Rosenberg Treasure: Bettie Brown’s 1902 Transatlantic Voyage

Bettie Brown’s 1902 Transatlantic Voyage

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Last Updated: March 3, 2020 by Rosenberg Library | History

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During the month of March, Rosenberg Library will exhibit an assortment of travel souvenirs collected by Galveston resident Bettie Brown during her 1902 transatlantic voyage.

Bettie Brown Photo
Rebecca Ashton “Bettie” Brown (1855-1920) Courtesy Rosenberg Library
Bettie Brown's Passport
Passport used by Bettie Brown during her 1902 transatlantic voyage. Although she listed her age as 37, she was actually 47 years old at that time. Courtesy Rosenberg Library

In February 1902, Galveston socialite Bettie Brown embarked on a grand tour of Europe and the Mediterranean. After travelling from Texas to New York, she departed the United States onboard the luxurious ocean liner RMS Celtic. After a one-week cruise across the Atlantic, the ship reached its first stop at Madeira. From there, the group travelled to Gibraltar, Algiers, Malta, and Greece.

On March 1, RMS Celtic stopped in Turkey. There, Brown and her fellow tourists visited museums, ancient sites, and shops. She purchased a number of souvenirs during this leg of her journey including a pair of calfskin shoes, a beaded hand mirror, and a Turkish pipe, all of which are part of the museum collection at Rosenberg Library.

After departing from Turkey, the ship travelled to Israel where passengers spent several days. Brown visited the cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. She collected additional souvenirs from Mount Olivet and the Dead Sea.


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Turkish Hand Mirror, Bettie Brown
Bettie Brown’s Mirror Courtesy Rosenberg Library
Turkish Cup, Bettie Brown
Bettie Brown’s Turkish Cup Courtesy Rosenberg Library

Egypt was the next stop on the journey. Brown explored the Citadel, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Great Sphinx, collecting additional keepsakes along the way.

Brown’s voyage continued through Italy, France, and Vienna, finally concluding in England. After nearly three months abroad, she began the journey home to Galveston in late April 1902.

Bettie Brown, Turkish Slippers 1902
Turkish Slippers Courtesy Rosenberg Library

Bettie Brown’s travel souvenirs from her 1902 vacation are now preserved in Rosenberg Library’s permanent museum collection. The library also preserves additional artifacts and archival materials related to the Brown family within its Special Collections.

Rosenberg Library

Rosenberg Library has offered over a century of community service to the Galveston area, and is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. The building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. The Moody Memorial Wing opened in 1971, more than doubling the floor space and allowing for a children’s library, a history center, several galleries to showcase museum collections, and later, a computer lab. The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Each month they display a “Treasure of the Month”. Learn more by visiting the Rosenberg Library page and the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg section.

2020-03-03T08:37:55-05:00

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