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Manuscript Diary Of A Woman's Sailing Voyages ETHEL LIBBY-BIDDLE

Manuscript Diary Of A Woman's Sailing Voyages



Publication: 1906 & 1949,

A well-written and detailed manuscript diary detailing a three-month voyage on her father's (John Libby) merchant ship from Maine to New York City and back, frequently mentioning the adverse sailing conditions, sightings of other merchant vessels, yachts, steam yachts, and naval vessels. This account is followed by a short one-page log of a trip down the Rogue River and Gold Beach, Oregon, in 1949. This account is followed by an extended genealogy of the Libby and Biddle families by an unknown compiler. 8 ½" x 7" in quarter red calf over marbled boards. 54 pp. [manuscript in hand of Ethel Libby of approximately 9000 words]; p. 55 dated Sept., 1949 of travel diary up the Rogue River with 4 entries [manuscript in different hand of approximately 200 words); pp. 56-60 (blank), 61-66 excised, pp. 67-144 genealogy manuscript entries in different hand of approximately 2500 words. All entries on ruled paper. Ethel Libby’s travel diary opens July 8, 1906 as she, along with her mother Mary, and young sister Beatrice secured a ride Capt. A.J. Huntley from the Libby Family farm in Pleasant Point, ME to East Machias, by horse team, followed by cable ferry and steam train to Rockland, Maine, and then down to Spruce Head, Maine, to embark. This young teacher’s manuscript offers a succinct firsthand account unknowingly reflecting the impact and changes of transportation in the Progressive Era, with sailing ships, horse teams, steamships, gasoline launches, railroads, and electric cars all competing to serve their purpose. While her father's sailing schooner finished loading its paving stone cargo, and Ethel cleaned her stateroom, her family "went ashore and purchased this book. . . and mother purchased me a light blue ping-pong hat." Trapped by thick fog, Ethel rows to shore on July 9th at Seal Harbor, Spruce Head, Mine, where she "noticed the different ways of making lobster traps, some had three heads in them." She often notes yachts passing by such as the Alert (out of Boston), the Quiselta, the Dervish (out of Philadelphia), Gloriana, Doris, Heron, and Cricket. She makes frequent mentions of other schooners sailing at about the same pace down the coast through the trip, including the "Mollie Rhodes. . . nicely painted and cleaned now," along with the "Sarah Wood," "H.S. Boynton," and the "A.H. Whitmore" also carrying paving stones. She details frequently being becalmed, forced to anchor in seas with thick fog, and after spending days ironing her own and the family clothing, washing clothes, and occasionally cleaning and scrubbing the head, they started on "a little sail to New York." Along with describing other vessels spotted including war-ships and a "lumber laden three-master," they reached Gloucester, where the USS Brooklyn was anchored, and another large cruiser outside the harbor. By July 27, 1906 they reach Winter Island, MA where she remarks on "a school kept there for truant boys. It is a farm and appears to be in perfect condition." Between seasickness, and occasionally securing a very rare bath, she also writes of socializing when forced to lay over in ports along the coast, writing nearly daily to "Frank" and "Hollis" her brother, as well as a myriad of friends. Finally August, 11, 1906 they reached Newtown Creek, NY where while being towed up the creek to unload they passed the old "Alaska who is unloading here. She was a dreadful looking object." She also  mentions the extreme pollution in the East River tributary remarking that "the further we went up the creek the worse was the smell we noticed. It is dreadful and it is the gas from the water that turns the vessels to such miserable looking things." Her father pays off the cook after being too drunk to work, and on Aug.15, 1906, along with her mother and sister take the "Elevated" at 23rd St., go shopping on Broadway, and even ride "an electric car to finish the journey back to the vessel. To-day they will finish taking the stone out I think." Afterwards the schooner sails to St. George, Staten Island to load a return cargo, and they embark to "South Beach and there enjoyed ourselves by watching the bathers, eating ice-cream and drinking lemonade. Monday morning we toed into the dock to load and while there Papa met with quite an accident. While on his way to to the office he was thrown down by a locomotive which made him quite lame and also cuts his forehead. . . paid a visit to hospital." Ethel Libby Biddle graduated from Washington Academy in East Machia where she taught public school from 1900-1911. Following her father's accidental and sudden death in 1910, she moved with her mother and sister to Eugene, Oregon, where in the succeeding decades she would teach at Glendale, Troy, Tillamook, Beavercreek, Canby, Pistol River, and Agnes, Oregon. She married once to Dr. George Biddle in 1914, a local retired Oregon pioneer dentist, and their daughter was Mary Ethel Biddle Wilkins. The family tree's and genealogical manuscripts which conclude the last half of the manuscript are written in a different hand, and include detailed references to the Libby family descended from John Libby (1602-1682) who first settled on Richmond Island, Maine, the Munson family, and William Biddle (b. 1630), a Quaker forced out of England to New Jersey in 1676. Chipping and wear to spine, old repairs with tape to spine, along with wear to corners. Interior clean. Good plus to very good.

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