PERMISSION TO COME ABOARD?: THE BOAT SHOW, AND WAVES OF VIP VISITORS TO THE WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY

Every year, traffic on Miami Beach increases exponentially in mid-February as yacht and sailing and power boat enthusiasts from around the world surge into Florida’s “cruise capital” for the annual Boat Show. This year was no exception, and as the boat aficionados poured into town, The Wolfsonian-FIU librarians were pleased to be able to usher a number of prominent VIP visitors around the “dazzle”-painted exterior walls of the museum and into the library for a private tour.

20141126_075727

Thomas Ragan, an ocean liner aficionado who has donated hundreds of steamship and ocean liner books and an archive of the Moore McCormack’s “Good Neighbor Fleet”  to The Wolfsonian library, arranged a visit and luncheon reception for Cunard Commodore Ron Warwick and his charming wife, Kim. Also in attendance was Dr. Laurence Miller, former director of libraries at Florida International University, and an avid collector of ocean liner promotional literature. In preparation for our guests’ visit, Dr. Miller had laid out a display of Cunard and Cunard White Star Line materials from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Wolfsonian-FIU library aims to be one of the great repositories of ocean liner materials, including books, brochures, deck plans, and other print media.

XC1994.76

XC1994.76.01

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

XC2012.12.65_001

THOMAS C. RAGAN COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Below is a small sampling of historic items from our holdings for Cunard and Cunard White Star Lines, some of which provide color illustrations of the exotic ports of call and luxurious public spaces aboard ships like the R.M.S. Carinthia.

XB2005.07.103_000

XB2005.07.103_002

XB2005.07.103_004

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

As Commodore Warwick had captained the Queen Elizabeth 2 (christened in 1969) and the Queen Mary 2 (launched in 2003), Dr. Miller also laid out some materials from the original R.M.S. Queens.

XB1991.158

XB1991.158.1

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Some of the early brochures offered comparisons between gigantic liners like the first Queen Mary—(launched in 1934) and other monumental structures.

XB1992.1531

XB1992.1531.03

XB1992.1531.04

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Others detailed the construction of the great luxury liner, named the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth and launched on September 27, 1938.

XC1992.353_000

XC1992.353_002a

XC1992.353_017

XC1992.353_019

XC1992.353_024

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Other items documenting the original Queens (and the successor ships that Commodore Warwick captained), were drawn from the extensive collection of Cunard transatlantic and cruise ship materials that Dr. Miller had donated to The Wolfsonian-FIU library some years back.

XC2008.09.1.283.64_000

XC2008.09.1.283.64_003

XC2008.09.1.283.55.000 XC2008.09.1.283.52_000

XC2008.09.1.283.52_014

XC2008.09.1.283.284_005

XC2008.09.1.283.127_001

LAURENCE MILLER COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

The Laurence Miller Collection at The Wolfsonian-FIU also includes ephemeral items such as menus and baggage labels.

XC2008.09.1.283.247_000

XC2008.09.1.283.247_001

XC2008.09.1.283.5.02XC2008.09.1.283.5

XC2008.09.1.283.5.03

LAURENCE MILLER COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Rather than return these items to their archival boxes immediately following the commodore’s visit, we added to the mix some ocean liner materials from other steamship lines for a presentation later in the week for another VIP visitor.

MrOceanLinerDVDCover

On Thursday, the prolific ocean liner author and guest lecturer popularly known as “Mr. Ocean Liner,” William (“Bill”) Miller came up to the library to see a sampling of our holdings.

20150212_134731

LAURENCE MILLER AND BILL MILLER

XC2008.09.1.283.175_007

XC2008.09.1.283.234.000

LAURENCE MILLER COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

In addition to some of the Cunard Line materials already laid out on the tables, we added a sprinkling of other printed matter. Some, like the Compagnie Maritime Belge document the old colonial  steamship line routes.

XC1992.810_000

Others, like this brochure for the Nippon Yusen Kaish (or N.Y.K.) Line, used expensive printing and die-cut techniques to allow potential passengers to peel away the layers of the Asama Maru to see the ship’s interior.

XC1994.3394_004

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

XC2008.09.1.353.118_000

LAURENCE MILLER COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

XC2012.01.1.234.1_000

XC2012.12.38_000THOMAS C. RAGAN COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

The brochure above sought to capitalize on the popularity of Audrey Hepburn’s role in the 1953 film Roman Holiday in promoting the Italian Line; the S.S. Andrea Doria listed on the cover became infamous for her sinking off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts on July 25, 1956 after a collision with another ocean liner, the M.S. Stockholm. Fifty-two persons died in the accident, while the other 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued.

Before we had the chance to reshelve the ocean liner materials, we received a request from Wolfsonian Development Associate, Andrew Nelson, to leave them out another day as he planned on conducting the free weekly Friday night tour of the museum, and thought that the visitors in town for the Boat Show might enjoy a glimpse of these treasures and some recent arrivals.

WC2014.07.7_001

WC2014.07.8_000

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. PROMISED GIFTS

One item that I had not laid out, but which would have been appropriate given the West Coast ports labor dispute and “slow down” is a rare illustrated periodical documenting the great strike of 1936 to 1937.

XC2011.04.12.1_000

XC2011.04.12.1_058

Happily it appears that the West Coast ports and the labor unions, under the threat of federal arbitration) have negotiated a tentative deal, avoiding the violence that characterized the twentieth century repression of striking dock workers.

XC2011.04.12.1_004

~ by "The Chief" on February 21, 2015.

One Response to “PERMISSION TO COME ABOARD?: THE BOAT SHOW, AND WAVES OF VIP VISITORS TO THE WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY”

  1. Wonderfull,nice presentacion,thanks,I wish you,lot of this kind exibitions ,kindly regardes, Panzen
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cartophilia/267009380005533

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: