Sociability and "separate spheres" on the North Atlantic: the interior architecture of British Atlantic liners, 1840-1930.
In the lounge of the White Star liner Adriatic in yesterday from Southampton, smoke rolled from women's lips, and dainty fingers flicked the ashes from cigarettes heedless of Alderman Timothy P. Sullivan and all his new ordinance stands for. (1)
So begins a column in the Sunday New York Times for January 26, 1908 run under the headline "Many Women Smoked on Incoming Liners". Others have documented the history of women and tobacco, including Alderman Sullivan's ill-fated attempt to ban women from smoking in public in New York City. (2) Here we present a history of the room in which such an event could occur - the ship's Lounge.
This article explores changes in the configuration of public rooms in the premier passenger class (successively saloon, first, and cabin) on British express liners between 1840 and 1930. (3) In common with other public spaces occupied by travelers - hotels, trains, steamboats - the interior architecture of the liners reflected first the waxing, then, at the turn of the century, the waning of the Victorian doctrine of "separate spheres" for men and women. On the liners, however, the attainment of separate spheres in the organization of public rooms was delayed and compromised. Shipboard social life up to 1870 was centered on the common ground of the saloon. Between 1870 and 1880, the smoking room emerged as a male retreat for social activities, while the saloon continued as a common, if now more genteel, social gathering place. Only in the early 1880s did the shipboard equivalent of the Victorian parlor appear in the form of the music room. The saloon, once the day-long social center of the ship, was demoted to a single purpose dining room. Daytime shipboard life was now dominated by the separate gendered spaces of smoking room and drawing room. At night the latter served as a genteel common social center juxtaposed to the male enclave of the smoking room. Even at this stage, however, such regulation was compromised as passengers sought out common meeting grounds in undesignated spaces.
Separate spheres was fully realized in shipboard interior architecture just as it began to unravel on land, at least in the leading hotels. In 1905, Cunard introduced the Lounge, a new common social room already found in many large hotels. Gendered social spaces thereafter rapidly lost ground in the interior architecture of first class passenger spaces, culminating in a proliferation of new common spaces and the opening of the smoking room to women.
The distinct path followed by shipboard architecture can be explained in terms of two inter-related features of the shipboard social environment. The first is that the public rooms in saloon class were socially sheltered spaces. While hotels were open to the street and steamboats and trains served diverse clienteles, the shipboard saloon was restricted to comparatively narrow social strata with both the means and the motive to undertake a transatlantic crossing. The second is a norm of sociability authorizing an exceptional level of informal contact between men and women. This was bred in the highly uncomfortable and not infrequently dangerous circumstances of the long early crossings but surviving even as conditions improved.
Numerous studies have documented the impact of the Victorian doctrine of separate spheres on the architecture of public spaces. This is particularly the case for travel venues, where gatherings of strangers posed new problems of social regulation. In all these venues, women travelers found themselves a small minority among men usually travelling alone. The result was invariably a trend in design favoring compartmentalized, gendered spaces over communal spaces. In many sites, however, gender segregation served, at the same time, as means of regulating contact among social classes. Separate spheres was an ideology of middle class or genteel "ladyhood". (4) The Victorian domestic parlor, transformed into a public room, often became a retreat not only for middle class women but also their male escorts, away from the "vulgar" classes. In the transatlantic liners, the class dimension is largely absent, and thus, it could be argued, the imperative to regulating social contacts was diminished.
The Centrality of the Saloon (1840-1870)
Regular steamship service across the north Atlantic can be dated from 1838. Pioneering ventures were based on small wooden paddlers (sidewheelers) powered by inefficient steam engines. Most hull space was occupied by boilers, engines and coal, leaving little space for cargo and paying passengers. Of necessity, these ships carried only saloon passengers and small amounts of high value cargo. The survival of liner service required, in fact, an additional revenue stream - the government mail contract - leading to national monopolies on key routes, in particular the Cunard (British)-Collins Line (American) rivalry of the 1850s. This business model for mail steamers was dominant until the Civil War. It ended in the latter half of the 1860s when much more efficient iron-hulled steamers attained speeds suitable for express service while preserving sufficient interior spaces to carry steerage passengers and/or substantial cargo, as well as saloon passengers. (5)
Early steamers adopted and adapted the basic interior design of the (largely American) sailing packets. (6) The main public room was the saloon which functioned as dining-room and social centre. Staterooms were arranged on either side this large central space. The entire ensemble was called the main cabin, aft of the paddles. In larger ships the pattern might be duplicated in a fore cabin toward the bow, although in this instance the central public space might not be used as a second dining-room. The only other mandatory public room was a small retiring area for women. This was typically called the ladies' cabin and was often in proximity to staterooms reserved for women. Male smokers were typically allocated a deckhouse shelter for smoking, which was not allowed below decks.
The Unique Social Environment of the Saloon
In 1859, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book: A Guide, and Manual for Ladies, offered extensive advice to ladies venturing to travel. The book includes chapters on domestic travel by rail and steamboat, and one on shipboard etiquette. The former deal with managing transitory situations and encounters. Here the author provides advice on minimizing contact with strangers while obtaining such assistance as is necessary. (7) In the case of shipboard etiquette, the orientation is quite different, namely to provide guidance for living in a new and stressful, if temporary, neighborhood:
There are few places where the looks and manners of the company are more minutely scanned than on ship-board; and few where the agreeability of a lady will be more appreciated. There is little or no variety of objects to attract attention. The passengers are brought so closely into contact with each other, and confined to so small a neighbourhood, or rather so many neighbours are crowded into so small a space, that all their sayings and doings are noticed with unusual attention, by those who are well enough to regard anything but themselves. (8)
Living conditions on the Atlantic ferry encouraged, even required, passengers to regard themselves as members of a temporary community. The saloon was the social center of the neighborhood - at least for those not confined to their cabin by seasickness. It was accessible to passengers - male and female - from morning to lights out; passengers had meals, conversed, read, played cards and chess, and pursued other recreations to pass the time. A contemporary description of the informality and conviviality of saloon life is provided in Lady Isabelle Bird's account of a winter crossing from Boston to Liverpool in the early 1850s in Cunard's America. (9)
The saloons in the early steamers were, like other travel venues, overwhelmingly, populated by men traveling unaccompanied by family. (10) Women comprised, on average, slightly fewer than one in five adult passengers. Of these, typically a third or more would be traveling without spouses or male relatives. Thus the gender imbalance in the saloon is typical of other travel venues that rapidly moved to rigid segregation of women from single men.
For Americans, the common space of the saloon was in sharp contrast to the extreme gender segregation of inland travel. (11) In hotels, on steamboats and canal boats, and in trains, women - at least middle class, genteel women - were rigidly segregated from unattached men, and in some venues, even from husbands or male escorts. American hotels had emerged from the ranks of taverns and coffee-houses in the first half of the nineteenth century, partly on the basis of their respectability. Respectability was demonstrated by breaking with the "communal, utilitarian spaces of the tavern" to provide separate facilities for women and for families, apart from those for single men. (12) What began as the provision of a ladies entrance and parlor, expanded, in the luxury hotels into a whole suite of gender-segregated specialized facilities. Braden, describing the architecture of Florida resort hotels of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant in the Gilded Age, notes:
At first the Flagler and Plant resorts, like so many nineteenth- century hotels, catered to women by creating genteel and refined, but gendered spaces, purportedly to accommodate a feminine sense of decorum. Ground plans included a bevy of "ladies' entries," "ladies' parlors," "ladies' billiard rooms," and private dining rooms. (13)
On American railways, after a brief period of mixed coaches, train design moved rapidly to separate spheres once "more and more people from all segments of society used them daily." (14) Charles Dickens writes of a trip to Lowell from Boston in 1850:
There are no first and second class carriages as with us; but there is a gentlemen's ear and a ladies' car: the main distinction between which is that in the first, everybody smoke; and in the second, nobody does. ... In the ladies' car, there are a great many gentlemen who have ladies with them. There are also a great many ladies who have nobody with them: for any lady may travel alone... (15)
Rail travel offered a more liberal version of separate spheres than water transport. McCall, in a history of gendered spaces on American railroads, argues that the ladies' cars in the 1840s, by admitting men acting as escorts, represented a break from the tradition of canal and steamboats. (16)
On western steamboats, an interior architecture superficially similar to that of the steamers had become standard by the 1850s. This consisted of a long saloon, surrounded by staterooms. The saloon, however, was rigidly divided into a gentlemen's and Ladies' cabin, separated first by a physical partition, later by symbolic barriers.
