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Papers, 1930-1932

 File — Box: Small Collections Box 57, Folder: 1
Identifier: id58980

Scope and Contents

Diary: The following transcription was provided by the seller:

"my first day in San Francisco…saw Mr. Pinckney this morning…Captain von Newenhausen instructed Jack & I on some of the mysteries of sailing…He’s been around the world 14 times. Jack & I are invited to Mr. Pinckney’s. July 21: M/S Crown City. Capt Winston is a wonderful fellow…We are junior officers & known as cadets…have a keen stateroom with double deck bunks…tomorrow the stevedores will finish loading the boat. July 22: We finished loading the lumber & provisions at 5 pm but didn’t sail til dawn. There are two other cadets, Charles MacDonaugh & Vic Pinckney, Jr., the son of Mr. Pinckney, Pres. of the [South African Dispatch] line. July 23: I am slowly but surely learning the mysteries of navigation. My algebra is coming in handy…I learned how to take the ship’s bearing & locations by means of a point on shore. Whenever we get out of sight of land I will have to learn how to locate the ship by the stars and moon. We are motoring an average of 11 knots which is very good for a freighter. Tomorrow we get into San Pedro at 4:00. July 24: we will be on the water for 44 days til we reach Cape Town, S.A. July 25: 7000 five-gallon cases of kerosene & gasoline. July 26: I worked on the bridge washing woodwork & windows…July 28: We saw a dead whale float by. July 31: (includes menu, South African Dispatch Line, M/S Crown City, P. G. Winsens, Master.) Aug. 1: raining today & blowing hard. The boat is rocking & heaving…things are monotonous. We haven’t sighted land or ships since we left San Pedro a week ago. Aug. 2: John & I scrubbed the bridge…We scatter fine sand on [it] after it has been wet down & then scrub “---” out of it for 2 hrs with stiff brushes…I’ve also learned to box the compass. Aug. 3: We crossed the equator & the fun began. King Neptune & his wife (the 2nd mate) appeared & ordered inspection…the crew were to be initiated into the Order of the Shellbacks. I was brought up before the throne & ordered to salute Neptune. Then I leaned over & put my hand on the royal document & received a good sound whack on my hind portion. The charges were ___ against me of having flirted with the ocean. I took off my shirt, top shirt, & shoes & sat in a chair. It was lined with copper & I received a shock… the royal barber drew out a giant wooden razor & sharpened it on my arm. For soap he used a mixture of flour & water & put it all over my face, then scraped it off with a razor. Then…I got two buckets of salt water that completely drenched me…one more whack on my ___. I then swore to be true to the kings of the waters, Neptune, & I am now a shellback in full & good order. Aug. 4. Capt. Winsens says we are in for about 2 wks of cold, stormy weather. [in several passages, he provides beautiful descriptions of sunsets] Aug. 12: we’re into winter now…it seemed so cold that I thought we were with Byrd at the South Pole. Aug. 16: The sea is rough & comes a rushing up & sprays over the bow & forecastle..the waves form valleys & mountain ranges then flatten out like the wheat fields of Kansas. Aug. 17: the food is surprisingly good, whenever it doesn’t have a cockroach or two, to each spoonful. Aug. 18: entered the Straits of Magellan…I’ve seen several small glaciers & some pretty waterfalls. Aug. 19: we are in the wide part now. It is about 2 miles wide but very shallow…on the high seas again..the Atlantic ocean. We are 5000 miles from Cape Town. Aug. 20: Third mate Andrew Kril & I are learning Morse Code. Aug. 22: I’ve gone back to the look for icebergs. Aug. 24: includes a menu & long Radiogram received from the U.S. Navy with news from all over the world including prize fights, Chinese Communists, 14 yr old Alfred R. King, trapshooting champion, pilot Harold L. Bromley’s test flight, Steamer Brattvaag returned with the bodies of Swedish explorer Andree & 2 companinons, Capt. Wolfgang von Gronau & companions on flight from Iceland, Stunt flier Gerd Achgelis claimed a world record fro upside-down flying, etc. Aug. 26: length of ship, 1283 ft, 3,200, 000 board ft lumber, 7000 five-gal. kerosene, 500 tons of wheat, 100 tons of lead, max. speed, 12 knots, passenger capacity, 14 person, motor ship run by diesel engine. Aug. 30: the sea is coming over the boat in giant waves. Aug. 31: the sea is still pretty rough & pitches the boat around like a straw in a whirlwind. Sept. 2: The water is mountainous today…We have too much of a deck load. It is about 3 ft higher than it should be & it gives the boat a top heavy load causing considerable list. The deck load is liable to go anytime. Sept. 3: 50 ft waves that completely drench the whole boat. Sept. 4: The engines are slowed down & we only made 160 miles yesterday. Sept. 5: the sea is like a mirror today. Sept. 7: I’ve had my first taste of a foreign country. We arrived in Cape Town about 10:30 a.m…The English predominate her & English customs consequently are prevalent…Sept. 8: dinner at the Waldorf Café, the finest in town…Jack, I, and Bob Schutz went up on Table Mountaing. We took a tram car about halfway up the sloping part to the cliffs, then a cable car that runs practically 1500 ft straight up. Sept. 9: describes Alhambra Theatre. Sept. 10: (lots of sightseeing). Sept. 12: [set sail] into Indian Ocean. Sept. 13: [describes morse code messages back & forth with Japanese ship.] Sept. 14-16: [Port Elizabeth sightseeing]. Sept. 17: [comments on East London.] Sept. 19: into Durban today…a very rough voyage & we had a hard time entering. The harbor is back inland about ½ mi & to get there we navigated a narrow channel. It was only wide enough for 2 ships. The sea being rough we very nearly hit the breakwater that projects out. Sept. 20: A guide from the S.A. Railway Co. escorted thru the town…through the Indian market…It is just a dirty squabble but very cheap. Next we saw the museum in the City Hall…We walked out to the beach. Lining the hills back off the beach are hotels & summer resorts. Sept. 21: [Durban] has almost 800,000 whites & over two million Negroes, Hindus, & Chinks. The white & practically pure English but they call themselves South Africans. Sept. 22: This afternoon was spent with Mr. Reynolds of the S.A.R. he tools around in his car. Down the Marine Drive., out by the beach, through the golf course, & finally to Monkey Land…We had tea at a nice little hotel & then back to the ship. Sept. 24: an ugly rumor has been circulating that I hope is not true. We may possibly come back to Durban after leaving Lourenco Marquis to pick up maize for Vancouver. If so, we will go back the way we came and not on around the world. Sept. 27: full speed for Lourenco Marques. Sept. 29-Oct 2 to 8: [describes Lourenco Marques.] The entries end; the middle of the book has algebra problems. The last few pages have “The Vampire Sea”, by J. J. Anton, and cablegram code. The book has a corner missing from the front cover and some stains in the back but is good otherwise."

