Manuscript journal recounting a voyage from Wilmington, NC to Cuba via Nassau, and back on the steam yacht Oneida
Manuscript journal recounting a voyage from Wilmington, NC to Cuba via Nassau, and back on the steam yacht Oneida

Manuscript journal recounting a voyage from Wilmington, NC to Cuba via Nassau, and back on the steam yacht Oneida

At sea, and on Cuba: February 16 - April 26, 1892. Small quarto ruled record book, bookseller's label of Corlies Macy & Co., Stationers, New York on the front pastedown, and containing approximately 145 pages by an unnamed passanger, recounting the voyage; the journal is enhanced by occasional, if somewhat amateurish drawings of events and curiosities described, including a waterspout, and a plan of Baracoa Harbor on the eastern end of Cuba; original half black calf, marbled boards; rubbed and worn, but sound; internally very clean. The Oneida had an iron hull, 2 masts, and was capable of cruising at 13 knots and accomodating a dozen passengers in luxurious quarters. The yacht was owned by Elias Benedict, a prominent member of the New York Yacht Club, and a close friend of President Grover Cleveland. The year after this cruise, the Oneida would gain fame as the location of the secret surgery performed on President Cleveland to remove a cancerous tumor from His mouth. On this voyage, the yacht was commanded by the owner's son, Frederick H. Benedict; a Captain Lowberg served as navigator. Passengers included John Bloodgood, Jr., Thomas B. Brown, and Edgar H. Booth, as well as the anonymous author, all of New York City. They depart from Wilmington, travel down the Cape Fear River, and experience very rough weather on the first night in open ocean. After a stop at Nassau, they reach Guantanamo, Cuba, where they are met and shown around by Paul Brooks, son of a wealthy American planter, consular agent, and major stakeholder in the local railway. They visit several sugar plantations, drink some rum, and play some pool, before heading on to Santiago (more sugar plantations) and then Havana. They reach Havana on the last day of Mardi Gras, and find "the streets a howling mob of holiday seekers, most of them in fancy costume and masked." They join the fun, attending an opera and several lavish balls. In the following days they tour the town, socialize with a variety of expats, dine at some of the notable local establishments, and tour the Corona Cigar factory. Throughout, the author offers nice descriptions of the landscape and architecture, with occasional observations on the local people and customs. On the return journey they have the ill fortune to be stuck a few days in Jacksonville, Florida, which evidently lacked socialites, as "there is absolutely nothing to see or do". They return to Wilmington, where they enjoy "a few days frolic"--including fishing, sailing, oyster roasts, teas, dancing, and general lounging about in the company of ladies--before embarking on a short cruise to Bermuda, a description of which comprises the last 25 or so pages of the diary. Laid in a a 4-page unsigned typescript recounting a cruise with the New York Yacht Club from New London to New Bedford, via Newport and Naragansett Pier; also laid in are 13 octavo manuscript pages of navigational interest. Item #37040

Price: $1,500.00

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