Paul Konstantin Lahovary ).


  1. Dear Radu.
    Do you want the absolute correct story of Lahovary.
    I´m the son of Paul Lahovary.
    Once in a time I saw your story and comment with my second name "Konstantin"
    Best Regards André Paul Konstantin Lahovay


  2. Ceva despre proprietatile lor din Adjud?

  3. detin acte originale din adjud,partea de pe dreapta siretului,proprietatea doamnei elena emanoil lahovary,nascuta ilie niculescu-dorobantu,facuta in 1915 de ing.hotarnic christu i.berceanu.

  4. Thank you, Mr Lahovary. So you are the one who contacted me once and told me about Sweden. I didn't know who you were, I just copied your ID 'Konstantin'.

  5. I just found out that a certain Mariean Vanghelie, mayor of Bucharest sector 4 had the audacity to bury his relatives in the Jacob Lahovary chapel at hthe Bellu cemetery. Please Mr. Paul Lahovary,google "cavoul familiei Lahovary" We, people outside Romania must be doing something lest thieves manage to delete our historic past.

  6. Sorry for the confusion, this message is actually for Andre Paul Konstantin.. Please read what vandals did to your ancestor's chapel at Bellu! Please!!!

  7. Vreau sa aflu de la d-ul ALEXANDRU PAUL LAHOVARY,daca conacul din Facaeni-Ialomita este recuperat,sau inca statul e cel care il detine?

  8. Ma indoiesc ca Lahovary-ii ar fi fost la origine greci. Wikipedia le atribuie o orgine croato-maghiara, pretinzand ca Lahovary-ii Ramnicu Valceni se trag din familia Lackfi, care la randul ei e legata de regina bavareza a Ungariei, Gizella alaturi de care ar fi sosit in Ungaria medievala. De altfel, sufixul -vary is as Magyar as one can get...

  9. In completarea comentariului anterior vedeti:
    Desi asocierea Lahovary-lor cu Lackovici respectiv Lackfi nu e dublata de vreo referinta bibliografica. Personal cred ca Lahovary-ii se numeau initial Lackovary. Croato-maghiari stabiliti la Rm. Valcea si "incuscriti" mai apoi cu protipendada greco-fanariota.


  11. I've found the grave of Constantin N. Lahovary, the son of Nicolae. He's born in 1848 and died January 21th, 1911.

    Source :