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Album of Photographs and Ephemera from a Mediterranean Voyage on the SS Watussi Featuring Tangier and Algiers.
- German-Africa-Line Mediterranean Voyage, 1937. Original photograph album of Herr Paul Klein, a Hamburg business man, whom together with approximately 8 colleagues, is afforded a voyage to Lisbon, Tangier, Algiers, and the French Riviera, at the expense of the original shipping company HAPAG. Oblong Quarto Album containing approximately 145 black and white photographs, a few of which are numbered printed works of professional photographers, most of which are taken by the traveller. Also containing 7 postcards, a billet of passage, ephemeral items of the ship SS Watussi and land excursions. Features a manuscript chart of the voyage to the first leaf, and manuscript captions in German throughout. Photographs vary in sizes, the smallest being 7cm x 5cm, and the largest 10cm x 145cm. Large album by well-known Bautzen based 'Rich. Huth Photo Studio' measuring approximately 38cm x 29cm x 4cm, brown leather string-tied boards, with webbed tissue guard between brown cardstock leaves. Minor wear to extremities of boards, otherwise in very good condition with sharp images and a pleasing presentation of the journey. German traveller Karl Klein compiles a most pleasing album of photographic images and ephemeral items from his voyage, including the passenger list for the 'SS Watussi' of the German Africa Line, in which he is named. Ephemeral items include his passport from Hamburg to Geneva approved and stamped for passage, the ships' illustrated menus and a map of its home port, printed illustrations of the interior of the vessel, and clippings of the German cruise line's advertisements. Of a more personal note, he includes a shore excursion ticket and casino voucher for Monte Carlo, and an important telegraph. Following a thorough visual introduction to the ship which would be called home for two months from February to March 1937, stops are made at Antwerp and Southampton for walking tours. Lively views of the voyage ensue, and then twenty-three romantic photographs of Lisbon displaying the charms of the Pena National Palace in Sintra and the Jerónimos Monastery near the Tower of Belém. The port and city of Tangier appear in twelve photographs, highlighting both architecture and native custom. A small fleet of merchants in canoes filled woven baskets, street scenes, and a produce market in a park-like square are placed alongside views of the modern world seeping into society. The rock of Gibraltar disperses city scenes as the voyage presses on to Algiers. Of the twenty-three photographs taken here, indeed the album's most striking are found, from the sheltered port, cobblestone streets, a divine domed edifice, a traditional district under little influence of industrialization, and women cloaked in burqas, but their eyes peering through to differentiate them. Completing the well-rounded cultural tour with excursions in Villefranche-sur-Mer and Monte Carlo on the French Riviera, the album concludes ambiguously with a telegraph to Klein from "HAPAG" (now Hapag-Lloyd) dated 8 March. It simply reads "kreditbrief nicht zugeteilt" [credit request not approved] indicating that for reasons undisclosed here, the group's travel plans may have been abruptly altered, or that a request for additional travel funds was denied. Nonetheless their seafaring would no longer be funded by what was most likely the company which employed them. Their final port of call was Geneva, from where they most likely made an overland rail journey directly back to Hamburg. Although the adventurer was unable to reach and witness the grandeur of Victoria Falls, where this ship would continue to sail to, he did take in the sights and culture of Tangier, the gem of northern Morocco, and also to Algiers on Africa's northern coast, the two being definite highlights of the voyage.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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