The carpeted floor marked the limits of the ladies' division of the cabin, within which gentlemen were forbidden except on invitation of the other sex or when traveling with their wives. The gentlemen's portion of the saloon with its un-carpeted floor customarily served as a common dining room and was the only part of the gentlemen's cabin which ladies might with propriety frequent, and then only during meal times. (17)
This limited permeability of the ladies' cabin, initially barred even to husbands, was a late development and contested into the 1860s. (18)
A succession of British visitors - most famously, Francis Trollope and Charles Dickens - found the lack of a core social space on the steamboat, and the absence of sociability even at mealtime, disconcerting. (19) British visitors essentially explained their experiences in terms of what would now be termed "American exceptionalism". As early as 1837, however, Francis Joseph Grund offered an alternative explanation, arguing that it was the mixing of social classes that determined the rigid etiquette on board:
Much has been said on the anomalies of conduct of American travellers, especially on board of steamboats; and unjust comparisons have been drawn between them and the passengers on European boats, sufficiently prejudicial to the former. No allowance, however, seems to have been made for the different materials, composing these companies, and the peculiar usages established on board of American boats. Were the passengers in European steamers composed chiefly of small traders, hawkers, journeymen mechanics and operatives of all descriptions to sit down at the same table with the polite and wealthier classes I, for ray part, would not wish to witness the solecisms of deportment or which they might he guilty. ... (20)
Grund's rejoinder suggests, more broadly, that the exceptionally rigorous pursuit of separate spheres in America bore a direct relationship to the exceptional democratization of social contact among classes that European visitors had come to witness. Dunlop writes of the Ladies Cabin:
Physical separation of the two genders aboard the boars and elsewhere can he read as purchasable class status, as recognition of the necessity to offer women refuge from men's uncontrollably bad behavior ..." (21)
Thus gender and class segregation become entwined. The bargain, however, was only opened to women, and in most venues, some men - those who could present themselves as husbands or escorts. Unattached male travelers - whatever their social status - found themselves on trains and steamboats, confined to communal spaces frequently marked by their vulgarity, typified by the near-universality of chewing tobacco and spitting. (With the appearance of luxury and middle class hotels, vulgarity for hotel residents was encountered mainly at the entrance open to the street.) Many resented and a few attempted to circumvent their isolation, the latter by attaching themselves, sometimes by dubious means to women. (22)
For all its exposure to the natural elements, the saloon was a sheltered social space. (23) Western steamboat trips were measured in days, minimally dangerous and cheap enough to be readily accessible, to the broad spectrum of people for both local and long distance travel along the rivers. Trains competed for a similar clientele. Passage on the transatlantic steamers was always lengthy, and both more expensive in itself and, possibly excepting family visits, part of an even more expensive undertaking. (24) Comparatively few had both the motive and the means to make the crossings. While saloon passengers invariably commented on the diversity among their fellow passengers, it is nationality, religion or opinion that is usually cited (as by Bird).
Yet it also clear, that the enforced sociability of the saloon created tensions. Isabella Lucy Bird's account of activities in the saloon on crossing to America on Cunard's Canada in the 1850s reveals the clash of gentility and vulgarity kept carefully separated on western steamboats.
Comic drinking-songs, and satires on the English, the latter to the tune of 'Yankee Doodle,' were sung in the saloon in the evenings round large howls of punch, and had the effect of keeping many of the ladies on deck, when a refuge from the cold and spray would have been desirable; but with this exception the conduct of the passengers on the whole was marked by far more propriety than could have been ex-peered from so mixed a company. If the captain had been more of a disciplinarian, even this annoyance might have been avoided. (25)
The price of enjoyment of the sociability of the saloon was sometimes uncomfortable accommodation, particularly by women. Yet in Bird's account, while it is the women who first take refuge on deck to escape the vulgarity of men in the saloon, at the end of the evening, they are later replaced at the rail by men enjoying the cigars forbidden in the saloon.
There are, then, mild shipboard echoes of the tensions favoring separate spheres on land. However, the response is uniquely different - rather than segregate women, a separate space was provided in which men could behave (comparatively) badly when they chose. This first step toward replacement of common by gendered spaces was not, however, directly initiated either by ideological conceptions of proper design or passenger preference: it emerged as an unintended consequence of commercial competition for dominance of the Atlantic ferry.
Cunard Sets the Direction
In the spring of 1850, the Illustrated London News sent a correspondent to Liverpool to supply descriptions of two new ships likely to dominate the north Atlantic in the coming year. The first was Collins Line's Atlantic, newly arrived on her maiden voyage from New York. The second was Cunard's response, the Asia, just delivered by her builders. (26) These ships were of similar size and designed to serve the same clientele, yet they partitioned passenger spaces in markedly different ways.
The Atlantic was the first in a class of four fast ships known at the time and remembered since for their luxury. The passenger spaces on the Collins liners were dominated by twinned saloons: a dining saloon, and a second saloon or drawing room, set side by side on the same deck, separated by the steward's pantry. In addition the interior architecture included, near the saloon, what Morrison terms a ladies' drawing room, and the Illustrated London News identifies as "another apartment, equally beautifully arranged and ornamented, for the exclusive use of ladies." (27) A deckhouse smoking room was linked to the deck below by a companion way.
The Collins liners were not the first to organize passenger spaces around twinned saloons. An earlier Cunard competitor, the Great Western Steamship Company, had done so in two Atlantic liners designed by the great Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel - the Great Western (1838) and the Great Britain (1845). Both ships had upper and lower saloons on adjoining decks, linked by companionways. However, the dining saloon remained the unrivaled social center. In Great Western, the second lower saloon was essentially a lounge for those in the surrounding staterooms. (28) In Great Britain, however, the second "promenade saloon" located on the deck above the dining saloon, offered an informal meeting space for all saloon passengers in the form of an inboard promenade deck. The design, however, a long, narrow, Spartan space for walking divided by central pillars, offered limited possibilities for social activity. (29) This changed on the Collins liners.
The Illustrated London News' depiction of the Atlantic's saloon or drawing room or "grand saloon" - the article uses all three designations on the same page -shows again, an elongated space, divided by central pillars. (The grand saloon was 67 by 20 feet in actuality, slightly larger in length than the dining saloon.) However, the room is carpeted and lined with armchairs and sofas, on one of which is a discarded cloak. A large writing table occupies the foreground of the drawing, occupied by a lady and gentlemen. Further back, two ladies sit in comfortable chairs, a gentleman inclines over one. An atmosphere of relaxed informality is evident.
The Collins Line is sometimes seen as bringing the extravagant decorative style of western steamboats to the north Atlantic. Whatever the truth of the claim, the interior architecture of the Atlantic was the antithesis of steamboat architecture, favoring common over gendered spaces. This line of development ended, however, in 1854 when the Collins Line failed, a victim of bad luck (two ships lost within eighteen months) and bad management (the Line never turned a profit).
Cunard's triumph meant that the Atlantic ferry would be dominated, for the next two decades, by a company conservative in all aspects of ship design. (30) The Asia had a single saloon located in a freestanding deckhouse, virtually identical in size to the dining saloon in Atlantic. This was also the social center and had sofas around the entire circumference. There was also a deckhouse smoking room. On the main deck below the saloon, a ladies' cabin was twinned with a gentlemen's cabin, both fitted with sofas similar to chose in the saloon. Asia followed the basic template of the original Britannia class steamers that fulfilled Cunard's first mail contract in the 1840s. (31) What distinguished the Asia was the addition of a gentlemen's cabin, occupying space that, in the Britannia class was devoted to staterooms. Where the Collins Line had expanded and diversified the common areas of the ship, Cunard had moved in the direction of separate spheres.
