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Pair Of Manuscript Diaries Written By Two Brooklyn Sisters, Traveling Together To California In 1921 SAFFORD, HELEN AND ANNE W. [SISTERS]

Pair Of Manuscript Diaries Written By Two Brooklyn Sisters, Traveling Together To California In 1921



Publication: January 18 - April 30, 1921, Various locations in the American West, Mainly California

Each diary is composed by a different sister on the same trip to California. Two manuscript diaries recorded in pre-fabricated pocket diaries. [109]pp. plus a photograph and three ephemeral item in the second diary. The first diary is bound in full brown limp calf with gilt titles on front cover. Spine ends and corners chipped, edges worn. Internally clean. The second diary is disbound, lacking most of the endpapers and printed title leaf. Original manuscript contents remain undisturbed. A rare and fortunate instance in which an interesting pair of diaries - kept by two Brooklyn sisters while on the same train and automobile journey to the American West in 1921 - survive together. The sisters, Helen and Anne W. Safford, were part of "A Trip to California" via the Apache Trail and the Grand Canyon led by travel agents of the Raymond & Whitcomb Company of Boston, according to a printed membership listing tipped into Anne Safford's diary. The excursion by train and motorcar began in mid-January and the women returned to Brooklyn in late April, spending the great majority of their time in California. In these diaries, the sisters Safford record almost daily entries for the entirety of the trip, providing a vital record of women travelers of the west from two distinctly different perspectives. The Saffords and their traveling party left Penn Station on January 18 and arrived in New Orleans two days later. According to Anne's diary, the trip from New York to California and back included about 1700 miles by motorcar, and cost a total of over $2,200. Helen apparently spent just $235. Both women record a list of the hotels they stayed at along the way, beginning in New Orleans and continuing through Texas, Arizona, California, Utah, and Colorado, as well as a detailed list of the recipients to whom they sent mail along the way. Each woman's diary is filled with interesting and sometimes provocative observations. Near Del Rio, Texas, Helen notes seeing "Mexicans in queer low shacks." At various stops, they take side trips to see the homes of the Cliff dwellers, the Roosevelt Dam, and the Apache Trail. Upon reaching one of their main destinations, Helen asks the question, "Why try to describe the Grand Canyon?" They arrive in Riverside, California on January 28, and spend the next two-and-a-half months in California. Their destinations in California include San Diego, Coronado Beach, the greater Los Angeles area including Hollywood, Pasadena, La Crescenta, Claremont, Del Mar, Catalina Island, La Jolla, San Juan Capistrano, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Carmel, and Berkeley, among others. Most of their travel within California is accomplished by automobile, where they often take day-trips to places like Topanga Canyon, the San Fernando Valley, Inspiration Point, or the Nojoqui Falls and comment on the beauty of the landscape or flora and mention the people they meet. Highlights of their trip include seeing the Japanese Gardens in San Diego, Charlie Chaplin's house in Hollywood, a gila monster near San Bernardino, the grave of Junipero Serra at the Carmel Mission, the redwood forests at Big Trees, the Presidio in San Francisco, and other notable sights. Near the San Marcos Pass, the women get into a literal fender bender with "a car full of Kaufmann Jews." Helen often notes what she is reading, novels called The Captives, The Strong Hours, and A Poor Wise Man, among others. She also regularly attends church in the various placers she stays. At least once, Anne takes a pass on church in favor of other activities. In early April, the women make their way leisurely north up the Casitas Pass through Montecito, Santa Barbara, past the Santa Inez Mission, through Los Olivos, then by train to Carmel, Monterrey, Watsonville Junction, Big Trees, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Mill Valley. The women leave California on Tuesday, April 19, taking the train through Salt Lake City (where they stay a night and visit various Mormon sites of interest including Brigham Young's grave), Colorado (where they also stay the night and see some of the sights in and around Colorado Springs), and on through Chicago and home again to Brooklyn. Naturally, the contents of the diary entries differ between the two sisters, offering insight into the nature of each woman. Just one example lies in the day the women spend the morning in San Diego before heading off to Tijuana, Mexico for the afternoon. Helen's entry for that day, February 1, mentions the fine morning in San Diego, seeing the Exposition buildings, visiting "Ramona's marriage place, which is a regular museum of curiosities," and going to Tijuana, where she had "a merry time on the border," bet on horse races and witnesses Anne's horse win, then returns to San Diego to watch the sunset and read. Anne's entry for the same day does not mention the Exposition buildings but does mention Ramona's place. She does not, however, refer to it as a "museum of curiosities." She also mentions Tijuana and the horse races but also records the name of her winning horse. Anne mentions seeing the sunset but also provides the name of the young boy who witnessed it with them, then notes that Helen did indeed read aloud to her and their companion Ginnie, but adds that Ginnie was "miserable" with hay fever. Similar examples abound for just about any day of the trip. Anne's diary has a single photograph tipped in at the front, picturing the members of the traveling party on Mt. Rubidoux near Riverside on January 29. The aforementioned membership list is tipped-in opposite the photograph; Anne has written on the list the hometown of each person or small group of fellow travelers. There is also a single piece of stationery from the Hotel Upham in Santa Barbara in which Anne lists and totals the mileage she and her sister have experienced by automobile over the course of the trip, plus an unsent letter from Anne on Hotel Hollywood stationery pasted into her entry for February 8. A fantastic pair of manuscript diaries offering complementary but still unique perspectives on an overland journey from New York to California and back in the early 1920s by a pair of Brooklyn sisters traveling together the entire time.

Inventory Number: 48841