Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Archives Center Home  |  Collections Index

 

LOUIS S. NIXDORFF 1928 OLYMPIC GAMES COLLECTION, 1926-1978, #443

(1 cubic foot: 1 photoprint album; 2 flat oversize boxes)

by: Robert S. Harding, 1993

 

Louis S. Nixdorff Diary, July 10-August 15, 1928

    See - August 6 English Game"

Tuesday - July 10, 1928

    I arrived at the B and O station at 9:15 o'clock. Father, mother, Bertha, Junior and Helen accompanied me. After we got there we found that the train did not leave until 10:03, but everybody waited around, making it a rather lengthy and boring good bye.  The absence of the band further enhanced the length of time, but at last the train left.

    Nothing of importance happened except the unusual number of photographers and the fact that I lost two dollars with Mr. Iddins playing bridge with Boynton and Biddison.

    It rained slightly on the ride to New York and continued it in the city. However, everything went off smoothly and we were safely roomed in the Commodore at about 4:45 o'clock. At 6:30 we left for the Harmony Club for a banquet and a smoker tendered to the alumni of New York and New Jersey by Mr. Clarence Guggenheimer. I have never yet enjoyed a banquet so much. Everything was elegant down to the 35 cigars. Dr. Matlin was among the speakers. He was the predecessor of "Father Bill" in lacrosse at Hopkins. Also a lot of younger alumni were present.

    After the banquet the team met in Nice's room at the hotel at 12 o'clock and directions and cabins were distributed.

Wednesday - July 11, 1928

    Getting up at 5:15 the next morning we arrived at the dock at about 7:30. The boat had not even arrived yet, but we soon saw the tugs bringing in the (S.S.) President Roosevelt which had printed on its sides in large white letters "American Olympic Teams."

    We finally boarded her about 10:30. We set sail at 11 sharp, with much cheering and blowing of whistles. A band followed us in a "city boat" as far as the Statue of Liberty. Soon we were off.

    I was bunked with Rob Roy and Bill Kegan and we fortunately received a very nice cabin in 2nd class. While in the next stateroom were Helfrich, Mallonee, and Logan with a nice private bath. Such luck! Well we soon got settled and nothing eventful happened excepting the meals. After dinner we danced a short time, but we were so fatigued with our 4 hours sleep that we retired about 10:30.

Thursday - July 12, 1928

    The next morning we awoke quite refreshed and everybody put down quite a sizable breakfast. Ray Finn was looking a little haggard and the news was reported that he had had a rather disagreeable night. But it was a wonderful day - the sun was bright and the sea was calm, at least enough not to rock the boat. Everything was O.K.

    The swimming team had a short practice session in the improvised canvas pool. Weismuller and two young girls (14-16) were the shining points of interest altho, of course, they all were good. The fencing put on a few skirmishes on the hurricane deck, while the crew worked up quite a sweat on the rowing machines. Then we all eat a tremendous dinner. After it we all went to Spalding's store and received our uniforms. I needn't say how good they were but everybody tried on most of the things and everybody's face just beamed. Even mine.

    We then went out on deck. The weather was beginning to fool around, and the boxers were shadow boxing and punching the bag. The divers were using springboards but landing on some mats. The fencer's practice fencers were still active. Meanwhile the track men were going thru their paces on the track. Joie Ray and C. De Mar ran for about an hour - they are marathon runners.

    But the greatest impression of the afternoon was the size and build of the California Crew. All were about 6'2" and slim and sinewy.

    All looked to be good football ends. But - my soul - I almost forgot. We had a small workout ourselves. We got our sticks but couldn't find any balls. However, I ran about 8 laps around the track. The whole distance couldn't have been more than a mile. But it was a little work.

    After dinner a movie was shown on the aft deck. We all watched a while but it soon began to be boring. Then we went in the salon and danced a while. It was terribly hot but everybody enjoyed themselves. The Gulf Stream was certainly doing its duty.

Friday, July 13, 1928

    For a habitually unlucky day, Friday was wonderful: the sky was perfectly clear, while the sea was similarly calm; quite a combination. Tom Biddison and myself decided to take pictures of some of our famous athletes. After spoiling a few pictures we finally succeeded in getting Weismuller, Joie Ray, Helen Meany, Babe Robinson, in on some pretty fair snapshots: at least, I hope they turn out. We got them developed immediately afterward in our anxiety.

    The athletes further increased their training activities - the swimmers swimming and diving - the boxers and wrestlers going thru some real bouts. Harry Anderson, light-heavyweight champion, is turning out to be a real good fellow.

    In the afternoon we got a slight workout - taking between 15 to 30 laps around the track - 11 to the mile. After dinner we again sat down to watch a fair movie - Charles Ray in "The Count of Ten." Later we all went in and danced where the Hopkins boys instigated the breaking idea, which was gladly taken up and practiced by the others. A bridge tournament was also held - Boynton seemingly the high score with 2200.

    Taps blew about 10:30 which means all athletes should hit the hay. However it is now 12 o'clock and I am really going to bed - a wonderfully cool breeze is coming in the porthole - Hurrah!

