23 March 2014

Sylvia Plath's Passport, Part Two

A while back (13 December 2009), I did a post that involved looking at statements or assertions made in Paul Alexander's biography of Sylvia Plath Rough Magic regarding a supposed abortion had by Plath circa September 1955. Since then I have looked some more at Plath's passports, trying to figure out her travel routes and the cities through which she passed - even if only fleetingly in the carriage of train. I started this post in February 2012 and feel like it is time to post it!

There are two passports of Plath's. The first she used from 1955 through 1957 is now held by Indiana University; the second was in use from 1959 until 1963 (though the last stamp is from 1961 -- when Plath visited Wales and Ireland in 1962 she did not receive stamps). The second passport is now held by Emory University.

As such, I have broken this post up into two parts: the first part (which is part two if you consider the post from 2009 to be part one) will examine Plath's first passport (1955-1957); and the third part, which I will post in April, will look at the second passport. The first passport in particular was difficult to figure out as Plath was quite active once she got to Europe on her Fulbright. Several items below are questionable and I have tried to both list when I am a unsure and also tried to determine a most likely solution.

20 September: Arrival stamp at Southampton, England
5 October: Registration stamp at Cambridge, England
20 December: Departure stamp at Folkestone, England
20(?) December: Arrival stamp Boulogne(?) [France] (stamp smudged, poorly inked)

5 January: 3 stamps: Arrival and departure stamp from France to Italy at Pont Saint-Louis (http://www.oldstratforduponavon.com/images/mentonfrontiere.jpg) and;
Arrival stamp in Italy; the location is unknown as the stamp was poorly inked. Plath was on the way to Ventemiglia
9 January: Departure stamp at Dieppe, France
9 January: Arrival stamp at Newhaven, England
24 March: Departure stamp at Dover, England
24 March: Arrival stamp at Calais, France and then Paris
24 March - 6 April Paris, France (See Plath's Journals, Appendix 7 (pages 552-568) for information about her time in Paris.
6 April: Arrival stamp at Kehl Bahnhof, Germany (11 months later, Plath wrote in her journal on 4 March 1957, "I am angry now because, except for snow, I forget what the trip from France to Munich was like" (273).
7 April: Arrival stamp at Kufstein Bahnhof, Austria
7 April: Arrival stamp at Brennaro Ferrovia, Italy on her way to Venice with Gordon Lameyer
9 April: Travel from Venice to Rome
13 April: Departure stamp at Rome, Italy
13 April: Arrival stamp at London Airport
22 June: Departure stamp at London Airport
22 June: Arrival stamp at Le Bourget airport, France
6 July: Departure stamp at Hendaye, France
6 July: Arrival stamp at (?), Spain (Irun, Spain is the most likely entry point given it is just across the border from Hendaye, France).
22 August: Departure stamp at Barcelona, Spain
22 August: Arrival stamp at Cerbere, France
29 August: Departure stamp at Dieppe, France
29 August: Arrival stamp at Newhaven, England
29 October: Registration stamp at Cambridge, England

20 June: Departure stamp at Southampton, England

In this passport, issued on 29 June 1955 at Washington, D.C., there are five "Permitted to land stamps" done by British Immigration. Four of them give Plath permission to be in the country until 20 September 1956 and one until 20 September 1957. The last one, which changes the language from "permitted to land" to "grant of leave to land" appears to have been dated by the Immigration officer as 10 October 1956.

Plath left Paris and traveled to Munich, entering Germany by train at Kehl, just east of Strasbourg. The date stamp on the passport is quite difficult to determine as the stamp did not hit the page evenly, or possibly it was not evenly inked. Plath planned to be in Paris through Easter, which in 1956 fell on 1 April. In Rough Magic, Paul Alexander states that Lameyer arrived in Paris on 4 April and that he and Plath left Paris on 6 April. They stayed just the one night in Munich.

From Munich, it appears Plath traveled through Kufstein, Austria. She has a stamp in her passport for 7 April 1956. She has another stamp on her passport for that date from Brennero, on the Italian/Austrian border. The "B" in Brennero is on the fold-line between two pages, so it is missing, but a look at a map confirms that Brennero is likely where she crossed countries. So, Plath and Lameyer traveled from Munich to Kufstein through Innsbruck to Brennero to Venice. Between 7 and 13 April she was in Italy in Venice and then Rome, she left Rome on 13 April, her father's birthday.

The Lameyer photograph collection at the Lilly Library has some amazing images of Plath from this time in Venice, on a gondola, etc. Some of these have recently been published in Andrew Wilson's book Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted.

