Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs, Germanized as Melania Knauss, April 26, 1970) is a Slovene-American former model and businesswoman. She was the first lady of the United States from 2017 to 2021, during the presidency of her husband, Donald Trump.
Melanija Knavs was born in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, on April 26, 1970. Her father, Viktor Knavs (born March 24, 1944) managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer. Her mother Amalija (née Ulčnik) (born July 9, 1945) worked as a patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer Jutranjka in Sevnica.
She has an older sister, Ines, who is an artist and an older half-brother from her father's previous relationship.
Knavs grew up in a modest apartment in a housing block in Sevnica. She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in the city and studied architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana for one year before she dropped out.
Knavs began modeling at five years old. As a child, she and other children of workers at the factory participated in fashion shows that featured children's clothing. She started doing commercial work at sixteen when she posed for the Slovenian fashion photographer Stane Jerko. When she began working as a model, she adapted the Slovene version of her last name "Knavs" to the German version "Knauss".
At eighteen, Knauss signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy. In 1992, she was named runner-up in the Jana Magazine "Look of the Year" contest, held in Ljubljana, which promised its top three contestants an international modeling contract. After attending the University of Ljubljana for one year, Knauss modeled for fashion houses in Paris and Milan, where in 1995 she met Metropolitan Models co-owner Paolo Zampolli, a friend of her future husband Donald Trump, who was on a scouting trip in Europe. Zampolli urged her to travel to the U.S., where he said he would like to represent her.
In 1996, Knauss moved to Manhattan.
Knauss was featured in a sexually explicit photo shoot for the January 1996 issue of Max, a now-defunct French men's magazine, with another female model.
In September 1998, Knauss met then-real estate mogul Donald Trump at a party, and the couple began dating while the latter was in the process of divorcing his second wife, Marla Maples.
The divorce was finalized in 1999. Knauss continued her modeling career with her American magazine cover shoots, including In Style Weddings, New York magazine, Avenue, Philadelphia Style, and Vanity Fair Spain.
She also posed nude for the January 2000 UK edition of GQ magazine, appearing on the cover naked except for diamond jewelry, reclining on fur, aboard Trump's custom-fitted Boeing 727.
They appeared together while Trump campaigned for the 2000 Reform Party presidential nomination. When asked by The New York Times what her role would be were he to become president, she replied: "I would be very traditional, like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy".
The two became engaged in 2004.
On January 22, 2005, they married in an Anglican service at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception in the ballroom at her husband's Mar-a-Lago estate. The marriage was her first and his third.
The event was attended by celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, Senator Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton. The bride wore a US$200,000 dress made by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior, and the ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media, including a Vogue cover which featured her in her wedding gown.
On March 20, 2006, Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron William Trump. She chose his middle name, while her husband chose his first name.
In 2010, Melania launched her own line of jewelry, Melania Timepieces and Jewelry, for sale on QVC. She also marketed a Melania Marks Skin Care Collection at high-end department stores.
According to a financial filing in 2016, her businesses brought in between US$15,000 and US$50,000 in royalties that year.
That same year, in an interview with CNN, Melania said her focus as first lady would be to help women and children.
She assumed the role of first lady of the United States on January 20, 2017, the second First Lady (After Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams) to have been born outside the country, the first one to be a naturalized citizen, and the first whose native language is not English.
She was also the second Catholic first lady of the United States since Jacqueline Kennedy. When she visited the Vatican, with her husband in 2017, Pope Francis blessed her rosary beads, and she placed flowers at the feet of a statue of Mary at the Vatican's children's hospital.
Of Trump's inauguration, Vogue compared Melania's wardrobe to that of Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan, writing that Trump closely works with her stylist, designer Hervé Pierre, preferring "strongly tailored pieces" in bold colors and wearing almost exclusively high-end designers.
After the inauguration she continued to live in Manhattan at the Trump Tower with their son, Barron, until the end of his 2016–2017 school year.
On March 8, 2017, she hosted her first White House event, a luncheon for International Women's Day. She spoke to an audience of women about her life as a female immigrant, and about working towards gender equality both domestically and abroad, noting the role of education as a tool against gender inequality.
Melania Trump and Barron moved into the White House in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 2017. Her Secret Service code name is "Muse" (beginning with the same letter as Trump's code name, "Mogul", per Secret Service tradition).