Saturday, July 14, 1928

    Due to the late hours I arrived just in the nick of time for breakfast. Everybody was a little late which seemed to make the coach a little angry; because he immediately ordered a practice session at 11 o'clock and one at 5 o'clock. The whole day was somewhat ordinary. Everybody seemed to be more settled down and getting more adjusted to the run of things. In other words everybody was getting a little more sociable and agreeable. Especially the girls. As usual we viewed the workouts but this time with a little less interest. However our own workout proved to be a little more interesting as we ran quite a few laps and went thru a few calisthenics. However, tomorrow Sunday and the day of rest: we hope.

    After a very enjoyable lunch and a magnanimous dinner the night was devoted to calisthenics in the form of crap, red dog and roulett. Yes it was termed Monte Carlo and everybody was given 25,000 simolians to start with. I came thru big on one roll but soon it began to dwindle away. Lucas, a boxer, won with about twice as much as anybody else. I almost forgot but just before dinner Farinholt and I entertained a very select group with a few selections on the piano it was well appreciated by most everybody but us. I think most everybody is beginning to enjoy the trip more, especially Hopkins. The weather was a little mist today but the sea was calm and that is all that is necessary. Well, so long till tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 1928

    As usual Sunday turned out to be the day of rest and we rested. The day started off being misty and much cooler but it didn't seem to dampen anybody's ardor. At about 11 o'clock Bill Logan, Dotterweich and myself attended Divine Service which lasted for about 20 minutes after that we eat lunch. Ben Egan here announced that he had sighted a whale, where upon everybody scoffed, but I think he actually did.

    I spent the afternoon reading "Defense of Cynicism" in Harper's and then Roy and I played "Pop" and Brownley a little bridge.

    About five o'clock the boat started rolling a bit, which so disturbed Ray Finn that he felt the need of a deck chair and air. This of course stopped the bridge game, leaving us winning by quite a bit. At dinner we noticed several vacancies.

    Well, after dinner, George and Monk and myself interviewed the Chief Engineer with about an hours conversation; at which I picked up a few extra points. The entertainment for the night was some light opera by the members of the team; which I was unable to attend. I concluded the evening with a short talk with Mr. and Mrs. Schmeisser on current events.

    Each day our side trips to Berlin, Paris and England seem to become more vague until I almost becoming quite agnostic. Funny and amusing but quite true.

Monday, July 16, 1928

    This is beginning to become quite droll; repeating each day just how the day was spent. For myself I am quite weary of the repetition. The only difference between Saturday and today was the fact that we ran 5 minutes longer fifteen instead of ten; they showed a different movie "Chicago After Midnight" - rated about a 5.5; and I found another girl to dance with. That is excitement for you, is it not? Nevertheless we are about 400 miles closer to Amsterdam and that's a help.

    Last night the California crew got caught & reported at an all night poker game; and Lucas a boxer got caught smoking a cigar. I personally don't think either deliberately tried to break training but the General sent word via Mac Orstein - Trimble - Van Orman - Nice - players - that everybody was to be abed at 10:30 o'clock. Any infringement of the rule would be punishment by confinement to the boat on reaching Amsterdam. Isn't that just too military for words.

    This morning I journeyed down to the hole and watched the trainers give the equestrians the workout of a treadmill. After they rubbed them down with an alcohol linament worth $2.50 a quart to prevent any stiffness or soreness.

    And here I am suffering - Good night!

Tuesday, July 17, 1928

    Well, today turned out to be much more interesting than I had expected. In the first place, I was feeling much better as Monday I had endured a headache and was somewhat uncomfortable. I had made up my mind to secure some autographs and that eased the passage of the day somewhat. Secondly I really enjoyed our workout which really was quite a strain both morning and afternoon. I also took some pictures among which was a good action picture of a boxing match. It was a good day for picture - taking and by far the best we have had so far. The temperature was neither too hot nor too cold but just invigorating; while the sea was beautiful to behold.

    The dinner that night was a Farewell dinner tendered to the Olympic team by Commander Van Beek who really made it a real one. I think our table eat everything on the menu which amounted to about 10 courses.

    Howard Caplan, at breakfast, had reported the suffocation of a steward who had been put in the brig for drunkenness. After the show staged by the Olympic talent, George and I happened to see the beginning of a burial by sea. Everything was in readiness, the priest, the bugler, and the "boardshoot;" when lo and behold - orders came to call a halt. A telegram had been received to send the body to New York. As we reach Plymouth tomorrow night, this was done, thus ending my expectation of seeing a "burial at sea."

Wednesday, July 18, 1928

    Well, this happens to be the day of days on the ocean when everybody gets and sort of thrill-from the captain down to me. The morning passed with the usual routine as did part of the afternoon. But contrary to the general English channel climate, the day was perfectly clear and tranquil, and about 4 o'clock the Scilly Isles were sighted which are at the southern end of England. Seagulls abounded and we passed and sighted many other ships. It was not without some interest that we watched the land grow closer until Bishop's Rock Lighthouse was passed. Land continued to be seen only on the leftside of us until we entered the harbor of Plymouth. Soon, about 7:30 a very beautiful coast was seen on both sides of us and we were in the harbor of Plymouth awaiting the tender which was to take the English mail and a few passengers ashore. Almost a dozen rowboats had now made their appearance and they were greeted with a deluge of fruit until someone threw a bucket of water on one of the rowboats whose pilot retaliated with more fruit.

