Ca. early 1900s & 1918.
Octavo manuscript (ca. 22x16,5 cm). 35, , [9 - blank] leaves. Typewritten text on wove paper. Humorous typewritten note on one of the leaves at rear “Autograph Edition. One copy of this Edition de Luxe has been prepared on hand-made old Stratford paper.” With thirty-four original gelatin silver photos from ca. 9x14 cm (3 ½ x 5 ½ in) to ca. 5,5x10 cm (2x4 in). Ten photos with period ink captions on the mounts. Luxurious period brown full morocco with gilt-tooled borders and decorations on the boards and the spine; gilt-lettered title on the spine. Ink stamp of “Himebaugh & Browne” on verso the front free endpaper. Paper slightly age-toned, a few photos mildly faded, but overall a handsomely bound well-preserved diary illustrated with strong interesting photos.
Handsomely bound illustrated manuscript diary, documenting an affluent California family’s leisure trip around the Mediterranean, the Holy Land, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and India in the early 1900s. The diary was compiled by Alla Sarah Henshaw, the elder daughter of California industrialist William Griffith Henshaw, who founded the Riverside Cement Company and the San Diego Water Company, built Lake Henshaw (a major water reservoir in San Diego County) and “was the main force behind Lake Hodges” in the city of San Diego (see more about William Henshaw: http://www.rawbw.com/~hinshaw/cgi-bin/id?6022). Alla Sarah was his daughter in the marriage with Mehitable (Hetti) Stuart Tubbs (1861-1943). After spending several years in Europe, she returned to San Francisco in 1906 and became a popular society figure and married mining engineer Harry Chickering in 1907. Later the couple divorced, and Alla Sarah got married two more times, adopting two children (see more: http://www.rawbw.com/~hinshaw/cgi-bin/id?6031).
The diary, completed in 1918, documents the trip which the Henshaw family took in the early 1900s, starting in Paris and then going to Rome, Naples, Corfu, Athens, Constantinople, Damascus, Baalbek, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Cairo. From there, the travellers went up the Nile to the First Cataract at Aswan and “on the 7th of February set sail at last for Colombo” on board the German steamer “Prinz Leopold.” In Sri Lanka, they also visited “Kandry” (Kandy) and “Venralia” (apparently Nuwara Eliya) and stayed overnight in a government rest house in Anuradhapura. During the “long trip [by a private car] from one end of India to the other,” the party visited Madura (Madurai), Trichinapoli (Tiruchirappalli), Madras (Chennai), Benares (Varanasi), Agra, etc. The two photos at the rear show “Elephants at work at Rangoon, Burmah” and a view “On the road to Mandalay, Irrawaddy River, Burmah,” which indicates that the Henshaw’s also went to Myanmar. Interesting entries include Alla’s impressions on the life of women in Turkey (p. 9), Ottoman Sultan’s public procession in Constantinople on Fridays (pp. 10-11), Christmas service in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem (pp. 15-17), River Jordan (pp. 18-19), cruise up the Nile onboard “Cook & Son’s” steamer “Rameses” and the visit of the Aswan Dam, “the largest and most remarkable in the world,” but “not completed yet” (Aswan Low Dam was built in 1899-1902, pp. 20-21). There are also notes on Alla’s “very first ball” in Cairo when she was allowed her “first décolleté,” a snake charmer’s performance in Colombo (p. 30), searching for pearls in oysters in Anuradhapura (p. 33), the interior of the custom made car they drove in India (pp. 34-35), etc.
The photos include a group portrait of the Henshaw family dressed in traditional Middle Eastern costumes, street views of Cairo (“scene taken from verandah at Shepherd’s Hotel”), images of the Nile, Egyptian temples, carriages decorated with flowers during a parade at the Gezirah Palace in Cairo, a portrait of Alla and her sister Florence (1889-1948) swimming in a makeshift pool on board of a steamer on the way to Colombo, scenes in Sri Lanka and India, burning ghats in Benares, “yogi at his matinal devotions,” etc. Overall an attractive manuscript, providing an insight into the history of luxury American tourism to the Middle East and South Asia in the early 20th century.