SS Amerika Passenger Lists 1907-1908
The SS Amerika, Built by Messrs. Harland & Wolff of Belfast, Ireland, Leaving New York on the First East-Bound Voyage. She is 687 Feet Long, with a Beam of 74 1/2 Feet, and has a Displacement of 42,000 Tons, Making Her the Largest Ship Ever Built. Her Twin Screw Engines Develop 16,000 IHP with a Speed of 18 Knots. Cassier's Magazine, December 1905, p. 92. GGA Image ID # 1d1b4ffd71
Amerika (1905) Hamburg-American Line.
Built by Harland & Wolff, Ltd., Belfast, Ireland. Tonnage: 22,225.
Dimensions: 668' x 74'. Twin-screw, 18 knots. Four masts and two funnels.
Renamed: (a) America, (b) Edmund B. Alexander.
Note: Interned at Boston during World War I and in 1917 converted into an American troopship. After the War she was sold to the United States Lines and used on the Atlantic Ferry again as a passenger liner, under the name America. Sold to the United States Government in 1932 and was laid up in the James River as a reserve transport. During World War II, she was put back into government service and assigned the name Edmund B. Alexander.
All Digitized Passenger Lists For the SS Amerika Available at the GG Archives. Listing Includes Date Voyage Began, Steamship Line, Vessel, Passenger Class and Route.
- Steamship Line: Hamburg Amerika Linie / Hamburg American Line (HAPAG)
- Class of Passengers: First and Second Cabin
- Date of Departure: 8 August 1907
- Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
- Commander: Captain H. Knuth
- Steamship Line: Hamburg Amerika Linie / Hamburg American Line (HAPAG)
- Class of Passengers: First and Second Cabin
- Date of Departure: 12 November 1908
- Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
- Commander: Captain H. Knuth
Passenger Lists contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenir list provided to the passengers of each cabin class (and other classes). Many of these souvenir passenger lists have disappeared over the years. Our collection contains a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.
Below is a lengthy letter written in 1912 by a passenger on the SS Amerika. He traveled in First Class and spoke about his business in hardware. It provides much insight into what it was like traveling transatlantic in the early 1900s. All present a complete story of the view from the top.
Cub Writes of Return Voyage on Liner "Amerika"
Pays Tribute to House of Markt & Co., Paris, Managed by Mr. A. Leewitz. Which is an Important Factor in the Exploitation and Sale of American Hardware in France—National Geographic Magazine is Test Periodical Published, with the Exception, of course, of the Argos, (Ind.,) Bulletin—Passengers on "Amerika" Relate Interesting Experiences and Discuss Leading Topics of the Day—Millionaires, Diplomats and Congressmen Among the "Homeward Bounds'—Voyage a Most Enjoyable One and Ship's Service is Excellent.
DEAR HARDWARE FELLOWS: We are home again, safe and sound, and anxious to return to our desks and start something. In this letter, I will tell you about our return trip on the S. S. "Amerika" of the Hamburg American Line.
But before going on board, I wish to pay my compliments to Mr. Ad. Leewitz, who is a director and manager of the business of Markt & Co., 107 Avenue Parmentier, Paris. This company enjoys a very large business in every part of France in American tools and hardware. They do not do business on paper alone, as some other selling agents I have met. They have a large building in Paris, carry a heavy stock of goods, and have twenty traveling salesmen and a large force of employees. They have adopted many American ideas, and their general office in Paris, on the top floor of their building, under the skylights, in a big room, with all employees working at flat-top desks, without any private offices, reminds me of some of the offices of great American manufacturing and jobbing institutions. Suppose our American manufacturers are hankering to have their goods sold in France. In that case, I suggest, if possible, that they get their lines into the hands of Markt & Co.
Mr. Leewitz, a Believer in Accuracy
Mr. Leewitz looks something like Emperor William of Germany; he wears his mustachio in the same style. This, at first glance, gives him a rather fierce appearance. In addition, he has a speedy and direct manner. But after you get to know him, you will find him one of the most pleasant and genial gentlemen in the world. He, however, believes in accuracy. I wrote him a letter from Vichy. He sends back the envelope and calls my attention to the fact that I wrote 107 Rue Parmentier instead of 107 Avenue Parmentier. So just in passing, I want to suggest to manufacturers that when they write to Mr. Leewitz, they get his address straight. That is one point travelers have to watch in Paris. There may be three streets with precisely the same name, but one will be called a rue, the other an avenue, and the third a boulevard. Then occasionally, to add to the confusion, there may be some location called a "place." So fellow workers in the hardware field, when you write there, remember the calling down I received from Mr. Leewitz and get your addresses straight.