    Personally I do not think it was a very commendable attitude for the Americans to take when greeted by the English - some of whom were girls. Quite a few of the throwers of said fruit hit their mark, much to my disgust.

    About nine o'clock we were again on our way; the next stop being Cherbourg where we probably will arrive about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. Another event of interest was the escapade I encountered later at the dance. Yes, she was the only girl I could interest myself in outside of the married dames. I had seen her before at the table next to us, but it seems she usually ate her meals in her room. However, tonight she had sauntered into the dance and it was there I danced with her. We later took a short walk around the deck and then began to talk. I was just becoming interested when Deely Nice interrupted us with the information that it was bedtime 10:30. Her name is Charlotte Gilbert, but she is leaving the boat at Cherbourg - tough? but then goes back with us.

Thursday, July 19, 1928

    Another beautiful day! and in the channel too; which is very unusual. I awakened at 7:30 - just in time to see the tender with the mail and passengers set off for Amsterdam. On the way we passed many freighters and channels and were continually followed by a large flock of seagulls. I also saw the Straits of Dover by daylight: something I had not seen before.

    It seems as though the captain did not desire to arrive in Amsterdam before morning for some reason - and we traveled at half speed - which antagonized quite a few of us. However I expect to rise at 5 o'clock to see us go through the canal and locks to Amsterdam. Numerous photographers boarded the ship at Cherbourg and we had several action movies taken of us, one of which was in full-dress uniform. I also managed to get myself in some movies of the other teams, quite unintentionally of course. Furthermore, six Phi Gams got together for a group photograph to be sent to the national magazines. In fact I am almost tired of having my picture taken. Can you imagine that?

    Tonight we audienced a pre-meditated masquerade ball which really wasn't so bad. But I must retire, because they set the clock foward 1 hour and 80 minutes and I do wish to arise at 5 o'clock. Fate is my only hope - or maybe noise. Tomorrow is the big day.

    Lou

Friday, July 20, 1928

    I woke up this morning very suddenly to find out that it was 7:30. Immediately I thought I had missed the locks but looked out of the port hole to find that we had dropped anchor in the bay. I dressed right away but it was unnecessary as we did not go through the locks until 9:30. I think the fellows must have thrown away several barrels of fruit to the anxious crowd. I also managed to squeeze in a few pictures in the excitement. After we had waited in the lock for about an hour, the tug led us slowly up the canal to Amsterdam. After viewing many level fields of tulips and vegetables growing between a network of canals we finally docked in Amsterdam about 2 o'clock. Van Orman Van Orman decided to leave the boat immediately and take a look at the athletic field we were to practice on. It took us about 25 minutes to walk the 10 minute walk to the field - we soon decided to acquire a bus for "the walk." The field turned out to be sandy and a little "ruff," but good enought to practice on. However there was no good dressing room - so we decided to dress on the boat.

    Tonight we took a walk up the main drag - Kalfover Straater. It seemed to have the best shops in town. Kegan and I rode back to the boat in fine style in a taxi - and with much gusto we crashed thru the crowd at the wharf, down to the ship's gangplank.

Saturday, July 21, 1928

    Well we experienced our first workout on foreign soil this morning and the whole attack worked like clockwork. We only played around the goal for about an hour but our stickwork seemed good enough to take quite a nick out of our foreign foes. If we play like we did today I feel fairly certain of several victories in the near future. Confident, eh? Our only difficulty with the field was the fact that we struck water burying the goalposts a foot underground. We also lost several balls in the canal that surrounded the field. Coming back to the Holland-Amerika dock at 12 o'clock we found the ship in the middle of the canal and had to go to the Control Station to take a water taxi. There we found quite a few others in the same boat we were in. That is no boat at all. However after a bit of argument with the proprietors we finally arranged it with the proprietors to take us to the ship. You see, we had no money with us at all.

    This afternoon Monk and I made a short walking tour of the town, especially to the American Express. We bumped into a United Press man while we were drinking a beer and he kept us busy for about an hour. It was then about time for dinner. We repeated the walk tonight-having just returned. On the street we met the Canadian eight oared crew and talked with them for a while. As I lay aside my pen I hear a Dutch crap game in the next room - Dutch money, language and actions by our own Baltimore lacrosse team.

Sunday, July 22, 1928

    Although we had decided last night that we would go to Marken today at the last minute we changed our plans and journeyed to Scheveningen, the Dutch seaside resort. We decided that the trip to Marken would be entirely too crowded. So, Rob-Roy, Bill Kegan, Ben Egan, Monk, John and myself left about 9:30 for Scheveningen. John as a 18 year old Dutchman who accompanied us as interpreter and guide, etc. We conceitedly thought he was proud of our company but I personally think he wanted to improve his English. Anyway he was a bright kid. To go to the resort we had to go thru the Hague so we really killed two birds with one stone, etc.

