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Mary Patricia Spaulding Scrapbook

1956
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 927

In 1956, the graphic designer Pat Spaulding left for a tour of Europe. During her seven months abroad, she and her friend Maureen Jones traveled by motor scooter through France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, staying in hostels and taking in the sights. Perhaps most memorably, Spaulding tore her Achilles tendon while visiting in Siena, Italy, receiving generous care from her hosts during the four-week period of her recovery.

A refreshing record of two young American women traveling alone in Europe during the mid-1950s, this scrapbook is populated with dozens of well laid-out photographs of sites seen, along with Spaulding's letters home and a raft of ephemera such as picture postcards, copies of ticket stubs and passport pages, an international driver's license, smallpox immunization certificate, maps, newsclippings, and beer coasters. Notably, the album also includes a number of beautiful, skillfully-rendered line drawings.

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Background on Pat Spaulding


An image of: Pat Spaulding at the Palio di Siena, July 2, 1956

Pat Spaulding at the Palio di Siena, July 2, 1956

Having turned twenty-one, the budding graphic designer Pat Spaulding decided to take a long tour of Europe to experience the culture firsthand. Born in Hartford, Maine, on Aug. 30, 1934, Spaulding had determined to make a career in the arts after graduating from Athol High School in 1952, studying graphic design at Phoenix College in Arizona and at the Los Angeles Art Center, working on the side as a technical illustrator at Douglas Aircraft.

Spaulding sailed for Europe aboard the SS Maasdam on February 10, 1956, and after spending a few days in London, she began her experience on the continent in earnest. In Paris, she met up with Maureen Jones, a friend from California and after purchasing a Lambretta scooter, the young women embarked on an adventurous tour alone through France. Over the course of a month, the two traveled over a thousand miles, staying in youth hostels and seeing the sights in Brittany, the Loire Valley, and the Cote d'Azur. They saw Josephine Baker in Paris and operas and museums, cafes and cathedrals. In June and July, they continued on into Italy, stopping in Rome, Naples, Tuscany, Venice, Florence, and taking in the Palio di Siena festival.

During a stop-over in Ferrara, Spaulding joined some Americans she had met in a basketball game, tearing her Achilles tendon when a young man accidentally stepped on her heel. The injury was severe enough to require a full-leg cast and a stint in hospital, and Spaulding was forced to remain in town for four weeks. During that time, she wrote, she was met with nothing but kindness from all, discovering not only that the Italians cared for her leg, but lodged and fed her at no cost. One young Italian attorney whom she met wrote to her parents about the impact Spaulding made:

The friends of mine and I... did try to soothe her pain. As a compensation for that we have had the delight of the company which none of my friends would have to forget, which never I'll forget. I've had the exceptional opportunity to appreciate, besides the noble talents of her intelligence, the sweetness of her speech, the delicateness of her spirit and the sensibility of her soul, too.

After her recovery, Spaulding traveled through Switzerland, Austria, and Germany during August and September before finally returning home by ship. The total cost of her trip was a mere $1,600. As she prepared for the return, she wrote home:

I still can't realize that in four weeks I'll be sailing home, or that I've been here for more than 7 months. It all has passed so fantastically swiftly that when I think about them -- Rome, Capri, Paris, London -- they all seem as though in a big long dream and I was never actually there at all -- especially the times that we were cold or hungry, saw some unexplainably beautiful sight, or were frustrated because we couldn't speak the language. We, in the new world, have so much to learn from Europe and I wish more young people could spend time here. I suppose eventually they will. I know that I wouldn't trade these seven months for any others that I've known.

Later in life, Spaulding settled in Athol, beginning a career as a freelance graphic designer in 1973, working for local clients such as L.S. Starrett, Whipps Inc., the Athol Credit Union, and Red Apple Farm.

Scope of collection

A refreshing record of two young American women traveling alone in Europe during the mid-1950s, this scrapbook is populated with dozens of well laid-out photographs of sites seen, along with Spaulding's letters home and a raft of ephemera such as picture postcards, copies of ticket stubs and passport pages, an international driver's license, smallpox immunization certificate, maps, newsclippings, and beer coasters. Notably, the album also includes a number of beautiful, skillfully-rendered line drawings.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Gift of Mary Patricia Spaulding with the generous assistance of Allen Young, Aug. 2016.

Bibliography

Allen Young, "Pat Spauding's excellent adventures," Athol Daily News (Aug. 11, 2011), p. 9.

Digitized content

Selected items have been digitized and are available online through Credo.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Aug. 2016.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Mary Patricia Spaulding Scrapbook (MS 927). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • France--Description and travel
  • Germany--Description and travel
  • Italy--Description and travel
  • Italy--Photographs
  • Jones, Maureen
  • London (England)--Description and travel
  • London (England)--Photographs
  • Paris (France)--Description and travel
  • Paris (France)--Photographs

Contributors

  • Spaulding, Mary Patricia [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbooks

Link to similar SCUA collections