1948 ORIGINAL, LARGE ARCHIVE OF DIARIES [2], PHOTOS AND EPHEMERA DETAILING A SENSATIONAL POST WWII EUROPEAN BICYCLE TOUR HAND WRITTEN BY A HARD CHARGING AMERICAN GIRL WHO DOES A SUPER JOB DESCRIBING ALL SHE SEES

By: GLORIA LEE BIGEWET

Price: $3,255.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


On offer is a fabulous archive of a trip through Europe in the immediate aftermath of WWII. The archive comprises hundreds of letters, notes, photographs and ephemera. The centre-piece is a folio size scrapbook measuring about 15 inches by 10.5 inches. The scrapbook cover has separated from the binding. There are 100 pages and it is about 20% complete. There are two diaries which are used to record the trip experiences only. The first diary measures about 5 inches by 3 inches. It contains about 180 pages and is about 40% complete. The cover and binding are intact and the handwriting is dense but readable. The second diary measures 6 inches by 4.5 inches and contains 365 pages. It is about 13% complete. The spine is broken and the front cover, attached at the back of the binding, has separated from the body of the text. The handwriting is dense but readable. There is a packet of over 5 dozen letters. A second package contains over 100 items including numerous black and white photographs, cards, notes, etc. In 1948, Gloria Lee Bigewet was able to participate in an American Youth Hostel cycling trip in Europe - specifically France, Italy and Switzerland. This was a tumultuous time in Europe. The most devastating war in history had just ended with death and destruction on an almost unimaginable scale; the Iron Curtain was descending over eastern Europe; the Berlin Airlift was underway. Casual research has found almost no biographical information for the author beyond the fact that she married Harold J. Becker in 1950, had 2 daughters and was later divorced. She left St. Louis May 31st, 1948 for New York City to board her ship - S.S. Marine Tiger which sailed June 3rd. The scrapbook contains numerous black and white photographs of varying sizes, depicting the students who went on the trip. They include a large photo of the Roman Colosseum and numerous other locations in Europe. There is the American Youth Hostel flag which she flew from her bicycle, boarding pass, packing guides, itineraries, a list of all participants on the trip and cards and letters: "You can see over the whole city and it's a beautiful but sad sight. Sad because the houses are almost completely destroyed. Piza was one of the hardest hit cities during the bombing raids and you can sure tell it. By the way, I managed to take a very effective picture this morning of the ruins or rather just part of them ... " [letter home from Piza, June 29, 1948]. There is a complete copy of the on-board ship's daily newspaper - the Tiger Rag. There is also a lengthy newspaper article (Workings of the Black Market in Paris) explaining the how of the black market operates in practice. There are also quite a number of items such as tickets, program descriptions, etc that are tucked into the pages of the scrapbook. The first diary covers the months leading up to the trip. It is full of the typical events in the life of a busy teenager. It also contains references to the man she will eventually marry: "Bill called. Becker came over at 4:30 and fixed my bicycle (put lights on) and stayed for dinner. After dinner, we walked out to the park and rode the electric boats and talked a long time. He told me how much he'll miss me. Oh! I think he is so wonderful and nice - I really like him so much!" [May 25]. This diary ends on May 30th with her saying goodbye to friends before she leaves. Included in the diary are 2 postcards from France showing a hotel in Artenay (Loire) and the great Chateau of Chenonceaux. The second diary deals specifically with the 16 days of her trip. It is well-written with a very good eye for detail. she comments on daily 50 mile bike rides the scenery and surrounding countryside, train rides, hotels, hostels, cute boys she met, the food she ate and places that she visited. "... From there we met Goodie, Betty W and Marge at the Academy of Fine Arts and saw Michelangelo's statue of David. It's magnificent. And then we visited the church across the street which also has a museum. ... Went window shopping. ... After dinner (soup and some meat sauce and some fish concoction), Jack and I walked to Diurno Square ..." [July 9]. Awoke at 8:30 and washed, dressed etc. Getting ready for church. I'm going to Notre Dame Cathedral for services this morning ..." [Aug 1]. There are over 5 dozen letters in one packet including letters from her to her family, letters from her parents and friends, such as Harold. There is a delightful letter dated June 3rd to her from her mother and father: "My Darling Babe .... When I arrived home from Council this afternoon ... there was a slip of paper from the post office stating that there was a letter there awaiting me with five cents due. ...I was so thrilled when I read your interesting letter that I had to re-read it three times ..." [her mother's comments]. It is lonesome now but your mother and I are more than happy that you are able to get a world wide experience and first-hand knowledge of the other side of our big world. As you know, you are our pride and joy ..." [her father's comments]. The letters provide other glimpses into what is happening at that time. For instance, the letter from Harold dated June 12th notes that the Freedom Train came in to St. Louis. This train crisscrossed the United States in an effort to celebrate America and her ideals. At each stop, it displayed Americana and related historical artifacts. The remaining packet contains over 100 additional photographs, postcards, notes and other ephemera. Quite a number of the photographs are annotated. For example, one picture has the notation: "Gloria Lee - sitting at a cafe in front of the gallery del Lanzi - Florence, Italy July 1948". A note records the following observation: "Fields of scarlet poppies right up to the track; lots of farmland in all different shades of green with poppies intertwined. ... faces all weather-beaten. Women manage to buy rouge & lipstick ...". This is a superb collection of material. It is a treasure trove for a historian researching the years immediately following WWII. From a European perspective, it gives first hand observations of life as they cycle through these countries. For a researcher studying post-war America, the letters provide a wealth of detail in the letters between Gloria and her family and friends and the society in which they lived.

Title: 1948 ORIGINAL, LARGE ARCHIVE OF DIARIES [2], PHOTOS AND EPHEMERA DETAILING A SENSATIONAL POST WWII EUROPEAN BICYCLE TOUR HAND WRITTEN BY A HARD CHARGING AMERICAN GIRL WHO DOES A SUPER JOB DESCRIBING ALL SHE SEES

Author Name: GLORIA LEE BIGEWET

Illustrator: /

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

Publisher: St. LOUIS, MISSOURI, 1948

Book Condition: Good

Type: Document Archive

Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall

Seller ID: 0008058

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, GLORIA LEE BIGEWET, 20TH CENTURY, 1940s, POSTWAR EUROPE, POSTWAR FRANCE, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, UNITED STATES, MISSOURI, ST. LOUIS, GLORIA LEE BIGEWET; AMERICAN YOUTH HOSTEL; EUROPE AFTER WWII; AMERICA AFTER WWII; BICYCLING THROUGH EUROPE, BICYCLE JOURNEY, CYCLING TRIP, BERLIN AIRLIFT; FREEDOM TRAIN; LETTERS, BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS, POSTCARDS, EPHEMERA, SCRAPBOOKS, SOCIAL STUDIES, WOMEN'S STUDIES, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNALS, PERSONAL HISTORY, SOCIAL HISTORY, 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, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL