Author Mari Firkatian will present her book “Diplomats and Dreamers: The Stancioff Family in Bulgarian History” Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown Camden Public Library. The book is a chronicle of Anna and Dimitri Stancioff, Bulgarian diplomats who served king and country and who experienced the world in transition. Subjects of capricious fate, they forged a destiny as a family that overcame some of the most cataclysmic events of the 20th century.

“Diplomats and Dreamers” is a family biography that begins with the careers of Anna and Dimitri in 1887 and ends with the death of Nadejda Stancioff, their eldest child, in 1957. The context of historical developments in an uncertain period of European history highlights their lives. Members of the haute bourgeoisie, this accomplished family is noteworthy for an unflagging ability to survive and persist with success and grace.

There is a large Stancioff contingent living in the Midcoast area. The Stancioff family of Camden are direct descendants of the historical figures in the book: Camden’s Dimitri Stancioff is the grandson of the Dimitri Stancioff in the history. Dimitri and his wife Charlotte moved to Rockport in 1959 when he started work as a research chemist at Marine Colloids (now FMC), and to Camden in 1964 to raise their children Ivan, Elisabeth, Paul, Andrew and Anne. Dimitri’s brother Andrew lives in Spruce Head.

“Dimitri is the oldest of the seven children of Ivan and Marion Stancioff; Ivan was the only son of Dimitri and Anna Stancioff. He was the youngest after Nadejda, Feodora and Helene. He also was a Bulgarian diplomat till the Communists took power in Bulgaria,” said Charlotte Stancioff.

Bulgarian history has always been very important for the local family and the children have all been to Bulgaria. Paul taught at the American University in Bulgaria, where he met Firkatian, whose husband also was teaching there.

“She came to Camden several times, borrowed some books and photo albums from us, and that is when she became very interested in writing the book. She also met Dimitri’s brother Ivan, who lives in Bulgaria now, and Andrew who lives in Spruce Head now,” said Charlotte.

“Diplomats and Dreamers” also addresses issues of gender by using the careers of the Stancioff women as exemplars of how a woman could develop her life in an atmosphere of strict gender divisions in labor. The Stancioff women’s way of fitting into the mainstream of elite society is a model of a new generation of women who stepped beyond the narrow expectations of what their gender could achieve. Based on unexplored, unpublished primary materials, this book enriches both women’s history and European history.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to