HeMateMe: Interesting fellow, a chessplayer who makes news while away from the board:
Vladimir Sournin was born on August 1, 1875 in Mstislavl, Russia. His earlier moments with the game of chess were recounted by a chess column in the September 1, 1901 issue of the Washington Post: "When but a child Mr. Sournin watched the game of Caissa as fought by some of the greatest players of the world. At St. Petersburg he made acquaintance of Lasker, and in a way he might be called a student of that celebrity." According to the same source, during one of his visits to Paris in late 1890s, Sournin met Emanuel Schiffers and became his protégé. The December 24, 1905 Washington Times noted that "as a favorite pupil of the Russian chess master Tarrasch for several years [Sournin] held the chess honors of St. Petersburg." Caution is necessary with such stories; though they were probably told by Sournin himself once he arrived in America.
It was also noted that while in Paris, Sournin learned about the Spanish-American war preparations. He volunteered to fight the war on the American side. In 1897 he was in New York. Various newspaper accounts indicate he was an active player in the rooms of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Chess Clubs being known as a "young Russian expert." As shown by John S. Hilbert's Young Marshall (Olomouc: Moravian Chess, 2002), Sournin lost a match -7+2=2 to Frank J. Marshall in the spring of that year.
After World War I, Vladimir collaborated with General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, leader of the American Expeditionary Force in the Great War, to create a map identifying Native Americans' contributions to the war effort. The famed American Indian photographer Joseph K. Dixon personally supervised the map project and the department store magnate Rodman Wannamaker, the Sam Walton of his day, funded the effort. Vladimir proudly sent Lura some of his own correspondence with Dixon, which remains in the collection.