Persia (1856), Cunard's first iron ship, and the Line's first new mail steamer after the demise of the Collins Line, continued the movement toward separate spheres. (32) On the main deck was a room for gentlemen "... who desire to sit in the centre of the ship. ..." and adjoining it is the ladies' cabin, "which is a gorgeous room ... (33) The status of the smoking room deckhouse was upgraded by a direct passage from the saloon through "..two massive folding doors." In the Atlantics, the closer linkage of the smoking room to the saloon was balanced by the expansion of communal space; in Persia it reinforces a design that already favors separate spheres. (34)
The ladies' and gentlemen's cabins on Cunarders remained retreats; the saloon continued as the social center of the ship. The upgrading of the smoking room was, however, a harbinger of things to come.
The Smoking Room Moves to the Center (1870-1880)
On the night of November 7 1879, the Guion Line's Arizona, eastbound to Liverpool, ran headlong into an iceberg south of Newfoundland. Both the ship, and all aboard her, survived. A New York Herald correspondent on board provided a description of social activities at the time of the collision:
After dinner on Friday, according to their wont, the Indies sat in the saloon and whiled away the hours with gleeful song, while a number of gentlemen occupied "Social Hall' (the smoking room) and amused themselves selling pools on the run at auction. As a large number of passengers were buyers for American commercial houses the latter pastime was entered into with peculiar zest. Suddenly there was a crash, and the money-gatherer and his gold and silver were hurled on the floor ... The shock of the collision was felt in the saloon even more severely than on the upper deck. At the moment it occurred Miss Goslett was playing the accompaniment to the glee 'See our oars with feathered spray,' which was being sung by some ladies and gentlemen. (35)
On Arizona, a nighttime division into relatively genteel and relatively "common" or vulgar social centers had resolved the tensions Bird experienced on Canada. The smoking room now served as an alternative, exclusively male social center. The transition had been made not by Canard, but by a new competitor - the White Star Line - one of several exploiting a new business model based on iron hulled screw vessels with sufficiently large internal volumes to handle cargo or steerage traffic as well as saloon passengers.
In 1870 White Star debuted on the Atlantic ferry with the iconic Oceanic class steamers. These steamers employed compound engines and an improved hull design reducing friction, increasing efficiency and reducing the space requirements for fuel. They also introduced a new interior architecture for passenger spaces in first class. The old division of main and fore cabin was replaced by a model that set first class passengers and their public rooms at the center of the ship. As part of this redesign, the smoking room began a rapid rise to prominence as a major public room.
The New York Times offered a glowing description of the smoking-room on Oceanic:
Gentlemen will find their tastes consulted in the fittings up of a club smoking-room, large and well ventilated, warmed, too with steam-pipes, and furnished with easy chairs, lounges and tables. The windows have an uninterrupted view in every direction. (36)
In the next three decades, ships increased in size, speed and luxury based on competition fed by technological innovation. (37) In this highly competitive environment, innovations in interior architecture as well as technological innovation diffused rapidly.
While both the Collins Line and Cunard (in Persia) had made some effort to integrate the smoking room with public areas centered on the saloon, yet on most ships the smoking room appears to have remained a Spartan, isolated deckhouse, often barely a room at all. Gibbs writes that "Oceanic had a proper built-in smoke-room; earlier vessels had only a canvas structure". Brinnin offers a similar view of Oceanic:
Gentlemen could go to a smoking room on the main deck that was "quite a narcotic paradise," open "to sea and sky or closed to both." For the first time since the Great Eastern, smokers did not have to go, so to speak, behind the barn. (38)
Graham, writing in the Shipbuilding and Shipping Record in 1938, offers a similar capsule history, specifically in relation to Cunard ships.
The smoking-room has an interesting history. In the Cunard archives is a note about the only place on board ship for smoking being "a canvas shelter on deck with camp stools for seating." It would seem that prior to 1874 - when the Bothnia and Scythia both had a smoking-room - smoking was prohibited below the main deck on all passenger ships. (39)
Once "built in," the smoking room rapidly grew in prominence among the public rooms, first rivaling then overshadowing that other gender-segregated space - the Ladies' room. The evolution begins within the Oceanic class itself. In the Oceanic, the Ladies' Boudoir is located aft of the main saloon; the smoking room occupies a deckhouse on the promenade or spar deck; two decks above. On the Britannic of 1874, it is the Ladies' Saloon that is located on the promenade deck though now "the handsomest room in the vessel" rather than the "cosy cabin" on Oceanic. The smoking room is one deck below on the upper deck, off the first class entrance lobby and easily reached from the main saloon on the deck below using the companionway linking it to entrance lobby. Thus the Ladies' saloon became the more remote satellite to the main saloon. The Arizona (1879) followed a similar pattern to Britannic. The smoking room is just forward of the main saloon on the main deck; the ladies' boudoir is on the promenade deck.
Cunard incorporated smoking rooms into design of the Bothnia and Scythia (1874) and in the later Gallia (1879). In these ships the smoking room and a ladies' upper cabin or deck saloon, are both housed in deckhouses on the promenade deck. There is, however, an additional ladies' cabin or boudoir on a lower deck. (40) The interior architecture of these ships thus combines the older design of saloon and adjoining women's (and companions') retreat, found on the first Britannia, with a new separate spaces approach in the promenade deckhouses.
Press reports of these changes in shipboard interior architecture focus almost entirely on improvements in passenger comfort, spaciousness and decoration. What escapes comment is the impact on the organization of social activities. Yet the emergence of the smoking room before the drawing room might have been viewed as odd in terms of the Victorian domestic template. The drawing room or parlor was at the core of the Victorian house; the smoking room was an optional adjunct for the wealthy. Had the evening's activities on Arizona followed the Victorian domestic pattern, the women would have adjourned to the drawing room, while the men inherited the saloon to enjoy an after dinner drink and to smoke, later joining the women for music, games and conversation. (41) Had this happened, the interior architecture of the north Atlantic liners might have come to resemble that of the western steamboats - the women confined to the drawing room, the men in sole possession of the saloon except at mealtimes. Priority went, however, to creating a semblance of a gentlemen's club on board. The drawing room did appear on the liners, but a full decade after the smoking room's rise to prominence. Thus the mixed space of the saloon remained the main social center of shipboard life for a further decade.
The main saloon in the Oceanics remains both the dining hall and the main social center of first class, housing the library and piano. However, on Britannic at least, at the head of the central companionway - the main thoroughfare between the deckhouse and the saloon below - was what is variously described as a large room or a large lobby, provided with sofas, adjacent to the smoking room. (42) Thirty years later the Times will suggest that undesignated spaces like this open to men and women, were precursors of the lounge.
The Sway of the Grand Saloon No More: The Music Room Completes the Victorian Tableau (1880-1905)
In April 1893, Engineering, in describing the new Cunard express liners Campania and Lucania, commented that "The public rooms on the promenade deck being of unusual size, the dining-room is designed purely as a salle a manager ..." (43) Dawson dates this transition almost a decade earlier with the Umbria (1884) and Etruria (1885). (44) The immediate starting point for this transition can be found, however, two years earlier in Cunard's Servia (1882). Servia was another iconic liner: the first steel mail steamer on the New York route and the first to be lit entirely by electricity. (45) She also introduced the next transition in interior architecture. Her deckhouses held not only a smoking room and a ladies' boudoir, but attached to the latter was something new - a large music room, essentially a drawing room.
Engineering's comment suggests that the demotion of the saloon to a dining saloon on Campania and Lucania is the result of a new surplus of public spaces allowing a specialization of function not previously possible. The saloon need no longer serve as a social center as other spaces are available to serve this role. In fact, the restricted function of the saloon signaled a fundamental shift in the character of shipboard social spaces. The elevation of the smoking room had juxtaposed a common social space of the saloon - available to male and female passengers throughout the day - to an exclusively male preserve. The appearance of a music room/drawing room provided a space reserved to women in daytime under the informal norms of the parlor. (46) While the saloon had become more parlor-like after the elevation of the smoking room, the introduction of the real thing created the possibility of sharply increased gender segregation for most of the day. The demotion of the saloon to a dining-room realized this possibility. The promenade decks provided informal public spaces but were not enclosed spaces and thus inhospitable gathering places much of the time.