The following description and transcriptions were provided by the seller:

"--4 x 6” photo in “Greetings” folder with Christmas and New Year’s greetings on the inside, signed “Brother Harry”, photo shows “M/S Crown City” in Vancouver, B.C. harbor, and dated Dec. 18, 1930. Overall size, 5 1/8 x 7 1/8.” 3-11)

--Photos or snapshots: view from ship showing Straights of Magellan; ____ Becker, 2nd mate, with nautical instrument for sighting; view of Asian-looking boats; man in white uniform on deck of ship; house, perhaps the diarist’s home in Arkansas City, Kansas; girl, Gwen, Pt. Lincoln; man in sombrero with girl, Pt Lincoln, 1931; 2 women in saris; photo of man in fowl house. --1931 letter on Newman Dry Goods Co. letterhead, Arkansas City, Kansas, dated 1931, to Frederick Newman at Kemper Military school from his father. He encloses a copy of a letter received from Mr. V.H. Pinkney, President of the South African Dispatch Line, and updates Frederick on Harry’s adventures at sea

--Copy of a two-page typed letter from Mr. Pinkney, describing in detail the problems with the M/S Crown City which broke down “1500 miles from nowhere & with about 7000 miles to go…to find yourself adrift at 3 a.m.—no electric lights…The American Commercial Attache, his wife, sister-in-law, nurse, and 3 minor children were aboard…It seems the #1 Air cyl high pressure piston broke off in three pieces [and on and on]…Jack & Harry are doing fine work…”

-- Hand-written letter, “The Rectory, Pt. Lincoln, 24 Apr (no year or envelope). To Harry from Harry: “Lincoln has just finished her annual Tennis & Cricket Carnival…Dances have been thick & heavy here lately & believe me old man I am just about fed up of them but if one did not go to them the place would send me “dippy.” I have a new girl friend now she is an 18 months old widow and she is worth a few hundred pounds sterling, an expert jazzer, and she loves me, what shall I do, “lead me not into temptation”…giving Gwennie the big wipe off, I wrote last week to tell Gwen that I had teamed up with another dancing partner, Gwen rang me up immediately…she was coming back to Lincoln & that she would tear the widow’s eyes out of her head…I suppose I am to be shot…Pres. Roosevelt apparently wants America to know that he is the boss…all his high handed methods won’t get him far in a place like Yankee land, it is more likely to get him a bullet…is all what we read about gangsters in America true…we in Australia are not familiar with those gunmen gangs…pit you are not on the Crown City now because it may call here again sometime…”

--Handwritten letter, dated 1932, Seattle, WA: “Your card to Donald came at Christmas time…Donald isn’t with us anymore. He has passed on to the great beyond…he was struck by a car as he was running to catch a street car in Vancouver Aug. 9. His skull was split open and he never regained consciousness…Mrs. H. J. Duffy, Jr. (Don’s sister-in-law)

--Letter and envelope mailed from Jeypore, India on 21 Jan. ? and written in Hindi"


  • Creation: 1930-1932

Language of Materials

From the Collection:

English Hindi

Conditions Governing Access:

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: 0.01 Linear Foot

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository