Price: $1,655.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good

On offer is a super, very entertaining 88 page handwritten manuscript Depression era travel diary of two separate trips taken by our diarist, Ethel, who came from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Ethel is a dream of a travel diarist; she is an all-American girl, capable, intelligent and has much in her personality to like and it all shows from her style of writing and observations. In many ways this travel diary reads like a novel; Ethel is on an odyssey. During the summer of 1931 aboard the ocean liner S. S. California, Ethel is bound for San Diego, via the Panama Canal to Havana, Balboa and Panama City. This is the holiday, the rest and the fun but whose ultimate purpose is to carry her across the United States in her effort to find employment and a new life preferably in California. [Her descriptions are so very evocative of the times and she truly is a wonderful writer. She does a good job of describing early 20th century Cuba save for some racial comments.] She does a return trip back by bus through Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska etc., is no less amazing in its way given it is a quest for work during the hard scrap times of the Depression. Here are snippets of this talented writer: "We passed hardly more than two dinky service stations along all these miles of desert, and very few cars. Towards sundown we stopped at an attractive place to eat and from then until darkness the desert sunset was marvelous. The mountains were all colors; everything was peaceful and beautiful. After dark it seemed to get hotter; the wind parched your face and cracked your lips and the nickel bar at the window was as hot as tho the sun had been beating down on it. At intervals we'd strike a cold current of air but it lasted for only a few minutes and the hot wind would be on us again….." 1931 June 27th, Next morning, Saturday June 27, the fateful day, the long looked for day, we drove over to New York in Betsey's car and got there in plenty of time. When I saw the boat I nearly had a fit right then and there! It was terribly exciting and more so when we pulled out of the harbor. Betsey and I remained on deck quite awhile and watched us pass the statue and watched us loose sight of New York; then went down to our cabin to straighten things up and get settled for our two weeks voyage. Our cabin, room 367, is in the very intestines of the ship way down on Deck D. It's swell, has one porthole thru which I love to stick my head and watch the waves and three beds, one a double decker. I sleep on the upper bunk and it's lots of fun. I've gotten quite expert too at climbing up and down and it's good exercise. There is small wardrobe, small stool, wash bowl and cabinet with a mirror, and the mirror is none too big especially when the three of us are trying to spiff up….." "This is an easy life. We sit on the deck, walk on the deck, watch the waves and moon and sunsets, chew the rug incessantly, make new acquaintances, swim in the two-by-four pool, laugh almost continually, eat and sleep. It's a merry life. We dance a lot too, mostly to the tune of "Ho Hum."……the first few days Betsey and I were somewhat disappointed because the passengers didn't seem to mingle or be interested in each other at all. And so many women; the boats simply overrun with em, men are a scarce article, almost a luxury. There are several Spanish girls on board, a couple of comedians who are going to Hollywood, a lady who plays and sings opera beautifully….." "Tuesday morning we arrive at Havana and as the boat was pulling in a bunch of Cuban and Negro boys swam out. The passengers threw pennies and nickels down to em; they dived, came up with the money and put the coins in their mouths. We could see Morro Castle and Cabana Fortress and I was thrilled to death because they're so old and full of history and so fascinating. Cabana Fortress was used as a protection against pirates several centuries ago and is now a sort of military academy where cadets are trained. There is a beautiful lighthouse on Morro Castle. The boat did not go clear into port but was anchored out a little distance from shore and the passengers were taken ashore in a tender. Immediately as we left the tender and entered the San Francisco wharf (?), were assailed by numerous beggars and peddlers; beggars of all ages and peddlers selling beads, roses and Cuban made sandals. Our crowed hired two cars and made a four hour tour of the city and to Sloppy Joe's a famous bar. In between we visited Columbus Cemetery where the rich are buried decently and the poor are thrown in the ground and covered over, "the bone yard."