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Amateur Photography

Photography was a popular hobby in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, made much more user-freindly with the introduction of the Kodak camera and its competitors. Both officers and passengers on board Atlantic Transport Line steamers took pictures on occasion. Dorothy Quick's memoir Mark Twain and Me: A Little Girl's Friendship With Mark Twain records that when Mark Twain posed for photographers on board the Minnetonka their images were developed and printed on board by the ship's photographer and that many of the prints were then autographed by the great man. The fact that there were darkroom facilities, at least on the Minne class ships, may explain the number of passenger's snaps printed on postcard stock.

Both the Atlantic Transport Line and the builder of their ships, Harland & Wolff commissioned photographs to record their ships, but although technically excellent these generally depicted empty and lifeless vessels. Officer's and passenger's snaps on the other hand are usually poorly composed and printed, but speak volumes about life on board.

A deck scene on board Massachusetts in 1898, with medical officer Espie Dods at the extreme right (Rpsie Dodds)Junior officers and a group of passengers posing with senior officers on the
Left: A deck scene on board Massachusetts in 1898, with medical officer Espie Dods at the extreme right. Right: Junior officers
and a group of passengers posing with senior officers on the Massachusetts in 1898 (Espie Dods)

A wartime celebration on board the Menominee from an album compiled by James Grant Hutchison,  an Atlantic Transport Line officer for many years (Ian Newson)
A wartime celebration on board the Menominee from an album compiled by James Grant Hutchison,
an Atlantic Transport Line officer for many years (Ian Newson)

Atlantic Transport Line officer James Grant Hutchison by Menominee's bridge during World War One. (Ian Newson)Captain Clarke of the Mesaba from Hutchison's photograph album (Ian Newson)
Left: Atlantic Transport Line officer James Grant Hutchison by Menominee's bridge during World War One.
Right: Captain Clarke of the Mesaba. Both from Hutchison's photograph album (both Ian Newson)

The Minneapolis launching her lifeboats to aid the Volturno, October 9, 1913, printed on postcard stock (Volturno website, Private collection)
The Minneapolis launching her lifeboats to aid the Volturno, October 9, 1913, printed on postcard stock (Volturno website, Private collection)

Photo postcard showing a sports day sack race on the Minneapolis, evidently made from a passenger's snap c.1910 (Kinghorn)
Photo postcard showing a sports day sack race on the Minneapolis, evidently made from a passenger's snap c.1910 (Kinghorn)

This passenger's snap printed on photo postcard stock does not identify the ship, but has "S.S. Minnekahda June 17, 1927" written by hand on the reverse (Kinghorn)
This passenger's snap printed on photo postcard stock does not identify the ship, but has
"S.S. Minnekahda June 17, 1927" written by hand on the reverse (Kinghorn)

Crewmen washing the decks aft in the morning. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)
Crewmen washing the decks aft in the morning. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)

Ladies playing shuffleboard close to the aft wheelhouse. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)
Ladies playing shuffleboard close to the aft wheelhouse. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)

The view astern from the back of the promenade deck. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)
The view astern from the back of the promenade deck. From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)

Passengers promenading (note the white jacketed cook or steward presumably returning to his quarters in the stern).  From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)
Passengers promenading (note the white jacketed cook or steward presumably returning to his quarters in the stern).
From a keen photographer's souvenir album recording a voyage to Europe on the Minnetonka c.1902-5 (Chauncey Walden)

The aft deck of the Menominee, an officer on Menominee, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)an officer on the Menominee, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)passengers on the Menominee's boat deck, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)
The aft deck of the Menominee, Captain Lemuel Lucas of the Menominee, and passengers playing shuffleboard with
Captain Lucas on the Menominee's boat deck, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)

Passengers playing Shuffleboard, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)"Mr. Bakeman" on the upper promenade deck of the Minnetonka, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)Crewmen washing the Minnetonka's forward saloon deck, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)
Passengers playing Shuffleboard, "Mr. Bakeman" on the upper promenade deck of the Minnetonka, and crewmen washing
the Minnetonka's forward saloon deck, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)

A fishing trawler ahead, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)a cargo winch on the Minnetonka, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)
A fishing trawler ahead, and a cargo winch on the Minnetonka, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)

The docks at Tilbury, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)the Minnetonka enetering the docks at Tilbury, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn) Dover from the Straights of Calais, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)
The docks at Tilbury, the Minnetonka enetering the docks at Tilbury, and Dover from
the Straights of Calais, from a group of snaps taken by a passenger c.1903 (Kinghorn)

 

 

For more information ...

Kinghorn "The Atlantic Transport Line 1881 - 1931" McFarland, 2011

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