Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Across The Waves

One of the allures of the classic Lovecraft era is that it was the "Golden Age" of international travel. Magnificently appointed passenger liners were sailing the seas, luxurious trains puffed their way across continents, immense airships cruised the clouds, and the very first airliners were taking to the skies. Our romantic view of period travel owes more than a little to selective memory, giving far more historical weight to the experiences of the relatively few passengers traveling in style than the thousands making transits under far less glamorous conditions, but that tunnel vision is certainly understandable. Who wouldn't want to live in a world of velvet and mahogany?

You'll find a wealth of material for recreating that stylish experience at the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives.

One of the largest collections of historical documents from the 1800s through 1954 with concentrations in Steamship and Ocean Liner documents and photographs, Passenger Lists, U.S. Navy Archives and additional materials covering World Wars I and II, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Immigration documents from Ellis Island, Castle Garden and other Immigration Stations.

The majority of the online materials are ocean travel documents and ephemera from the late 19th and early 20th century, ranging from copies of tickets and boarding passes to period articles describing the idealized world of the great liners. One of the most useful sections features vintage brochures complete with pictures and deckplans of the accommodations. Not surprisingly, grand salons and paneled smoking rooms get far more attention than the benches down in steerage.

No comments: