Alexander Richard Svoboda (July 7, 1878 – 1946?), was the son of Joseph Mathia Svoboda and Eliza Marine Svoboda. He was born in Baghdad ten months after his parents’ wedding, which shortly followed the death of his mother’s first husband Fathallah Sayegh. At the age of 19, Alexander kept a journal detailing an 1897 journey by land and sea from Baghdad to Paris that he undertook with family members as well as the outgoing British Consul Colonel Edward Mockler and his entourage. During his three year stay in Europe, he married a French woman Marie Josephine Derisbourg, who returned with him to Baghdad and later divorced him and returned to France. During his return to Baghdad from France in 1900 he began
keeping a travel journal in English, which he soon abandoned. Alexander Svoboda died in Istanbul in 1946.
The whole story of Alexander’s life must wait on the study of Joseph Svoboda’s 52 existing diaries, a project that is now only in its early stages. We do know that his parents fussed and fought over him from his childhood. His father interfered in his education at the French Jesuit school in Baghdad, and opposed his marriage to Marie. He collected stamps and tried to make a living by producing postcards. From a coddled and indulged childhood on, he seems sadly to have lived a dissatisfied and unproductive life.