All links accessed 25 February 2012 (!!) and 18 March 2014.

15 March 2014

Sightseeing Sylvia Plath's England

Over four days in February, from the 8th to the 11th, I conducted a tour to three Americans of Sylvia Plath sites in England. While I have given dozens of tours of Massachusetts Plath-sites to people from the US, Canada, England, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and France, this was a first. It was an opportunity that seemed too good to be true: an expenses paid trip to England! To make a long story short, I thought about it for a few days after it was offered and decided I had to do it. As I have no idea if this could turn into something I might more regularly do (please inquire if you are interested for terms), many of the details below will remain vague.

The group consisted of Jeff, Suzanne, and Diane, and featured two guest appearances by Gail Crowther. I was put at ease by Jeff's comment that I had "already forgotten more about Sylvia Plath than they will ever know". While that might not necessarily be true, the chance to bring people to Plath sites and present them in a way that was meaningful to me made this the opportunity of a lifetime. I have long found that by seeing the places where Plath lived and about which she wrote has a profound and deep impact on my understanding her of life, journals and letters, and creative works. Throughout the tour we were able to read selected Plath poems which were about a specific place. Overall the aim was to bring Plath's England to life through the words she wrote in poetry, prose, letters, and her journals. Was it successful? They did not ask for a refund so I hope so!

Rainbow over London
On Saturday the 8th we "did" Plath's London. Now, London is massive and Plath's travelings around it from 1955-1957 and 1959-1963 was rather far reaching, so I spent several months reading primary sources, her creative works, and biographies to come up with a nice, tight and cohesive walking tour.

The first day of the tour lasted from about 11:30 to 5:30 and included lunch and a pint at The Lamb, a pub near 18 Rubgy Street, and a pint at the French House (formerly the York Minster Pub) on Dean Street, where we were able to both drink to The Colossus and escape a downpour of rain. During that downpour, my wife captured the rainbow above, spanning London and the River Thames.

Gail, the tour guide, Diane &
Suzanne outside of The Lamb
photograph by Jeff
Gail joined us for the first hour or so of the tour, which was wonderful as she and I were able to field questions together. Two minds are better than one, especially when one of those minds is as limited as mine. Of course we saw the "big" sites like 18 Rugby Street, the Church of St. George the Martyr (whose doors were open so we went in and then were promptly, politely, kicked out), 3 Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill, and 23 Fitzroy Road). But we saw oh so much more of Plath's London in and around Bloomsbury, Soho, Marylebone and Regent's Park.

Jeff and Gail inside St. George-the-Martyr
Queen Square, London
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
Enjoying drinks at the French House,
forrmerly the York Minster Pub, Dean Street
photograph by Jeff
23 Fitzroy Road, London
photograph by Peter K Steinberg

On Sunday the 9th, we took a taxi to Heathrow and picked up a rental car (driving in Central London was not an appealing option, even on a quiet, winter's Sunday morning). We drove from there to North Tawton through some of the most horrendous weather, particularly near Bristol. The bright side to this was the number of rainbows we saw as the sun and precipitation were in constant battle. However, by the time we approached the A30 at Exeter, the skies were bright and the sun out.

The tour guide, aka Baldilocks,
eating a glove outside Nancy Axworthy's
house Fore Street, North Tawton
photograph by Jeff
Upon arriving in North Tawton, we went and had lunch at the White Hart on Fore Street, who whilst only serving Sunday roast accommodated my vegetarianism and presented me a colossal plate of delicious chips. The White Hart was a pub Plath would have known, especially as she likely knew the people that ran it. In her story "Mothers", the main character Esther attends the mothers union meeting with "Mrs. Nolan, the wife of the pub-keeper at the White Hart" (Johnny Panic 2008, 11). After lunch, the weather got bad for a few minutes before turning fair again, we went down to the River Taw and then back up into the town centre to see the church, Court Green, and a lot more.

Plath vividly captures the people she inhabited North Tawton with in her journals and it is like stepping back in time in some ways, having Plath's words, knowing where she went, and seeing that much is unchanged. In a letter to her brother, Plath described their life in the early days at Court Green as "primitive", and throughout the spring she discusses the weeding and planting that she and Hughes were doing. The property now is so lovely, and while she had only such a short amount of time there, I like to think she paved the way for its current appearance. We stayed the night at the ancient Oxenham Arms in nearby South Zeal in Dartmoor, which is a very fine inn with comfortable rooms, excellent food, drink and staff, and in a stunning Devon setting.