In January 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that during a three-month period when she lived in New York in 2017, she took Air Force jet flights between New York City, Florida, and Washington at a cost of more than US$675,000 to taxpayers. In comparison, former first lady Michelle Obama's solo travel cost an average of about US$350,000 per year.
On March 13, 2018, Melania scheduled a March 20, 2018 meeting with policy executives from technology companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Snap, and Twitter, to address online harassment and Internet safety, with a particular focus on how those issues affect children.
Melania took an active role in planning the Trump administration's first state dinner on April 23, 2018, to honor French president Emmanuel Macron.
In October 2018, Melania took a four-nation, solo tour of Africa, without her husband, focusing on conservation and children and families, visiting Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt.
In December 2018, CNN reported that Melania's strongest base of support came from older, white, male Republicans and conservatives, while she had the least approval from women who were young or college-educated.
In March 2019, YouGov reported that Melania, with 51% approval, was polling more popularly among the American public than other members of her family: her husband Donald, step children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, and her stepson-in-law Jared Kushner.
In Gallup's annual poll of the most admired women, Trump ranked in the top ten each of her years as first lady, but never topped the list. She joins Bess Truman and Lady Bird Johnson as the only American first ladies who have never been named the most admired woman in this survey since Gallup began conducting the annual survey in the 1940s.
Melania finished her tenure in 2021 as the least popular first lady ever polled, according to polling by CNN, SRSS, and Gallup. She was the only first lady who finished with a net disapproval rating.
Dorian Elizabeth Leigh Parker (April 23, 1917 – July 7, 2008), known professionally as Dorian Leigh, was an American model and one of the earliest modeling icons of the fashion industry. She is considered one of the first supermodels, and was well known in the United States and Europe.
Dorian Leigh Parker was born in San Antonio, Texas, to George and Elizabeth Parker. Her parents married when they were very young and Elizabeth promptly gave birth to three daughters in quick succession: Dorian, Florian "Cissie" (1918–2010), and Georgiabell (1921–1988). Thirteen years after the birth of her third daughter, Elizabeth believed she was going through menopause and was shocked to discover that she was pregnant. She gave birth to her fourth daughter, Cecilia (1932–2003), who became known as model and actress Suzy Parker. The family moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, soon after Dorian's birth and later to Metuchen, New Jersey where George Parker invented a new form of etching acid, the production of which gave him enough income to retire.
Dorian graduated from Newton High School in Queens, New York, in 1935 and enrolled at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia. At college, she met her first husband, Marshall Powell Hawkins, whom she married on a whim in North Carolina in 1937. They had two children: Thomas Lofton ("TL") Hawkins (1939–2014) and Marsha Hawkins (born 1940). The couple separated in the 1940s.
Dorian worked as a file clerk at a department store in Manhattan and as a tabulator, where she found that she had an aptitude for math, mechanical engineering, and drawing.
Dorian then worked at Bell Laboratories, and was a tool designer during World War II at Eastern Air Lines (with their Eastern Aircraft division) where she assisted in the design of airplane wings. While working Republic Pictures as an apprentice copywriter, she was encouraged by a Mrs. Wayburn to try modeling.
In 1944 Dorian went to the Harry Conover modeling agency. At 27, Dorian was not only old by modeling standards, but at barely 5'5", she was shorter than the other models at the agency. Conover immediately sent her to see Diana Vreeland, the editor of Harper's Bazaar. Dorian met with Vreeland and fashion photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe, who were intrigued by her zig-zagged eyebrows. Dorian was photographed for the cover of the June 1944 issue of Harper's Bazaar, her very first modeling assignment. Later the magazine was shocked to discover her real age was 27(not 19 as she said), and that she already had two children.
Dorian's parents thought modeling was not respectable, so Dorian used only her first and middle name during her career. When Dorian became an enormous success though, they thought it was acceptable that their youngest daughter Suzy use the Parker last name when she also became a famous model. Their other daughter, Florian, also had modeling photos in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, but quit when she married a man in the military.
Dorian instantly became busy with modeling assignments, landing on the covers of major magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Paris Match, LIFE, and Elle. Because of her schedule, Dorian's two children were sent to live with her parents in Florida, while she was based in New York City and traveling to Europe.
In 1946, Dorian appeared on the cover of six American Vogue magazines. She worked with famous fashion photographers Irving Penn, John Rawlings, Cecil Beaton, and Paul Radkai. She dated Irving Penn, who later married another model Lisa Fonssagrives.