……." "July 7th, Havana is a lovely city and very very interesting and I'd like to spend a couple weeks there but would need lots more money then I have at present. The people fascinated me, both Cubans and Negros. I liked the Havana Nig-er (she spells it out); they weren't cringing like out Southern coons and they weren't overbearing like the ones in and around Philadelphia. I was glad to get going after we reached the boat. It was nice to be moving once more. The spell of the sea has gotten me and I'm wondering whether I'll be satisfied to remain on land." "July 8th, ….The other day a party of us went thru the ships kitchen and pantries and they sure are interesting. The stoves are all electric; there are great cold storage rooms where are kept the meats, ice cream and other perishable goods. In one small room we saw a few men all sitting around peeling potatoes, "all day long", one of the stewards told us. We saw the first class dining room and peaked at one of the menus; they have a much larger variety of foods and one of the girls said that in one of the pantries she saw a box of oranges marked "First Class." "July 10th, Well this is our last day aboard the good ship "California" and how I'll hate to leave it. We've had such fun and everything has been so novel and exciting and interesting and I adore traveling. The lure of the sea has gotten me sure and I doubt whether I'll ever be satisfied again on dry land. Would like to marry a rich old bird and spend the rest of my life on the seven seas! This morning Jack and I made up and we spent some time on deck until the boat pulled into the harbor at San Diego……" "August, …..The other evening when Betsey was at Long Beach, Lowell and Marion took me to dinner down town at the "Pig'n'Whistle", a movie afterwards and then on the way home we stopped off at the oldest street in Los Angeles. It's just one street kept intact because it's so old and historical and sure is interesting. We went up the one side down the other, looked in the little shops and the things in them, glanced at the restaurants and looked at the people. The people, Mexicans, were the most interesting." "August 18th, I started my eventful journey back by motor coach. The bus left at noon, passed thru Pomona, Ontario, Riverside and about the middle of the afternoon hit the desert. I loved the desert and all it's weird beauty with cactus, sagebrush, bare mountains and no sign of a living creature anywhere. Barstow and Victorville are scraggly little towns on the desert and it beats me why folks should select such a place to live. A place at the mercy of the burning sun and scorching desert wind. Where nothing flourishes, where water must be hauled in tank cars……Shortly after leaving Needles we came to Arizona and a couple hours later stopped at an adobe road house. On the porch was suspended from the ceiling a water bottle made of skin and from which we took a swig of water none too cold. There was dim lights on the porch and I was thrilled to see a heavy set Mexican with big black moustache and wide sombrero stride across…he lent atmosphere to the scene…." "All along that interesting romantic old Sante Fe' trail, that is, in parts of Arizona and New Mexico, we passed Indians; on foot and mounted. Picturesque they were too. Some had bright colored blankets on their horses, some joggled along in open wagons and at one place two Indian boys were trying to round up two wild looking horses. Never will I forget the following scene; It was sunset and a flock of goats was running down the hill side of one of the mountains, some already having reached the bottom and running along the plain. Uphill on a jutting rock above, sat an Indian!……I adore the Southwest." "Nebraska is flat and dead looking and uninteresting as heck---nothing but cattle, corn and hogs, and dusty dirty roads. There are dirt roads over almost the entire state. …..In the afternoon we stopped at Lincoln at which place is the "Cornhuskers" hotel……." [At this point two drunk men get on the bus and eventually they cause so much trouble the bus driver kicks them off. She also meets a young man on the bus and has a big crush on him but sadly they don't get off at the same stop. Then on to Cleveland, Youngstown, New Castle and finally home to Slippery Rock.] "August 26th, I'm now a great ways from the Golden State, more than 3,000 miles of continent separates me from that lovely land of sunshine and oranges. I'm home again…..after my almost endless search for work, was more than convinced that a depression is on. Every agency overflowing with applicants. At each agency I had to wait hours……." She goes on to talk about while she was there in California she got a job with a wealthy family by the name of Fields taking care of their little boy. The father was a Dr. and was "a little too nice" as far as his advances towards her and so she quit. This particular trip takes up 65 pages. Her next trip, and a shorter one, is to Washington D.C. in the spring of 1933. This trip takes up 14 pages in the diary. The rest of the pages are filled with autographs and one very interesting portrait of whom we do not know. The 2nd trip, starts off on May 13th, 1933. There are also two pages devoted to autographs and the one drawing. 4 ¼" x 6 ½", overall G+.; 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall; Depression, Cuba, Panama, Bus Travel, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, Racism, Travel, Women Studies, Black Studies, Feminism, Feminists, Personal, Memoir, Handwritten, hand written, autograph, autographs, signed, letters, document, documents, manuscript, manuscripts, writers, writer, author, holograph, personal, Americana, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT,


Author Name: BETTY

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


Binding: Manuscript

Book Condition: Very Good

Seller ID: 0001069

Keywords: Depression Cuba Panama Bus Travel Slippery Rock Pennsylvania Racism Travel Women Studies