Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Journey With Alice

In honor of the 150th year since Alice T. Miner's birth I will take you along on her trip to Europe... Embarked upon on March 9, 1929 and recorded in a pocket-sized leather journal with "My Trip Abroad" and "A.T.M." embossed on the cover. Tucked in the journal is a small envelope (about 1.5 x 2.5 inches) with "Valentine Greetings" in gold, gothic font on the front... Inside the envelope is William's calling card... Perhaps the journal was his Valentine's Day gift to his Heart's Delight?

Alice and three friends traveled from New York City on the White Star Line for a Mediterranean cruise. Their ship was the S.S. Laurentic - an 18,000 ton ocean liner built in 1927 and powered by coal. Alice writes,
"Mar 9, 1929
Left New York in company with Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Haynes & Mrs. Silver for cruise on Mediterranean. The day was fine but cold. We met in the Waldorf Fri & sailed Sat. Mar. 9 having spent a very happy time in the City together. Will, Mr. Johnson & Mrs. Clapp were on hand to see us off. Flowers, fruit, telegrams & letters kept us busy for a long time. We were a happy crowd."

Not long after she took this trip Alice experienced great tragedy and change in her life, and in the lives of those she knew. October 1929 the stock market crash occurred... and in April 1930 her husband Will died suddenly while undergoing elective surgery at Physicians' Hospital in Plattsburgh. For these three months on her journey she experienced no hardship, but for missing her dear Will.

Mar 9th 1929
Left New York at noon in company with Mrs. Johnson, Haynes and Silver. Will was at boat to see us off. The day was clear but cold. Our flowers were beautiful. The Am. Ex. Co. had reserved nice table in dining room. Service fine - had brisk walk on deck in aft - Wrote letters & retired early Slept well.

The Waldorf in New York City

The ladies apparently did most (if not all) of their planning through the American Express Company, including reservations for lodging and even tour guides in the various sites they visited. Alice was 65 years old and interested in objects to collect for her museum, and in the historical sites and churches they would visit. This was not her first trip to Europe as evidenced by her comments later in the journal.

The White Star Line docks in New York City

The Plattsburgh Republican reports, "A party of North Country people, consisting of Mrs. Corydon S. Johnson, Mrs. Cassius D. Silver and Mrs. Irving S. Haynes of Plattsburgh, and Mrs. W.H. Miner of Chazy and Chicago, are leaving today for New York whence they will sail tomorrow on the S.S. Berengaria for France. They will be gone for two months." These ladies were all prominent local citizens married to - Dr. Cassius Silver... the beloved doctor of Alice and William Miner and the man who inspired them to build Physicians' Hospital... Corydon Johnson - a local politician and Irving Haynes - also a Plattsburgh doctor. Clearly the newspaper did not have the right ship name.

Mar 10th
Awakened feeling quite refreshed. All four ladies enjoyed the morning on deck - It is bitter cold. Arrived in Boston at 1:30 P.M. - Took passengers aboard stayed an hour and then started on our long voyage - Wrote and mailed Jim (perhaps her brother) a letter in Boston. The quartette had our first pleasant, chatty aft together. Retired at 9 P.M.

We'll catch up with Alice and her friends in a later post...

No comments:

Post a Comment