On one assignment of Vogue, Dorian argued with photographer Paul Radkai's wife Karen, who wanted to be a fashion photographer and wanted to take many free extra photos of Dorian for her portfolio. When Dorian refused, Karen warned Dorian she would "ruin her." Indeed, Vogue never used Dorian again, and Karen became a Vogue photographer for many years.
Dorian easily transitioned to working with Harper's Bazaar's new, young photographer, Richard Avedon(who would become one of the most famous photographers in history).
While living in her apartment in New York, Dorian struck up a friendship with a young author, Truman Capote who was fascinated by Dorian's lifestyle of non-stop men, coming-and-goings, and having a store across the street handle her phone calls, and called her "Happy-go-lucky." Capote's character Holly Golightly in his famous 1958 novel Breakfast at Tiffany's is said to be largely based on Dorian's life, as well as socialite Gloria Vanderbilt's.
After being fed up with Harry Conover's agency, Dorian decided to start her own modeling agency called the "Fashion Bureau". She came up with the idea of the "voucher system." With this innovative system, the modeling agency would pay the models weekly, instead of the models' having to wait to be paid directly by the clients. Often it took companies weeks, months, or even years to pay models for their work.
Her modelling agency inspired a young fashion stylist named Eileen Ford, who, along with her husband Gerard W. Ford, started what would become one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world, Ford Models.
Around 1947, Dorian's sister Cissy introduced her to Roger Mehle who was divorced from Aileen Mehle(who later became the very famous gossip columnist known as "Suzy"). Cissy was married to an army officer and Mehle was the youngest Navy commander and fighter ace during WWII.
In August 1948, Dorian was two months pregnant when she married Mehle. Dorian's bridemaids were her teen sister Suzy Parker and Suzy's teen model friend Carmen Dell'Orefice. Dorian's two older children, who were being raised by her parents in Florida, came to live with the couple in Pennsylvania.
Dorian closed her agency when she married. She then telephoned Eileen Ford and told her that she would join the Ford Agency if they also signed her 15-year-old sister, Suzy Parker, sight-unseen. Suzy, 15 years younger than Dorian, had already been working for the Huntington Hartford agency making $25 per hour. Dorian told Ford she believed Suzy should be making $40 per hour. The Fords' agency was only two years old so they were anxious to represent a famous model like Dorian. The Fords were shocked during their initial meeting to see that Suzy was completely different from her sister Dorian who was thin, had an extremely small waist, and had black hair and bright blue eyes. Suzy was almost six inches taller than Dorian, had a very large frame, and had bright red hair, freckles, and green eyes. (In the 1950s, Suzy would become even more famous than Dorian, and would go on to be a movie and television actress.
Dorian gave birth to her daughter, Young Eve Mehle, on March 27, 1949. The couple had a house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania but rarely saw each other. Roger Mehle's naval career stationed him in Atlantic City, and Dorian commuted to New York City and Paris for modeling work.
In 1952, when she was 35 years old, Richard Avedon photographed her for Revlon's most famous advertising campaign, Fire and Ice. In this two-page advertisement, Dorian is wearing a very tight, silver sequined gown wrapped in a huge red wrap that was copied from a Balenciaga original. The dress had hand-sewn silver sequins on it, and it took so long to create that only the front of the dress was finished in time to be photographed for the ad. The back was non-existent and held in place with safety pins. Dorian also had a silver streak put in her black hair. The original ad had Dorian holding her hand in front of her breast. The agency considered the photo too risqué, and the ad was re-shot. This ad was accompanied by a provocative quiz written by Kay Daly. The ad became an enormous success, winning Advertising Age's "Magazine Advertisement of the Year" award.
That same year, Dorian also played the part of a model in the play The Fifth Season. Her job as model, mother, and actress was featured in Look magazine's June 2, 1953, cover story. By then, Dorian had appeared on the covers of more than 50 magazines. On the Look cover, Dorian is quoted as saying, "I would rather have a baby than a mink coat.".
In the 50s, Dorian began to work more often in Europe with Richard Avedon.
