octavo, 158 manuscript pages, bound in small three ring binder, embossed cloth, entries dated 24 January 1923 – 3 June 1923. The front cover is embossed: “Log Book Golden Jubilee Cruise Around the World S.S. “Samaria” 1923.” Also includes 7 postcards laid in, several newspaper clippings, plus brochure for “R.M.S. Samaria Around the World Cruise 1923. Programme of Entertainments for week ending February 24th”, and a couple of documents pertaining to the Lewis family (will, probate papers).
The journal includes pages that were to be used for writing a journal and printed pages related to the ship “Samaria.” The book was issued by “Thos. Cook & Son,” the travel agency. Some of these printed pages include a list of the passengers on the ship, the officers of the ship, Thos. Cook’s agents, and addresses of Cook’s offices around the world. Apparently every passenger would have received a copy of this “log book”, to be used to keep a journal. Mr. and Mrs. Ira L. Lewis are listed in the passenger section, and Mrs. Lewis kept the journal during the cruise.
The Cunard Line’s Steamship Samaria, launched in 1920, took her maiden voyage, from Liverpool to Boston, in April, 1922. At 624-feet long and lavishly furnished, she was among the most elegant cruise ships of the time. The voyage described in this journal was her first Around-the-World cruise, it was arranged by the Thomas Cook Agency. With a limit of 400 first-class passengers, she departed from New York on January 24, 1923 and returned to New York on May 31, 1923. The Samaria served from 1922 until 1955. During the Second World War she served as a troopship for the Royal Navy. The Samaria was scrapped in 1956
Adelaide F. Hamblin Lewis (1869-1929)
Adelaide F. Hamblin was born in San Francisco, California about the year 1869. Her parents, Charles and Mary Briggs Hamblin, were both natives of Massachusetts. Her father is found in 1880 at Cottage City, Massachusetts, working as an ice dealer. In the 1870 Census, Charles Hamblin is found in San Francisco, working as a shoe maker. It’s possible he was a ‘49er, going west as an 18 year old, remaining in San Francisco after the gold rush, marrying, and once the children were born moved back east. In 1860, a C.H Hamblin is found at White Oak, El Dorado, California, working as a miner. (Further research would have to be conducted).
Adelaide was married 14 January 1890 at Cottage City, Massachusetts, to Ira Lawson Lewis. Lewis was the son of La Roy S. Lewis (d. 1916) and his wife Polly Hillman Lance Lewis, of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Ira was born on 3 January 1866 at Tisbury, and was educated there in the public schools.
Adelaide and Ira had at least three children, two of whom were still living in 1910. Ira Lewis, Jr. was born in 1893, and his brother Robert in 1895.
Adelaide's husband Ira was the owner of the firm: “Ira L. Lewis & Son Company,” of Framingham, a furniture and household goods store located in South Framingham. He was the successor to C.W. Luce & Company. Lewis had been a partner with Luce, and after he became sole proprietor of the company, changed the name in 1904. The store, a four-story concern, was considered the most widely equipped of its kind and unrivalled by any between Worcester and Boston. Ira’s son Robert was admitted to the firm as a partner in 1919, acting as vice president and clerk, while Ira acted as president and treasurer.
Lewis was also a promoter of the Framingham Trust Company and acted as one of the commissioners of Framingham’s Sinking Fund Committee. He became a Mason as well.
The family was financially well off enough to book a round the world cruise on the “Samaria” in 1923. The cruise started at New York City, went to Funchal (Madeira), sailed through the Mediterranean Sea to the ports of Gibraltar, Algiers, Naples, Port Said, Cairo, then through the Suez Canal, to the east, visiting Ceylon, India, Burma, Sumatra, Java, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, and Japan, before returning to the United States visiting Hawaii, San Francisco, then down through the Panama Canal and back up in New York City.
Lewis’ first wife, Adelaide, is the woman who kept this journal. She died in 1929; just before the 1930 Census was taken, in which Ira is listed as a widower, and living with his housekeeper. By 1940, Ira appears to have married a second time to woman twenty years younger than him, by the name of Helen A., who was born in Scotland. At the time of the Census of 1940 he was still living in Framingham, but died later that year.
Description of Diary:
A very interesting, original manuscript diary written in a souvenir Around the World Log Book in 1923, the volume begins with January 24th departure from New York aboard the S.S. Samaria and continues through the four month journey, and the return to New York. The 158 page manuscript journal, has a scrapbook quality; tucked in are postcards, newspaper articles, cards, the passenger list etc., was handwritten by Mrs. Adelaide Lewis, a 54 year old woman, who would only live another 6 years, she died in 1929.
There are at least 18 pages that she wrote on her trip to Egypt, making very interesting comments at the sites she visits in Cairo, such as visiting pyramids, mosques, bazaars, ancient churches, etc.
"Cairo Feb. 12.
Landed Feb. 11. 9 A.M. on a very modern dock in Alexandria. The Cook porters all in bright crimson jerseys & the baggy trousers. Everything looking clean. The Nile boats with their curving masts making a different look to the country. We came up 200 miles to Cairo - making only two stops - over a very smooth road. Irrigation ditches & canal all the way 0 the country on both sides as far as eye could see flat & green. Millet, Alfalfa, sugar cane, camels, donkeys, sheep & goats, & one Ford. Mud villages just built like big packing boxes, no bricks & sometimes palm or straw for roofs. The plowing done in the same primitive way hitching oxen for a part to a heavy main & the plow a long stick."
"Feb. 12, Cairo.
