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Details about  ORIGINAL USS Logan USN Sailor JOURNAL or CRUISE DIARY Manila, Japan, SFO 1900

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Item Information

Item condition:

A rare 114 year old private journal in very good used condition - see our many detailed photos

May 19, 2014 15:06:32 EDT
Winning bid:
US $619.00
Approximately C $670.93(including shipping)
17 bids ]
US $13.95 (approx. C $15.12) USPS First Class Mail Intl / First Class Package Intl Service | See details
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Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
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Item specifics

Condition: Used : Split the cost with friends
An item that has been used previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
Seller Notes: A rare 114 year old private journal in very good used condition - see our many detailed photos

Antique Original US Navy Sailor JOURNAL or CRUISE DIARY

American Transport USS Logan - Philippines, Japan, San Francisco 1900

This is a superb 100% authentic 114 year old handwritten 39-page 3-⅝ x 6 inch pocket diary or journal written on a cruise aboard the American transport ship the USS Logan in 1900 by a sailor named Pfankuch from Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  The original diary comes with a wonderful assortment of other ephemera.  I purchased this material decades ago including another Pfankuch cruise journal from 1923 which I stupidly donated to the US Navy Museum at the Navy Yard in Washington DC.  This is all that remains from the Pfankuch stuff which I own.

Besides the diary, the other ephemera consist of splendid antique hotel receipts, train and / or tram tickets, theater receipts, horse race bet receipt, maps, cartoon, programs, dance card booklet, etc., and all kinds of 100+ year old Asian business cards from hotels, rooming houses, cabarets, tailors, uniform shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, dance halls, jewelry makers, liquor stores, Seamans Clubs, money changers, a gold & silver smith, and even a “Japanese Hospital” in China, a Bumboatsman, and Heng Kee who advertised himself as “Photographers and Surgeon Dentist”.

The central piece of the Pfankuch grouping is the 114 year old private journal or cruise diary the young sailor kept as a prisoner guard on a cruise aboard the American transport ship the USS Logan carrying military prisoners, convalescents, and discharged soldiers in October and November of 1900 from Manila in the Philippine Islands via Japan to San Francisco.  Sailor Pfankuch carefully described his pre-cruise activities ashore from 12 - 16 October 1900 in clear, easily read handwriting.  He was guarding a group of American soldier prisoners listed as 11 Privates, 3 Corporals and 2 Sergeants who gave him plenty of trouble.

The USS Logan left Manila on 16 October in good weather and passed a volcano before Pfankuch saw, “the Island called Fore Mosey [apparently Formosa, now Taiwan] the Island the Japs took from the Chiniese for the war debt of 1893” on the 18th.  After the death of one Charlie Jacob of malaria en route, the ship arrived in Japan at 12:30 on the 21st of October 1900, where it dropped anchor and was examined by a Japanese quarantine officer.

Pfankuch described the other ships he could see and identify “laying near us” including US, French and Chilean boats.   He went ashore on the 22nd and very carefully gave a lengthy description of the vehicles, people and clothing he saw, as well as the scenery, the prices of things, exchange rate, a temple visit, lunch, Japanese police and Japanese prisoners, a dinner, etc.  It is a fascinating, lengthy eyewitness report by a young, interested, intelligent man with very good powers of observation.

On the 24th, a German military transport pulled into port and as they passed the German band played “Stars & Stripes”.  On 25 October a Japanese human chain of men, women and children began to load coal aboard the Logan with baskets!  At the same time the prisoners aboard the Logan were rioting, breaking out their windows and causing a lot of trouble.  Later the Crown Prince of Japan passed by and Pfankuch described the festive decorations and nature of the harbor and city.  The USS Logan set sail at 6 pm on 27 October and there are wonderful, lucid descriptions of the Japan that was to be seen on both sides of the ship as it slowly sailed out of the country on the 28th and 29th of October 1900.

Beyond Japan there were very severe storms which required hard work on the part of the crew, and one of Pfankuch’s prisoners died of dysentery.  There was a lot of gambling on board and it is very well reported in the easily read hand of Pfankuch.  On the 6th of November 1900 a ballot box was set up and the sailors voted - 215 for William McKinley and 182 for William Bryan for President of the United States.  Two more men died on the 9th.

Here is a pretty typical verbatim quote from the 12th of November:
“we took the prisoners up on deck for exercise and one of them got sassy and he told me to go an F- my self.  He was taken down in the hole and the Captain told us if anyone of them gave us any more back talk we should knoch them down with our rifle.  The prisoner made some threats to me he said when he got out and saw me in San Francisco he would go for me and the Captain told me if he ever met me in the States anyware whether I was discharged or not and he ever showed any violence to me I should draw my revolver and the law could do nothing to me as I was his keeper and as I fulfilled my order.  He made a threat that he would fix me when he got out of prison.’

On the 14th and 15th of November 1900 the Logan’s speed increased, a sure sign that they were approaching the west coast of the United States and the crew finally sighted land at 2 pm on the 15th.  Pfankuch gives a splendid description of the excitement of the crew and the last hours at sea and as the boat “came in the Golden Gate” to anchorage in the harbor.

Most of the items of ephemera in this grouping came from the Orient, many during the cruise of the Transport Logan in 1900, and some came from subsequent Pfankuch cruises through 1923.  The stuff came from cities such as Peking, Kobe, Chefoo, Nagasaki, Yokohama, San Francisco, San Diego, Shanghai, Dairen, Manila and Tsingtao.  Many of the items were pasted in some sort of album at one time but carefully removed.  A couple of items have clever and/or bawdy info the back.  The condition is exactly as you see it and there are a few more pieces of ephemera than we show in our pictures.  The stuff belongs in a maritime museum somewhere.

UNIVERSAL DISCLAIMER (© 2014): Because of eBay’s approach to returns nowadays we no longer represent anything as being suitable for use for any specific purpose.  We sell everything as a surplus curio or relic “as is-where is”, with no implied or other warranties of any kind given, and which may or may not be useful for its original or intended purpose.  What you see is what we have photographed and what you will receive if you are the high bidder.

PLEASE READ THIS!  We will answer any questions you may have DURING this 10-day auction, NOT after the auction has ended.  The following is a direct quotation from eBay’s instructions given to every bidder at the time a bid is placed.   ”By clicking on the button below, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.  You are agreeing to a contract.   .....   You will enter into a legally binding contract to purchase the item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.  You are responsible for reading the full item listing, including the seller's instructions and accepted payment methods.  If you are not in absolute agreement with eBay’s rule on legally binding contracts please do not bid on our auctions.

Have a look at our antique J.M. Litchfield & Co. USN sword from the same period, also on eBay this week!


1)   CONDITION: exactly as described and shown in our photographs.

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Item location: Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
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PLEASE read our auction description for shipping options and cost. Insurance is optional but highly recommended (insurance cost depends on final auction price). The high bidder will receive an invoice shortly after the end of the auction.
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