An Interesting Little House Organ
Mr. Leewitz gets out a monthly booklet called " Le Foret" ( The Drill. ) It is pocket size, and the covers are printed in colors with artistic illustrations. This monthly booklet contains humorous articles written by a fictitious character named "Joseph." As it may interest some of our readers to see how hardware descriptions look in French, we herewith reproduce parts of the French articles about American hardware and some of the cuts from Le Foret. " No doubt if any of our readers are interested in this monthly house organ printed in French by Markt & Co., if they write directly to Mr. Leewitz, he will be glad to put them on his mailing list. Mr. Leewitz states that this little advertising booklet was suggested by The Gimlet, the house organ of the Norvell- Shapleigh Hardware Co. of St. Louis.
Opportunity to Increase Export Trade
American manufacturers interested in developing business on their lines in Europe could not talk to anyone better posted on the subject than Mr. Leewitz, and they should make arrangements to meet him at Atlantic City. Letters addressed to him in care of Markt & Co., Importers, and Exporters, 193-195 West St., New York City, will find him upon his arrival. By the way, Mr. Leewitz writes that he expects to attend the Hardware Manufacturers ' and Jobbers' conventions at Atlantic City.
The Departure on the " Amerika "
We landed in Europe in the rain, and at eight o'clock one night, we sailed from Cherbourg on the "Amerika," also in the rain. There is a special steamer train that runs from Paris to Cherbourg. It was crowded with weary, financially depleted Americans, all in a hurry to get home. We arrived at Cherbourg in the dark and were loaded on board the ship by a lighter. Thank goodness we do not have to pass through the customs in leaving a country, so we were spared that annoyance. Way out in the harbor, we could see the many lights of the Amerika as she was waiting for us. When we walked up the gangplank, there were many friends to welcome us who had gotten aboard at Southampton. The steward promptly showed us to our cabins. After a bit of cleaning up, we enjoyed an excellent dinner at the table with many friends. After dinner, we examined the ship.
View of the Smoking Room on the SS Amerika. Built of Solid Oak, Roughly Fashioned Nineteenth Century Decor. Cassier's Magazine, December 1905, p. 100. GGA Image ID # 1d1b199fb8
As we have written before, the S. S. " Olympic" had the appearance of the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel at sea. The S. S. " Amerika " impressed us very much, especially around the smoking room, as if a section of a German "Hof Brau" had broken away from the Fatherland.
Gulf Stream Forces Out Summer Apparel
Because of the iceberg scare, all the transatlantic steamers are now taking the Southern route. As we supposed it would be cold on the return trip, we had packed all of our summer clothes in the trunks marked for the hold and put only winter clothes in the little steamer trunks they permitted us to store in our cabins. As soon as we got into the Gulf Stream, instead of the weather being cold, it was exceedingly warm, in fact '' sticky," and many of the passengers who had been wiser than we were disported themselves in white flannels with white shoes.
Do you know that the Gulf Stream was the greatest, most potent, most stupendous, and most beautiful natural phenomenon in the world? By the way, this same Gulf Stream is a great institution. If you are interested and wish to learn more about the most significant thing on earth — outside of a few of our hardware jobbers — just read the last issue of the National Geographic Magazine.
A Magazine Worth Reading
And did you also know that the National Geographic Magazine - next to the Bulletin, published in Argos, Ind., is the best in the world? I would instead read it than The Hardware Reporter. To obtain this magazine, you must be a member of the National Geographic Society. To become a member of this society, it is only necessary to send $2.00 to the headquarters in Washington, D. C., and be endorsed by an old member. I authorize every hardware man in good standing with his own family to use my name to advocate for membership in this society. They have a white marble building in Washington, where the high-brows of the organization get together now and then and make speeches. I have never attended one of these meetings, but I want to tell you that the National Geographic Magazine itself, with the one exception referred to above, is the best value you could receive for your money in printers' ink. Every father and mother bringing up a family owe it to their children to have them read the National Geographic Magazine each month. I am not in the habit of giving such strong testimonials to other publications, especially when I do not own any stock in them, but I pass out these few feeble remarks to show my appreciation of the excellent work done by the editors of this magazine.
Money, Luck, and Success on the " Amerika "
Of course, you want to know the keynote thought of my return voyage from the other side. I, therefore, will not dally with you but will tell the plain truth. My primary impression of the S. S. " Amerika " was of my poverty and lack of success in the material affairs of this world. I may have had mental and spiritual flights. Still, when it came to hard tacks, I realized on the " Amerika " that I had not grasped my opportunities and was a plugged dime in a gạme of $100.00 chips. The " Amerika " was loaded to the guards with money, luck, and success ---present and past.
