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EVA AND HER SCRAPBOOK: A 1932 TRANS-ATLANTIC VACATION (PART 2)

This post was written by intern Jess Zaccagnini. To see the first part of her post, click here.

Eva’s train to Switzerland included a hefty meal of “fish, roast veal, potato, string beans, cheese, pastry, and a fresh peach.” The customs check-point in Basel, Switzerland seems to have been more lax than in Paris; the officer asked if the girls had Mountainany cigars or cigarettes and let them pass when they said no—“that’s all there was to it.” The mountain ranges seemed to have impressed Eva the most as she describes “how wonderful [it was] to look out and see those great touring peaks outlined against the sky.” The scenery and the quiet soothed Eva as she began to write and reflect on how noisy it was in Paris.

The girls took an Alpine tour on their first full day in Switzerland, which circled around the mountain closest to their hotel, on the Lucerne Lake. The tour bus ascended four thousand feet around the steep, narrow cliff sides. As they approached the infamous Devil’s Bridge, Eva describes how “we could hardly brace ourselves against the wind to walk. And girl at flaciercold! Just about froze.” Soon they rode above the snow line to see “great fields of daises, buttercups, and many others… the sight of all the colors against the snow was spectacular.” An attractive destination spot for this particular part of Montreux, Switzerland is the Rhone Glacier, the largest in the Alps contributing to several surrounding rivers and lakes including Lake Geneva. Eva describes the glacier as “a huge jagged mass of blue ice.” The other girls got the chance to go down through the glacier but Eva chose to stay behind because she “[didn’t] like to feel trapped.”

Small Alpine towns dot the mountainsides that over-look the glacier forglacier sight-seers to stay. The girls stayed at a hotel in one such town— Gotthard-Furka-Grimsel. Eva describes the loud “roar of the melting snow as it started to form the Rhone River.” Her night at the glacier was cold; she needed to sleep with all her clothes on and in the morning she woke up with her “neck as stiff as a board.” Eva also learned that she dislikes Swiss coffee, and their hot chocolate “was made out of goat’s milk, and it tasted like a stewed bransack” (a simmered bag of grain).

On their decent down the 5,000 foot mountain, the girls stopped in the town that circled Lake Geneva and visited the Castle of Chillon. The Castkecastle dates back to at least 1005 where it was used as a Roman guarding post and later as a sixteenth century prison. Eva did not go inside the castle because “that night club scared [her] so [she] dared not go in anywhere again.”

At this point in her trip, Eva is two weeks from being “out on the Atlantic on the way home” and she almost cannot wait to be there as she “hopes there will be peas and radishes” when she arrives home.
The last leg of their journey starts with arriving in Germany on July 20th. The train ride to Germany was “hot and dirty, not much like the Swiss trains.” The girls had a good laugh over what they were served for supper aboard the train: “soup, steak, potato, vegetable salad, a big piece of cheese (for which [they] needed a gas mask), a pretzel, and a bottle of beer.” What else could one expect of a German meal in the 1930s?

Continue reading EVA AND HER SCRAPBOOK: A 1932 TRANS-ATLANTIC VACATION (PART 2)

Eva and her Scrapbook: A 1932 Trans-Atlantic Vacation (Part 1)

The post was written by intern Jess Zaccagnini.

20150317_170410Scrapbooking is a hobby that dates back to the early fifteenth century and has gone through several transitions in popularity. Though the art of scrapbooking has been modified with the rise of social media, crafters would argue that scrapbooking is making a come-back, reflected in an increase in popularity and sales over the last few years. Nowadays, it is so easy to snap a picture and caption it on Instagram, to be saved forever in the “cloud” of the All Mighty Internet.

While virtual scrapbooking saves a lot of space, there is something to be said for the physical artifacts saved from another time and place far removed from one’s own. Upon finding a scrapbook from a Ms. Eva D. Lother, we are taken back to the summer of 1932 as she embarks on a trans-Atlantic journey with her friends while they explore six European countries in about one month.20150317_170438

Eva Lother comes from Lakeport, New Hampshire. Though her age is never specifically mentioned in her scrapbook, it is likely she is a young woman perhaps in her mid to late twenties. At the time of Eva’s departure in 1932, the Great Depression was devastating the country; Eva’s ability to go on such a trip may means she came from a wealthy family. In fact, she makes no mention of the Depression in any of her letters.

First Boat PicEva begins her journey by arriving to New York on July 1, 1932 to board the tourist steamer S. S Westward for a ten day excursion across the Atlantic, obtaining a ticket for about $250.00 (according to Dave Manuel’s inflation calculator, this would be about $4,300 in 2015). In her first letter to her mother, Eva describes the mob of people boarding the ship and family members waving goodbye in the steaming heat of a July afternoon, “The lady on the statue of Liberty waved bye to us and we were off!”

Continue reading Eva and her Scrapbook: A 1932 Trans-Atlantic Vacation (Part 1)