JOHN VANCE LAUDERDALE JR. 1907 EUROPEAN TRAVEL DIARY OF THE SON AND FAMILY OF FAMED CIVIL WAR SURGEON AND AUTHOR
OCEAN LINER 'MOLTKE' EUROPE 1907 Very Good
On offer is an original 1907 handwritten travel diary representing 60 handwritten pages of a trip to Europe on board the ocean liner "Moltke". Research has determined the diary was written by 18 year old John Vance Lauderdale Jr. while on a trip with his mother, his Aunt Mary, and a Mr. Lane. [The diary was originally purchased at the John Vance Lauderdale, famed surgeon, Civil War veteran and author - bio notes to follow - estate and written references, buying a present for Marjorie (his sister), make the son most certainly author.] There is also a mention of him while there in Europe and he writes about going to the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" newspaper office while in Paris which appears that our author was purchasing a "hometown" paper to catch up on all the local news. 1907 "Tuesday 28 (May) At 11:35 a.m. on the above date the Moltke of the H.A.P. A. G. which means Hug all pretty American girls, started with her handsome passengers for Naples. We passed Bay Ridge and saw for the last time, in a good while, the boat house of the C.A.C. There are many pretty girls aboard and although I have not met any yet, I expect to. I was much surprised to see the course we took on going out. We kept straight out of the harbor as if we were going to Atlantic Highlands. When we got almost to Sandy Hook we turned at right angles and then went due east. It was not very long before I had been all on the ship from stem to stern. I got talking with all the stewards who could speak English and had quite a confab with the Macaroni man. Our stateroom, although an inside one, is all to the good. Sitting in the steamer chairs is to slow for me. At about 11:00 p.m. I went to bed and slept bum. The sea was very smooth." Wednesday 29th, I awoke and found that I could not take my first salt water bath until 9:30. I fooled around until then and when the time came I was on hand. Gee it was fine. Played shuffle board and met the Morrel Girls. One of the steerage tried to jump overboard but was prevented. Sea was choppy." "Tuesday 12th, At 8 o' we took carriages and drove to the station where we took electric tramways to the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. Then by taking a drive of 10 minutes we landed at Cooks Funicular RR. This took us to the laboratory of the observatory. As there was nothing to see more from the top of the crater than what we could see, so we did not ascend. Had a very nice lunch at the hotel and came down the mountain at 12:35. Drove to the station and took a tram for Pompeii. Did Pompeii and saw the dead bodies coated with lava. Arrived home at 7:00 Had dinner….." (Rome, Hotel Central, Old Roma) "Monday 18th, In the morning Mr. O and I went up to the hall of St. Peters, It was a long hot climb but well worth the trouble. We could see the Med. Sea and all of the surrounding country. After that went to the shops but did not buy anything……Leave for Florence tomorrow." (Venice) "Thursday 21st, At 10:40 we left Florence for Venice. On the way to the station Mr. Lane had a fainting spell but soon got over it. We had the hottest filthiest ride on the train I ever had in my life. It most did me up. At 7:20 we reached Venice and were conveyed to our Hotel Rome in gondolas. I think they are fine. After dinner we took a walk to St. Mark's Square, heard the band play and then took a gondola for an hour. There is a beautiful moon and I had the time of my life. Gosh how I wished for a nice looking girl. I would like to spend my days here with the right one." (Milan, Geneva, Montreux Palace Hotel) "Thursday 27th, At the Montreux. Took a trolley ride and left on the 1:11 boat for Geneva. Stayed at the Montreux Palace Hotel which cost 7,000 francs. Had beautiful rooms. The sail up Lake Geneva was superb. Arrived at Geneva at 4:30. Had a swim in the lake and enjoyed it very much. After dinner went to vaudeville and saw many new sights, to bed at 12:30. At 5:00 in the afternoon had a swim." (Bern, Interlaken, Lucerne, Munich) "July 7th, Went to church, not getting there until it was almost out being unable to find it. At noon saw the soldiers drill in front to the police. Beat our own soldiers to pieces. After lunch wrote some letters and went to a place called Volks Gardens. A young Coney Island. Saw how the Germans spend their Sundays…." (Vienna) "Saturday 13th, At 5:50 I was awakened and got dressed and my bag was packed at 6:30. Had breakfast and left the hotel and Vienna or Wein at 8:15. We had a long trip of 11 hours from 8:05 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Played