Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sepia Saturday - From Here to There - Near East Travels

This week I am sharing more images and some ephemera from my paternal grandparents' trip to the Near East in 1938 to survey the expeditions of the Oriental Institute of which my grandfather was Executive Secretary.

My grandparents left on their adventure aboard the S.S. Rex from New York to Naples.  A caption under a blank space in the album tells me there was a developed photo of the ship at one point, but all I have for now is their Passage Contract, a map of the ship and two photos taken from on board.

After a day in Naples they sailed on the S.S. Esperia to Alexandria, Egypt. Interestingly, both ships were to be casualties of WWII.

"Top Hat" was the movie aboard the Esperia.

From Alexandria to Cairo to Luxor to visit the Institute's Epigraphic Survey. While in Luxor, one of my grandparents snapped this photo of a ship on the Nile.


Next it was back to Cairo to get a train to Palestine to visit the Megiddo Expedition. After a week in Palestine it was ten days of travel to get from Megiddo to the Persepolis Expedition in Iran. After leaving Megiddo, they slept in Damascus, Syria where this carriage took them from the hotel to the bus station.

And then it was all aboard the air-conditioned Nairn Bus, 600 miles across the desert to Baghdad.

While in Baghdad, one of them captured a photo of a double-deck horse-drawn street car.

More travel, this time from Baghdad to Kirkuk via train.

When they were on their way back to through Iraq to Syria, this 6-wheeled bus took them from Kirkuk to Mosul.

Sometime during their travels though Iran, their car ran into a little trouble.

Finally, though, it was time to start for home, beginning with a 6-day trip from Aleppo, Syria to London, England aboard the Orient Express.

Cover of the booklet that contained tickets for meals aboard the Orient Express

Stub from a meal ticket.

After eight days in London and Oxford, they sailed for home aboard the R.M.S. Aquitania.

By the time my grandparents returned to Chicago they had been gone for 111 days, spending more than a third of that time traveling from place to place. Even so, just one day after reaching the city, my grandfather was back at work at 9:00 a.m.

I am transcribing my grandfather's diaries and my grandmother's letters home and saving for a negative scanner so that one day soon, I'll be able to share their whole incredible adventure.


Wendy said...

Well, I bow to the master! You win the prize for most exotic trip and unusual modes of transport.

Liz Needle said...

What a trip and what wonderful family memories. I like the shot of the Statue of Liberty. I imagine a shot from the same spot would give us a very different picture.

Anna Matthews said...

It was serendipity that this theme and my scanning happened at the same time. Otherwise it would have been old cars and maybe some photos of my grandparents riding burros in Colorado. But thank you!

Anna Matthews said...

I have a couple of old photos of NYC that I would love to reproduce today. We were going to do that this summer from the Circle Line, but we never got around to it.

Marian B. Wood said...

What an incredible journey. Thank you so much for sharing these remarkable artifacts and photos. Looking forward to seeing more as you continue to scan!

Anna Matthews said...

They are as incredible to me today as the first time I saw them eleven years ago.

La Nightingail said...

A marvelous journey and to have the pictures now is priceless along with all the mementos. How lucky you are to have them plus your grandfather's diaries and your grandmother's letters. If you didn't know them well before receiving all of it, you will when you're done. I have a journal my great-grandfather kept of a trip to Yosemite in 1874 and it reveals much about his personality and I feel so lucky to be in possession of such a treasure.