Jeff, Suzanne, and Diane in Devon
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
Headstones underneath the Yew Tree
photograph by Peter K Steinberg

The Yew Tree with the moon rising
(look just above the power lines)
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
Perhaps the most wonderful things happened in North Tawton. While I was disappointed the church was locked up (I have heard a rumor that "inside the saints will all be blue"), when we were leaving the churchyard through the Lych Gate, we happened to look toward Court Green and saw that the moon had risen and was quite visible above the Yew tree. I thought of Plath's "The eyes lift after it and find the moon." Of course the context of us standing on Market Street looking east was all wrong. Plath's study windows look west towards the Yew tree and south towards Dartmoor (she could probably see the elm trees in the southeasterly), so in the poem she sees the moon setting, rather than rising as it was when we saw it; but it was still terrific to see the moon and the yew tree together. There was also a rainbow over Court Green during the afternoon, too, but none of us were able to get cameras out to capture it.

Jeff in South Zeal, before driving to Heptonstall
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
Monday the 10th, we left South Devon after a filling breakfast and drove to Heptonstall in Yorkshire, though first we stopped at our lodgings in Hebden Bridge to drop our bags and collect Gail Crowther. The dichotomy of scenery between Devon and Yorkshire is sharp; an ocular culture shock. The weather was again fine and sunny, so we went up to Heptonstall immediately as the forecast for the 11th was less friendly. The group was completely flexible to my whims and decisions based on things we could not control such as the weather, traffic, and the like. It was a good thing we went up when we did as the forecast held true.

We walked through the old church of St. Thomas à Becket, saw Plath's grave and stayed there for a while, and then passed through the village to see The Beacon, and then retired to the Cross Inn for pints and to soak up the heat from their warm fire.
Diane, Gail, the tour guide, and Suzanne
at the foot of Sylvia Plath's grave
photograph by Jeff
Jeff, Gail, Diane and Suzanne
in the ruins of Heptonstall's old church
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
Gail in Heptonstall
photograph by Jeff

Sylvia Plath's grave
11 February 2014
photograph by Peter K Steinberg
On Tuesday the 11th of February the weather was pretty foul. We went up to the grave in the cold, miserable rain to pay our respects. Afterwards, we drove to Haworth, a town which Plath visited a few times on visit to the area. The moor top drive was quite dramatic, as we rose and rose in elevation the temperature collapsed and rain turned to snow, which made for stunning scenery. The Brontë Parsonage and gift shop were both close for renovations, which was poor timing -- on their part! However, we were able to walk around the St. Michael & All Angels Church and visited several local shops. We read Plath's "November Graveyard" as this was the churchyard she writes about in that poem (early typescripts called the poem "November Graveyard, Haworth"). After this, we drove Gail back to Hebden Bridge, had lunch, and then began the long drive back to return the rental car. A fantastic dinner that night at Manna on Erskine Road in Primrose Hill concluded a successful tour.

Gail and the tour guide in the rain
photograph by Jeff
The cemetery that inspired Plath's poem
"November Graveyard" in Haworth
photograph by Peter K Steinberg

St. Michael & All Angels Church, Haworth
photo by Peter K Steinberg
This was an aggressive tour and sadly did not include Cambridge, which may be the only other place with a really deep Plathian connection other than satellite places she visited for an afternoon or a day such as Oxford, Stonehenge, Hartland, Cheltenham, Whitby, and Bangor, Wales, among others.

All photographs are copyrighted by the photographer and may not be used without their permission.

08 March 2014

How Rare is Sylvia Plath's The Colossus (1960)?

A couple of years ago, I learned and reported that the first edition print run for a Victoria Lucas Bell Jar (Heinemann, 1963, pictured right) was 2,000. This is an interesting number to know because it helps us recognize the scarcity of Plath's novel. The number was described in Stephen Tabor's incomparable Sylvia Plath: An Annotated Bibliography as a "token quantity".

Recently I learned from a bookseller in England, Giles Bird O.B.E. of BAS Ltd. in London, that the first printing of Plath's 1960 volume of poetry The Colossus was a number far less than that of The Bell Jar. (He in turn, it should be said, was provided with the figure by the amazing Jean Rose, an archivist at Random House Group UK which holds Heinemann's archives.) Anyone want to take a guess as to the number?

