Josephs, Howard. Manuscript on paper, in English. “A trip to South America” [Brazil, 1878]. Memoir of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Philadelphia: J.H. Coates & Co., 1876. 4to (24.9 cm, 9.75"). 4, [126 (48 used)] pp.; 8 plts.
Click the interior images for enlargements.
Unpublished South American travel account written by an American engineer: Howard Josephs, of Philadelphia, who made use of the blank pages of this memento from Philadelphia’s centennial celebration in 1876 to describe his 1878 voyage to Brazil aboard the wooden steamer Mercedita (commissioned by the Navy from 1861–65 as the U.S.S. Mercedita).
Josephs, who turned 21 while on the trip, was hired to work on George Church’s second attempt at constructing the Madeira–Mamoré railroad, running from Santo Antonio to the Bolivian border. On the voyage, Josephs’s ship stopped briefly at Barbados before making landfall at Pará at the mouth of the Amazon river; he then took a steamer upriver, visiting the city of Santarem (an American settlement founded by Southerners who emigrated at the end of the American Civil War) and other, smaller villages. His diary includes descriptions of the nearly insurmountable difficulties of building a railroad in the jungle — “we had to climb deep ravines, large hills & wade through Lagoons being bothered with Ants & other insects all day long . . .” The “repurposed” volume was originally intended as a keepsake of the Centennial and is illustrated with eight chromolithographed plates done by L. Aubrun.
Provenance: Front free endpaper and reverse of frontispiece with inked inscriptions by Howard Josephs.
Publisher’s cloth, front cover with gilt-stamped title, spine with decorative gilt stamping; rebacked, with cloth worn at extremities and showing some wrinkling and minor discoloration over sides. Inked ownership inscriptions as above. Plates showing minor waterstaining and spotting; manuscript pages clean.
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