A young Lev Bronshtein poses for a police photograph, 1898. During his time in prison and exile he would become a Marxist and adopt the pseudonym “Trotsky.”

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So my great grandfather met this guy at some point in the US and told my mom about it when she was in college in the 60s. She never believed him, until after he died and she read some of his journals and did some fact checking.

Story goes, that my great grandfather (although a hick from Backwoods West Virginia) was well traveled and had gone to Vanderbilt University (funded through being an itinerant teacher on horse back over a couple years), but at some point was either in New York or the area in the early 1900’s. He told her that he met Trotsky, and Trotsky was raising money for revolutionary efforts in Russia and said he thought the guy was a loon that would never amount to anything. But didnt ever elaborate much on it.

Mom never believed him until they read his journals after he died, and then checked into whether Trotsky was ever in the US (which apparently he was). Great -grandfather was by all accounts a brilliant and well educated man that came straight out of the hills in WV where his family had been since settling there in the early 1700’s. Its just a weird/interesting family story, I’ll see if my mom remembers or can tell me more.

**Edit:** Just talked to mom and she **swears** he told her that he met Trotsky one weekend in Nashville, Tennessee at Vanderbilt University. She said the subject came up when he was sitting on his front porch in Florida (where he and a majority of our family moved too in the mid-20s) and she would often sit with him and talk about his earlier life ( at the time he was in his 80s, but by all family accounts still smart as a whip and healthy an hale). He was also a former state senator and heavily involved in politics back in WV. Her Grandfather said Trotsky was there (at Vanderbilt) trying to raise money and support for his socialist movement, and was making a run through the poorer south via trains. She said Grandfather mentioned something about first seeing him standing outside of a store speaking to a crowd and he went and met with him and talked a good bit after he was done speaking. He was attempting to rally the poor of the time and obtain contributions for efforts to overthrow the czarist regime. He said Trotsky then left to go back to New York.

Keep in mind this just old family stories, but she said she read her Grandfathers journals and saw some passages about him ‘meeting a political agitator from Russia named Trotsky, who was a bit of a loon’
Its established that Trotsky was in New York for sure around the time my grandfather was at Vanderbilt and also took some time off from school to travel to the northeast. But I cant find anything for sure talking about Trotsky visiting Nashville. Whats even weirder is I found that Trotsky’s [grandaughter now works at Vanderbilt University…](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nora_Volkow)

Any reddit sleuths that are bored may be able to find more, I would be greatly interested.

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