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Photo album of trip to Cuba, Guatemala, and Honduras


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The creator of the album, Arthur Ziegler (born 1892) lived with his wife Viola Ziegler (also born 1892) in Baltimore City, Maryland. Although Arthur never finished high school and his wife never surpassed 8th grade, they were were fairly well off with his salary of $5,000 per year (comparable to $85,000 per year in 2015) as an 'assistant purchasing agent.' Their friends Mary Caroline Gross (born 1882, died 1972) and Angus Roy Gross Sr. (born 1883, died 1967), who accompanied them on their cruise on the S.S. Antigua, also lived in Baltimore City; Roy had been a machinist before being drafted into World War I at age 35. Also pictured are Margaret Askwith, presumably a friend of the group, and W.J. Close, the S.S. Antigua's captain who immigrated from Northern Ireland to New Jersey in 1921. The group's two-week cruise (November 5th, 1938 to November 17th, 1938) was facilitated by one of the United Fruit Company's commercial ventures; passenger cruises aboard ships transporting bananas from the company's Central American plantations. The United Fruit Company had significant control over these countries' economies and were politically involved, particularly in Guatemala, to ensure their monopoly and avoid regulations to protect workers which could impede their harsh labor practices.

Ziegler's photographs document the journey of the T.E.S. Antigua (of the United Fruit Company's Great White Fleet) from a New York harbor to locations in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; and Puerto Cortés, Honduras. These images include various portraits of the ship's guests and crew and scenic views from the ship. More centrally, the album depicts touristic travels through Central American ports. This includes local life in the native quarter in Guatemala, the Tela Railroad and scenes of a banana plantation with its grading and loading station in Guanacastal, Honduras, as well as sites in Santiago de Cuba such as the Plaza de Cespedes and its earthquake-destroyed hotel, the Bacardi Gardens, and the cathedral. The album contains 105 captioned photographs as well as 16 pieces of ephemera from the cruise. These items include a detailed travel itinerary, a postcard of the S.S. Antigua, a travel agency's business card, Ziegler's tourist ID card from the United Fruit Company, and a map of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico with their route outlined, and list of items to be gathered for a scavenger-hunt style prize. The album both depicts the experience of a group of middle-class Americans enjoying a cruise of foreign locales, and alludes to the effect of American corporations on Central American economies during the 20th century.

Purchased from Carmen Valentino, 2014.

Processed by Natalia Gutierrez-Jones; December 2015.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Natalia Gutierrez-Jones
Finding Aid Date
December 2015
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Photo Album, 1938. 1 items.
Volume 1
Physical Description

1 items

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