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Charles K. Cummings, Voyages in the U.S.S. Mount Vernon, 1921

1 volume

This volume is a history of the USS Mount Vernon's service as a troop transport ship during World War I, written by United States Navy Lieutenant Charles K. Cummings, who served on the ship during the war. Cummings's narrative relates daily incidents as the Mount Vernon carried troops between New York City and Brest, France, during and after the war. Cummings noted the names of prominent passengers and included several diagrams and drawings depicting naval formations and the Mount Vernon.

This volume is a 137-page typed history of the USS Mount Vernon's service as a troop transport ship during World War I, written by United States Navy Lieutenant Charles K. Cummings, the ship's communications officer. Cummings presented this copy, entitled Voyages in the USS Mount Vernon, 1917-1919, to James Madison Doyle, the ship's gunnery officer, in December 1921. The title page has an intricate drawing of the ship by Harleston Parker.

The narrative is structured as a diary and opens with 4 pages of introductory material with information on the Mount Vernon's history prior to its first voyage as a United States Navy transport vessel. The daily entries cover the period between October 11, 1917, and April 24, 1919, during which time the ship made 12 round-trip voyages between New York City and Brest, France, carrying members of the American Expeditionary Forces. Many of the entries record the day's weather, compiled from the author's personal diaries and the ship's official logs; lists of military units being ferried across the Atlantic Ocean; and notable incidents or the names of distinguished passengers. The Mount Vernon traveled as part of a heavily guarded convoy and Cummings routinely noted the camouflage and deceptive sailing patterns employed to guard against German submarine and torpedo attacks, as well as news of other ships throughout the convoys. On February 11, 1918, he provided a list of distress calls the ship received on its most recent voyage (pp. 51-52). In addition to military officials and diplomats, the ship also carried a 13-year-old stowaway mascot of the 132nd Infantry Regiment (p. 89), a group of African American soldiers (pp. 101-102), and several wounded soldiers, including two Red Cross nurses suffering from shell shock (p. 117). On September 5, 1918, the Mount Vernon was struck by a torpedo, which killed 35 members of the ship's crew (pp. 126-129). Cummings frequently mentioned his activities while in port at Brest, Southampton, and Boston, which included social calls and spending leave time with his family.

The book includes several partially colored diagrams and illustrations pertaining to events mentioned within the text:
  • USS Mount Vernon (title page)
  • "Collision Between Agamemnon and Von Steuben" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Torpedoing of Finland" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Torpedoing of Antilles" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Intensive Lookout Station on Mount Vernon" (pp. 40-41)
  • "Types of Camouflage on U.S. Destroyers" (pp. 60-61)
  • "Manoeuvre for Practice with Submarine Target" (pp. 96-97)
  • "Sinking of British S.S. Instructor, July 15, 1918 (pp. 96-97)
  • "Torpedoing of U.S.S. Mount Vernon, September 5, 1918 (pp. 126-127)
  • "Mount Vernon Showing Camouflage on Port Side" (pp. 128-129)
  • "Diagrams of Mount Vernon Showing Effect of Torpedo Explosion (pp. 128-129)


Northwest Territory Celebration letters, 1937-1938

0.25 linear feet

The Northwest Territory Celebration letters chronicle the daily experiences of a group of re-enactors who traveled from Ipswich, Massachusetts, to Marietta, Ohio, by ox-driven Conestoga wagon and self-made flatboat in 1937-1938 to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Northwest Territory.

The 64 Northwest Territory Celebration letters chronicle the daily experiences of a group of 36 historical reenactors who traveled from Ipswich, Massachusetts, to Marietta, Ohio, by ox-driven Conestoga wagon and self-made flatboat in 1937-1938, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Northwest Territory.