As with the smoking room, this latest innovation spread rapidly. The music room became standard on Cunarders, and was incorporated into newbuilding by other lines. With the appearance of the music room, the ladies' room or boudoir was pushed to the margins and eventually faded away in First Class. In Servia (1882) smoking room, music room and ladies' boudoir share deckhouses on the same deck; in Umbria and Etruria (1884), the upper deck houses a smoking room and music room while the ladies' room has again migrated to the promenade deck, above. (There is again, also a ladies' boudoir near the saloon as on Bothnia, one deck below the smoking and music rooms.) (47) On Campania and Lucania (1893), the promenade deck in first class is the site of a smoking room, a drawing room and a Library, here an actual room, not a bookshelf in an alcove. (The dining-saloon is on the Main Deck, two decks below the other major public rooms.) The library is at the bow; aft is the smoking room and in the centre, the drawing-room. The drawing room is clearly intended to be the evening social center of First Class; it is the largest of the three rooms and contains both a piano and an organ. (48) There are no counterparts to the ladies' deck saloon and ladies' boudoir found on Umbra and Etruria.
Inman's City of Paris (1889) offered a roster of public rooms similar to Campania - ladies' drawing room ("about three times as large as these places usually are"), library (a very large and commodious apartment) and smoking room ("nearly two hundred people can engage in making the air blue at once"). (49) The increase in size of the "ladies" drawing room can be taken as signaling a change in social function similar to the music room on Campania.
White Star completed the Victorian tableau more economically with two rather than three rooms. The second Oceanic (1899) offered a smoking-saloon, and a library only, however:
... this library, which also serves the purpose of a drawing-room, is an exceedingly beautiful apartment, and is certainly the choicest feature in the ship. The remaining living room is the smoking-saloon. ... It is a spacious apartment ... but not so attractive as the library, which will he chiefly the ladies' room ... (50)
The saloon is on the main deck, the smoking-saloon on the upper deck and the library on the promenade. This second Oceanic was followed by the larger Celtics class: Celtic (1901) Cedric, (1903), Baltic (1904) and Adriatic (1907). The first three of White Star's "Big Four" offered the same roster of public rooms as Oceanic; Adriatic added a lounge. In Baltic the library and smoking room (and on Adriatic, the lounge) were located on promenade decks two above the dining saloon. (51)
The Transition in Context
By the turn of the century, the old order of public spaces on the express liners had been completely overturned. The saloon - the old social center - had become simply a dining room, located on a lower deck from other public rooms. The social center of the ship remained above, divided between the gendered spaces of the music/drawing room and smoking room. It should be stressed, however, that access to the music room was not barred to unattached men, even in daytime when only social custom dictated their absence.
The completion of the Victorian tableau on the liners produced a temporary, superficial consistency in the design of travel venues middle class Americans might experience. The steamboats had, by the 1870s, completed the transformation of the ladies' cabin into a parlor occupied by women and their escorts but this marked the limits of change. The ladies' cabin as parlor open to husbands and escorts, imposed a further distinction upon the class division represented by stateroom versus deck passage. One traveler described his fellow passengers as spatially separated castes: ladies and their male escorts forming the aristocracy, "lonely" male passengers the middle class, with "negro" passengers on the bottom rung. (52) Steamboats remained much more tightly regulated environments than the Atlantic liners.
On the railways themselves, the simple gender division described by Dickens had become more complex. The purchase price of gender segregation had risen as American railroads instituted a class system in passenger travel. For reasons of economy, separate spheres essentially disappeared for coach passengers with the advent of the Pullman car and other communal standard coaches. (153) In first class, the ladies' car was succeeded by a luxurious parlor or palace car, later joined by a first class smoking car. (54) Thus separate spheres was fully established in first class, but in the reverse order to what occurred on the Atlantic liners. As on the liners, the first class smoking car developed as a distinct social center to the parlor car:
During the 1860s and 1870s, first class cats such as parlor and palace cars were the center of activity, with card tables and occasionally small libraries. By the 1880s however, such pastimes had tended to move to the smoking cars. Smokers often contained reading rooms, tables for writing or card-playing, and sometimes even a barber shop ... (55)
In the major hotels, however, interior architecture began to move away from separate spheres designs. Williamson notes the phasing out of separate dining rooms for men and women in urban hotels by the 1870s. (56) Braden indicates a more general retreat from gender segregation in Florida resort hotels in the 1880s. (57) But in addition, the author cites a news report in the early 1890s indicating something more, an innovation in public rooms favoring communal spaces. In 1892, a New York Times reporter wrote the following description of Plants Tampa Bay Hotel:
First in order of importance is the ... rotunda ... a great square hall seventy feet by seventy. ... this is the most comfortable place in the house, the general assembly room of all the guests, men and women, and as cozy, notwithstanding its size, as a family sitting room. This is a new feature in American hotels, and one that I hope may soon he copied in other places. If recognizes the fact the men and women like to be together, to sit together and talk with one another as freely and comfortably as they may in their own libraries after dinner. It recognizes the fact, too, that man is an animal who smokes, and that it is not positively necessary for him to go off by himself to the barroom or to the reading room to enjoy his cigar, but that he may with propriety sit down by his wife (or perhaps by somebody else's wife) in comfortable chairs in the rotunda and smoke to his heart's content. An important problem in social science has been solved here: Given a man with a cigar, or no man at all, which will woman choose? But this arrangement of a hotel's rotunda is as much an advantage to the women as to the men. It is as free to them as to their lords; and it leaves absolutely no excuse for a man's sneaking off by himself to regions where women may not go. (58)
This account closely anticipates later descriptions of the ship's lounge. All the elements are here. The distinctness of the rotunda is identified with women mixing with men smoking. The possibility of the space is attributed to women's willingness to tolerate smoking as the price of sociability; finally the significance of the change is contained by analogy to traditional roles - in this case the family at home.
