n.p. n.p., 1929-30.
Diary. Approx. 6.5" x 4" diary with leather covered boards and working metal locking clasp. The diary is in very good condition with light edge rubs to the leather. Diary has gilt decorated borders and "My Trip" in gilt letters on the front cover. White glossy end papers. All edges gilt. Large, folded, color lithograph map of the United States tipped in on the rear paste down. The diary has seven small leather tabs with gilt lettered subject headings including The Journey, The Places, People I Met, Autograph, Addresses, Side Trips, and The Return. No address of Ruth Gilbert or location where the diary originated was found inside.
Pasted down on the verso of the right front flyleaf are 3 thin cut paper clippings arranged to provide the time and location of the Steamer departure. The front blank end paper has a pasted down trimmed map illustration of the cruise course with "Furness Bermuda Line" printed below. The front blank end paper has a pasted down, trimmed notice, typed on Thos. Cook & Son Company letterhead, and addressed to Miss Ruth Gilbert. This notice is signed by the company agent and provides details of the ship's departure. Contents of the diary consist of 118 pages of manuscript diary entries, autographs, and a few sketches recorded during two separate cruises in early 1929 and in the summer of 1930. Ms. Gilbert traveled on the Steamer "Nova Scotia" and visited St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Kitts, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad, Dominica, and Bermuda. The first entry is dated February 9th, 1929 as the ship set sail at 3:00pm.
Miss Gilbert describes her daily observations while aboard on ship and while exploring the Islands. Some of the entries include racist names and period stereotypes for people of color. One entry refers to children of color as ..."N...r tots" (Guadeloupe Feb. 16, 1929). While in Trinidad, February 22, 1929, Gilbert observes,
"The Island has quite a population of Indians and they are so much more intelligent looking and of stronger character apparently then the blacks.."
Entries of hurricane damage to the Islands from the previous year are also recorded. In two entries Miss Gilbert writes,
"We went ashore about 3:30 taking our bathing suits. Had to go in large rowboats propelled by negroes. Upon arrival, all took a bus across the island from Frederiksted to Christiansted, 14 miles. The country was rather barren and dreary. There is quite a lot of destruction from the hurricane. The Marines are at Christiansted. In one street as a result of the hurricane a house had collapsed on top of a car, puncturing all the tires." (St. Croix, February 14, 1929)
"Went ashore here about 8. From the ship the place looked wrecked from the hurricane and upon landing found that to be true and reconstruction very slow. The streets are dirty, the shops filthy and not much in them." (Basse Terre, Guadeloupe, February 16, 1929)
The hurricane referenced was called the San Felipe Segundo Hurricane (1928), one of the deadliest hurricanes in the Atlantic. When the same hurricane hit Florida it was called the Okeechobee hurricane.
The contents of the diary also include an autograph and address section with several names and and locations of people Miss Gilbert met during her cruise. Several of the people came from New York City and Boston. A type name card of "Richard E. Dillon" is placed just before the tab section "People I have Met". The name at the top of the page is "Mr. R. E. Dillon - "Boston Rusher". A few original pencil sketches were drawn on the pages. One of the sketches, protected by tissue, is of an unnamed clipper ship. The drawing is signed "S. Moore." Very good. Item #11908