Tag Archives: travel

Bruno Foa’s Trip to Jerusalem

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Portrait of Foa from the Bruno Foa Papers.

Bruno Foa (1905-1999) was an Italian-born, Jewish economist, lawyer, consultant, and professor. Educated in Italy as an economist and lawyer, Foa became Italy’s youngest full professor of economics at age 28. In 1937, he married Lisa Haimann, a refugee from Munich, and they moved to London in 1938. While in London, Foa worked for the British Broadcasting Company, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, and guest lectured at the London School of Economics. In 1940, Foa moved his family to the United States. He began work at Princeton University on a Rockefeller Foundation Grant and later moved to Washington D.C., where he worked for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Office of Inter-American Affairs, the Bureau of Latin American Affairs and the Federal Reserve Board.

We have recently re-processed the Bruno Foa Papers in order to enhance their description and access for researchers as part of the Economists Papers Project here at the Rubenstein Library. The papers include interesting details about his many trips abroad to Italy, Somalia, Spain, and the newly-established country of Israel. It is an added bonus when a collection we acquired for its relevance to the history of economics ends up including materials on other topics too–like mid-twentieth-century travel writings.

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Souvenir postcard collected by Foa during his trip to Jerusalem.

During his life, Foa was invited several times to guest lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His first trip was in 1946, just two years before Israel was declared a state. From his writings, Jerusalem seemed to be a city split between the struggles of the time and the echoes of the past. Foa writes, “Jerusalem is indeed an armed camp, and looks like a besieged place. Barbed wire–miles of it– is spread around all public buildings and throughout the city. Tanks and armored cars scout the streets day and night: one of them its Bren guns ready to fire, is permanently stationed at the center of Jaffa Road.” His letter then describes the resiliency of a people who have come to accept as normal daily bomb and landmine explosions, and the strain and tension developing between the Jewish and Arab populations.

But Foa also talks about the natural beauty of the city. From atop Mount Scopus, the view of the city seems to transcend the struggles going on below. “It is a stern view, since Jerusalem is built on stones (beautiful yellow stones) and is surrounded by rocky hills–yet it is a glorious view, when bathed by the warm Palestinian sunshine or the glory of the moon. There, on Mount Scopus, Titus and his legions stood, and from there laid siege to the city. There is the Valley of Final Judgement–as stern as death itself. On the other side, one can see the Jordan, the Dead Sea, the desert of Judaea and the mountains of Noab. Beauty, history and tragedy fill the air. It is a most unforgettable sight.” Bruno Foa’s writings allow us to take a step into the past and see Jerusalem as it stood nearly 70 years ago.

Post contributed by Vicki Eastman, a graduate student at Duke’s Center for the History of Political Economy.

A Fond Farewell in Photography

Karen Glynn, long-time Photography Archivist in the Archive for Documentary Arts, retires today to move to South Africa. In her honor, we present some images of travel and farewell from our digitized collections. Happy trails, Karen! We’ll miss you!

Sidney Gamble, Men in boxcar ("Travelling Fourth Class"), China, 1917-1919. From the Sidney D. Gamble Photographs.
William Gedney, South Dakota, 1966-1967. From the William Gedney Photographs and Writings.
ca. 1980s, from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Archives.
Gary Monroe, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1994. From the Gary Monroe Photographs.

Dear Diary, I’m a woman.

Perhaps I just run with the bibliophiles, but when I tell people I work in a library, they usually say, “You’re lucky, you get to read books all day!” For most of my colleagues this is probably not the case, but I am one of the fortunate few for whom it is true. I am responsible for cataloging small or single-volume collections. They generally arrive with little or no description, so I must read the material to some extent in order to provide access to it. I also train others to catalog these collections, and I urge them to verify any information accompanying a new acquisition. In particular, I ask them to confirm the sex of any journal or diary author. Those describing these items before they reach our library still tend to assume that creators are male rather than female. Here is a case in point.

Travel Diary of unknown woman
"Journal of our Tour through Italy in the spring of 1861. (A faithful record of facts, impressions and memories.)"

According to the description provided to us, Rev. James Lee-Warner of Norfolk, England, was the author of this travel journal. I needed to confirm this. The wrinkle was that, although I’ve often deciphered 19th-century handwriting in both quill and pen, this hand was rather difficult to read. With a little persistence I was able to read passages, including the one that provided the confirmation I was seeking.

In the entry for Friday, March 15, the traveling party joined a crowd of 10,000 people waiting at St. Peter’s to see Pope Pius IX. The author noted that “[The pope] did not arrive punctually, so we had ample leisure to look round on the vast crowds…,” then went on to describe what happened later that day:

Pages of the diary, which sometimes include glued-in small albumen photographs of artwork or tourist attractions...
Pages of the diary, which sometimes include tiny albumen prints of artwork or tourist attractions.

In the afternoon we drove with the [W?]abryns to Santa Maria della Pace where the braid of my dress formed an attachment to a tin bucket full of water—and I found myself, unconscious of the impending disaster, calmly descending a flight of steps into the church. The graceful sweep of my dress gradually tightened as I descended, and in another moment with a terrific crash down came the unfortunate bucket [tolling?] down the steps into the church with a small cataract of water preceeding [sic] it and announcing to all the world the melancholy nature of the catastrophe. The Sacristan good-naturedly rushed to the rescue with a somewhat dilapidated broom and swept back the torrent with great promptitude.

I searched the journal and found no one else’s handwriting, so the volume’s sole author was a well-educated woman. Unfortunately, despite consulting entries for the Lee-Warner family and their relations in Burke’s Peerage and his Landed Gentry, I have not been able to identify her, although I am more certain that at least some members of the traveling party were Lee-Warners. To learn more about this journal and its content, visit our library’s catalog record.

Post contributed by Alice Poffinberger, Archivist/Original Cataloger in the Technical Services Dept.