(Various): 1891 - 1943. 31 small handwritten vacation trip diaries, 5 documents printed recto-only. In addition to the diaries are five documents, including his last will and testament, the inventory and appraisement of his estate, and a partially complete application for membership in the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, listing his ancestry back to 1649. Also present are five photographs, and two newspaper clippings, of which one is the obituary for a John G. Shedd.
5 b/w photographs included. Average diary size: 6" x 4". Papers printed on buff paper. Diaries handwritten on small notebooks, various colored (mainly black, blue and red) flexible leatherette or pebbled/embossed cloth bindings. Paper title labels to bindings, some with gilt edges. Modest wear to bindings of diaries (rubbing to edges, age-toning to paper, hinges delicate). Paper somewhat age-toned. Withal, a VG collection. Item #41182
John S. Shedd was born April 13th, 1863 to Alonzo and Julia Dennis Shedd in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Shedd was a railroad man, working for the Pittsburgh Railways Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for his entire professional career. Even in his late 70s he was still going into the office upon returning from a trip. In the diary of 1900, Shedd is listed as Assistant Superintendent; at some point in the 1900s Shedd became the Division Superintendent, Division #2. At the time of his death in 1951, his total assets were valued at $65,780.48. From what we can tell, Shedd never married, and while he certainly had many friends that he visited in New York, Boston, Toronto, etc., he always traveled alone. From the diaries extant (we don't know if there were others) Shedd begins recording his vacations in 1891. He meticulously notes days/times/train compartment; arrival/departure times; hotel room numbers; ship berth numbers; at what table he is assigned onboard; what time he gets up in the morning and what time he goes to bed at night. He notes where he has breakfast, lunch and dinner, drinks, movies, excursions. He comments on everything! A keen observer of people, culture, architexture. He walks all over and notes how long it takes him. If a driving vacation, he notes mileage driven each day. He notes having gas, or falling out of bed, or hitting his head. He hires buses, taxis, cars, travels by train, ship, rickshaw and plane. His last trip recorded here - in 1943 at the age of 80 - finds him still walking, still taking sightseeing trips into swamps, up and down the Florida coast, over to Cuba and more, arising at the leisurely hour of 9:30am or even later! Over the years he runs into various royalty, meets the Pope, and shares a trip back from Hawaii with Shirley Temple. Went off by himself in Zimbabwe because he really wanted to visit the ruins at Ft. Victoria and such was not on the tour itinerary - he then proceeds to climb up to the ruins by himself at the age of 75. A voracious reader, Shedd enjoys sightseeing, dining out, going to movies, cigars, keno and just enjoying life. In 1933, Shedd witnesses planes practicing bombing raids in the Khyber Pass. When World War II restricted his travels abroad, he revisited places he had been to years before, possibly a bit disillusioned in spots as he notes the increase in the number of tourists, the number of "fat" women, and notes while visiting Yosemite and the Big Trees in 1940, having been there in 1898 - "Big Trees - still big." Shedd even notes his streak of good luck in always getting the lower bunk beds, and overall he maintains an interest in seeing all he can see.
This collection of trip diaries offers a truly delightful view of the world - and he went everywhere - through the eyes of just one man. By reading Shedd's diaries, we return to a bygone era of traveling the world, dressing for dinner, spending the evening with a fine cigar and drinks, chatting with fellow travelers, sending your trunk on ahead of you, giving your laundry to the chambermaid, and having the man from the travel service waiting for you at the dock or train station with your tickets and such. And era of more dignified travel experiences than the common day.