Carnegie Gives Up Castle to Guests
The first morning on board, I got mixed up with millionaires. One of them had just been visiting Andrew Carnegie at Skibo. He showed me Andrew's photograph, affectionately inscribed to him, and he told me a rather amusing thing about Skibo Castle. It seems that Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie do not live in the castle but have a little cottage nearby, out on the lawn. Here they live quietly and modestly with a few old servants. Skibo Castle is turned over to their guests, and my millionaire friend stated that sixty-eight guests sat down at the table in the castle on one occasion. Again we take off our hats to the Canny Scot. He has solved another problem. Just move out of your house and turn it over to your guests and relations while you take rooms and live in peace and quiet in an adjoining boarding house. This idea is certainly worth the price of admission. Brothers, are you "next ?"
Haiti Situation Discussed By Millionaires
This millionaire had a birthday on their second day out. He invited a select coterie of millionaires to have a luncheon with him. By accident, I was also invited. You should have heard the conversation at the luncheon. Millionaires discussed world movements involving millions of dollars and the fate of whole nations in the most off-handed manner. For instance, one of the millionaires advised watching developments on the island of Haiti. He remarked, casually, that the sugar interests were rapidly buying up all the best sugar land in the little Republic of Haiti and that when the land was all cornered, the chances are there would be a revolution and that following the revolution, there would be an appeal to the United States Government to annex Hayti, with the result that Uncle Sam would take care of Hayti and Santo Domingo, that there would be a stable government, that there would be no tariff on sugar against Haiti in the United States. That land in Haiti would immediately increase severalfold in value. A straightforward proposition, isn't it?
So after luncheon, I took out my notebook and made a memorandum to watch developments in Hayti. Of course, we all know that Haiti's president was recently blown up. Perhaps that was just one of the minor details in carrying out the plan to exploit the island.
Watch for Panama Canal Story
Then these millionaires discussed, with many good smiles, how the United States Government acquired the land for the Panama Canal. That story will someday come out, and the truth may put a lurid dime novel in the same class of dullness as some of our dignified hardware trade journals.
U.S. Congressman an Interesting Character
Partial View of The Upper Promenade Deck on the SS Amerika. Cassier's Magazine, December 1905, p. 94. GGA Image ID # 1d1b7ac7a4
I walked the deck daily with a millionaire who is now a member of Congress. He shook the ashes off his cigar when I informed him that I was connected in a humble capacity with a trade publication. He remarked that he now owned three daily newspapers and was figuring on acquiring a fourth. This Congressman is also in the gas and electric light business and takes care of the wants in this line of several cities. He also amuses himself with public service corporations such as streetcar lines. He told me that he started as a poor boy, just loved to work, and never expected to retire from business as long as he lived. He was the most interesting character. From him, I received some inside information regarding Lorimer and his trial that would make reading enjoyable — but the best stories are never told.
Parcels Post Encourages Erection of Great Department Store
Another one of my millionaire friends has just bought a city block for which he paid $ 5,000,000. He is now erecting a mammoth department store on the property. He tells me that he was encouraged to make this investment on account of Parcels Post developments and that it will be the policy of his concern to start an excellent mail order campaign immediately. They will deliver all purchases of a particular value within five hundred miles of their new store. He wanted me to take charge of his mail order department, but I told him the proposition looked too much like real work.
Diplomat Complains of U.S. Stinginess
A United States minister to a foreign court was returning home to take his annual vacation and rest. He told us how hard ministers have to work. He suggested the necessity of trained diplomats to look after the foreign affairs of the United States. He bitterly complained because Congress had declined to continue a particular appropriation for some bureau engaged in disseminating consular reports. Of course, I don't want to trouble any senators or members of Congress at home. Still, if some of these long-haired gentlemen could have heard the remarks that were made in our party concerning the results of " hayseed " statesmanship and economy when handling the nation's foreign policy, they would realize that an attitude that may get votes in a corn -growing district is not popular with the gentlemen who are trying to uphold the dignity of the United States in foreign countries.
U. S. Army Colonel Relates Interesting Experiences
Then there was a colonel in the United States Army who had been attached to the Court of St. James and was on his way to a far western assignment. He was one of the most interesting passengers on the ship. He had fought Indians and campaigned all over the West. He knew the West from the Bad Lands clear down to Yuma. I used to enjoy sitting with him on one of the top decks on a moonlight night while he told Indian stories. Someone should save some of the stories he had gathered from the Indians direct from oblivion. Then he occasionally changed the program by telling of his experiences among the nobility in England. Just imagine a combination of rough riding in the old Indian days, with black satin knickerbockers and silk stockings of an official diplomatic reception at the Court of Edward VII or George V ! What varied and interesting lives some men live!
