The Carpathiacrossing the atlantic again.
RMS CARPATHIA. Diary and Photograph Album. [No publisher], 2nd July - 3rd September 1913.
Photograph album 10.5 x 10.5 inches, brown cloth boards with nut and bolt binding; 52 stiff leaves of pasted-in b&w photographs alternating with leaves of typescript; a little rubbing to binder, browning to text leaves, very good.
This anonymous diary - we only know that the author was called 'Sam' - records a trip to Europe by three young men from New York. Perhaps the most interesting part of the diary from an historical point of view covers the first fourteen days, when the friends were aboard RMS Carpathia, the ship which had, the previous year, led the attempts to rescue the survivors of the Titanic. Captain Arthur Rostron, who was heavily praised and decorated for his part in the rescue, continued in command of the Carpathia until sometime in 1913 and so may have been aboard the ship at this time. On 13 July the ship sailed to the rescue of another vessel whose engine had broken down; the diarist makes little comment, and so one wonders if he even knew of the Carpathia's dramatic recent history. His main concerns are girls, games and good dinners, and this part of the diary contains fascinating descriptions and photographs of life on board a steam liner, including a shuffle-board tournament, a 'cock fight' (in which two bound men have to push each other out of a chalk circle), a needle threading contest and fancy dress parties. He also records the living conditions of a low-fare passenger : "Our stateroom is very unsatisfactory, being a small room with four berths, no wardrobe… Only two at a time can dress not very confortably at that. Room is very hot, and stuffy".
The rest of the diary concerns the friends' grand tour around Europe, passing through the great sights of Italy, France and Holland and ending up in London, where the author has a very unsatisfactory meal and a rather peculiar moustache trim. They embarked for home on 27th August on the Oceanic which, being "far inferior" to the Carpathia, attracts less attentive description.
An excellent contemporary source for information on the daily events and lifestyle on board ocean liners in their heyday.