    We arrived at the Hague about 10:30 and immediately took a very delightful tram car ride to the Resort. Arriving there about 11:30 we took a walk along the "steel boardwalk" until about 1 o'clock. I was surprised at the size of the hotel and the crowds on the beach which I personally believe overshadowed Deauville.

    Noticing some people taking trips in a real Dutch "fishing smack" we decided to do likewise. The method of boarding them was quite novel. The men would ride you on their shoulders to the boats, so you wouldn't get wet; they did not have any wharf. Well, the trip took a half hour and before we got back all of us were a little dizzy. The sea was rather rough and we shipped water several times before we got back. What surprised me was the speed which we traveled. There was a good wind blowing and the boat just traveled right along at a very good clip. After that we all sat down to a very good lunch that cost us about 2.50 gulders.

    After lunch Roy and Kegan went to a one-ring circus while we left to look over the Hague. We arrived just in time to go thru the Palace of Peace which go at 4 o'clock. The whole Palace was endowed by Andrew Carnegie, but practically all countries gave something, typical of the country to its final state. We met Bill and Rob around 5:30 at the station and came back to the Roosevelt together.

    After I was too fatigued to do much of anything so I just stayed on the boat and now I am forcing myself to continue this diary.

Monday, July 23, 1928

    As was expected we had our first scrimmage on foreign turf today, and I must say that we did not score many good wholesome goals in the defense. However I guess we will get going before the games.

    Altho I was quite tired, Monk, Bill and I went to town after lunch. Our hair was getting a little shaggy so we all dived into a Dutch barber shop. I must say it was one of the best haircuts I ever received.

    We then went to the American Express where after some deliberation Monk and I decided that we had accidentally lost Mr. Kegan. Monk and I started off alone and after wondering around a bit we ended up at the National Museum. There I saw some of the best paintings I have ever seen. Rembrandt's "Night Watch," "The Syndicate" and "Lesson in Anatomy" were of course the outstanding paintings. They were really worth the trip to Amsterdam alone.

    On the way to the boat we stopped in a Dutch music store. The clerk happened to be a champion Dutch two-miler. He took an unusual interest in us and took us upstairs to his room to show pictures of himself and friends. He was very interested in us-much as he could not speak a word of English.

    Tonight, Bill Logan, Monk and I went in a beer garden for a beer, where we met the Chief Engineer of the Roosevelt. He attempted to get us drunk, but we dampened his enthusiasm and finally managed to get him and ourselves back on the boat.

Tuesday, July 24, 1928

    For a real tiresome day, today was it. This morning we scrimmaged for about an hour or more, and I worked particularly hard the whole time. I didn't think we worked particularly hard at the time but it showed its real effect in the afternoon.

    Monk and I had made arrangements to take a bus ride to Doorn - the Kaiser's home - but evidently they did not agree with the manager of the girls' track team who had hired the bus. The seats were scarce. Therefore we took a short walk thru the Jewish quarter of the town - which would have proved very interesting, but for my disability and sore feet. So owing to circumstances, I was forced to rest from about 5 to 7 o'clock. That night I ate about the most varied dinner I probably ever ate. The menu included chicken salad, shrimp salad, consomme', turkey and cranberries, potatoes, ice cream, custard, cakes and other side dishes. Nevertheless it is now about 11:30 and I feel no ill effects. But, I must say goodnight, because Regan and Roy want to go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 25, 1928

    Well, today was another long tiresome day; the most tiresome attribute being myself - I actually refuse to write about such a day. It was even cloudy and damp.

    The usual routine was endured in the morning; while the afternoon was spent in walking - the primary object being to shop. I seemingly could not find anything that I really desired except a leather cigarette holder. I was really quite taken with it - as I had to walk quite a few blocks before I found it.

    This unseemly blot was caused by a mosquito that very unthinkingly, attempted to alight on my finger. I am becoming noticeably careless tho - so I imagine it is timeto stop.

Thursday, July 26, 1928

    About all I can say for today is that it is one day closer to our departure from Amsterdam; and that helps some. Besides having more unearthly odors that I never knew before, I also think there are no good shops. This afternoon, after shopping both extensively and intensively, I did manage to purchase several articles of doubtful value.

    The most desirable thing I have noticed is the seemingly famed "Dutch silver." Naturally, several of my purchases consisted of this. Then I bought some Dutch pottery, but only on a very small scale. I also purchased a very unusual table cigarette holder. Nevertheless I am still hoping something more desirable will turn up.

    Tonight I feel much improved physically because of a short practice and a uninteresting day.

Friday, July 27, 1928

    Oh, what an improvement today was. Contrary to natural conception, today was cloudy and rainy throughout, but my spirits were never brighter.

    To start the day off right, practice was interrupted, after about 5 minutes of scrimmage, by a steady rain. This caused me to be in good shape for the most enjoyable trip I have experienced in Holland. It rained off and on thru out the trip to Marken, Volendam, and Edam, but it didn't seem to matter; Monk, George and I began a conversation with two American girls who proved very interesting addition to a very interesting trip.

