1933 Detailed Travel Diary of a Young Woman Cruising the Great Lakes on the SS Octorara, Making Many Stops Along the Way

By: Unknown

Price: $1,259.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


On offer is a fascinating travel diary of a cruise around the Great Lakes, taken during the depths of the Great Depression. The author of this travel diary is an unknown young woman. She is travelling with a woman who is presumably her sister, Margaret. From a date inside the front cover, it is clear that this trip took place in the summer of 1933. The cruise took place on the SS Octorara. The SS Octorara was one of three passenger and cargo ships built in Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Shipbuilding Company for the Anchor Line, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The ships made regular runs between Duluth and their home port of Buffalo, New York, where the Pennsylvania Railroad terminated. Her name comes from a Pennsylvania river. In 1916 all three were purchased by the Great Lakes Transit Corporation of Buffalo. The SS Octorara was launched in 1910 and operated until 1936 when she was forced to lay up due to the widespread economic malaise of the Depression years. She was requisitioned by the U. S. Army in 1942 and served as a troop transport in the Hawaiian Islands. She was scrapped in San Francisco in 1952. The Octorara's brass bell hangs at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum at Belle Isle, Detroit, where it is rung each year during the annual blessing of the fleet in memory of ships and sailors lost to the Great Lakes. Her sister ship, SS Juniata is still afloat, renamed SS Milwaukee Clipper and restored as a museum ship in Muskegon MI. Much of the writer's time is spent on board: "Our advance guard, the baggage truck, escorted us from the train to the station where a taxi was waiting to convey us to the Octorara. After presenting our ticket and a paper containing our name and address to the purser, we arranged with the deck steward to look after our baggage and to escort us to our room. Then we went up to the salon deck and received our dining room assignments (seats 78-79-80) and paid for our deck chairs. Then we went up to the deck steward and received our seating places on the port side. (Left side). We tried out the deck chairs and found them ok. Ha! Ha! ... "; "I was the first one up! We had arranged for an early morning shower with our deck stewardess. My time was 8: 50, Margaret 9: 05, Clara 9: 20. Luckily I was first. The stewardess had cautioned us to be careful about locking the bathroom door as she was going to breakfast. Margaret accidentally locked the door; so she and Clara had to go without a shower until evening. After breakfast we took our morning constitutional on the boat deck and spent the remainder of the morning on our chairs, reading, and viewing the scenery…" [Aug 20, 1933]. Arriving in Cleveland, they toured the city and noted some of its landmarks. Our diarist commented on the Goodyear Blimp passing by their boat. A stormy night did not help her sleep. Their next stop was Detroit where again, they went sightseeing in the morning. Then they continued up the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers into Lake Huron: "…We returned to the Octorara at 11: 00 A. M. Much pleased with our trip (Detroit) which was 52 miles long and circled the city in the form of a horseshoe. Shore line of Detroit is beautiful. Before noon we were steaming on our way passed Belle Isle, thru Lake St. Clair, St. Clair Flats, known as the Venice of America, where is a summer settlement, on up the St. Clair River to Lake Huron. The voyage was thrilling. There was not a cloud in the sky and by mid-afternoon the sun was shinning so furiously on our side of the boat that we changed to the opposite side which was very cold and blustery. We decided to take 8 rounds on the boat deck after which we returned to our chairs in the sun for a short time and retired to our rooms to prepare for dinner. Spent the evening until 10 P. M. In a most enjoyable song fest and watching them dance. Retired for the night. Slept better than any night on the ship. Set my watch back an hour as we changed to Central Standard Time" [Aug 21, 1933]. And so her diary goes as she describes the journey to its ultimate destination of Duluth, MN. She returned part way home by rail and her description of the train is colourful: "Rode all night in berth 12 on the Chicago & Northwestern R. R. , the dirtiest R. R. In the world". She spent 2 days in Chicago visiting the World's Fair and then boarded another passenger ship for the remainder of her trip home. Again, each stop is carefully described as she recounts her sightseeing in each port. Accompanying her notes are dozens of post cards depicting sights around the Great Lakes. Some show pictures of homes, other of mining operations and many tourist sites. This is an excellent little travelogue and a historian, especially on focussed on the Great Lakes, would find the commentary and interesting comparison to those places mentioned today. Measuring approximately 6 inches by 8 inches, this diary contains 38 pages of post cards and descriptive notes. The pages are 100% complete. The book is soft-covered and the covers are in good condition, although they do exhibit some wear. Most of the pages are intact and in good condition. Several have come loose from the binding. The notes and photo cards are held in place by small adhesive tabs and some have come loose from drying out. The handwriting is quite legible. ; Manuscripts; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 38 pages; Keywords: Great Lakes; SS Octorara; The Anchor Line; Pennsylvania Railroad; SS Milwaukee Clipper; Muskegon MI, Duluth, Great Lakes Transit Corporation, Belle Isle, St. Clair River, Lake Huron, Great Depression, Northwestern RR, Chicago, 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, manoscritto, carta antigüedad, hecho, vitela, documento, manuscrito, papel,

Title: 1933 Detailed Travel Diary of a Young Woman Cruising the Great Lakes on the SS Octorara, Making Many Stops Along the Way

Author Name: Unknown

Categories: 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary, M. Benjamin Katz, Books & Manuscripts,

Publisher: Great Lakes, SS Octorara, Great Depression, Great Lakes Cruise: 1933

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 0011022

Keywords: Great Lakes; SS Octorara; The Anchor Line; Pennsylvania Railroad; SS Milwaukee Clipper; Muskegon MI, Duluth, Great Lakes Transit Corporation, Belle Isle, St. Clair River, Lake Huron, Great Depression, Northwestern RR, Chicago Handwritten, Manuscript, Document, Letter, Autograph, Writer, Hand Written, Documents, Signed, Letters, Manuscripts, Historical, Holograph, Writers, Autographs, Personal, Memoir, Memorial, Antiquité, Contrat, Vélin, Velina, Documento, Manoscritto, Carta Antigüedad, Hecho, Vitela, Documento, Manuscrito, Papel,