The Coming of the Lounge (1905-1914)
On March 3, 1907, the New York Times described a new "fairylike place" on the last of White Star's "Big Four", the new mail steamer Adriatic:
The lounge, with every bit of comfort and delightful anticipation suggested by the very name, has been provided for. It is a fairylike place to which both women and men may resort to enjoy cards, music, tea or coffee or gossip. ... There the men can smoke and sip their liqueurs. ... For women there are work tables, while cozy corners have been provided for conversation and tea. (59)
The lounge had premiered two years earlier on the Cunard intermediate liners Caronia and Carmania and rapidly became a standard public room in first class. (60) In 1907 the lounge was retrofitted to Canard's existing express liners, Campania and Lucania. In the Line's new express liners Lusitania and Mauretania, launched in 1907, the Lounge became the largest of the three principle public rooms (excluding the dining saloon). On Lusitania, the 'Lounge and Music Room' occupied the centre of the Boat Deck, and exceeded both the Smoking Room, aft, and even more so, the writing room and library, located forward, in size. On Mauretania (1907), the Lounge is even larger. (61) White Star's Olympic Class vessels Olympic (1911), Titanic (1912) and Britannic (the last intended for service in early 1915 but fated to be a casualty of war) represented a response to Cunard's new express liners. All included Lounges rivaling their Smoking Rooms in size, and overshadowing their Reading and Writing Rooms. (62)
The Lounge is unique in being recognized in press accounts at the time as a true innovation requiring some explanation. Virtually all accounts identified the essence of the room as a new, more informal space where men and women could mingle. The Times report of Campania's retrofit captures the two key elements that distinguished the Lounge from the Music Room - the end of gender segregation by time of day, and relaxed social norms signified by the allowance of smoking:
The success of the lounge fitted on board the Cunard Company's Caronia and Carmania has been such that the company have decided to equip the Campania and Lucania with a similar room. The purpose of the lounge is to provide a general meeting saloon for ladies and gentlemen. In most steamers the dining and music rooms are the only common meeting rooms. The lounge supplies a long-felt want. Here ladies and gentlemen may meet after dinner or luncheon. Coffee and liqueurs and other light refreshments are served and smoking is permitted. (63)
What is missing, however, is any suggestion that co-mingling might lead to a blurring of gender-based behavioral norms, themselves. To the contrary, press accounts frequently cited separate activities that might be engaged in by men and women - as does the New York Times report of Adriatic, above - or credited the appearance of the lounge to women's new tolerance of men smoking in their presence. Engineering's report on Caronia is typical or the latter:
The lounge is a new feature on Cunard liners. Time was when ladies so seriously objected to smoking that men were banished to a separate compartment for this pleasure; but now in all public places it has been found conducive to popularity to have an apartment where men need not be deprived of the society of ladies even while smoking, and on the boat deck of these new Cunarders is arranged such, a lounge. (64)
Engineering viewed the appearance of the Lounge on Caronia simply as an extension of an established innovation now found in "all public places, a position echoed in a Times report - "the lounge ... has become so popular a feature of the modern hotel". (65) Other accounts, however, attempted to locate the new public room in terms of shipboard traditions. Marine Engineer and Naval Architect explained the lounge in Lusitania wholly within the compass of shipboard life without reference to "hotelism", as:
- really a big drawing-room where men may smoke - or perhaps a smoke-room from which the ladies are not debarred. This is a development of the old idea of sitting in the companion head. But it has grown until the original of the type has been swallowed up in a gracious and attractive room. ... (66)
There is little reason to treat these as mutually exclusive explanations. The appearance of the Lounge was undoubtedly part of a larger cultural movement in the architecture of public spaces. More specifically, in the 1890s, liner architecture succumbed (in the view of traditionalists) to hotelism as ship owners aimed to give their elite clientele a consistent experience in moving from shore-based to shipboard establishments. (67) This was marked by the recruitment of architects with established reputations for hotels and country houses, to design the interior spaces of new liners, led by the German lines, and belatedly emulated by the British. (68)
The advent of the Lounge, however, is in advance of "hotelism"; Cunard's first ships designed by professional land-based architects were the great Edwardian liners Lusitania and Mauretania. (69)
Marine Engineer's explanation is keyed to the appearance of the Lounge in a space already characterized by informal passenger gatherings. In Caronia and Carmania the lounge is located on the boat deck at the head of the main companionway. This leads down first to the upper promenade deck and the entrance to the drawing room, and off this, the writing room. The smoking room is aft on the same deck. The dining room, also off the companionway, is two decks below. Thus the lounge occupied approximately the same position as the "large lobby, furnished with sofas" in the Britannic, thirty years before. In Campania (1893), designers created similar spaces on the grand staircase leading down from the promenade deck. Engineering reported "the extensive landings on both promenade and upper deck lounges have been provided, suggested by the preferences of these places as rendezvous." (70) Thus, there is some evidence that the lounge arose after a long gestation period characterized by more limited responses to passenger preferences for a more informal meeting place. These accommodations are evidence for the Times comment that the creation of the lounge responded to "a long-felt want."
While press accounts of the lounge studiously avoided the implication that the new space might lead to a blurring of gender-based social norms, the room, in fact soon witnesses behavior that challenged the boundaries. As Lady Duff commented to reporters regarding her conduct on the Adriatic, "On board a steamship, there is mote license than on shore ...". (71) Before the Great War, the lounge was a public space where women could challenge the social boundaries of gendered behavior. After the war, the target became the social and physical boundaries of the last gendered public room.
End of the Cycle: The Smoking Room Redefined (1920-1930)
The New York Times reporter, describing the Rotunda of Plants Tampa Bay Hotel, argued that the new public space left "absolutely no excuse for a man's sneaking off by himself to regions where women may not go." The appearance of the Lounge, however, did not lead to the disappearance of the shipboard smoking room. In the 1920s, however, the now anomalous presence of a formally-designated, gendered space was successfully challenged.
In 1921 Emily Holt in her Encyclopaedia of Etiquette gently admonished her readers that it was not "in vogue" for women to enter the smoking room except on German liners, and that "even the most innocently gay and venturesome young lady" must not violate the rule. (72) It is hard to avoid the inference that gay and venturesome young ladies were, in fact, ignoring the rule, and in numbers.
The New York Times, in August 1926, offered a glimpse into the nature of the campaign.
When the White-Star liner Homeric sailed at 12 o'clock last night for Southampton via Cherbourg the usual notice hung outside the smoking room door, "This room is for gentlemen only," was missing. Officers of the ship when questioned said it had been round impossible to keep the women passengers out of the place. When P.A.S. Franklin [Vice-President of the White Star Line] crossed over to Liverpool on the Celtic the women took charge of the smoking room in first-class and had a graphaphone playing there. They appealed to Mr. Franklin to have the ban removed on the ground that the woman [sic] paid the same fare as the men and had equal rights to any part of the first-class accommodation. Anthony Christianson, manager of the White Star Line First Cabin Department, at 1 Broadway, said last night he could not say whether the custom would be adopted on the Majestic and Olympic. There had been many complaints from men passengers for the last two or three years that the women occupied the seats in the smoking room. (73)
Further evidence is to be found in an unusual, non-technical paper presented in The Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects for 1929, Ship design and arrangements from the passenger's point of view by A. T. Wall, and Ashby Tabb.
With regard to the Smoking-room, there is a feeling, perhaps only a growing feeling, that this room should become a less prominent feature in passenger ships, but that it should be definitely reserved for men, and it is for this reason that it is suggested that the lounge should be made larger than it is generally. ... There is a feeling that smoking-rooms should be arranged so as to deter women from entering; and while this may be difficult it is thought possible to effect it by a suitable arrangement of entrances to the smoking-room.
While the authors concede that social norms have changed, they attempt to nest a space for traditional separate spheres within the new interior architecture dominated by mixed public spaces.
But generally it is thought that social relations between men and women have changed tremendously since the war, and they mix to an extent previously unknown. Therefore to concentrate on a few exceptionally good large spaces rather than on a number of small ones seems to be the trend of the future. ... The General Lounge should be very large, since nowadays practically everyone smokes. ...
To balance this general space, the authors advocate two smaller gender-segregated public rooms, the smoking-room as indicated above and the drawing-room which "need not be large" but "should be definitely set aside for women in the same way as the smoking-room would be set aside for men". (74)
On the women's side, at least, there is little indication that a refuge was desired. Mentzel-Reuters notes that the Reading and Writing Room in Britannic was reduced, relative to her sister ships, Olympic and Titanic, and the space taken for additional cabins. He suggests that this reflects the fact that in the Olympic class:
... the reading and writing room was to be preserved as a "sanctuary" [for women passengers] (or occasional retirement from the social life on board. Yet the latter aspect turned out to be a nostalgic idea that did not correspond to actual demand. On the third sister, the Britannic, the arrangement was corrected by reducing the size of this room. (75)
In 1930, White Star's new motorship Britannic revived a small ladies' retiring room adjacent to the drawing room, described by Shipbuilding and Shipping Record as "a new feature". In Georgia (1932), the drawing room and adjacent ladies' retiring room had vanished in a reorganization that added a palm court to the roster of first class public rooms. (Both ships had Lounges.) (76)
Nineteenth century travelers - at least the better off ones - increasingly inhabited an interior architecture of "separate spheres" for men and women at the hotels they frequented and on the boats, trains and ships that carried them. However, the extent of gender segregation varied according to local circumstances. On British north Atlantic liners, common spaces were preserved to an extent not found in other venues American travelers might experience. Two mutually reinforcing factors likely account for this. One is the relative social exclusivity of first class on Atlantic liners; the other, a distinct norm of sociability.
British liners began as first class ships, and only later added spatially separated Steerage and Second class. American railways and steamboats in design and fare structure, initially offered travel without class distinctions. Those were incorporated later. Even then, first class travel on the Atlantic required substantially greater resources than even long distance journey by rail or steamboat. The luxury hotels more closely resembled the liners in exclusivity, but unlike the ships, were not self-contained, but open to the street.