While in Paris, Dorian met the married Spanish athlete Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca, Marquis of Portago (Alfonso de Portago)nicknamed Fon, who was 11 years younger than her, was married with a three-year-old daughter. Dorian and Fon were both reluctant to divorce their spouses, but carried on an affair all summer in Paris and Biarritz. Dorian became pregnant by him, but chose to have an abortion because she feared Roger Mehle would divorce her and take full-custody of their daughter Young Eve. Only weeks later, at the end of the summer, Fon told Dorian that his wife Carroll was pregnant with their second child. Dorian returned to the United States and divorced Roger Mehle on November 24, 1954, in Mexico. Fon then married Dorian in Mexico right away, but since de Portago was not divorced, the marriage was not legal.
Coco Chanel, great friend of her sister Suzy, warned Dorian against the affair, but Dorian continued it with Fon even though his wife Carroll gave birth to their son Anthony de Portago around 1954. When she got pregnant by de Portago again, Dorian left her three other children with her parents in Florida, fled to Paris and Switzerland, and gave birth to her son Kim Blas Parker on September 27, 1955 in Switzerland.
After the birth of her baby son Kim, Dorian began the first legal modeling agency in France to support her son. She also had lent about $15,000 to the financially irresponsible de Portago , with whom she continued an on-and-off relationship in 1956 and 1957.
In early 1957, De Portago, still married, was also openly dating actress Linda Christian, the ex-wife of actor Tyrone Power.
On April 23, 1957, Dorian's 40th birthday, de Portago told Dorian that he was supposedly finally divorcing Carroll so they could be legally married. He told her that he was entering the famous Mille Miglia car race in Italy on May 8, 1957 and Carroll was supposed to sign their divorce papers on May 9.
Instead, on May 8, de Portago was seen at the site of car race with Linda Christian who kissed him famously before his race. The same day, Dorian received a phone call from de Portago's mother Olga, informing Dorian that Fon's tire on his Ferrari race car had blown up because he did not stop in time for a tire change. He was killed with his co-driver as well as nine spectators, including five children. This catastrophe ended the Mille Miglia forever.
A few days after Alfonso de Portago was killed, Dorian's sister Suzy, making a movie with Cary Grant, told famous gossip columnist Louella Parsons that Dorian had a son with de Portago and she was estranged from her sister because of it. Dorian was shocked that Suzy leaked this secret, Dorian's parents were furious and told Dorian that she would never have custody of her children. They also refused to accept Kim.
In 1957, Dorian returned to Florida and visited her daughter Young at her parents’ home. Dorian then took Young and fled to Paris where she remained mostly for the next twenty-one years. The next year In 1958 she became pregnant by another man, had an abortion and married Bordat days later.
Although Dorian already had four children by three different men, she wanted another baby. When her husband Bordat claimed he was too young, Dorian moved out of their apartment, but they remained legally married.
Dorian was so busy with her Paris modeling agency that she now had branches in Hamburg, Germany, and London to which she often traveled.
During a solo ski vacation to Klosters, Switzerland over Christmas 1960, 43-year-old Dorian craved a baby and slept with four men in one week. In September 1961, Dorian gave birth to her fifth child, Miranda, in France. Dorian thought that a young ski instructor at Klosters was the father. Dorian then divorced Bordat but she did not tell her daughter Miranda that Dr. Bordat was not her father until she was a teenager, and despite never meeting her biological father, Miranda kept his last name.
In 1964, 47-year-old Dorian met 23-year-old Israeli writer Iddo Ben-Gurion and they were married. But after she discovered Iddo was a drug-addict embezzling money from her modeling agencies, she divorced him in 1966. But she eventually had to close her agencies because so much money was stolen by Iddo. Most of her modeling fortune had been spent recklessly or stolen.
Living in Paris, Dorian studied at Le Cordon Bleu and opened her own restaurant, Chez Leigh, from 1973 to 1975. She tried to get cooking jobs in Corsica and Orleans as well. By 1976, Dorian was broke.
In 1977, Dorian received a phone call from the New York City modeling agency Stewart Cowley asking her to work as his office manager. Dorian agreed to return to New York where her son Kim was living. Kim's half-brother Anthony de Portago also lived in New York City and the two actually had become good friends. Dorian soon discovered that her 21-year-old son Kim was a serious drug addict, and sent him to live with her sister Suzy in California briefly. Only six months after Dorian re-settled and reunited with Kim in New York, he jumped 33 floors from his apartment window to his death, leaving a suicide note behind.