Geronimo at St. Louis Fair Recalled
As I listened to him talk, my mind reverted to old Geronimo, who came as " Exhibit A " to the ethnological collection of the St. Louis World's Fair. I can see the old fellow sitting with an enormous drum beside him and keeping time to his thoughts with an occasional gentle tap on the drum. I remember paying Geronimo 50 cents for his picture with his autograph. What memories this old warrior must have had! But he, too, with so much that was picturesque in the earlier western days, had passed away never to return. This colonel knew Russell of Great Falls, Mont., the cowboy painter. Russell is another western character — the cowboy who developed into an outstanding painter without instruction in that art. To my mind, his pictures get nearer to the authentic western spirit than Remington's. Most of Remington's pictures look to me as if they were colored snapshot photographs.
A Subject for the "See America First" Campaign
A bright, attractive young fellow, who wore French tennis shoes, told me he was from Danville, Va. I asked him if he had visited certain places in the United States, and he replied that he had not, that he went abroad every year, and that he was not very familiar with America. I think the railroad advertising slogan, " See America First," would fit his case. Some of his father's money . should be spent viewing the country where dad made his pile.
I had the pleasure of going over the SS Olympic with Mrs. Reginald Vanderbilt and her companion, Miss O'Brien. Therefore you can imagine how pleased I was to see them — at a distance - returning on the Amerika.
Ritz- Carlton Restaurant on Top Deck
A View of the Ritz-Carlton Restaurant on the "Amerika," One of the Finest Types of Ocean Travel Comfort. Cassier's Magazine, December 1905, p. 98. GGA Image ID # 1d1ad23a44
But I am afraid that these descriptions of some of the characters we met on the return voyage are not particularly interesting to our readers. We indeed had a delightful return trip. On the forward part of the ship, on the top deck, there was a Ritz-Carlton restaurant. Here meals are served a la carte. To which I was admitted for the sake of contrast, the millionaires' club gave dinners up in the Ritz-Carlton restaurant every night. The tables were decorated with flowers, and each guest was given a souvenir. They were undoubtedly swell affairs.
The "Washington" Deck Companion Way on the SS Amerika. The Flower Shop Can be Seen in the Background. Cassier's Magazine, December 1905, p. 106. GGA Image ID # 1d1b1b2268
All the popular ladies on board would walk the deck every morning wearing orchids and other fresh flowers. The regular flower store on the ship did a thriving business.
The captain of the " Amerika " was a great, big jolly German. His smile was enough to make you feel safe. He seemed to know most of the passengers. All the stewards were very attentive. Not only were the meals good, but the service was excellent.
The band on "Amerika" is Orderly.
A list was passed around for contributions to the band. This band did not put on their war paint and go out and collect donations by main force from the passengers, as on the other ship we have written about.
We steamed up New York Harbor one Saturday morning. All of us had a splendid opportunity to see Sandy Hook, the Statue of Liberty, and the tall buildings that make New York's skyline one of the world's most impressive sights. Taking it all in all, we had a most delightful return voyage.
Customs Officials Courteous
The customs officials must all be out for votes because none of us had any trouble with our baggage. They were so pleasant and agreeable that we were sorry the customs laws did not permit us to give them tips.
At 6:32 p.m., we caught the Pennsylvania 24-hour train for St. Louis and arrived home the next day precisely on time. But after getting through the railing with our baggage, our first impression of America was the gentle "touch" of the taxicab driver who asked for $ 3.50 to take us across the river from Hoboken to our New York hotel. But we were so glad to get home that paying three times as much for a taxicab as they charge in Europe was looked upon as a touch of local color.
The Vastness of America
What were our impressions upon our return? There were two: One of them being the small number of people in the country, the emptiness of the country roads, the scarcity of vehicles and people along the railroad tracks; and the other, the largeness of everything compared with Europe, the large engines, large cars, the roomy trains, our wide streets, our big stores, the larger houses. We felt like Gulliver in his travels when he left the country of the Lilliputians and suddenly found himself in the land of Giants.
So ends the account of our return voyage, of which we can say we followed the precept of Robert Louis Stevenson — that the happiness of the journey itself should be a large part of the joy of reaching the destination.
"The Cub Report: Cub Writes of Return Voyage on Liner Amerika," in The Hardware Reporter, St. Louis, Vol. LVIII, No. 15, 11 October 1912, pp 59-64.