February Treasure at Rosenberg Library: Bettie Brown’s 1902 Transatlantic Voyage

Rebecca Ashton “Bettie” Brown (1855-1920)

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.

In February 1902, Galveston socialite Bettie Brown embarked on a grand tour of Europe and the Mediterranean.

After traveling from Texas to New York, she departed the United States on board 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 traveled 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 traveled 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.

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.

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’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.



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