Sunday, May 15, 2011

Any Ship - Any Ocean

No two ways about it - Alex Artway had Wanderlust! 
His preferred mode of transportation - the Sea.

Between the time he landed at Ellis Island (1922) and the time he became a US citizen (1927) Artway worked as a sailor to satisfy his urge to see as much of the world as possible. He set sail from California on trips to the Panama Canal, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kobe. And, of course his camera is there with him.

Here we see a very young Alex shirtless and smoking a pipe (far right), and in another print there is Alex behind the helm.
But it seems that Alex had another plan, an ulterior motive.  
The work brought income but he was keenly interested in gaining experience on ships.   As a helmsman he was racking up the hours needed to apply for a license as Second Mate in the United States Merchant Marines once he received his Naturalization papers.

In 1927 Artway became a US citizen. Two years later he was officially a third mate in the US Merchant Marines studying and working towards his license as a Second officer.  Thus began a long career and continued journeys around the world.  

With his US passport Artway was now permitted entrance to his Russian homeland. He was no longer an exiled White Russian, but a US citizen.  Alex was now able to see his Mother and siblings.  So in the summer of 1927 Alex made his first visit home since escaping off the battlefield in 1919.

In 1929 Artway set sail again for Europe, this time from New York onboard the SS Bremen, a German highspeed luxury liner. Hitler was just rising to power and the Nazi flag did not carry the same meaning it would in another five years.  

Alex Artway would make two more visits back home - next  time to a Stalinist Russia.

Although Alexander Artway would  eventually get his land legs back to pursue a degree in Architecture at NYU he never gave up his license to navigate the deep blue seas. 

Here we see Alex as a mature man in his 50's working on a ship in the Philadelphia Naval Yard where he worked as an engineer and architect.

Next post will take us to Russia and the family Alex left behind, but never forgot.

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