The party produced letters en route almost daily from December 3, 1937-January 20, 1938; weekly from January 20, 1938-March 29, 1938; and almost daily from March 29, 1938-April 7, 1938. These letters were sent to subscriber Fred G. Olson of Fulton, Illinois, and contain reports about towns in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. At some stops, local Boy Scout troops or other groups staged reenacted attacks by Native Americans; at other times, the travelers faced difficulties when crossing snowy landscapes and the Allegheny Mountains. The travelers mentioned their oxen, "Tom" and "Jerry," and other animals, such as horses and dogs. While at West Newton, Pennsylvania, they discussed their efforts to construct 18th-century flatboats for the final leg of their journey (February 10, 1938-March 29, 1938).

The Northwest Territory Celebration Commission authorized the journey, and postage was free. Each of the letters was folded, addressed, and sealed with wax in the style of 18th-century post. The address on each is accompanied by an illustration by party member Milo Scott. The illustrations depict scenes of the journey and of pioneer life.


Robert Dayton Williams journal, 1870

1 volume

The Robert Dayton Williams journal recounts the author's voyage to Europe on the steamer Australia in September 1870. Williams described stormy weather, seasickness, daily activities, and navigation errors during the ship's passage from New York to Glasgow. The journal entries are accompanied by ink drawings.

The R. Dayton Williams journal (21 pages), entitled "Yankee Vandals Abroad, or Our Trip to Europe," is an account of the author's voyage from Albany, New York, to Glasgow, Scotland, from September 15, 1870-October 1, 1870.

The journal begins with a 2-page preface in which Williams pays tribute to the advances in nautical travel between the 1770s and 1870s and explains his reasons for visiting the British Isles. The account opens with the Williams' trip from Albany to New York, accompanied by family members, and their search for Anna's trunk on the day they were to set sail; a humorous poem recounts the latter episode. The preface and opening remarks are followed by daily entries dated September 17, 1870-October 1, 1870, during the Australia's time at sea. The opening lines of many entries, including the preface, are colored or otherwise illustrated. Illustrations (see list below) accompany most of the entries.

During the transatlantic journey, Williams commented on the food, the scenery, and his pastimes, which included games of quoits and backgammon with the captain and other passengers. Early in the voyage, the ship encountered stormy seas, which resulted in flooded passenger cabins, injuries to members of the ship's crew, and prolonged seasickness. Williams described cod fishermen along the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and compared the Anchor Line's ships with the faster vessels of the Cunard Line. Entries often report the distance the Australia had traveled and the remaining distance to Derry, Ireland, the ship's first destination. On September 29, Williams mentioned the captain's recent navigational error, which led to confusion about the ship's current position and course; the mishap resulted in a slight delay, though the course was later corrected. In his entry of September 30, Williams recalled the Hibernia, an Anchor Line steamer that had remained missing for four weeks after being blown to sea in a gale off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. The same day, the Australia reached Derry and soon left for Glasgow, where Williams and his wife disembarked on October 1. A printed drawing of the Australia and a newspaper clipping about the Williams' journey are pasted into the first page of regular entries, and the entry of September 30 contains a table of observed latitude and longitude for September 19, [1870]-September 28, [1870].

List of pen and ink drawings (excluding embellished text)
  • Two men searching for Anna Williams's trunk at the Wescott's Express freight office (page 7)
  • A man and a woman on the deck of the Australia (page 7)
  • Log floating at sea (page 8)
  • Australia and other ships engulfed by stormy seas (page 9)
  • The Williams' stateroom on the Australia (page 10)
  • A man "Before and After Sea Sickness" (page 11)
  • Codfish (page 11)
  • Rings and target from game of quoits (page 12)
  • "Cod Fishing on the New Foundland Banks" [sic] (page 13)
  • Driftwood board (page 13)
  • "Mr Brown's Circus Blanket," a colorful coat (page 14)
  • "Forecastle Passengers" (page 17)
  • Sounding line (page 19)
  • Map of British Isles and coast of Holland, Belgium, and France, showing the Australia's erroneous and corrected courses (page 20)