    The most surprising thing, of course, were the original Dutch costumes. With these costumes went a knowledge of English developed especially for the tourist. The inhabitants knew only enough English to put their trade before the public. Their trades consisted mostly of selling souvenirs and having their pictures taken for which they asked a small recompense. Even the small babies could say "pikau" to the tourists. Among these quaint peoples some very unusual types were encountered. We also visited a typical Dutch cheese factory which was very interesting. Particularly noticeable was the famous Dutch cleanliness, which was lacking in Amsterdam.

    Tonight we met Forence Jasper of Ridgwood, NY (the one I had) and Audrey (?) at the Hotel Victoria. After pondering what to do we finally took a ride in a hansom. George and I managed to make the last boat for the Roosevelt (11:00) in a very shaky state, as the coach had particularly asked every one to be in at 10:00. But everything was O.K.

Saturday, July 28, 1928

    Well, the big parade came off! We enjoyed the buffet luncheon very much. That was held on the hurricane deck at 11:15. At 1 o'clock the whole Olympic squad left for the stadium via motor-boat and bus. The various nations' representatives all formed outside of the stadium. We were about third from the last to enter the stadium with the largest contingent of the bunch.

    After marching around the stadium track we lined up across the field facing the "Royal Box."; I haven't found out yet who was in it but they looked very important in their gold-braided uniforms.

    The whole plan of the ceremony seemed to attempt to reinnovate the old Greek customs. There were two large bands at the entrance, which furnished all the music and heralds. After several familiar marches had been played, and several speeches had been made in Dutch, the formal opening seemed to take place by the firing of salutes at intervals in conjunction with the sending off of several very large flocks of pigeons. All this time three or four airplanes were circling the field and much applause was being accorded the several events by a crowd which greatly overflowed the stadium.

    After a little more music and much singing by a very good male chorus, the different nations filed out of the stadium in the same order, and as far as we were concerned it was all over. I still don't know what it was all about.

    Tonight I visited the Canadian team in their own lair and it looks as though we will be in for a busy afternoon next Sunday.

Sunday, July 29, 1928

    Thank Goodness - we finally got an admittance to this afternoon's games. Moreover, they were good seats in the press box right at the finish line of all the races.

    As expected the U.S. did very well in every event they entered except the 1500 meter which the Finns and Sweden had sewed up very tightly.

    The American flag was the first to be raised; which was accompanied by the band playing the "Star Spangled Banner". Reports then came in concerning the weight-lifting contest, and the band played again. However, it was for another country as U.S. did not have an entry. In summary U.S. took first and second in the shot-put; first and second in the high-jump. We also got 4 first places in the 100 meter semi-finals and placed 2 in the quarter-mile hurdles. All told U.S. could not have done much better.

    The classic of the day was the individual dual between Nurmi and Ritola in the 10,000 meter race. Nurmi finally won in the last 100 yards but both of them lapped the entire field at least once. They set such a killing pace that none could keep but a Swede who came in third.

    Right now I am looking forward to tomorrow with great expectancy. The greatest worry being the entrance.

Monday, July 30, 1928

    Here the whole team was feeling fine and were all set for a hard scrimmage, when three Canadians showed up to scout us. We shammed for a very dub team the rest of the practice, and therefore got little real practice except for 2 very fast laps at the end.

    At dinner Mr. Orstein showed up with our identification admittances and buttons. Naturally we immediately hurried dinner to get to the games. They turned out to be very interesting but very disappointing. First, Taylor, who was thought to be a certainty in the 400 hurdles came in third while Cuhel came in second. Lord Burghley, an Englishman, won the event. Taylor was clearly off form. Then again in the 100 meters Wycoff and McAllister, instead of placing first and second, came in fifth and sixth.

    Another premeditated victory in the hammer throw was a defeat. We only got third. A Swede won the event. None of the victors made any records. The Americans were clearly off form. However in the trials U.S. showed up better.

    The greatest trouble about losing to the foreigners is seeing the thrill they get out of beating an American. They are very enthusiastic about anybody who can trim an American. That is their great objective. It is really quite nauseating and infuriating to see the ardor with which they beat us. However we make them take a back seat yet.

Tuesday, July 31, 1928

    I really am getting worried now. It rained steadily all morning and for the first time I was sorry. That is a sure sign of nervousness. However, we managed to get in a little practice between the showers with two hard laps at the end. I've been afraid of the team's condition but I guess we are alright. There have been so many upsets in the track team that it is getting contagious; at least with me.

    This afternoon, we lost the half-mile - not even getting in the money. Hahn got fourth place but Lowe of England ran a beautiful race to win - breaking the Olympic record. But Ed Hamm broke the Olympic record in the broad-jump while Bates took third place. Also Babe Robinson broke the girls' world's and Olympic record in the 100 meter race. One of our girls also placed second in the discus but helps drown some of our sorrows.

    It seems as though the stadium track is not suitable for our runners. It is slow and rather heavy, and the foreigners are more used to it than we are. I think one of our greatest troubles is the fact that everybody consumed so much food. For myself, I am cutting down my consumption very perceptibly, but I still do not feel in the old play-off condition. I got the printing of 24 pictures today and they certainly did turn out fine, considering the cloudy conditions most of them were taken under. Well, I hope tomorrow is a good day because we need the practice, and the big day is drawing near.

