1905-1929 Historic Photographic Travelogue of a Wealthy Massachusetts Woman’s Journeys Across the Globe Spanning 24 Years

  • $2,400.00
    Unit price per 
Tax included.

On offer is an exceptional early 20th century global travel and family photo album kept by Olive Whipple Peabody Beardwood (1886-1969) of Hamilton, Massachusetts. Olive was the well-traveled adopted daughter of noted American philanthropist, Philip G. Peabody. This album is an annotated snapshot of life and travel between 1905-1929, when Olive was 19 through 43 years old  [See BIO NOTES at end of listing for more on Olive and Philip]. Special note: Seller has a remarkable diary written by Olive Whipple Peabody Beardwood for sale here: https://katzfinemanuscripts.com/products/8190

The photo book opens with a grand full-page cut out of an image of a ship Olive likely sailed upon during some of her travels. The ship is the SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria (later the RMS Empress of Scotland). The grandeur of the album only grows from here. 

This album provides an astonishing look at life across the globe in the early 20th century, through the eyes of a wealthy young woman. The photographs are not in order, implying that Olive compiled this album sometime after 1929 with images of the 24 previous years of her life and travels. In the first half of the album, she does a great job of annotating each image. The images are a combination of overseas travel photos, family and pet photos from all over her home state of Massachusetts, and photos of her travels across the United States. 

There are a few particularly notable images that prove that “a picture is worth a thousand words” when it comes to important moments in world history. Some highlights from the album include the following images:

There is a tragic image of Olive and two men standing in the ruins of the 1908 Messina and Reggio earthquake. It was taken on March 28, 1909, precisely three months after the event. There is an image of a group of travelers wearing “native costumes [of] the Island of Malta”, a view of a funeral procession passing the Grand Continental Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, four images of Egyptian people and their mud huts in Faiyum, and a haunting image of the Sphinx in Egypt. Other notable photos include Olive visiting the Acropolis in Athens, Greece and an image of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem. 

The completeness of the picture this album paints of the life of a wealthy, world traveling American cannot be overstated. The album also helps us to learn what it was to live in the less developed parts of the world through Olive’s travel photography. Olive beautifully captures the fashions, living conditions and lived experiences of humans across the globe over a 24 year period, making it a treasure for any historian.

A complete list of the locations at which photos in this album were taken follows:

Jerusalem, Athens, Greece; Messina, Sicily; Port Said, Africa; Malta; Tangiers, Africa; Palermo, Sicily; Funchal, Madeira; Genoa, Italy; Constantinople; Cairo, Egypt; Faiyum, Egypt.

Locations in Massachusetts include Hamilton, Boston, Brookline, Dorchester, Stoneham, Wayland, Salisbury Beach, Nantasket Beach and Franklin. Other American locations include the Berengaria ship heading from New York to England; the Susquehanna River; the Catawba River; Shenandoah Valley; Tarrytown, New York; Los Angeles, California, Berkeley, California; Colorado Springs; Oregon; Utah; San Francisco, California; Brunswick, Georgia; Gorham, Meredith, and Rye Beach in New Hampshire. 

This photo album measures 7.5 x 11.0 and contains 48 pages and 88 images (approximately 4 are duplicates). The covers are in good condition. The binding is a lace binding. Two pages have pulled away from the binding. The photographs themselves are for the most part glued to their respective page, though there are two pages that are notably missing their photographs. Overall, Olive does a great job of annotating the images. As the photo book goes on, Olive does less annotating. First she just leaves out dates, and at the last images, she stops making notes on the images altogether. Overall Fair+.  

BIO NOTES: Olive Whipple Peabody Beardwood (1886-1969) born Hamilton, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA,. She married James Beardwood (1884-1968) of Lancashire, England in 1920. They had one child, Jamie W. Beardwood (1930-2003). Olive was the adopted daughter of Philip G Peabody. Peabody was a noted American financier and philanthropist who lived in Boston in the early years of the 20th century. He was the son of a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and was himself an attorney by profession. He also was involved with several social campaigns of his day. In particular, he was active in the anti-vivisectionist movement and a supporter of a major project of the nascent NAACP. Peabody had adopted Olive in 1904 when she was 18 years old. Their friendship was somewhat unusual. They had met on a local train when she was 14. He was an avid world traveler and in his lifetime, he crossed the Atlantic an astounding 113 times and visited 43 different countries. He told her stories of his adventures and a friendship ensued. Over the years, he gave her gifts and money, took her places, and showed her the world he lived in. 

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information or to request photos. (Kindly include the SKU, listed on this page above the price, in your e-mail so we can more easily answer your questions.)

We Also Recommend