1919 ORIGINAL, MASSIVE MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG MAN, ALREADY AN OLD SALT, WHO PINES FOR A SHIP AFTER SERVING IN THE NAVY AND WHO ONE DAY GOES ON TO WRITE ABOUT THE SEA

By: ARTHUR GORDON aka ARTHUR SHIRT

Price: $6,955.99

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On offer is a super, fascinating 14 x 12 inch 300 page diary and manuscript relic of post-World War I adventures and nautical life handwritten by Arthur Gordon while he served as Third Mate on the S.S. Rheem dated Nov, 4 1919 through to May 8, 1920. Elevating this diary of life aboard a working ship en route to Central America is that this wonderful account is written by an aspiring author whose keen eye and gift for narrative are revealed early in the journal. [Gordon would later write stories on naval, sea, and air themes, the Merchant Marine and books on sea history such as "The Years of Peril" an account of the experiences of Mobil Co. ships during WW II.] Here is a snippet: Thursday 13, 1919 On SS W.S. Rheem, Bayonne N.J. This morning I had a strong prediction that I would find work. I took along everything I would need in case I did and it was a fortunate thing for at nine thirty I was on my way to the New York offices of Walker and Daly. They wanted a Third Mate I was a Third Mate and wanted a job: nothing could be simpler. I signed the articles then and there without seeing the ship or knowing where it was bound. I went to the club, packed my trunk and found my way to the ship. We are leaving for some Mexican Port at nine o'clock tomorrow morning. November 18, 1919 SS W.S. Rheem Ran into a north-easter last night and we were forced to lay up to the wind and ride it out. it was a mean black watch that I stood. This morning's watch was as bad. High rough seas and blinding rain storms makes four hours seem like days. When I came below at twelve and has a chance to look at my hands I thought that my fingers resembled pale sweet pickles so puckered up they were with rain. November 20, 1919 The actions of the officers with whom I am to become familiar lead me to believe the they will be fair square and congenial. The captain Harry Jensen by name of Danish and reminds me Kristens father. He is gruff and outspoken but has good sound judgment and is gifted with certain considerations which show him to be well aquatinted with and willing to deal easily with the fallibilities of the human race. Mr Gullickensen the Chief Mate a Norwegian, is of mild and pleasing disposition he has very large feet and wears blue suspenders (although I'm sure he doesn't know it) like King Albert of Belgium . The engineers are separated from the Mates and i do not know any of them excepting the Chief and he appears to be quite friendly. The radio operator is English but hails from Lyann Mass, and he and i at once joined forces, to defend Massachusetts should anything disparaging be mentioned of her. The wireless man goes by the name of "Sparks "aboard ship in fact all radio operators are dubbed "Sparks" This fact leads those who are not familiar with it to make the amusing error that Mr Green a passenger of ours made when after a few days out at sea introduced himself and said "My name is Green Mr Sparks and I 'am glad to know you'. This caused much merriment and led Sparks to say it was a common occurrence." An old salt Gordon served in the Navy on the USS Washington and wanted to go back to sea. The SS W.S. Rheem travels to Mexico, and Panama and others ports. This particular diary is incredibly detailed: his description of shipboard life on various ships, the times he spent at the Panama Canal and the Gulf of Mexico, ports like Tampico, Mata Redona Mexico Colon Panama, Key West, Cape Hatteras but Gordon's description of Mexico and Panama are wonderfully intimate and detailed covering numerous pages. Adding further breadth to this journal are two loose pages from a scrapbook with photos depicting different ships, five large photos of a crewman and one of Gordon. There five pages of hand drawn maps showing the routes of the ship, an original play he wrote, also some literary criticism, comments on books, authors (very fond of Dickens), ideas on writing and there is a section titled "Odd Jobs" thoughts and other ephemeral pieces such as a letter he received from Travel Magazine regarding a submission he sent them titled the "Mexican Church" using his pen name Arthur G. Shirt. Here are some more snippets: "There are a few ex-service men in the crew as evidenced by the remnants of the uniforms they used to wear. There is one lad who appears on deck with complete doughboy outfit, with olive - drab shirt trousers and leggings. Dickens says in his preface to David Copperfield "But like many fond parents i have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is" David Copperfield "and David Copperfield has already become my favorite child of fiction. At present I am absolutely fascinated with the story and with the manner in which it is told. Characters were never so real as the characters surrounding David Copperfield: and i carry them In my mind and when i am on the bridge, I