Wednesday, August 1, 1928

    When it rains over here it pours - and that's no lie. It seems to be a bad habit. The first five days here the weather was fine and I think that will be the high point score for the summer. Anyway it has been a cross between mist and rain ever since. So much in fact that most of the boys have slight colds including myself. Nevertheless most of us braved the weather this afternoon to see the games. It turned out to be another U.S. day.

    We won the first "3 places" of the meet when three American flags went up for the pole vault. It was a regular American event, all the way through. We got nosed out of first place in the 110 hurdles, but found some consolation in second and third places. After quite a bad score "Bud" Houser came through to win the discus while Corson took third place. We didn't make out so well in the 220 when Williams of Canada won it, making him a double winner because he won the 1000 m too. Jackson Scholz tied for third place but he was a little too old to make first.

    As usual the Finns gave us some unusual exhibitions in the 3000 m. steeple chase and in the longer distances. A few American managed to make the finals in both although everybody has grave doubts as to their ability. A big surprise was the failure of Lloyd Hahn to place in the half-mile, but we have one in the finals.

    Hurrah! I just received a letter from home and one from my newly made friend. Business is picking up just a bit.

Thursday, August 2, 1928

    Another day of the world's best and I am beginning to become somewhat weary of them. One reason is that Americans again showed up very poorly.

    We managed to get second in the hop, skip and jump, Oda of Japan taking first honors. In the javelin we did not even place anybody in the finals much to my disgust.

    In the 400 meters trials we placed two in the finals which are run tomorrow. In the 1500 m. we placed about last, with much difficulty.

    I left early and purchased a $16 suede raincoat which as yet I haven't decided as to its practicability.

Friday, August 3, 1928

    Well, this morning we went through an extremely light workout, which I think is going to limber us up very nicely. This afternoon I again visited the stadium when the good old U.S.A. made her first victory on the track. And believe it was the greatest fight I ever saw. Barbuti of Syracuse won the 400 m. Did we yell? Well!

    Another great fight was exhibited when Leo Lermond followed Nurmi and Ritola for quite a few laps and finally placed 4th in a great race. Ritola won the 1500 meters. Part of the Decathlon was going on today and at the end of the day J. Stewart of U.S.A for 3rd in point score.

    The California Crew won its first race and tomorrow I am going to try to see them win their second.

Saturday, August 4, 1928

    The day before the big game and everything is calm and serene but the weather. It has been raining all day except for a slight let-up this morning which we used for a very light workout. I stayed on the boat all afternoon during which time the boat was moved to the Holland-Amerika dock.

    Our coaches and the Canadian coaches have been having quite a time trying to settle on the international rules, but I think both sides were satisfied in the end.
    We held out for the "Crease rule" while they wanted to have no crease at all. It was finally decided to adopt one crease, which extends ordinarily six feet in front of the goal, diminished to 4 feet. It was also decided to divide the game into 30 minutes halves, allowing 3 substitutions a half, but both sides are allowed to use only 15 min. I personally think we got the best of the deal.

    Everybody seems to be in fine shape for the game altho nobody can forecast just how the team will go after the game is started. One thing sure, the team isn't at all over-confident. If anything they are a little bit scared, at least outwardly. From all reports the Canadians are very cocky and sure their superior experience and stick work will win for them. However they are working very hard for the game.

    We drew England to play on Monday so that's 2 in a row. Well tomorrow night I might be able to put something of interest in this diary. Best of luck.

Sunday, August 5, 1928

    Just because we had orders to sleep I proceeded to stay in my bunk until about 11 o'clock. It was quite a change after arising at 7:30 for two weeks. Although it was the day of the Canadian game, nobody seemed at all nervous. We were all fooling around, trying to find something to do until 2:30 o'clock. At last we had dinner and at 3:00 o'clock we dressed and left for the stadium. The whole squad seemed unduly happy and sure of winning tho not overconfident.

    Although the game was scheduled at 4:30 o'clock it did not get underway until 5:15. This delay took the edge off the game and seemed to dampen everybody's spirits. However after game started Hopkins seemed to get going and I ceased to worry about the outcome. At half-time the score was 4 to 1. At this time the first of the marathon swimmers hove into sight. France won it while Joie Ray got fifth. The whole first half had been unduly rough, the Canadians seeming to be very poor sports at being on the small end of the score. But if the first half was rough the second half was a nightmare in which both teams became fairly angry. Well we each got two goals so the game ended at 6-3. It was quite a fast game and everybody seemed to be pretty well "joed" at the end. Anyway as soon as the game ended all eyes turned to the English which were hailed as being much easier than the Canadians.

Monday, August 6, 1928

    Well, the next day came, as days will, and everybody was feeling fairly well tired out, but I think we all thought we had enough left to beat the English. We all slept late, then ate a meager lunch late and about 4:30 found us at the field, anxious for the game to start - to find out just how much the Canadian game had taken out of us.

