Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Story of Elsie Metz

In a previous post I mentioned that my cousin had come into possession of a 1912 travel journal that belonged to Elsie Metz. Elsie is my second cousin, twice removed for those who are interested in the connection. Since scanning the journal, which covers a cruise she took from January 30, 1912 through May 20, 1912, I have been doing a bit of research on Elsie. Today I was excited to find a photo of Elsie from a 1953 trip she took to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She would have been 73, though I can't say for certain that the photo used on the passport was taken that year. It was a thrill for me to finally put a face on the woman who has begun to truly fascinate me. The document also included her signature, which is a find as well.

Elsie Lauretta Metz
Elsie was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to John and Isabella (Drescher) Metz in 1880. She had an older brother Daniel who was born in 1873. Neither she nor Daniel ever married, and they lived with their mother and father. When the parents passed away, Daniel and Elsie stayed in the family home on Melrose Avenue. Elsie went on to get not only a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1902, but also became a Teaching Fellow in Modern Languages there in 1903. She received a Master's of Arts degree in 1913. It was fairly unusual for a woman to obtain a college degree in the early 1900s, particularly from a university that was not exclusively for women. You can see why I am captivated by this woman.

In 1912 she began to travel, or at least that is the earliest I know that she traveled due to the existence of the journal. It makes me wonder if the cruise she took in 1912 was part of her thesis for her master's degree? Additionally I have found records of her traveling by ship in 1914 (she requested an emergency passport to return home from Berlin, Germany on August 5, 1915 - WWI began in 1914), in 1921 from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, in 1925 from Plymouth to New York, in 1930 from Boulogne, France to New York and in 1953 from Rio de Janiero to New York. I want to do a little research on the ships she traveled on to see if I can determine what the itinerary might have been.

Another thing I am curious about is where did the money come from? Her father died in 1921 and I do not yet know what he did for a living. Elsie herself may have continued teaching, so I need to check that out. Her travels always took place during what would be the school year however. I have quite a bit of research to do, complicated as usual by the fact that many of the records are in Cincinnati while I am in St. Louis. Time for another road trip!

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Elsie was quite a pioneer! I can see why she has a stranglehold on your curiosity.