Monday, September 19, 2011

Esther Detchon in Europe, 1914

Esther Detchon

Esther Detchon (1893-1980) was a popular Crawfordsville socialite.  She came from a prominent and wealthy family which made its fortune as doctors and businessmen.  Esther attended an exclusive private finishing school in Philadelphia after graduating from Crawfordsville High School in 1911.  In 1914, Esther went on a school-sponsored trip to Europe, where she stayed in first-class accommodations in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, Italy, England, and Scotland.  When World War I was officially declared in July of 1914, Esther and her classmates were stranded in Italy, where they applied for emergency passports at the American Embassy in Rome. Although officials assured them that American tourists were safe in Europe (as long as they curbed their curiosity and stayed out of dangerous situations), family and friends in Crawfordsville waited anxiously for word of Esther.  Weeks later, Esther arrived back in the United States, having paid $250 for passage on the Principe di Undine, an Italian liner chartered by a group of wealthy Americans.  Esther and her classmates, happy to be home, were also “disappointed because they had had no really exciting adventures.” (Crawfordsville Daily Journal, August 28, 1914) 
Esther (third from left) and her classmates

 Check out the library’s display of Esther’s travel photos, school scrapbooks, and more!

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