Travelling the World in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, has recently acquired, processed, and made available for research the personal papers of Theodore Martindale Purdy, an 1883 Graduate of the City College of New York and long-time resident of Short Hills, New Jersey. The photograph albums, diaries, sketchbooks, and printed ephemera document Purdy's extensive world travels as a journalist and correspondent for the New York Mail and Express from 1883-1931. Purdy was born in 1862, married Helen Van Dyk in 1892, and had two children. His son, Theodore Martindale Purdy, Jr. received a B.A. from Yale in 1925. He died in 1944. An online finding aid for collection number MS 1994 provides additional details about the collection of his papers.

"Water bearers," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3).

"Water bearers," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3).

Purdy's travels took him to the Middle East, North Africa, and East, Southeast, and South Asia.  The collection contains numerous albums of photographs from his journeys, including these from a trip to Egypt in circa 1889-1891.

"The Colossi at Thebes," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3)

"The Colossi at Thebes," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel diary of Theodore Martindale Purdy, 1890-1891, entries for 22-24 March 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 5)

Travel diary of Theodore Martindale Purdy, 1890-1891, entries for 22-24 March 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 5)

His diaries document his travels and observations, such as these entries from March 22nd-24th on his arrival in Cairo by boat.

 

 

 

 

 

Theodore Martindale Purdy sketches of columns at Luxor and Karnak, from "Cairo '91" sketchbook, 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 3)

Theodore Martindale Purdy sketches of columns at Luxor and Karnak, from "Cairo '91" sketchbook, 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 3)

Purdy was a decent artist and the collection contains several sketchbooks of drawings made while abroad, including these columns seen in temples at Luxor and Karnak in 1891.

 

 

 

 

Thomas W. Knox, The Pocket Guide Around the World: The Globe-Trotter's Handy-Book, New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1884: 18-19. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 6)

Thomas W. Knox, The Pocket Guide Around the World: The Globe-Trotter's Handy-Book, New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1884: 18-19. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 6)

Purdy also saved travel guides and other books, including this one in which his marginalia expresses skepticism about the author's advice for combating seasickness by taking laxatives.

 

 

 

 

Cunard Line passenger lists, 1909, 1925, and 1929 (l. to r.). (MS 1994, box 12, folder 1)

Cunard Line passenger lists, 1909, 1925, and 1929 (l. to r.). (MS 1994, box 12, folder 1)

Finally, Purdy saved some very interesting printed ephemera documenting the intercontinental travel technology of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including these three brochures advertising Cunard Line voyages.

 

 

 

Researchers may use the online finding aid to request boxes from the Theodore Martindale Purdy Papers (MS 1994). Consult our website for additional information about the collections and services of Manuscripts and Archives.