14

June

2011

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Traveling by Express Steamer

by Alexia MacClain

Summer is here and that means time for summer vacations. So we thought this would be a great time to feature a travel-related item located in the Libraries' Trade Literature Collection.

Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft, New York, NY. Across the Atlantic, 1895, page 20-21, stateroom for first cabin, ladies' saloon for second cabin, and bathroom.

Featured here is an 1895 catalog by Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft entitled, Across the Atlantic.  It advertises the Hamburg-American Line express steamers on which passengers traveled between the United States and Europe.

Across the Atlantic begins with "A Run for the Atlantic Record" by James Milne, which is a description of what it was like to travel across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the express steamer, Normannia. Across the Atlantic then goes on to describe the safety, comfort, and conveniences of the steamers.

The Hamburg-American Line operated a "first-class weekly express service between America and Europe." The fleet included four twin-screw express steamers named Augusta-Victoria, Columbia, Fürst Bismarck, and Normannia. The steamers were part of the German Merchant Marine.

Passengers who traveled on one of these steamers could depart from New York, and upon arrival in Southampton, board a train at the dock which took them to London in less than two hours. Passengers also had the option of staying aboard the steamer and continuing their journey to arrive in Hamburg.

While traveling on these steamers, passengers enjoyed a number of luxuries. "It has been the aim of the Company to relieve passengers of all annoyances which were heretofore considered inseparable from a sea voyage, and provide for them the same accommodations that can be obtained in a first-class hotel."  The Promenade Deck which ran almost the full length of the ship gave passengers the opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise. There were also saloons, a music room, and smoking rooms for passengers to use during the journey.

Across the Atlantic, which advertises the services of the Hamburg-American Line in 1895, is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. Take a look at Galaxy of Images for more images from this item.

—Alexia MacClain

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