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Mexico Diary , 1934

 File — Box: 1, Artifact: 2014.083.A1
Identifier: id237501

Scope and Contents

The following information was provided by the seller and has not been verified for accuracy: "Written by Marie K. Seegelken while on a trip to Mexico aboard the S.S. Santa Catalina with her husband, Oliver. Marie is a very social woman and a keen observer to boot. She loves to draw and write, and she provides the reader with chatty fast paced entries regarding her interactions with other passengers, filled with observations upon their backgrounds, and any little idiosyncrasies she notices. On board she chats with Frances Parkinson Keyes, noted playwright and authoress, who was working on her next novel. She meets a powerful Mexican General who had attended the Geneva Convention and was supposedly friendly with Mussolini. She and her husband dine with the captain and attend dances and concerts with other passengers, some of whom she finds interesting enough to draw their portraits. In some entries she provides details regarding fishing trips in which they catch shark. On one occasion she writes that the men caught a 12 foot Tiger Shark, 'a real man eating specimen - lots of blood & strong odor - has stripes that classifies it as a tiger shark.' Accompanying this she provides a full page drawing of the shark hanging from a hook on board the ship. "She draws sketches of the crew while they are performing various duties around the ship. And she is amused enough by them, that she captures their leisure activities as well, including a rendezvous by the stevedores on the lower deck. They go on to the mainland of Mexico and visit Manzanillo, Acapulco, Gulf of Tehemtepec, San Miguel, Corinto Cutuco, Mazatlan, Santa Elena, Salvador and Champerica. She draws several cityscapes of these towns as seen from the ship. She provides a wonderful drawing of a street singer in Acapulco sitting atop a horse with a guitar slung over his back and wearing a broad sombrero. In her entries she writes of her adventures in these towns providing her impressions of their conditions and their inhabitants. Of Manzanillo she writes: 'Have been in another world. . . Manzanillo is a lost world - so far removed from our civilization that is incredible. The filth and squalor of the little town itself defies description. In the glare of daylight it is an unholy sight yet curiously interesting. Burros and oxen drawn carts the only means of conveyance - the children half naked & caked with dirt followed us about wide-eyed with wonder. Suffocating stench in the market place - men asleep stretched out on streets - emaciated dogs fighting over a filthy bone - somewhere down the line a peons' voice drawing out a melancholy strain the accompaniment of a rusty guitar - now & then a pair of ‘Jezabels’ in long brilliant colored silk dresses - casting insidious looks - the money exchange where we waited twenty minutes while a sluggish employee battled with a broken-down safe deposit. 'Later a trip to the Hacienda Santiago in a jungle setting that surpassed anything I might have imagined. Rode out in an ancient vehicle that might have once been an automobile - through an impenetrable jungle. Two natives stood hanging on to the side of the car & slashed the vegetation with their ____ huge knives that they carry in magnificent leather cases at their side. The Hacienda is about eight miles out of Manzanillo - looks like a cannibal village. Desolate - primitive & a little awesome. Thatched huts made of palms crowded together - strange faces peering out at us - the men handsome & colorful in their native dress of white with scarlet sashes - the women carrying great loads on their heads. Went into one of the huts - crowded with children – all naked - chickens & pics sharing the same space. The distant roar of thunder & the booming of the surf - thick dark threatening sky - heavy sweet smell of tropical growths - damp humid feeling in the air. Walked through some of the jungle – picked limes & gathered cocoa nuts - about the size of Brazil nuts, very tasty. Later went down to the beach & watched the sunset... saw some water scorpions & strange sea animal life – so wasn't tempted to go in. The spot was glorious though- we might have been on another planet - not a sign of human life for miles - great towering mountains jutting out of the sea - now & then the piercing cry of strange jungle birds. . .' "


  • Creation: 1934


Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.


From the Collection: 0.20 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box and one oversize flat file)


From the Collection: English


Diary entitled "The Self Book," is enclosed in a box entitled "Mexico Diary, 1934"

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository