Birth and childhood

Alexandra3Louise, Eugénie, Alexandrine, Marie DAVID… adopted the pen name of « Alexandra » at a very early age. She was born close to Paris, in St Mandé, on the 24th of october in 1868, the only child of a very loveless and unhappy marriage.

Alexandra4Her father, Louis David, was a teacher, who later became a journalist. He was born in Tours in France. He was a protestant and an anarchist who rebelled against the goverment.

Alexandra5Her mother was belgium from a family with scandinavian origins. She was a devoted catholic with a strong desire to have a son who could become a high priest. For her, Alexandra’s birth was a great disappointment and, as a consequence she showed her no sign of affection or tenderness.

Alexandra2Even before the age of consent Alexandra had an overwhelming desire to travel and explore.  She was very intrigued by faraway places which called to her relentlessly.  Nothing could stop her from leaving.  Starting from a very early age, the proud young girl, consumed by her love of freedom, fled against her parent’s wishes.  She fled for the first time at the age of 2, and again at 5 years old.

Alexandra6She was 6 years old when her family left for Ixelles in the south of Brussels, and it was there, the birth place of her mother, that she passed most of her young life. Alexandra detested passing time with her parents during her holidays from boarding school.  Their idea’s and interests were very different to hers and she deeply regretted this <<waste of precious time and energy>>! In spite of her unhappy childhood, Alexandra never lost sight of her goal, which was to travel!

Alexandra10Following a stay in London, she began her studies in oriental philosophy and at the same time she learned the English langage. On the 24th of october 1889, she reached the age of consent and went to live in Paris at the « Theosophic Society ». In order to satisfy her insatiable curiosity for the mysteries surrounding all things and beings, she frequented diverse secret societies including the Free-Masonry. She entered everywhere and experienced everything, but when she’d learned everything she needed to know, she abandonned all of it in pursuit of other horizons.

Elysée Reclus, géographe anarchisteAlexandra also fought for the womens liberation movement and published a lot of aggressive articles. In 1899, she wrote an anarchiste booklet prefaced by the geographer : Elisée Reclus, a great friend of her father. The éditors, terrified, refused to publish this book written by a woman, so proud that she could never accept any abuse or red-tape practiced by the government, the army, the church or the economy.

Alexandra14Because it was rejected by the editors, Jean Haustont, a composer with whom she’d lived with for several years(they where not married), took on the role of editor and published this pamphlet himself. However, it did not generate very much success with the general public. Alexandra and Jean Haustont wrote together an opéra, Lydia, that was never produced.

Alexandra16At the same time she studied as a free auditor at the « Sorbonne » and at the « Collège de France » and took advantaged of her stay in Paris to haunt the « musée Guimet » where she claimed that her vocation in orientalism originated from. She became one of the first buddhist woman in France… She remained buddhist all her life and also anarchiste in the libertarian sens of the term.