The sociability and informality of the saloon on the early steamers was an inheritance from the sailing packets and nurtured in similarly long crossing in difficult often dangerous conditions. It persisted even as passenger comfort and safety improved, and crossing times were reduced. The Cyclopedia of Social Usage, published in New York in 1913, stated under the heading "Saloon Etiquette":
When a water journey lasts for twenty-four, thirty-six, or forty-eight hours, the traveler may follow personal preference by sitting at table or on deck without addressing anyone. But on a transoceanic steamer, or where a journey to the West Indies, or to Southern, Central, or South American ports is undertaken, it is nothing less than churlish to appear on deck and in the dining-saloon and deliberately ignore the existence of one's fellow-being. (77)
As late as the 1920s, etiquette books cite shipboard as one of the few places (hotels being the other) where formal introductions are not required. (78) Rennella and Walton argue that the socially relaxed atmosphere of the liners became incorporated into passenger expectations constituting a strong element of the "allure" of the steamships to those who traveled by choice, not necessity. (79)
The social exclusivity of the first class reduced the challenges of social regulation within the temporary community of passengers and thus sustained a unique shipboard sociability. The tension between genteel and vulgar behavior was managed with minimum recourse to segregation. The smoking room set apart men wishing to smoke and gamble, rather than segregating women and men who did not, as was done on American western steamboats. When the drawing room/music room finally appeared on the liners in the 1880s, it did not exclude unattached men from evenings' entertainment. Such segregation would have been unthinkable on the liners in first class.
The distinct history of the interior architecture on British liners can then be accounted for by these distinct characteristics of the shipboard environment in comparison to other travel venues. But to understand how that history - and those of other travel venues - was realized, requires something more, documenting interaction of changing travelers' interests and, more importantly, behavior, with the decision-making of owners and designers. (80) Here we have been able offer only fragmentary evidence of passenger behaviors that helped drive the architectural history of the liners, drawn from passenger accounts, etiquette books, and in the case of the smoking room, rare press accounts.
There has been little systematic research on how ship owners and designers went about their work. We have no counterpart to Wealleans' Designing Linen, A History of Interior Design Afloat which provides a detailed history of the transition from craft to professional control of decoration. (81) There is similarly little detailed research on the changing composition of first class passengers or of their expectations. Women travelers in hotels and in the liners constituted many different clienteles: tourists, business women, women travelling with families, etc., each with an interest in particular forms of sociability to which separate spheres was a barrier. (82) Braden, for example, suggests that winter resort hotels reduced gendered spaces to accommodate women vacationing with their families. Rennella and Walton document the much different interests of young unmarried, educated women tourists bound for Europe. Other sources document the appearance of a significant new category of women business travelers - the buyer. The buyers represent yet another aspect of sociability - one focussed narrowly on profession. (83)
Finally, several commentators note that changes in interior architecture of travel venues after 1870 occurred as the volume of women travelers - and particularly, women traveling unaccompanied - was increasing. Yet women remained a small minority of the traveling public. (84) Apart from McCall's attribution of the disappearance of gender segregation in Pullman cars to the unprofitability of separate male and female sections, there is little to link changes in interior architecture after 1860 to the increasing presence of women. Demographic analysis is likely to contribute little to understanding the trajectory of changes on the liners and other travel venues. It is the collective impact of the motivated behavior of particular categories of travelers, variously supporting, infringing, circumventing or challenging existing interior designs, that we need to document and understand.
(1.) "Many Women Smoked On Incoming Liners," New York Times (26 January 1908), 4.
(2.) Kerry Segrave, Women and Smoking in America 1880-1950 (Jefferson, NC, 2005).
(3.) The interior architecture of second and third class Spaces is not a source of innovation but follows - with a considerable lag - developments in first class. The standard model of the three class ship only appears in the 1880s; public rooms as such are not found in third class/steerage until the 1890s.
(4.) Carolyn Brucken, "In the public eye: women and the American luxury hotel," Winterthur portfolio 31, no. 4, Winter (1996): 204.
(5.) The contextual information provided here and in later sections is drawn principally from the following surveys of liner development: C. R. Vernon Gibbs, Passenger Liners of the Western Ocean: A Record of the North Atlantic Steam and Motor Passenger Vessels from 1838 to the Present Day (London, 1957); Francis E. Hyde, Canard and the North Atlantic 1840-1973: A History of Shipping and Financial Management (London., 1975); Arthur J. Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry: Its Ships, Men and Working (London, 1900).
(6.) Philip Dawson, The Liner: Retrospective and Renaissance (New York, 2005), 17; Basil Greenhill and Ann Giffard, Traveling by Sea in the Nineteenth Century: Interior Design in Victorian Passenger Ships (New York, 1974), 41.
(7.) A.K. Sandoval-Strausz comments "As the authors of etiquette books saw it, the basic social problem of the hotel was the difficulty of regulating encounters among strangers." in Hotel: An American History (New Haven, 2007), 223.
(8.) Eliza Leslie, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book. A Guide and Manual for Ladies (Philadelphia, 1859 - Reprinted 1972), 143. Travelers were also assured that "acquaintances, formed on a journey, are not recognized afterward, unless mutually agreeable ..." in Florence Hartley, The Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manual of Manners (Boston, 1860), 37.
(9.) Isabella Lucy Bird, The Englishwoman in America (Madison, Wisconsin. 1966 - first published 1856), 454-8.
(10.) The Merseyside Maritime Museum has made detailed passenger lists for 29 crossings by Cunard, Collins and Inman Line steamers available on its website. The 1854-55 passenger lists are posted at www.old-merseytimes.co.uk/PassengerLists.html (accessed December 16, 2007).
(11.) While the ideology of separate spheres was transatlantic, the British visitors found the American variant much more Thoroughgoing than at home. In England the move to separate spheres in travel accommodation began later, led by the railway hotels. See James Stevens Curl, Victorian Architecture (London, 1990), 541-551; British trains were composed of coaches constructed of multiple compartments, and designated by class rather than gender.
(12.) Sandoval-Strausz. Hotel, 34-35, 83-84; Brucken, "In the public eye", 204, 2007, 211-214; Susan Clair Imbarrato, "Ordinary Travel: Tavern Life and Female Accommodation in Early American and the New Republic," Women's Studies 28, no. 1 (December 1998): 29-32.
(13.) Susan R. Braden, The Architecture of Leisure, The Florida Resort Hotels of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant (Miami, 2002), 15.
(14.) R. David McCall, Every Thing in its Place: Gender and Space on America's Railroad, 1830-1899 (Thesis. Virginia Polytechnic and State University, 1999), 16-17.
(15.) Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1972 - first published in 1842), 111. Dickens also noted that "As a black man never travels with a white, there is also a negro car; which is a great, blundering, clumsy chest. ..." Racial segregation was practiced in all travel venues in America throughout the entire period covered here.
(16.) McCall, Every Thing In Its Place, 16-17.
(17.) Louis C. Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History (Cambridge Massachusetts, 1949), 393. See also Denys P. Meyer, "The architectural development of the western floating palace," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 11 no. 4 (December, 1952): 25-31.
(18.) M.H. Dunlop, Sixty Miles from Contentment. Traveling the Nineteenth-century American interior (New York, 1995), 143-5, 165-7; Francis Joseph Grund, The Americans, in Their Moral, Social, and Political Relations - Two volumes in one (Boston, 1837), 325; On the eve of the Civil War, two newly published etiquette books both admonished women on the inappropriateness of inviting men (including husbands) to the ladies' cabin - one on grounds of propriety (Leslie, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book, 97); the other on grounds of courtesy to others desiring privacy, possibly in a situation of open berths (Hartley, The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, 37).
(19.) Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans (New York: Vintage Books, 1949 - first published in 1832), 180-185; Charles Dickens. American Notes, 203, 214. Trollope amused herself by imaging her steamboat in Europe where the gentlemen's cabin "... would be put into requisition for a dance, while that of the ladies, with their delicious is balcony, would be employed for refreshment. ...
