Price: $2,255.99

Quantity: 1 available

Condition: Good

Views: 316

On offer is a fascinating, typescript diary of a young woman’s (named Lou W. Smith) trip across the United States, touring the West coast for a few days, and then departing on a steamship and heading for a Hawaiian vacation. The diary consists of 24 typed pages, beginning on Monday, July 16, 1923 “En route Baltimore & Ohio. Washington to Chicago.” and ending August 25th. A letter is also included that is very interesting and shines some light on the diary. It is written on a letterhead that says, “Treasury Department Washington. Office of Chief Clerk and Superintendent.” It dates September 11, 1923 and beings, “Dear Pal, Am enclosing a couple of snapshots which I think will interest you, also a copy of my diary which you said you wanted. Please don’t take offense at anything you may read therein. It sounds sort of grouchy to me, but I didn’t mean it to, at all. Well, I’m 29 years old today! Whew! Last milestone before the curve. I don’t like to get thirty very much. I always feel tender toward you on that day, however, and thankful that you brought me into the world and took such tender care of me all through my childhood and when I was sick and brought me up through it all, well and sound and educated “N” everything. It took a lot out of your own life and body and I do appreciate it.” It ends, “The messenger just came in with Emily Post’s book on Etiquette which I have wanted for some time-- From Francis Ryan. (It costs $4.) I shall now proceed to saturate myself with manners. Well- bye bye now, honey. Have you settled down yet? Lovingly, Lou.” The author is a lovely, exciting and very funny writer. There are moments of great hilarity and levity throughout the pages. She writes with a keen sense of observation and comedic wit. The diary begins, “July 16, 1923. Left at 7:25 P.M. after a very hot day. Francis Ryan and Violet seeing us off. We have the nicest brand new car (railroad car) named the ‘Mountain Queen’, done in blue plush and Circassian walnut. It is quite comfortably cool, to my surprise, and there seems no reason why we shouldn’t last through the night so far as the weather is concerned.” They arrive in Chicago (“Had a horrible dinner at the ‘Northwestern Cafe’), then go onto Salt Lake City. They move on to Yellowstone National Park: “The Camps are great. We have one all to ourselves, with wooden floor and sides, and a canvas top. There is a large dining lodge decorated artistically with pine boughs and cones. Even the electric bulbs have shades of the small branches and cones. After dinner we went to the bear haunts where the food refuse is placed for them. Two large black ones rewarded for our efforts…..The busboys and waitresses are college undergrads and awfully cute. The boys are called ‘packrats’ because they lug the baggage, the dishwashers are ‘pearl divers’ and the bed makers ‘bedbugs’ and the waitresses ‘heavers.’” She goes on to talk about all the songs they sing at dinner and even quotes some. There is even some war talk at dinner (“He and mother couldn’t seem to quite agree as to who started the war, and he had the firm conviction that it was the inevitable course for one nation that is expanding to take by force from a neighboring nation that is not populating so rapidly, land for the extension of the empire.”) Then on to their next camp called “Lake Camp” and the next morning on to Mammoth Lake. As always, the author is a talented, funny writer: “Our lodge was right on the brink of a precipice overlooking the Upper Falls, twice as high as Niagara and we could hear the roar of the water as it came thundering down, all night long. (I record this truthfully and without exaggeration as my dinner disagreed with my digestive apparatus and I spent the night trying to arbitrate the dispute….the dinner lost the argument and I lost the dinner, toward morning, after a hectic struggle.) Next day we drove to Mammoth Camp, a most wondrous drive through mountain ranges. Mother and I, being tenderfeet, had some qualms about there being no railing on the highway, as the road was slippery from the recent rain and a skid of three feet would have catapulted us into eternity in a most precipitous fashion”; The author comments on the people she meets while traveling, with her usual sardonic wit: “Whoever said, ‘See America First’ didn’t count on the superlative satisfaction in travelling out here when some blatant braggart in a condescending blah blah tells you patronizingly how much this looks like Italy and you can quietly answer, ‘Yes, doesn’t it bring one back to Amalfi and the Bay of Salerno?’ It is killing to see the crestfallen expression and hear the weak ‘Oh, have you been to Italy?’ Oh, boy, but it’s a grand and glorious feeling! A Miss Pomposity from Buffalo thought she had quite overwhelmed me with the announcement that she got the little matrix ring she was wearing in Florence and it was such fun to say, ‘Did you get it at Copini’s? I have a little lapis ring I picked up there last summer.’ The poor dear’s day was ruined.” The author and her mother go back to Salt Lake where they board the Denver and Rio Grande train. She falls in love with the desert: “The sunset on the desert was enchanting. There were clouds which looked like huge snowdrifts, shot through with a rose and blue streak and on the other side would be the softest delft blue, mottled clouds, some of them with gold-lined fissures. One long white cloud resting on a mountain peak looked like a gigantic sea-serpent made of cotton-tufts. While the sun was setting on the right just ahead, the full silver moon appeared on the left over the observation platform and I felt distinctly Omar Khayyamish, and could readily imagine the wilderness to be ‘paradise snow’ under certain conditions, and I could even eliminate the book, the loaf of bread and the fermented grape juice.” The go onto to San Francisco, but cannot stay long as they have to dash across the city in a taxi and catch “The Lark” which takes them to Los Angeles to board the ocean liner Calawaii. In Los Angeles, they go “for an automobile ride around the city. In the residential section we saw the homes of Jack Dempsey, Fatty Arbuckle, and Mary Pickford (before she married