After Kim's death, Dorian lived in Pound Ridge, New York, where she made pâtés for delicatessens and specialty food shops, according to a profile in The New York Times by Enid Nemy. She also worked with Martha Stewart in the early 1980s.
Dorian wrote two cookbooks, Pancakes: From Flapjacks to Crepes (1987) and Doughnuts: Over 3 Dozen Crullers, Fritters and Other Treats (1994) at the age of 77.
In 1980, Dorian published an autobiography, The Girl Who Had Everything.
According to Dorian, she wrote her autobiography for her late son: "I really wrote it for Kim, who will never read it. But perhaps other Kims and their parents may learn from my unhappy experiences".
Dorian died in a Falls Church, Virginia nursing home from Alzheimer's disease at the age of 91 on July 7th in 2008. In her obituary, her first son, T.L. Hawkins, reminisced about his mother's famous "Fire and Ice" photograph.
Her only remaining sister Florian Parker died at the age of 92 in 2010.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1899 – 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin (Владимир Сирин), was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and entomologist. Born in Russia, he wrote his first nine novels in Russian (1926–1938) while living in Berlin. He achieved international acclaim and prominence after moving to the United States and beginning to write in English. Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945, but he and his wife Vera returned to Europe in 1961, settling in Montreux, Switzerland.
Nabokov's Lolita (1955) was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 2007; Pale Fire (1962) was ranked 53rd on the same list; and his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), was listed eighth on publisher Random House's list of the 20th century's greatest nonfiction. He was a seven-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.
Nabokov was also an expert lepidopterist and composer of chess problems. He describes the process of composing and constructing in his memoir: "The strain on the mind is formidable; the element of time drops out of one's consciousness". To him, the "originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity" of creating a chess problem was similar to that in any other art.
Nabokov was born on 22 April 1899 (10 April 1899 Old Style) in Saint Petersburg to a wealthy and prominent family of the Russian nobility. His family traced its roots to the 14th-century Tatar prince Nabok Murza, who entered into the service of the Tsars, and from whom the family name is derived. His father was Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (1870–1922), a liberal lawyer, statesman, and journalist, and his mother was the heiress Yelena Ivanovna née Rukavishnikova, the granddaughter of a millionaire gold-mine owner. His father was a leader of the pre-Revolutionary liberal Constitutional Democratic Party, and wrote numerous books and articles about criminal law and politics. His cousins included the composer Nicolas Nabokov. His paternal grandfather, Dmitry Nabokov (1827–1904), was Russia's Justice Minister during the reign of Alexander II. His paternal grandmother was the Baltic German Baroness Maria von Korff (1842–1926). Through his father's German ancestry, Nabokov was related to the composer Carl Heinrich Graun (1704–1759).
Vladimir was the family's eldest and favorite child, with four younger siblings: Sergey (1900–45), Olga (1903–78), Elena (1906–2000), and Kirill (1912–64). Sergey was killed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 after publicly denouncing Hitler's regime. Elena, who in later years became Vladimir's favorite sibling, published her correspondence with him in 1985. She was an important source for later biographers of Nabokov.
Nabokov spent his childhood and youth in Saint Petersburg and at the country estate Vyra near Siverskaya, south of the city. His childhood, which he called "perfect" and "cosmopolitan", was remarkable in several ways. The family spoke Russian, English, and French in their household, and Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. He related that the first English book his mother read to him was Misunderstood (1869) by Florence Montgomery. Much to his patriotic father's disappointment, Nabokov could read and write in English before he could in Russian. In his memoir Speak, Memory, Nabokov recalls numerous details of his privileged childhood. His ability to recall in vivid detail memories of his past was a boon to him during his permanent exile, providing a theme that runs from his first book Mary to later works such as Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. While the family was nominally Orthodox, it had little religious fervor. Vladimir was not forced to attend church after he lost interest.
Nabokov's adolescence was the period in which he made his first serious literary endeavors. In 1916, he published his first book, Stikhi ("Poems"), a collection of 68 Russian poems. That same year, Nabokov inherited the estate Rozhdestveno, next to Vyra, from his uncle Vasily Ivanovich Rukavishnikov. He lost it in the October Revolution one year later; this was the only house he ever owned.
After the 1917 February Revolution, Nabokov's father became a secretary of the Russian Provisional Government in Saint Petersburg. After the October Revolution, the family was forced to flee the city for Crimea, where Nabokov's father became a minister of justice in the Crimean Regional Government.
