Travel Manuscripts and Photography from Voyager Press
Travel manuscripts from Voyager Press.
Voyager Press Rare Books and Manuscripts has issued a catalogue of Travel Manuscripts with Travel Photography. This, quite naturally, is filled with one-of-a-kind material. These are personal collections, on paper and film, by travelers all around the world. Some went on business, others pleasure. Some were Americans, others Europeans. They traveled to the heat of equatorial regions, or to the cold of Antarctica. What they had in common was keeping a record of what they saw as they traveled. Their accounts were not published, effectively lost to history, until resurrected in this catalogue. Here is a chance to relive adventures of long ago, in the words and images of those who experienced them first hand.
We start with an archive from “Operation Highjump,” an American mission to the Antarctic undertaken just after the second world war. It was headed by noted polar aviator-explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. Byrd was the first to fly over the north and the south pole, though some doubt his claims at least to the former. The archive was compiled by James G. Snyder, a young (21) officer with the expedition. It was designed to test equipment under the harsh conditions of the environment and determine the feasibility of operating bases in the Antarctic. An unstated aim may have been to secure territorial claims for America. The mission ran from summer 1946 through early 1947. These were the early days of the developing Cold War, when the U.S. was seeking to gain advantages over their Soviet rivals. The collection includes a hand-drawn map and an unofficial naval certificate signed by Byrd. However, most of Snyder's account is focused on a particular incident. On December 30, 1946, the George One, an airship, went down. Three crewmen died in the crash, but six others survived. It took 13 days to complete a search and rescue of the surviving airmen. Snyder writes in detail about the rescue. Priced at $9,750.
Next we have documents from another recovery effort, though one that sadly was too late for saving lives. They pertain to the first U.S. submarine lost at sea, the USS F-4 (SS-23), which sank just a mile and a half off the coast of Hawaii in 300-foot deep water in 1915. It was one of four such submarines stationed in the Pacific. Submarines were fairly new at the time, dangerous ships that brought hazardous duty payments to their crew. On March 25, 1915, the F-4 went out to sea to test some diving maneuvers. Its commander tested a dive that included forward movement. Exactly what went wrong is uncertain, but apparently there was leakage around the battery compartment, perhaps caused by corrosion resulting from the batteries. Crewmen noticed the smell of chlorine gas, leading the commander to attempt to reverse course and raise the ship. Unfortunately, he was not successful, as further leakage brought the ship down. It became completely flooded, with the entire crew perishing. Search crews were sent out immediately when the submarine failed to return, in hopes of finding the ship and dragging it quickly to shallow waters. This was unsuccessful, and the rescue mission became one of salvage a few days later. This archive includes various documents pertaining especially to recovery of the bodies of the crew. $5,750.
Travel Manuscripts and Photography from Voyager Press
Photograph of recovered F4 submarine.
This next item is a folio manuscript letter book kept by the British Consul to Cherbourg, France, from 1862-1874. It contains over 600 letters from Consul Horace Hamond to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. This might not appear to be a source of information important for Americans, but it includes important documentation regarding British involvement in the U.S. Civil War. Of particular interest is an eyewitness account of the Battle of Cherbourg, a Civil War naval battle that occurred far from home, off the coast of Cherbourg. The CSS Alabama was a confederate ship that had inflicted much damage on Union shipping, it being, in Union eyes at least, little more than a Confederate pirate ship, disrupting their shipping. In 1864, the Alabama put up in Cherbourg harbor for repairs. The American ship USS Kearsarge had been tracking her for ages, and now having located her, waited outside Cherbourg harbor. The battle lines were drawn. If she was ever to be of use again, the Alabama would have to take on the Kearsarge. That she did, on June 19, 1864. The Kearsarge retreated to just outside of French territorial waters. There, the battle began, with an audience watching the unfolding drama from the harbor. The Kearsarge was stronger with its metal hull, and while the Alabama resorted to massive firing of its guns, the Kearsarge was more deliberate in its aim. A few holes below water line proved too much for the Alabama. As she began to sink, the Confederates were forced to surrender to the Kearsarge. Over 40 of her sailors died, to just one on the Kearsarge, with the remainder being saved by the Kearsarge or a passing British yacht. The Alabama appears again later in this correspondence, as part of the successful international lawsuit filed by the U.S. against Britain for allowing the construction of a Confederate ship on its territory. $5,750.
British Army Captain Charles Harvey Palairet traveled across America for four months in 1871-1872, and kept a journal of what he saw. That journal is offered, along with a collection of other items he gathered along the way. Palairet met President Grant, but the most notable part of his journal was a visit to Chicago, shortly after the great fire. Speaking of walking around the streets and viewing the ruins, Palairet writes, “A more complete wreck it would be impossible to imagine, the actual plan of the streets being in most places unrecognizable.” However, he notes that rebuilding is taking place at a rapid pace, while business is conducted from “wooden shanties” that sprung up all over the city. Palairet was just 24 years old at the time of his visit. We don't know a great deal about him, but he did have noble blood, being a descendant of King Henry VII. He later would be married twice (his first wife died), had a son, and died in 1905 at the age of 58. His son, Sir (Charles) Michael Palairet, was knighted, and served in various diplomatic posts in Europe at a critical time, the years leading up to the Second World War. He reported on Hitler's visit to Austria, and later was transferred to Greece, where he had to be evacuated, eventually being ambassador to the country's government in exile. Later descendants of Charles Harvey Palairet have continued the tradition of diplomatic service. $3,750.
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