reenact their doings and re-say their sayings. Thanksgiving Day 24,1919 SS W.S. Rheem We first saw the coast of Mexico in the early morning of last Sunday and shortly after seeing faint dim outline we were at anchor just inside the bar of Tampico awaiting a berth at the oil docks. Sparks and I went ashore after dinner Sunday noon. We hailed and were rowed ashore in a n extremely small boat propelled by a remarkably small boy and two immense oars. The combination was so ridiculous and was so unfair to the small boy that i was tempted to row myself but was dissuaded by the oil and grease about the working area of the craft. We waited at the station until two o'clock for the one - thirty train and set foot in Tampicos, Mexico twenty miles later the stretch of county Penucos River between the ship at La Bana and the city is nothing but a mud flat and the this season of the year actively muddy the houses are built Malay style on stacks and the garden walk was a twelve inch plank also on stacks. The people we thought were as oily and as muddy as their city and river. They dress loosely with broad- rimmed Sombreros. Their shirts are tail - less and are not tucked in and their trousers rival a sailors in their ability to flap. If they have shoes they rarely wear them, but instead a sandal affair bound about the foot in a careless manner. Our Bosun tells us of the visit of a Nicaraguan Admiral to an American Man -O - War. He wore broad cloth, had gold stripes half way up his arms, heavy gold epaulets: gold collar: bemedalled chest peaked cap and dangling sword a noble figure indeed - but from beneath the trim of his striped trousers there peeped ten ugly dirty toes- He was barefooted! There seems to be a preponderance of men in Tampico a great many urchins apparently uncared for - and what women there were, were ugly- in my eyes at least. The young men I thought were attractive with their dark skin and hair, and their flashing dark eyes. The policemen such as they were , were disgraceful. We watched them line up at night and all though they were in military formation they were shelling peanuts and smoking cigarettes. I received one impression from exchanging glances with the Mexicans I passed and I left Tampico with that impression firmly in my mind: That these people are not to be trusted. The next night I was called upon to be the interpreter between the sailors and the Mexican customs official who came on board with the pilot and did not leave until we finally headed for sea. The bone of contention was that the sailors were bringing liquor aboard and the customs official did not approve of it. The sailors advanced several arguments and I realized than to the best of my ability to the Mexican he was obdurate and I had really given up the fight when he said drawing e aside "If you give me three dollars I will not see" The old Grafter after money eh? I told the sailors what he wanted and let them to finish the deal which i learned later was arranged to the satisfaction of both parties. Feb.13,1919 SS WS Rheem At Tampico Mexico. Unusual excitement was occasioned this evening by the ugly disposition of the Mexican Customs Official He was dissatisfied with the bunk which the Steward had assigned to him and was in no way delicate about making his satisfaction known. The altercation came to climax when he official reinforced by three of his fiends form shore faced the Captain and demand better quarters. The Capt took the opportunity to inform the Customs Official that Harry Jensen was Captain of this ship. The manner in which Harry Jensen made this clear alarmed one of the friends and he pulled a gun." BIO NOTES: Arthur Gordon had a long career at sea. He would serve aboard the USS Oceanographer for four years on the US Coast Survey. Later after WW II he would write the book "The Years of Peril" the World War II story of Mobil men and ships by Arthur Gordon. Besides serving in WWI and WWII he traveled extensively as a Merchant Marine Officer, and was employed in the tourist industry. After WWI Gordon made two trips around the world and into the Amazon. Gordon also attended Bard College, and NYU finally earning a Master's degree. In 1949 he was teaching classes in writing fiction. He was listed as a Navy Commander in the reserves in 1949 as well. At that time his full time employment was as a Freelance Writer. He published short stories in Argosy and Maclean's Magazine sometimes using the pen name "Arthur Shirt". The spine is missing, cover boards show heavy wear front cover board hinge is weak but holding rear is the same. Interior is in good. Overall G. NOTE: WE LIST HIS RECENTLY REDISCOVERED 1928 JOURNAL SEPERATELY. SELLER ID OOO9075.

Title: 1919 ORIGINAL, MASSIVE MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG MAN, ALREADY AN OLD SALT, WHO PINES FOR A SHIP AFTER SERVING IN THE NAVY AND WHO ONE DAY GOES ON TO WRITE ABOUT THE SEA

Author Name: ARTHUR GORDON aka ARTHUR SHIRT

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: 1919

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall

Seller ID: 0002557

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