    At 5:30, both teams came on the field to limber up, and soon we were playing another game. As soon as the game started we knew that we had another hard job on our hands. They were as good if not better than the Canadians. It wasn't long before we broke the ice and put one in the netting. That seemed to inspire both teams and the play speeded up perceptibly. At half-time the score was 4 to 3 favor Hopkins. The English started off with a bang and tied us early in the second half. Then we proceeded to make it 5 to 4. Then they scored two goals making it 6 to 5. Ray Finn was clearly off his game; most of the shots being long and easily stopped ordinarily. The play was getting more furious every minute and finally I managed to tie the score. It was not long before the English again went ahead at 7 to 6. As Hopkins began to see the game slowly go out of their grasp, everybody played like demons; at least for as much as was left in us. With a few breaks we could have easily won the game in the last five minutes. Shot after shot was poured at the English goal, and it just seemed as though none would go in. They were bouncing off the goal-keeper, the posts, and everywhere but they wouldn't go in. I was in just a state of agony that I was quite bewildered. Finally I took a close shot at the goal. Again he stopped it between his arm and body. But George was right there for the rebound and managed to scoop it in. At last we had tied the score; but no! the English goal-referee declared that George had been in the crease. I saw perfectly that he had not been but of course we had to listen to the referee. Again we started a terrific bombardment of the goal but between the great ability of the Englishman in goal and our bad luck it seemed impossible. The game ended a minute later.

Tuesday, August 7, 1928

    Such post-mortems and sad, gloomy faces. Of course, the whole team thought we should have won. Scoring three goals that were not counted, getting the worse of the refereeing from the Canadian coach, and having such impossible luck with our shots, is enough to cause anybody to complain. Of course, we only complained among ourselves; to the boys on the boat the best team won. To cap the climax, we all heard the news that MacArthur would not allow us to go to Manchester to play - because of our loss. Such great spirit in a general I have seldom seen.

    Anyway we all determined to forget it. This afternoon about six of us crashed the gate of the boxing arena and saw about three of the first Olympic boxing matches. Becoming restless we then crashed the gate at the "Swim Stadium" and witnessed a very fast water-polo game between Hungary (the champs) and France. Hungary defeated them 5 to 3.

    Arriving at the boat about 7 o'clock we learned that Canada had defeated the Englishmen 9 to 5. Another mix-up, which confirmed our opinion that we had the best team, and also that lacrosse is not a game to be played in successive days. I had not quite recuperated yet, being quite fatigued. I therefore remained on the boat and went early to bed.

Wednesday, August 8, 1928

    I woke this morning to find that several of the boys were going to Paris on the 12:30 train, if Ornstein returned at 11:30 with the visas as was expected. I determined immediately to vacate such a dull town if possible.

    Therefore, 12:30 found Tim, Bill, Monk, George, Rob and myself on the "Etoile Du Nord" bound for Paris. The train was really the fastest and most luxurious to be found on the continent. Arriving in Paris about 7 o'clock I immediately took them to my inexpensive hotel in the Latin quarter. We soon got settled and after dinner started out for a walk. Some went to a show but Bill Regan and I decided we would rather walk and arrived home early.

Thursday, August 9, 1928

    This morning was occupied mainly by Tim's and George's tale of li?ty which they experienced at the Jockey. It was here that they met two American girls that they have had dates with ever since.

    This afternoon Tim and George decided to take a rubberneck tour, so I devoted myself to a lonesome shopping tour which I enjoyed very much. I priced some pipes, tapestries, and many other things and managed to get away without spending a centime. Tonight about six of us went to the Folis Bergere and later went to the Palace of Paris, the House of all Nations, and the Conflagration. All were most interesting.

Friday, August 10, 1928

    Because of late hours, Tim and George and myself didn't arise until about 12 o'clock. Of course we immediately ate dinner.

    We then went up the Tower at Notre Dame and headed for the American Express. We bumped in Chapman and Harris and Monk. I forgot to mention it before but Chappy and Harris are also at our hotel having followed my advice.

    George and Tim had a date with their girls so Naughty, Harris and I went to Le Lido for a swim. It really is a most magnificent place. There were quite a few Americans there and we all had a very good time for 35 francs. I am now looking for something to do while writing this diary. I am tired enough to go to bed but it certainly is hard to do.

Saturday, August 11, 1928

    Saturday turned out to be another fair day - in more ways than one. Again, re-acquiring an old habit we arose in time for lunch. Tim and I immediately decided to change our abode. Tonight being the night Ms Ornstein started to assume control.

    So we carted our things to the Hotel Bergere, which, being crowded sent us to the Hotel Bretant. Both hotels are in the Paris Montmartre district. Here I bumped into Boynton and instead of taking a single room decided to sleep with him.

    This afternoon Tim and I walked to the American Express Co., where meeting the coach, we were later treated to a lemonade at the Cafe' de la Paix.

    Later Tim and I went sightseeing or rather window-shopping but that was all.

Sunday, August 12, 1928

    Tonight I had decided to go to bed early and get a good night rest. So when I met George and Tim and Hall going to get their dates I decided to go with them. Hall was taking a chance on a blind date and I thought I would also.