cards and read the entire book, Jerry Jr. It did not seem as long a trip as it might have for I found much to amuse myself with. We are at the Hotel Union and I am in my room waiting for 10:10 p.m. to come when I am due in the bath room. I do not care much about traveling in the foreign railroads. Had a rotten meal in the wagon Restaurant or dining car." (Dresden, Berlin, Mayene, Cologne, Amsterdam) "Thursday 25th, We took the train for the Hagen and reached there about 3:15. As soon as we arrived Mrs. F. D. and I hiked out to Scheveninging, the famous watering place. The water was quite cold but we had a fine time. The bathing houses are on wheels and while undressing one is pulled out into the ocean where he is to swim. No walking the beach. In the evening the whole dam party went and it was not much fun for us." (The Hague, Antwerp, Brussels, Paris) "Tuesday 31st, ..arrived in the gayest city (Paris) of Europe about 5:13. All our luggage had to go through custom house and it detained us quite a little while. The hotel is very large and my room is on the 5 top floor, 283 steps from the lift by actual count." "Monday 6th, Awoke at 7:25 put on some of my clothes and have been making up my back notes. After breakfast went with ma and Aunt Mary and we went to the office of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. They are well situated on one of the main streets and they gave us a copy of yesterday's paper…..hot as hell here under the roof." "Wednesday 8th, In the morning I spent most of my time in the office of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle office. Read all about the fire down at Long Beach. Yesterday I met Florence Morrison again (I believe she's also from Brooklyn)……" (London) "Monday 13th, Went and bought father a rain coat. Then I went to London Tower again and the Tower Bridge. Crossed London Bridge on foot and went up on top of the Fire Monument. After lunch went to Whole Sales Leather store and brought a fine dress suit case. Bought Mr. Lane his presents, a gold case and cigarette mouth piece." The entries suddenly stop on July 16th with them still being in London. After that one finds three pages of a handwritten poem that seems to be a collaboration of past experiences and also his present experiences on board the Moltke. It sounds like he is writing it for a girl back home. At one point in the poem he says "poor John" and he very well could mean himself. This is a great European travel diary even without the historical family significance. The cover is really not in good condition at all, poor in fact, but the pages are clean and tight to the binding. It measures about 4" x 5 ¾". There is also the original pencil that came with the diary. BIO NOTES: "John Vance Lauderdale was born in Sparta, N.Y. in 1832. At 20 he went to work as a druggist's clerk in New York City. He pursued the occupation for several years in both New York and Cleveland. He completed his medical thesis in 1862 and from April to August 1862 he served as a contract surgeon in the U.S. Army's Western theatre. From August of 1862 until 1864 he served as a physician on the staff of Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In March of 1864 he accepted a contract position of Acting Assistant Surgeon, Department of the Pacific. He received orders to Utah and served at Fort Bridger. He joined the regular army in 1866. He married Josephine Lane in 1880 and honeymooned in Europe. The Lauderdale's spent four years at Fort Sully in the Dakota Territory. The couples first, a daughter, was born there in 1885. Tragically she died a short time later. Their second child, Marjorie Lane Lauderdale, was born 1886, and the third, John Vance Lauderdale, Jr. was born in 1889. While assigned to Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY Major Lauderdale was ordered to report to Pine Ridge Agency, South Dakota to help care for the wounded from what is now known as the Battle of Wounded Knee. He retired in 1896. In 1897, the family moved into their new home on 84th street in Brooklyn New York. In 1913, his wife Josephine Lane died. John Vance Lauderdale died in 1932, the oldest retired officer in the U.S. Army. He was a man of many interests. He had an avid interest in Natural History. He collected fossils, viewed comets, conducted experiments in chemistry and lectured on anatomy. He was an ardent amateur photography and artist. His life (from his letters and journals) are the subject of two books; "The Wounded River, The Civil War Letters of John Vance Lauderdale M.D." and "After Wounded Knee; Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale While Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891." VG.