Doug.)” they then board the ocean liner: “We left in the morning for Wilmington and sailed at noon. The ship’s orchestra (3 piece, saxophone, banjo, drum and traps) was playing and the passengers on board threw colored paper serpentines to those on the dock which served to bind the parting friends until the strain severed them…Mr. Dunbar, Major Clear’s friend of Los Angeles Steamship Company came to our stateroom before the boat sailed and introduced us to the Captain and the Purser.” On the boat, the author describes a number of people getting sea sick, the deck games, bridge party and a vaudeville performance, mind reading by a woman by the name of ‘Madame Nacknack’, songs sung by a burlesque actress who was on board, and more. “Friday morning our ship’s newspaper gave us news of President’s death. It was certainly shocking. It seems to give me such a detached feeling, though. The states seem so far away and the news seems like that of a far country. There was to be a costume ball in the evening, but no one dressed for it, out of respect to the President.” The president was Warren G. Harding, who died on August 2nd, 1923 of pneumonia. She soon reach Hawaii: “The Hawaiian band in white uniforms was playing “Aloha Oe” and it brought a lump to the throat. “Aloha” means welcome, greetings, love, or farewell. It is such a charming custom, too, to greet the loved one with garlands of flowers and place them about their necks. A sweet little Navy mother, Mrs. Lovelace, who happened to be attracted to me because of my voice, kindly offered their car for our use and we came to ‘Fernhurst.’ [the Fernhurst Inn] It is a gorgeous place, a huge, stately white mansion sitting back from the roadway, amid the most luxurious tropical growth of royal palms and countless varieties of ferns and flowers. There is a long sweep of porch across the front with large square columns above which is the long sleeping porch. A low stone wall surrounds the property….” A photograph of this is included in the diary. “August 5th, We like Fernhurst more all the time. The meals are delicious, served in a spacious, airy dining room by cute little Japanese girls in their kimonos and straw sandals. The china is dainty and the silver monogrammed. There are so MANY Japanese here! Everywhere there are little Japanese women sandalling along, some with babies strapped to their backs sometimes lying there fast asleep.” They take a ride around the island in a Pierce Arrow auto by way of Nuuanu Valley up to the Pali, 2000 ft. high. Then to a pineapple plantation. They see a Mormon settlement, and have lunch at the Haleiwa Hotel on the veranda. Then they take a short trip on a glass bottomed boat to see the submarine gardens, then drive through a sugar mill, and return back to Fernhurst. The next day, they attend a luau and the author devotes quite a bit of writing describing that. “Thursday was largely spent shopping for souvenirs. Our tour of the shops took us through Japanese and Chinese quarters. The slogan of a current tobacco advertisement is similarly appropriate; ‘Your nose knows.’ Most of the Japanese women dress in native costume and many of the Chinese women wear the Chinese pantaloons and square jackets with little stand-up collars. Their hair is always a sleek, shiny black, coiffure with meticulous care. The Hawaiian women are universally fat.” The next day, they go to a memorial for President Harding, The passage about the service is about 1 ¼ pages long and is exceptionally well written. On August 11th they board the ship and head back home and while the boat is pulling away she writes: “As the boat pulled slowly out from the pier, they played, “Aloha Oe” and I really couldn’t keep back the tears. I had plenty of company, though, so I didn’t feel quite so foolish. Their greetings and farewells are most touching and it takes a strong heart to keep from being affected. Aloha, Oahu! Aloha nui oe!”; “Tuesday. Who recommends sea trips, anyway? This is the last one I want. I’m not seasick in the ordinary sense of the word, but I AM sick of the sea. I felt so well when I came aboard and ate a hearty lunch, but there my trouble began….” After this little bout of sea sickness, normal ocean liner activities resume. Her one page description of the masquerade party while on board is especially notable. Then it’s back to Los Angeles. They head back to Salt Lake City, then Colorado Springs, Cave of the Winds, Manitou, Cheyenne Mountain, quick stop in Lincoln before arriving in Chicago on August 24th. There are about 5 full typed pages about their trip back home on board the train.” All this is should show you that this woman is an absolutely marvelous writer. There is much more than what I’ve quoted here. The diary pages are all typed and on tissue type paper that measures about 8” x 11”. The cover that once housed the pages is in rather rough shape. It does however state her name and address as “Mrs. L. W. Smith. 5 Hunterfly Place. Brooklyn, NY.” All the diary pages look good and their only imperfections are a few small tears on some page edges. Not all the pages are attached to the binding. The letter to the Treasury Department is in very good condition, with small discoloration on the edges.; Manuscript; 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, LOU W. SMITH, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, CROSS COUNTRY TRAVEL, TREASURY DEPARTMENT LETTER, OFFICE OF CHIEF CLERK AND SUPERINTENDENT, TYPESCRIPT DIARY, MOUNTAIN QUEEN, RAILROAD CAR, LOS ANGELES STEAMSHIP COMPANY, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, BEAUTIFUL DEPICTIONS OF NATURE, INDEPENDENT WOMAN, SMART AND SASSY WOMEN, FEMINISM, WOMEN’S RIGHTS, HAWAIIAN VACATION, PRE STATE HAWAII, POST WORLD WAR 1 ERA TRAVEL, INTERWAR PERIOD IN AMERICA, DEATH OF PRESIDENT HARDING, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D’ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL


Author Name: 'LOU' W. SMITH

Location Published: ACROSS THE U.S.A AND TO HAWAII AND BACK, 1923

Book Condition: Good

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

Seller ID: 0009068

Keywords: keywords: history of lou w. smith brooklyn new york chicago illinois cross country travel treasury department letter office of chief clerk and superintendent