My first reaction was shock. However, shock might have been a premature evaluation. After all, Heinemann was not normally a publisher of poetry. And in light of the fact that they were more known for their fiction -- Heinemann were publishers, according to Plath, of "Somerset Maugham, Evelyn Waugh, DH Lawrence, Erskine Caldwell" (letter to Aurelia and Warren Plath, 11 February 1960) -- perhaps the qualification for the size of the print of The Bell Jar as a "token quantity" of 2,000 is not too low after all? That is, perhaps it was a "token quantity" compared to the normal print runs of those well-known novelists. Regarding Plath's assertion that Waugh was a Heinemann author, Bird wrote me that "Sylvia got it wrong about Evelyn Waugh having Heinemann as his publisher. He didn't. His UK publisher was pretty consistently Chapman & Hall. Heinemann only brought out a few Waugh reprints in the late 70s - which Sylvia never saw. However, in addition to the other great writers she listed, Heinemann were Graham Greene's publisher from 1929 up until 1961."

Oh, I still have not mentioned how many copies were in the first print run of The Colossus, have I? Frankly, I cannot get over it. Plath was disappointed that her book, which although it had almost all of the poems in it published individually, won no prizes and was hardly promoted in England. Just after publication in October 1960, Plath wrote resignedly to her mother and brother, on 19 November 1960 to be exact, that perhaps The Colossus would make "a nice gift book". Indeed. Anyone lucky enough to own the book now is quite lucky!

Still waiting for the number of Colossi? Read on, please. Because I love Plath's books and enjoy seeing them, reading them, drooling over excellent quality first and limited editions at book fairs and in rare book libraries, it seems appropriate to list five current titles for sale from BAS Ltd., which all seem accurately described, affordably & competitively priced, and in fine condition.

***Please note the images provided in each description are from Giles Bird of BAS Ltd. There are more from where these came! Each book is available as of today's date, please contact BAS Ltd. for availability and information.***
1. Ariel, Faber, 1965:

London; Faber; octavo; first impression of first edition of author's celebrated and influential second collection of poetry, published posthumously, collated and edited by Ted Hughes, in a small printing of 3100 copies preceding the American edition by a year.

Very crisp and clean in original pink-red cloth boards, with gilt lettering bright to spine; unfaded and unworn appearance, binding very tight and square, with corners and edges sharp, unrubbed; gentle bump to foot of spine; internally also very fresh and unmarked with no inscriptions, no signs of previous usage or flaws to the paper; slightest of shadowing from inflaps to endpapers. Dustwrapper is very good and not price-clipped; it has light edgewear and handling marks, and very minor losses to extremes. Very good indeed. £440
2. Crossing the Water, Faber, 1971:

London; Faber; octavo; first impression of this first edition of a newly issued collection of poetry; very crisp in original blue cloth boards, with gilt lettering to spine, which is lightly spotted; tight and square, with corners sharp and unrubbed, and edges not bumped; a tiny flaw to cloth on rear cover; internally completely unmarked with no signs of usage or any faults to the paper; the unclipped dustwrapper is bright and in excellent condition; complete and undamaged with no handling signs to inflaps, no fraying to extremes or folds; only very minor vertical shelf-wear marks towards spine on rear white panel. Very good indeed. £80
3. The Bell Jar, Faber, 1966:

London; Faber; octavo; first printing – only 3000 copies in the run – of the first Faber sub-edition (the first with the author explicitly identified in titles) of Sylvia Plath's only novel.

Very crisp in original black cloth boards, with gilt lettering to spine; very tight and square, with corners sharp and unrubbed, and edges not bumped or shelf-worn at all; a remarkably fresh copy, totally denying nearly a half-century of age; internally completely unmarked with no signs of usage – apparently untouched; the unclipped dustwrapper is bright and totally unfaded; undamaged with absolutely no handling marks to white of panels or inflaps; only the tiniest of wear at the foot of spine at the rear fold. The black vortex design has never looked stronger than this. Fine. £390
4. Winter Trees, Faber, 1971:

London; Faber; octavo; first impression of first edition (5000 copies) of a newly issued collection of poetry which was Poetry Book Society's Choice for 1971. Very firm and fresh in original blue cloth boards, with silver lettering to spine; very tight and square, with corners sharp and unrubbed; edges not bumped, and only tiniest of wear evident at one edge at side of foot of spine; internally completely unmarked with no signs of usage or deterioration of paper quality; the unclipped dustwrapper is bright in its rich blue and white, complete and undamaged with no handling marks on rear white panel or either inflap. Fine. £90
5. The Colossus, Heinemann, 1960:

London; Heinemann; octavo; a first impression of the very scarce first edition of Sylvia Plath's first published collection of poetry: the only book published under her name in her lifetime, and then at the age of just 28. Published on 31st October 1960 [at 15/-] in an edition of ONLY 500 COPIES. (viz. Heinemann Archive/Random House Librarian's confirmation).