Sunday afternoon - We went to walk in the public park & saw more red fezs & heard queer music. All kinds of palm trees & cacti. The hotel is very old & has Moorish & Egyptian architecture, but the service is excellent & our room has twin beds & opens on a balcony where we can look on the passing show of the Main St. All kinds - not only pass along but stand at the corner constantly. Wide halls with marble floor. Mon. we went in the morning to the Pyramids. Our drago man is Mohamed a very intelligent Arabian. Has been educated in the American Mission School. He has the care of two autos or eight people. Has a perfect set of teeth, says he never drinks, smokes, or eats candy. He dresses in the long coat under that stripped silk coat. & on for several layers I guess. [He] does not wear white around his fez. Those that do have been to the university & studied the Koran."
"Feb. 12 Pyramids.
A cold but interesting drive out of the city over the bridges...didn't dream so many camels were ever in one place. They are used for carrying all the merchandise instead of carts. Then the donkeys so thick under foot. Eight miles out and when we got to the Mena Hotel and I was told I must ride a camel the rest of the way, I was surprised and refused. Finally, I was persuaded to try a donkey & I'm lame yet but didn't fall. They could have gone right up to the Pyramids in the machine & we could easily have walked around. Such is the country & I must confess the Camels with the bright saddle cloths were more interesting then the pyramids & where a real treat when a fat woman came along on one. I nearly disgraced myself laughing. Had pictures taken in groups & them have come out good."
"Feb 12. Pyramids - Coptic
The bright sun [shine] blue sky & yellow sands & the gay cloths on the camels made a fascinating picture. The largest is the one the people were allowed to go in to I looked in. They were built by bring sand to the level of the layer of stone...The Sphinx was smaller than I had in mind & the Temple Ur excavation in the ground very deep. In the afternoon the Coptic Church was our first visit & so many half blind children & adults I hope not to see often (It is an open sq - First Mohamed Church). It was down an alley & had fine carving on walls of ivory & ebony. The minister looked very religious but not progressive from there to the Mohammed Mosque - shown a pillar when for hundreds of years if one was sick they had licked the place till about 40 y ago the students who had been away & learned medicine sanitation made such a protest - iron bars was put up to teach the people they must go to a Dr. & not in depending on ancient ideas. If one could give all the children who beg [rakshee?] it would do no good & you would be just mobbed, so we have to hold ourselves away as much as possible & so "no-no"..."
Adelaide recounts other adventures and incidents in Egypt: Port Said, going through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and then to India, where they not only visited port cities like Bombay, but also inland cities like Jaipur, Agra, Campore, Lucknow, Delhi, Benares, and Darjeeling, which she writes almost seven pages about:
"...The women all wear nose rings, or buttons. Button even small children wear...We see the women carry heavy loads, 2 large bags, or a trunk, on back held by heavy straw band around forehead. They have a Chinese type of face, but on the whole look like esqumoix, color the cheeks & forehead with red or brown & wear a large breast plate of silver studded with turquoise & red stone & hung from a chain of large red stones. The children look well fed & bright, but not as pretty as those we have been seeing. never clean & the straight black hair uncombed. We rode p to the hotel in rickshaws or on ponies, there are no level places here, but the carriage men go at a trot, four to a car and its fun except for the bumps..."
"...I rode to see a tea plantation. We did not succeed in reaching the packing houses, as they were so far down the hill but had a long ride further on the Main road to the other side of the Mt. as far as St. Joseph's School. A large stone building & good campus - with such nice looking youngsters out playing cricket. Good to see so many clean white - children at once and made the mother of young children homesick. We passed such tiny stores kept by women - small handfuls of onions & chili peppers in piles on cloths on the ground & meal & corn for sale. Also canned goods & candy. we reached the hotel in time for an early lunch..."
After Darjeeling, Adelaide travelled to Calcutta (6 pages), Rangoon (6 pages), Sumatra, Padang (5 pages), Batavia (Jakarta), Java, Singapore, Manila, and finally to China, where she visited Hong Kong, Canton, and Shanghai (5 pages):
We left Kourloou at 2:15 P.M. & had a special train. We got seats in the car used by the management of the road we think and used the large observation end - it containing also - spleeping-bath-kitchen rooms. Real Chinese villages- stone or brick little houses with tiled roofs. Chinese graves on about all the hill sides in shape of a horseshoe only evil spirits return to bother & curved lines keep them from stopping. Saw many large jars with food or bones we can't get and agree mercy on the subject. Canton is still in a state of revolt & our train was two h. late arriving at 8 P.M.. Saw many soldiers at the long bridge & scattered ones after. Saw many around Canton carrying old muskets, & I hoped they wouldn't decide to start anything till we got away. Very few lights when we left the train & we stumbled in the dark over tracks & piles of ashes to a small steam launch & had a good 20 min. ride up to Shameen & the hotel..."
The boys with the chairs had been arriving under our window since six & talking. We found the streets as narrow & the smells as bad as we had been told. Everyone looked at us but no one seemed in any way disturbed or cross & the babies & mothers always smiled if we smiled to them. Some were so amusing & some had dirty noses. Temples we found dirty dark & messy. The different things for sale were grouped in stores in different sections, everything made & sold in the same small shop & food in all stages, cooked & uncooked, but looking clean, & no dust. Stone streets. The rubbish swept into the street in piles & some time to be picked up. We stopped at silk, jade & ivory stores..."
After China the party went on to Japan, where they visited Nagasaki, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Tokyo, and other Japanese cities. After leaving Japan they sailed for Hawaii, with a stop in Honolulu (4 pages), then to San Francisco (9 pages), then down to Panama (5 pages) and through the canal, and the return to New York City.
Overall, a rather interesting and historic account of an "around the world" trip, brought to life in the journal of one of the ship's passengers, Mrs. Adelaide F. Hamblin Lewis.