- Date of birth: October 10, 1880
- Died: July 05, 1932
- Born: in Odessa, Russian Federation.
- Description: Alexander Glikberg was born into a Jewish family of pharmacists in Odessa, Russian Empire (currently in Ukraine) on October 13 N.S. 1880. The Glikberg family was not a happy one: his mother suffered from hysteria and children were bad for her nerves; his father often became violent and severely punished his children. It so happened that among the five Glikberg children there were two Alexanders (or Sashas for short), the blond Sasha was usually called White Sasha (Белый Саша in Russian) and the brunet Black Sasha (Чёрный Саша in Russian).
The Glikberg children could not enter a gymnasium because of the quota restriction for enrollment of Jews in schools in Imperial Russia. Eventually the Glikbergs solved the problem by baptizing themselves and their children. After this, in 1889, the children entered the Odessa gymnasium. Alexander found studying in the gymnasium akin to boring bureaucratic service. At the age of fifteen he ran away from home. For some time he lived with his aunt in Saint Petersburg, but after being expelled from a Saint Petersburg gymnasium for failing algebra, he was left homeless and without money. Neither his parents nor other relatives responded to his letters and pleas for help.
Fortunately for Alexander, one of his stories was published by the journalist Alexander Yablonovsky in the popular newspaper Syn Otechestva. The article was read by K.K. Rochet, a French-Russian living in Zhitomir, who decided to adopt the boy. Alexander entered a Zhitomir gymnasium, from which he was also eventually expelled after a conflict with the principal. Alexander served two years in the Army and then got a job as a customs officer in the village of Novosiltsy on the border with Austria-Hungary. In 1904, he returned to his adoptive family in Zhitomir and worked as a journalist for the magazine Volynsky Vestnik. The magazine went bankrupt within two months, and Alexander decided to continue his journalistic career in Saint Petersburg.