In Letters Home [26 October 1960], Sylvia Plath confided to her mother how excited she was with Heinemann's production of her poems:

"I am touched that my publisher got them out in my birthday week after I told him how superstitious I was. I hope the two printing errors towards the end don't upset you as much as they did me! I've marked the corrections in your books and am appalled that after several proofreadings I was guilty of letting them get through, but Ted has reassured me about them and you do, too. I am delighted with the color of the cover – the rich, green oblong, white jacket and black-and-white lettering – and the way the green cover inside matches with the gold letters. It is a nice fat book which takes up ¾ inch on the shelf, and I think they did a handsome job of it…"

This copy has clear provenance, and was purchased in March 1963 (the month after Sylvia Plath's untimely death at the age of 30) by Giles Gordon, whose dated ownership name is found on the ffep., and neat bookplate is set on the front pastedown. (Giles Gordon was an innovative and very influential literary agent who represented Peter Ackroyd and John Fowles among many others.)

In original green cloth boards with gilt lettering bright to spine; no noticeable wear, nor rubbing nor bumping of corners; square and tight; internally very fresh and firm; absolutely no handling marks or paper deterioration. An excellent copy in a very good dustwrapper, lightly nicked at head of spine and upper inflap fold, slightly sunned to spine and folds, as one might well expect for a frail, white and scarce wrapper - but still remarkably well preserved, and with no restoration. Now housed in a custom-made complementary dropback box, this is a highly desirable and rare copy of the very significant and influential first published collection of poetry by Sylvia Plath. £2500

500 copies! My my my.

All links accessed on 1 March 2014.

01 March 2014

Sylvia Plath and the SS United States

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes sailed from New York City to Southampton, England on the SS United States, which called itself, rightly, the "world's fastest ship". They set sail on 9 December 1959 and arrived in Southampton, England, on 14 December after a brief stop in Le Harve, France. Plath booked their passage from the United States Lines offices then located in Copley Square at 563 Boylston Street, Boston. The location is now a beer and wine shop filled with Boston's finest drunks (pictured right).

Plath began working on arrangements before Yaddo as her 1959-issued passport (held by Emory University) is dated 8 September 1959; and by 28 October 1959 was writing to her mother to enquire about getting withdrawal slips and or checks for the remainder of their ship-fare payment settled. There is an entry for the United States Lines Boston office in her address book, which is held at Smith College, with a notation (an appointment, possibly) that suggests she went there at 12 noon on Monday 30 November 1959.

Here are a couple of advertisements for the ship that were published on 27 October 1959 (left) and 5 November 1959 (right); two very Plathian dates:

In addition to being photographed at least once while on board at a meal (below right, this image was published in Letters of Ted Hughes, 2008, as illustration 2b), Plath wrote two letters while on board. One, as you might imagine, to her mother and the other to her Aunt Dorothy Benotti's family. Both letters are dated 13 December and both held by the Lilly Library. In addition, Ted Hughes penned a letter that same day to Aurelia Plath, which is also held by the Lilly Library.

The letter to the Benotti's was a handwritten note in a Christmas card. Plath writes that they were doing much eating and sleeping and that while the seas look calm, the ship rocks and rolls all the same. They take some walks on the deck and experiences just one clear-skied night.

The letter to her mother is three pages, handwritten, and on SS United States stationery. They were at desks in alcoves set aside for writing and Plath mentioned she had just finished reading Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, which disappointed her. Their luggage was just under the allowance for cubic feet. While she left Wellesley with a cold it had passed; as most of the decks were closed they walked around when and where they could. Plath comments on their cabin, mentions it is conveniently close to the dining room but that there are a bunch of girls who drink until very early in the morning and are loud, but that they sleep after meals to parcel it out. The letter asks questions about forwarding mail and other practical matters.

