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are the stories from 1917
from the latest to the earliest
|Cecil Sharp's Health Issues in 1917|
CECIL SHARP RETURNS TO
AMERICA TO RESUME HIS WORK
Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles returned to America to work in American Cities teaching and lecturing, to finalize book projects with publishers, and to take a second summer trip to the Appalachian Mountains in search of more English ballads. The second year was harder. Cecil had several health issues. The schedule they kept through the year was very intense with little down time, except as compelled by bouts of illness.
Arriving in New York on March 7 aboard the RMS Baltic, the passage consisted of threats of submarine attack, rough seas, and an uncertain route and arrival time.
From Sharp’s diary we read:
“It seems very doubtful when we shall sail. Evidently a lot of submarines are about. Rumours as unreliable as camp rumours are rife. Some say the Port is closed for a week. Life very dull and delay most irritating” 23 February.
"We up anchor at midnight and sail at 12.40. I stay on deck to see the start and then turn in but do not take off my clothes!" 25 February.
"Later in the day we hugged the Irish coast which is very beautiful, passing quite close to the Giant’s Causeway. About 6 large vessels were going more or less with us all the way. The nervous strain came rather trying to me at the end of the day. But the sea began to get up which put Maud hors de combat making however the danger from submarines a good deal less. By tomorrow we ought to have passed through the danger zone." 26 February.
"A very rough and unpleasant day. It is rumoured that we are making a very northerly course and are constantly altering it, in order I presume that we may give the slip to any raiders that may be about." 28 February.
"Weather as bad as ever. Maud came up on deck and stayed in her chair from noon till after tea when she went to bed again. Extremely cold, ice & snow all over the decks and a very rough & confused sea." 2 March.
"Each day seems to go one worse and to day is the most impossible of all. Thermometer down to 22, snow & ice everywhere. It is clear we are very far north. The barber & others say they have never been so far north before. Maud got up for tea and came into the lounge and afterward went into the saloon to listen to Hough play Chopin in a very neat accurate but unemotional manner." 3 March.
"A most wonderful transformation. We woke up to find a perfectly smooth sea — like the Mersey — with the old tub of a ship lurching along as fast as she can go which however is not a break-neck pace." 4 March.
"Alas, alas, a strong gale and one of the roughest seas I have ever seen! With this head wind we cannot be making much more than 7 or 8 knots and as we ran into the gale at midnight and it will probably last at least 24 hours the chances of getting in tomorrow are small." 6 March.
"Another transformation. We wake up to a calm sea, like a mill pond, not a cloud in the sky, full sun but very cold. Just an off chance that we may land to-night but scarcely probable. To our immense delight we sight land soon after lunch." 7 March.
Finally the ship arrives in New York!
Once having arrived, the team settled in to work at their base in new in New York City March 7.
Criss-crossing the Country by train between March 8 and April 13, the party traveled to New York, Boston, Urbana Illinois, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, and Knoxville.
The days were spent in teaching English Dance classes, giving lectures, choreographing for theatre and meeting with publishers. Sharp and Karples spent a week at University of Illinois, Urbana, a week at Carnegie University, 8 days in Boston, and 12 in New York. Home in New York was the Algonquin Hotel.
Boston was a second center of activity. Lily Roberts had come over from London to teach in the Wellsley College program. Sharp wanted her to manage the EFDSS office in New York, however her heart kept her in Boston, where she later married Richard Conant.
“I went with Maud & Lily to the latter’s home — a very nice apartment with a lovely piano upon which I played my new accompaniments.”
Of course Helen Storrow was his patroness in terms of supporting the collecting travels. Sharp had first met Olive Dame Campbell and was introduced to the idea of the existence of the ballads in America at the Storrow home.
“Motored to Lily’s at Cambridge to meet the Steinbergs. They motored Maud and me back to Beacon Street where we lunched with Mrs Storrow. Afterwards we walked into town to hear a lecture by a Mr Ward on current events — in this case Russian Revolution — a very clever talk, back to tea and dress in flannels for dinner. Then lecture on Folk dance at school dancing myself in Oaken Leaves and Hearts Ease, then directing a class-dance afterwards. Home pretty late."
Part of the time was in preparing for field work “Went out shopping with Maud and bought new vest camera, films, etc at Meyrowitz.” “Maud bought some strong boots for the mountains”
All this was before heading off to Knoxville for a conference, and then in to the mountains to start collecting. The trips were a mix of sophisticated and simple, from grand hotels and universities to the mountain paths of Appalachia and the homes of his singers.