LOUIS S. NIXDORFF 1928 OLYMPIC GAMES COLLECTION, 1926-1978,
(1 cubic foot: 1 photoprint album; 2 flat oversize boxes)
by: Robert S. Harding, 1993
Louis S. Nixdorff Diary, July
10-August 15, 1928
Tuesday - July 10, 1928
I arrived at the B and O station at 9:15 o'clock. Father, mother, Bertha,
Helen accompanied me. After we got there we found that the train did not leave
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
After a few sandwiches and cafe' we managed to get an hour's sleep.
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
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.
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
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
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