(20.) Francis Joseph Grund, The American, 324-325.
(21.) M.H. Dunlop, Sixty Miles from Contentment, 146. Dunlop notes, however, that contemporary travelers did not view gender segregation as necessary to women's safety. Dickens' comment (American Notes, 111) that "any lady may travel alone, from one end of the United States to the other, and be certain of the most courteous and considerate treatment everywhere" is typical. This stands in contrast to the abundant cautionary advice to women travelers found in contemporary etiquette books and accounts by Dunlop, and others of leering behavior. See Brucken. "In the public eye", 209; Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel, 34-36. For Dunlop, separate spheres represents a containment of the social space in which men are required to act with gentility. Conversely, rules of etiquette make respecting spatial bonds an important means by which women travelers demonstrated "ladyhood" (see references in note 8).
(22.) Dunlop, Sixty Miles, 145-6, 169.
(23.) This was hardly the case in steerage where from the 1850s there was credible evidence of wide-spread sexual harassment and assault in the crowded, unsegregated, open berth accommodations for immigrants. Separate quarters for single men, and families and single women had been long sought by supporters of successive British Passenger Acts in the 1840s and 1350s but was only achieved in the 1870s and 1880s as a result of competition for immigrant traffic. See Oliver MacDonagh, A Pattern of Government Growth 1800-60; The Passenger Acts and The Their Enforcement (London, 1961), 213-4, 229-31, 237, 279-283.
(24.) See Edgar G. Martin, The Standard of Living in 1860: American Consumption Levels on the Eve of the Civil War (Chicago, 1942), 153-158, 346. Martin cites rail charges of two to three cents a mile, and indicates that cabin passage by steamboat from St. Louis to New Orleans cost $20. However, "Transatlantic travel was certainly too expensive for any but the affluent." Liner tares fluctuated with the degree of competition, declining to $75 by 1860. See Mark Rennella and Whitney Walton, "Planned Serendipity: American Travelers and the TransAtlantic Voyage in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," Journal of Social History 38, no. 2 (Winter, 2004): 368. (Passage fares wer but the initial cost of a European excursion.) Yet an 1893 article still puts the cabin class steamboat fare from St. Louis to New Orleans as equivalent to the cost of transatlantic travel in steerage. See Julian Ralph, "The Old Way to Dixie," Harper's New Monthly Magazine 86, no. 512, (January, 1893), 169.
(25.) Isabella Lucy Bird, The Englishwoman in America, 9-10.
(26.) Illustrated London News (25 May 1850), 368-370. Also Times (29 April 1850), 6 on Asia.
(27.) Illustrated London News (25 May 1850), 368; John H. Morrison, History of American Steam Navigation (New York, 1958 -originally published 1903), 421.
(28.) Grahame Farr, The Steamship Great Western: The First Atlantic Liner (Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, University of Bristol, 1963), 4, 50; Byron S Miller, Sail, Steam and Splendour: A Picture History of Life Aboard the TransAtlantic Liners (Montreal, 1977), 22, 28. There was also a fore cabin saloon in Great Western that had no twin under saloon. See also Thomas Chandler Haliburton, The Letter-Bag or The Great Western, Life in a Steamer (New York, 1840), 33-36, 68. (www.canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/34738?id=59541d3250578a7c&Language=en) Haliburton's is a work of humor but there is no reason to distrust the descriptions of the location of shipboard activities.
(29.) Ewan Corlett, The Iron Ship; the History and Significance of Brunel's Great Britain (Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, 1974), 75-80; Illustrated London News (15 February 1845), 112.
(30.) This is not only the view of commentators (see, for example, Hyde, Cunard, 29-32, 74-75) but was acknowledged and defended by the company itself. See Times (13 November S875), 6.
(31.) Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry, 17.
(32.) Times (11 January 1856), 8.
(33.) New York Times (11 February 1856), 3.
(34.) The basic layout of public rooms on Persia appear to have been repeated in Scotia (1862). In Canard's China (1862), the space occupied by the gentlemen's cabin was replaced by a block of central staterooms on the Britannia model. This ship, the Line's first screw mail steamer, was a two-class ship. Scotia was designed for 300 first class passengers; China - smaller ship on all dimensions - for 268 in first class and 771 second class passengers. See the Illustrated London News (12 March 1862), 301 on Scotia; (12 April 1862), 371 on China; also Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry, 36, 38.
(35.) Times (15 November 1879), 4.
(36.) New York Times (30 March 1871), 8.
(37.) The internal space available to ship designers through more efficient engines was, however, continually threatened as the demand for higher speed required enormous increases in power. See Gibbs, Passenger Liners, 70; Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry, 40-41 and Engineering (12 April 1901), 472.
(38.) Gibbs, Passenger Liners, 230; John Malcolm Brinnin, The Sway of the Grand Saloon (London, 1971), 242.
(39.) Gordon Graham. "Ship Furnishing," Shipbuilding and Shipping Record (7 April 1938), 421.
(40.) New York Times (10 June 1879), 8; Engineering (3 September 1880) 197, on Arizona; Times (5 March 1874), 5; New York Times (19 August 1874) 2 on Bothnia; Engineering (19 September 1879), 221-222; and Times (16 April 1879), 6 on Gallia. The New York Times report differs considerably from Engineering. The ladies' boudoir is identified as a deckhouse, with the ladies' cabin on the spar deck below. The smoking room is located on the main deck rather in the aft deckhouse.
(41.) Thad Logan, The Victorian Parlour (Cambridge, UK, 2001), 22-36.
(42.) John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, Falling star: Misadventures of White Star Line Ships (Welling-borough, Northamptonshire, 1989), 34 for partial cabin plans; New York Tribune (4 March 1871), 1; New York Times (30 March 1871), 8 on Oceanic; New York Times (4 February 1874), 3; (14 March 1874), 2; and (9 July 1874), 3, on Britannic.
(43.) Engineering (21 April 1893), 493.
(44.) Engineering (21 April 1893), 493 on Campania; Dawson. The Liners, 53; Engineering (20 June 1913), 828.
(45.) Gibbs, Passenger Liners, 230.
(46.) Thad Logan, The Victorian Parlour, 32.
(47.) Engineering (10 March 1882), deck plan on unnumbered pages; (7 April 1882), 350 and Illustrated London News. (16 April 1881), 378 on Servia; Dawson. The Liners, 49 (deck plan); New York Times (15 July 1884), 8; (7 October 1884), 8, on Umbria and Etruria. On both Servia and Umbria, the smoking room is amidships. In Servia, however, the music room and adjacent ladies' boudoir are in a large deckhouse, aft; in Umbria, the music room forms the bow end of the large main deckhouse. This difference appears due to a design constant of building the Music Room around the light well rising from the dining saloon.
(48.) Engineering (21 April 1893), 493-6; New York Times (10 September 1893), 8.
(49.) New York Times (14 April 1889), 11 on City of Paris;.
(50.) Engineering (1 September 1999), 274 on the second Oceanic. As was the case of the music room in Cunarders of the early 1880s, in Oceanic, the library is built around a light well extending upward from the main saloon, two decks below.
(51.) Engineering indicates that dining-saloon, library and smoking-room on Celtic all occupy the upper deck. If so, this is an odd departure from the separation on Oceanic and subsequently on Baltic and Adriatic. Engineering. (12 April 1901), 472 on Celtic. Press descriptions of Celtic and Cedric are vague on the relative position of public rooms. The Times, however, places the smoking-room and library in Baltic on the upper promenade deck and the dining-room on the upper deck, two levels below (13 November 1903, 10), and comments that the arrangements are similar to Celtic and Cedric. Cunard's intermediate liners Saxonia and Ivernia (1900), in contrast to the mail steamers, also had only a dining saloon, smoking room (aft) and library (forward) in first class, similar to the White Star liners. Engineering (21 September 1900), 368-369.
(52.) George Ward Nichols, "Down the Mississippi," Harpers Magazine 41, no. 246, (November 1870), 840-842; Julian Ralph, "The Old Way to Dixie.", 172.