The letter from Ted Hughes is four, handwritten pages and also on SS United States stationery and begins with a description of the sea and says their cabin is on the water line, so they hear it constantly. Hughes is highly critical of the service and food, calling the process for afternoon Tea "military", saying that he and Plath preferred the Queen Elizabeth which they took in June 1957. However, he compliments the ship itself as "pleasant enough", saying that their deck walks are enjoyable. There is some overlap of content with Plath's letter. Hughes offers his own opinions about Aurelia Plath's work situation which are interesting to read and gives a decent insight into the nature of their relationship. Hughes asks to be updated on Sappho, their cat, requesting the occasional stamped paw-print on letters! In closing, Hughes mentions the Danish farmers and how he and SP had their photograph taken the night before (12 December) and that they were pleased that it came out "for once", and in wishing she take good care of herself, Hughes quotes from the last line of Robert Frost's poem "Good-by and Keep Cold": "Something has to be left for God".

The night before they left, on 8 December, Aurelia Plath sent a telegram to Ted Hughes regarding his poem "Dick Straightup", saying that the "arrangement" was "magnificent". The poem appeared in the December 1959 issue of The Atlantic. Thanks to this telegram, though, we know that Plath and Hughes were in Cabin A31 (which was in the Tourist Class deck) and that the ship left from Pier 86 (map). Below is a cropped image from a 1959 Deck Plan showing the location of Plath and Hughes' cabin.

The SS United States Now
Over Christmas, I happened to be driving through Philadelphia and noticed from the highway some distinguishable funnels on the Delaware River. Whilst traveling at an undisclosed speed, I recollected a television program I had seen earlier in the year about the SS United States. The wonderful CBS Sunday Morning profiled the ship on 17 February 2013. At the time I tweeted about it.

You can get wonderfully close-ish to the ship from the street. It being Christmas Day, traffic and activity on Pier 82 on South Christopher Columbus Boulevard (an excellent satellite image) was quite quiet and I snapped these pictures…

The Ship as Archive
Since October 2013, I have highlighted many archives that hold Sylvia Plath documents. In a grand sense, the SS United States is an archive, too. The SS United States, like 26 Elmwood Road, 23 Fitzroy Road, Haven House, and many other places in which Plath lived, stayed, or visited, plays host to a living archive -- an essence of herself that Plath left indelibly in places in which she ventured. This concept of a living archive is something Gail Crowther and I introduced and explored in "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England" and in "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past". While the notion of haunting Plath (and Plath haunting us) has been mentioned in our previous papers and initially in Gail's Ph.D thesis, having an awareness of and gaining access to these historical sites opens up the experience of reading Plath into new dimensions. The ship holds traces of her past occupants.

I have made two attempts to get a tour of the ship, however, in both instances they were unfortunately cancelled. If you Google Image the ship's name you can see old and current photos of her, which is now gutted on the inside as the building materials included asbestos. Are you interested in the SS United States? Here is more information.

The SS United States Conservancy
The SS United States Conservancy has a website, and they are on Facebook and Twitter, too. Please spend some time on all three mediums. While I would welcome donations for my work in Plath(!), if you have any money to spare and have ever benefited from something I have posted on this blog or on my website for Sylvia Plath, please, please, please consider donating to this very worthy initiative. In addition to all this, from 7 March to 14 September, at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, a special exhibit "SS United States: Charting a Course for America's Flagship" will be on display.

In researching more and more about the ship, I found it has a rather large, interesting, and significant internet presence. Recently in November 2013, it was the feature of a Daily Mail article, "Don't let her rust in peace: SS United States undergoing massive renovation to save the world's fastest ocean liner from being sold for scrap". And early this year, David Gambacorta asks "Will the SS United States find new life in 2014?" on philly.com.

And, here are more links to pictures and text about the SS United States (it seems that people feel about the SS United States the way we do about Sylvia Plath):
The SS United States has also been the subject of some books. These include:
  • The Superliner United States: World's Fastest Liner (New York: Rand McNally, 1953) (WorldCat)
  • Picture History of the SS United States by William H. Miller Jr. (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 2003) (WorldCat)
  • A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States by Steven Ujifiusa (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012) (WorldCat).
  • SS United States: Speed Queen of the Seas by William Miller (Stroud: Amberley, 2012) (WorldCat)
  • SS United States by Andrew Britton (Stroud, The History Press, 2012) (WorldCat)
Plath wrote the poem "On Deck" -- published in The New Yorker on 22 July 1961 -- in the year after her passage on the SS United States. In a draft of "On Deck" held by the Lilly Library, Plath first wrote about the shuffleboard players before changing the the image to "bingo" players. This was done at the New Yorker's suggestion, reasoning that shuffleboard connotes a daytime activity, and that while the poem is set at night, would not people be more apt to congregate at a bingo table… An image of the shuffleboard area on the first class open promenade can be seen in this article.

All links access 2, 8, and 14 January, and 23 February 2014.
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