    Well, it turned out to be one of the best dates I have ever had, which made it one of the best nights I have ever had. We had started out very slowly at Harry's American Bar where we had a few drinks (mostly champagne) and a little entertainment. There were all Americans here and we met quite a few we knew among whom was Jack Beall. About 12 o'clock I went over to the hotel to get my date, and then we all went to the Cansasin - a very Vodka place. Here we managed to do quite a bit of dancing and incidently quite a few francs. About three o'clock the people began to drift out, and finally we awoke to the fact that it was closing. So we had to leave but never stop! A few blocks down the street was Zelli's so a taxi took us there for 15 francs. Yes quite outrageous but by this time we could laugh most anything off. So we did.

    Zelli's is a regular American hang-out and it certainly didn't fail us. Everything was just getting warmed up. So we warmed up a little more and danced and warmed a little more and then danced some more. A good American negro orchestra put the finishing touches on our enthusiasm which never waned once.

    About 5 o'clock, thinking we had better leave, we all took a couple taxi's to the girls' hotel which was near the Arch d'triumph. Here, nobody was beginning to feel at all dull, we walked a few blocks to the Arch to witness a very beautiful dawn, which any artist would be proud to paint.

    Finally we got the girls in the hotel and started walking for our hotel. After walking about a half hour we found we were only a few blocks from the Arch so we sat down in the Champs Elysee to rest. Here we became so fixed we had to hail a taxi to move us.

After a few sandwiches and cafe' we managed to get an hour's sleep.

    Hall, George and myself having decided to go to Fontainbleau today just couldn't back out, so at 9:30 we all lit out for the Hotel Bisson for Chapman. At 10:30 we were all off for Fontainbleau. An hour later found us in the artist's school looking for Evelyn Gieke, a friend of George's. After trying about 4 places with the aid of a very good-looking young artist from Charlottesville, VA. we were informed at her hotel that she was in Versailles - but would be back at seven.

    We then eat dinner with hunger overcoming us, which was immediately followed by an inspection of the Chateau and gardens. The castle was quite interesting although not so luxurious as Versailles.

    Again we called on Evelyn to find that she had not yet returned. Well, we returned any how, and with little determination landed in bed about 10 o'clock.

Monday, August 13, 1928

    We had decided to meet at the American Express at 9 o'clock. I was there sharp and about 9:30 Naughty and Hall showed up. Tell me that George was feeling badly and couldn't go. Oh, I almost forget to say, but we were going to Reims and the battlefields.

    Upon inquiry we found that we had missed the 8:40 train and the next was 12:55. We immediately dispersed - I went shopping while Naughty and Hall went to Sacre' Coeur. I was looking for a good pipe but seeing a good pair of Buffalo skin gloves I purchased them and called the pipe-shopping off. After dinner I went to the Gare L'est where meeting Naughty and Hall we soon were on the way to the Battlefields. Two hours later we talked a taxi-driver down from 150 francs to 125 francs for the trip there.

    Well, I don't think there was much in Reims that the Germans didn't hit. The Cathedral was pretty well repaired but you could certainly see signs of annihilation everywhere. There was hardly a house that was not rebuilt in part and shell holes were everywhere. From there we inspected the fort of " ", which was also quite a ruin. It had been taken by the Germans and retaken by the French. Whoever took it, it must have been some job. From here we went to some more French trenches (front line) where we gathered a few souvenirs, shrapnel, canteens, pots, etc. Unexploded shells were lying everywhere but we thought it best to let them lie. From here we went to Cerney and Mamoy and two annihilated French, which were mostly rebuilt. Along most of the trip we could see both the German and French front line trenches, while we were riding through "no man's land." The name is quite appropriate too. The reality of seeing the battlefield gave me an understanding of the war which I do not think a description could ever give you. It is really more horrible than I had imagined and that saying a good deal.

    We arrived back in Reims about six o'clock, very much pleased with the trip and very soon after we were very much pleased with a very nice dinner.

    Well, I guess I should be out carousing tonight for tomorrow we leave, but I thought 11:30 o'clock is late enough. So here I am writing three days in the diary at one sitting. My hurry must be quite apparent.

Tuesday, August 14, 1928

    I certainly do not feel the least regret that today is to be my last day in Paris. Altogether I have had a better time than at any of my previous visits. The main cause being that I did what I pleased and didn't devote myself to sight-seeing. Secondly, the diversity of companionship caused by knowing many people in Paris reduced any possible boredom.

    Yes, Paris is a wonderfully different town but I cannot say the race as a whole is a very constant and sensible people. They are entirely too indulgent in extremes.

    After about a 6 hour ride on the boat train we arrived in Cherbourg about 4 o'clock. The harbor afforded many suitable scenes for pictures; Leviathan sinking; at the same time several Spanish destroyers, the American cruiser "Detroit," a French submarine and coast guard boat: all taking part in some of my pictures.

    It almost seemed as though we were seeing an old home as the tender neared the Roosevelt, and soon we were getting unpacked in old 204. One relief was the fact that we didn't have to figure out how much the meal would cost. That would make any meal more enjoyable and enjoy it I did.

    Tonight I whiled away talking with Florence Gilbert, the daughter of a member of the Committee and one-time Olympic star. I must say she is about the nicest girl on the boat but really it isn't because I talked to her.

    Well, right now a slight roll is noticeable.

Wednesday, August 15, 1928

    There are no further entries.

TOP

E-mail: archivescenter@si.edu
Revised: March 31, 2000