Among my aunt’s vaudeville card collection were about 8 different ships that she must of sailed on or admired at some point in her life. There was also a photo of a “Captain Russ” and another photo of 3 women with the captain and 2 other ship-men on the deck of the SS Pennsylvania. In a future post, I’ll go over the history for each Ship’s card, but for today’s post I’ll start with the Captain of the SS Pennsylvania and a “roomate” my aunt had on the ship.
SS Pennsylvania and Capt. Russ
Mr. C. Russ, was the captain of the SS Pennsylvania, a Hamburg-American passenger line ship that mainly was used for passage from Germany to New York.
SS Pennsylvania was a cargo liner built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and launched in 1896 for the German Hamburg America Line for the transatlantic trade, particularly German emigration to the United States. She took refuge in the United States upon the outbreak of the First World War and upon the U.S. joining hostilities was seized and renamed the SS Nansemond. She was briefly commissioned as USS Nansemond in 1919, and used by the U.S. military to transport American troops and supplies to Europe. After the war ended, the SS Nansemond transported over 20,000 troops back across the Atlantic. She was then laid up in the Hudson River before scrapping in 1924. Source: Wikipedia
My GG Aunt and GG Grandmom sailed on the SS Pennsylvania on July 12, 1913 on their trip back from visiting family in Germany. Captain C Russ was the current captain of the ship for their voyage home. He was mentioned in several newspapers, so he was easy to track down. What was most notable though, was his long career and recognition while a captain for the American-Hamburg line.
The New York Herald wrote a piece on him about his long career. In the 1912 newspaper article, he mentioned that he sailed 200 times to date across the Atlantic. It’s also noted in the article that he was awarded a medal from the British. While comanding the SS Batavia in 1911, Cot. Russ saved the lives of 283 passengers on the British RMS steamship Slavonia, who’s ship ran aground and sunk off of the Azores. Below is an article where a fellow SS Batavia passenger gives the newspaper a recount of the event:
I wasn’t able to find any further information on Captain Russ, other then what was noted in newspaper articles unfortunately.
Along with Capt. Russ’ card was another card from an Emilie Doernberger. About 2 years ago, I had this card and other German postcards from my GG aunt translated by a nice lady in Germany who could read old German Script. Once it was translated, I found out that Emile was a “roomate” to my GG Aunt and GG Grandmom on the SS. Pennsylvania. The back of the card says:
“As friendly reminder of your sleeping companion, Emilie Dollnberger”
(had a shared bedroom)
To make sure that I had the right name, I checked the ships manifest, and I found her name listed! She was 37 years old at the time that photo was taken, and the record says that she was German, married and lived in Muchen. This is all I know about Emilie. I’m not even sure which one she is in the photo, as all three women look to be in their 30’s. My hope is to find out more information on Emilie, and possibly track down which girl she is in the photo so that I can give the correct credit.