After the withdrawal of the German Army in November 1918 and the defeat of the White Army (early 1919), the Nabokovs sought exile in western Europe, along with many other Russian refugees. They settled briefly in England, where Vladimir enrolled in Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, first studying zoology, then Slavic and Romance languages. Nabokov later drew on his Cambridge experiences to write several works, including the novels Glory and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.
In 1920, Nabokov's family moved to Berlin, where his father set up the émigré newspaper Rul' ("Rudder"). Nabokov followed them to Berlin two years later, after completing his studies at Cambridge.
In March 1922, Nabokov's father was fatally shot in Berlin by Russian some monarchists as he was trying to shield the real target, Pavel Milyukov, a leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party-in-exile. Nabokov featured this mistaken, violent death repeatedly in his fiction, where characters would meet their deaths under accidental terms. Shortly after his father's death, Nabokov's mother and sister moved to Prague.
Nabokov stayed in Berlin. He wrote and published under the nom de plume V. Sirin (a reference to the fabulous bird of Russian folklore). To supplement his scant writing income, he taught languages and gave tennis and boxing lessons.
In May 1923, he met Véra Evseyevna Slonim, a Russian-Jewish woman, at a charity ball in Berlin. They married in April 1925. Their only child, Dmitri, was born in 1934.
In 1937, he left Germany for France, where his family followed him, finally settling in Paris which also had a Russian émigré community.
In May 1940, the Nabokovs fled the advancing German troops, reaching the United States via the SS Champlain. Nabokov's brother Sergei did not leave France, and he died at the Neuengamme concentration camp on 9 January 1945.
The Nabokovs settled in Manhattan and Vladimir began volunteer work as an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History.
Nabokov's interest in entomology had been inspired by books of Maria Sibylla Merian he had found in the attic of his family's country home in Vyra. Throughout an extensive career of collecting he never learned to drive a car, and he depended on his wife Véra to take him to collecting sites. During the 1940s, as a research fellow in zoology, he was responsible for organizing the butterfly collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
Nabokov joined the staff of Wellesley College in 1941 as resident lecturer in comparative literature. The position, created specifically for him, provided an income and free time to write creatively and pursue his lepidoptery. Nabokov is remembered as the founder of Wellesley's Russian Department.
In September 1942 they moved to Cambridge, where they lived until June 1948. Following a lecture tour through the United States, Nabokov returned to Wellesley for the 1944–45 academic year as a lecturer in Russian. In 1945, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He served through the 1947–48 term as Wellesley's one-man Russian Department, offering courses in Russian language and literature.
After being encouraged by Morris Bishop, Nabokov left Wellesley in 1948 to teach Russian and European literature at Cornell University, where he taught until 1959.
Nabokov's lectures at Cornell University, as collected in Lectures on Literature, reveal his controversial ideas concerning art. He firmly believed that novels should not aim to teach and that readers should not merely empathize with characters but that a 'higher' aesthetic enjoyment should be attained, partly by paying great attention to details of style and structure. He detested what he saw as 'general ideas' in novels, and so when teaching Ulysses, for example, he would insist students keep an eye on where the characters were in Dublin (with the aid of a map) rather than teaching the complex Irish history that many critics see as being essential to an understanding of the novel.
Nabokov wrote Lolita while travelling on the butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer. Véra acted as "secretary, typist, editor, proofreader, translator and bibliographer; his agent, business manager, legal counsel and chauffeur; his research assistant, teaching assistant and professorial understudy"; He called her the best-humored woman he had ever known. When Nabokov attempted to burn unfinished drafts of Lolita, Véra stopped him.
In June 1953 Nabokov and his family went to Ashland, Oregon. There he finished Lolita and began writing the novel Pnin.
After the great financial success of Lolita, Nabokov returned to Europe and devoted himself to writing. In 1961 he and Véra moved to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland; he stayed there until the end of his life. From his sixth-floor quarters he conducted his business and took tours to the Alps, Corsica, and Sicily to hunt butterflies. He died on 2 July 1977 in Montreux. His remains were cremated and buried at the Clarens cemetery in Montreux.
At the time of his death, he was working on a novel titled The Original of Laura. Véra and Dmitri, who were entrusted with Nabokov's literary executorship, ignored Nabokov's request to burn the incomplete manuscript and published it in 2009.