(53.) McCall, Every Thing In Its Place, 37-39. On the liners, competition actually made it profitable to add a Second Class on British premier liners with gendered public rooms, and to provide separate accommodation for single men, apart from families and women travelling alone, in Steerage/Third Class. On the rise of Second class, see Gibbs, Passenger Liners, 70-71, 120-122; Engineering (21 April 1893), 493-496 on Campania; Engineering (1 September 1899), 274 on the second Oceanic. On gender segregation in Steerage, see Arnold Kludas, Record Breakers of the North Atlantic (London, 1999), 53 for a deck plan showing gender segregation on 1870s White Star liners. Also, New York Times (30 March 1871), 8 and (4 April 1871), 8 on Oceanic; Engineering (7 April 1882), 350 on Servia.
(54.) New York Times "Car Service. Sorting Travel - Drawing-Room Cars and Smokers - Second Class Cars" (10 March 1884), 2; McCall, Every Thing In Its Place, 39-40, 61-74.
(55.) McCall, Every Tiling In Its Place, 62; Braden, Architecture of Leisure, 120.
(56.) Jefferson Williamson, The American Hotel (New York, 1930), 128.
(57.) "... the floor plans of Flagler's and Plant's new hotels began to de-emphasize segregated spaces for women. Certainly men continued to enjoy smoking rooms and bars, spaces where the hotel discouraged the presence of women, and women could "control" a space by occupying it in large numbers. But in reducing the spaces designated for women, the Florida resorts were responding to a paradigm shift." Braden, Architecture of Leisure, 119-120.
(58.) William Drysdale. New York Times (24 January 1892), 20; cited in Braden, Architecture of Leisure, 120.
(59.) New York Times (3 March 1907), 9 - Section 3.
(60.) Engineering (24 February 1905), 260; Marine Engineering (6 January 1906), 3..
(61.) Engineering. (Special Issue, 1907), 52 on Lusitaina; Cunard Turbine-Driven Quadruple-Screw Atlantic Liner Mauretania (Wellington, Northampshire, 1987); 15-18. Reprint of Engineering (November, 1907). On Aquitania (1914) the dominance of the Lounge gives way to a more general proliferation of new (to Cunard) types of public rooms.
(62.) Olympic and Titanic, Ocean Liners of the past (Wellington, Northampshire, 1988), 68-81. Reprint of the Shipbuilder, Special Number VI (Midsummer, 1911); Mark Chirnside, The Olympic-class snips: Olympic Titanic Britannic (Brimscombe Port Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2004), 59 on Reception Hall; Engineering (27 February 1914) 275.
(63.) Times (12 February 1907), 15.
(64.) Engineering (24 February 1905), 260.
(65.) Engineering (24 February 1905), 260; Times (6 February 1905), 6.
(66.) Marine Engineer and Naval Architect (1 September 1907), 52.
(67.) See Dawson, The Liner 54-5; Ray W. Coye and Patrick J. Murphy, "The golden age: service management on transatlantic liners," Journal of Management History 13 no. 2 (2007): 178-179.
(68.) John Malcolm Brinnin, The Sway of the Grand Saloon. (London, 1971), 339-340.
(69.) The Times' linkage of the ship's lounge to hotel architecture is uncharacteristic of prior press descriptions of public rooms on the liners. In the earlier descriptions reviewed for this article (cited in earlier notes) references to hotels are rare. The Illustrated London News described the Persia (1856) as a "floating hotel" and noted that the kitchen was the equal of "culinary establishments of the most extensive and noted hotels in the kingdom". The Times also described the ship as a floating hotel but in this case to account for the absence of significant cargo-carrying capacity in so large a vessel. In 1872, the New York Times speculated that life on the new Adriatic would be as enjoyable "... as at any hotel in the country". (References cited in previous notes.)
(70.) Marine Engineering (6 January 1906), 3-4 on Caronia and Carmania; New York Times (4 February 1874), 3; (14 March 1874), 2; (9 July 1874), 3, on Britannic; Engineering (21 April 1893), 497 on Campania.
(71.) New York Times (26 January 1908), 4.
(72.) Emily Holt, Encyclopaedia of Etiquette: A Book of Manners for Everyday Use (Toronto, 1921), 443.
(73.) New York Times (14 August 1926) 5.
(74.) A. T. Wall, and Ashby Tabb, "Ship design and arrangements from the passengers s point of view," Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects. (London: Institution of Naval Architects, 1929), 284-285 Reprinted selections in Engineering (20 September 1929), 386-7 and Shipbuilding and Skipping Record (19 September 1929), 328-9.
(75.) Arno Mentzel-Reuters, "Bucher auf der Nordatlantikroute 1890-1915," Deutsches Schiffahrtsarchiv (DSA) 23 (2000) S 93-142. English Abstract: Books on north Atlantic track, 1890-1915 at www.dsm.de/Pubs/23_03.htm accessed September 14, 2007.
(76.) Shipbuilding and Shipping Record. (26 June 1930), 807 and Engineering (27 June 1930), 836 on Britannic; Shipbuilding and Shipping Record. (23 June 1932), 657-658 on Georgic.
(77.) Helen L. Roberts, The Cyclopaedia of Social Usage: Manners and customs of the Twentieth Century (New York, 1913), 442-443.
(78.) Holt, Encyclopaedia of Etiquette, 441-442; Lady (Laura Gurney) Troubridge, The Hook of Etiquette. Vol. II (London, 1926), 118-120. For Emily Post this meant a problem of maintaining boundaries; she cautioned her readers to avoid social climbing behavior while not entirely closing off the prospect of contact; with "the Celebrities", "the Worldly a" and "the Eminents" on board. Emily Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (New York, 1922), Ch. XXXVII. Etiquette guides remained more wary of sociability in hotels, offering more cautious advice for women. See Edith A. Ordway, The Etiquette of Today (New York: 1913), 134-136.
(79.) Mark Rennella and Whitney Walton, "Planned Serendipity", 369-371
(80.) Brucken ("In the public eye", 214) argues the same point in the context of the luxury hotel.. Decoration typically reinforced the designation of gendered spaces by employing sterotyped masculine or feminine styles. In Canadian Pacific's Empress of Britain (1931), however, it appears to have been used to blur the identity of the smoking room - the Cathay Lounge, a show piece room in ebony and red lacquer. It is hard to imagine an atmosphere less like the traditional smoking room and several press accounts failed even to label this lounge as the smoking room. (Compare the description in the Times (12 June 1930), 11 with that in the New York Times (4 June 1931), 11.)
(81.) Anne Wealleans, Designing Liners: A History of Interior Design Afloat (New York, 2006), 24-72.
(82.) There was also negative reaction by (some) male travelers to these developments. "In these days of feminine independence sex has little or no claim, and men and women are merely passengers, each doing his or her best for him or herself ..." "Au fait", Social Observances (New York, 1896), XX; see also Richter, Home on the Rails. (Chapel Hill, 2005), 107-8.
(83.) Braden, Architecture of Leisure, 15. Buyers were an important segment of the regular clientele both for hotels and for the liners. From the 1880s the proportion of women among them increased rapidly, reaching a third in the 1920s. See William Leach, Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture (New York, 1993), 95-99; Basil Woon, The Frantic Atlantic: An Intimate Guide to the Well-Known Deep (New York, 1927), 86-96.
(84.) Williamson cites an informal survey conducted in 1885 by the New York Tribune which found that women constituted just over ten percent of guests in the four largest New York hotels. See Williamson, The American Hotel, 128-130. In 1885, male passengers remained in the majority in first class on British liners although both the total proportion of women, and the number of those traveling unaccompanied, had increased somewhat from the 1850s. This is based on the author's analysis of a sample of nine passenger lists for Cunard and White Star crossings from March to May, 1933. The sample was obtained from the U.S. National Archives on microfilm: document T612 on Roll 667. The cover page bears the original volume number 11460.
By Douglas Hart
University of Toronto
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Toronto, Ontario M5S IV6
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|Title Annotation:||SECTION III REGIONAL THEMES|
|Publication:||Journal of Social History|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2010|
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