Journey on the S. S. Manchuria — A Photo Album

[travel]. S. S. Manchuria — Unique Photo Album of Manila, Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Java, Seoul, Hawaii, California, and Arizona. Morocco over flexible boards, “Photographs” stamped in gilt on upper board, bound with thin black rope; oblong (approx. 8-by-6 inches); contains more than 150 black leaves, each with a b/w photograph (silver gelatin print) affixed to the recto and labelled by hand, in white ink. (Photos, occasionally, are attached to the verso as well. Nearly 200 photographs total. Average photo size is about 4.75-by-3.5 inches.) Boards scuffed along the edges; slight wave to text block; photographs are in near fine condition, a few subject to some a touch of fading and light rubbing.  Very Good+.

Though only a few images directly mention the “Steamer Manchuria” (showing members the band, a group of Russian children, and “Embarking at Honolulu”), it is likely that this rich travelogue captures it’s entire voyage through the Far East — either on it’s regular route for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s trans-Pacific service, or in 1905, when the Mancuria sailed from San Francisco on a goodwill tour of the Far East, carrying a large U.S. Congressional delegation under the leadership of Secretary of War, William Taft. There are very few personal photographs to establish our photographer’s identity, as most pictures are of landmarks, landscapes, and artifacts (such as a bamboo organ in Manila, pagodas in Rangoon, horse-drawn carriages in various locations). The few images that include people are usually candid, with their subjects ignoring (or unaware of) the photographer — such as people playing games on deck, and surfing photos taken at Waikiki beach. And one, labelled “Diving for Coins, Singapore,” is particularly lovely, showing the young men jumping from their canoes. A long, far-flung journey, with scenes of Manila, Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Java, Seoul, Hawaii, California (San Francisco, Yosemite Park), and Arizona (Grand Canyon). Demonstrates a curious eye (it seems that the elephants working in the lumber yards of Rangoon were particularly compelling) and, thankfully, an adept one, as all photographs are nicely composed, exposed, and printed. (#D4278) $1,950.00

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