HOLOGRAPHIC JOURNAL KEPT BY A NEW YORK MAN WHO SERVED AS A CADET ON A MERCHANT SHIP. Erich Pam.
HOLOGRAPHIC JOURNAL KEPT BY A NEW YORK MAN WHO SERVED AS A CADET ON A MERCHANT SHIP

HOLOGRAPHIC JOURNAL KEPT BY A NEW YORK MAN WHO SERVED AS A CADET ON A MERCHANT SHIP

1931. A detailed travel log written in 1931 by a 19-year-old New York man who served as a cadet aboard a merchant ship that traveled between the United States and the Mediterranean. The log contains more than 250 entries written by Erich Pam (1907-????) along with a variety of ephemera, ranging from telegrams, tickets, brochures, etc. related to his adventures. Maintained in a leather-bound "Tide Tables and Daily Log" for 1931 courtesy of Dalzell Towing Co, Inc., the journal begins on Monday, February 2, with Pam leaving his job as a gratis instructor at Sperry’s Gyro Compass School in Brooklyn. "The American Export Lines phoned for me to come over to Greenpoint to get a letter to the Master of the S.S. Exochorda, still in the shipyards of the N.Y. shipbuilding Co., in Camden, N.J. I am to go as cadet officer on her to Mediterranean ports – a break at last!" On his travels, Pam visited a variety of ports, including Gibralter, Marseilles, Naples, Alexandria, etc. He took advantage of opportunities to explore the places where his ship dropped anchor. In July, he embarked on a camel tour of the pyramids in Egypt. "Cairo is right on the desert surrounded on two sides by high sand dunes or small mountains, the meandering Nile with the ever picturesque dahabeans (Dahabiya boats) winds its way thru the city. Thousands of minarets and mosques dot the city. Went in Coronation Mosque - exquisite work. Went around the tombs of Mohammed’s Uncle three times for long life, good luck and good health. Asked love, principle to guide and educate me. Finally found my way to the mosque of Mohamed Ali and Sultan Hassan – Napoleon shelled it when he was fighting the British – a cannon ball still remains in the wall. He also shot off the nose of the Sphinx." At some points, Pam writes about major events that occurred in 1931, including the plane crash of legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, the sweltering heat on the East Coast that year which claimed hundreds of lives, and a brief encounter on June 27 with another ship carrying precious cargo. "Don Decker reports that the Excalibur is steaming home at 17 Knots because Dr. & Mrs. Martin Johnson and animals from the heart of Africa are aboard. Must be having a lot of fun with lions and tigers on the boat deck!" He also writes about a brief affair with a young woman who is a passenger on board his ship by the name of Gulnar. It ends when he gets caught and reprimanded. According to genealogical records, Pam lost his father Albert a few years before this journal was written. He appears to have a deep attachment to his mother, whom he refers to as "Mommy". He writes to her often, and they exchange telegrams that are written in a code they developed before he left on his journey. A few examples are included in the journal. When his mother, Katherine, leaves for Europe to visit her sister for three months, he is depressed and lonely. Throughout the journal, Pam also writes about trying to sort out what to do with his life. He appears to settle on studying French and preparing for a career in the foreign service. After his last round trip, Pam planned to go back to the boat he was on and jump ship in Marseilles, so he could visit his mother, who is still in Europe, and then go on to Grenoble and begin his studies. However, when he arrived at the shipyard in August, the captain told him he was being reassigned to another boat sailing at an undetermined date. In the end, he decides to sail third class on the "Ile De France". Pam arrives in Paris on September 1, and attends the Paris Colonial Exposition before heading off to Grenoble, where he leaves his bags, and then on to Genova, where he meets up with his mother. At this juncture, he is broke and forlorn. "Tonight I will see Mommy!!!...This is a difficult meeting to explain everything to mother – haven’t seen her in 3 months! She is a brick to see things the way I do – Mother didn’t know how or when or why. So we talked most all night thru!" After visiting for a week with his mother, Pam travels to stay with his aunt in Zurich for a few weeks and then goes to Grenoble, arriving on Sept. 24, to study French at the Universite De Grenoble. He is lonely and depressed, skipping several entries. He settles in and begins to write again, including several entries in French. After a month, he receives a certificate from the University and leaves for Paris to study at the Sorbonne. His entries are less detailed and infrequent, ending on Dec. 8 with a note about visiting an agent for a ship cargo company. According to immigration records, Pam sailed back to the United States in September 1932 with his mother aboard the Saturnia. Little is known about his life after his adventurous year. Census records from 1935-36 list him as an aeronautical engineer, living in Stamford, Connecticut with his mother. The journal is 4 inches wide and 7 inches tall. It is sunned along the spine with some minor dampstaining, causing a few ink entries to bleed; they are still quite legible. Overall, the journal and its contents are in very good condition. Very good. Item #71691

Price: $250.00

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