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Crossing the Pond in 1929

As people converge on London for the Olympic Games, we thought it might be fun to reflect on a time when travel across the Pond was much different. 

In 2011, thanks to a grant from the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries, the University Archives acquired a diary entitled “Seeing the British Isles in 1929,” written by F. Chandler Young and his brother Hobart. 

Launching their travel writing careers young

F. Chandler Young during tenure as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


Chandler Young graduated from UW in 1940, and also received his MA and PhD here in counseling and guidance.  He was a long time assistant and associate dean in the College of Letters and Science and also served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.  He retired in 1983 and died in 2001.  His father-in-law, H. A. Schuette, was also a chemistry professor here.


The diary chronicles a voyage from Winnetka, IL to the British Isles by then 11-year-old Chan, 13-year-old Hobart, and their parents, Hobart P. and Isabel Chandler Young.  

The Young Brothers

The family departed Chicago on the 20th Century Limited on June 20, 1929 and arrived in New York the next day.  On June 22, they boarded the RMS Samaria for the trip to England. 

Shuffleboard on the deck

They docked in Queenstown (Blackpool) early on July 1 and took the train down to London.  For the next 2 months the Young family traveled in England and Scotland, with side trips to Ireland and France.

  Big Ben photo detail

On September 1, the family boarded the RMS Empress of Scotland for the trip home.  They landed in Quebec on September 7 and then took “the special boat train” back to Chicago, arriving on the 8th. 

The diary is about 130 pages, with many photos glued in.  It provides a fascinating glimpse through two children’s eyes of travel and touring in a world familiar but in many ways quite different from our own.

For more information about F. Chandler Young or UW-Madison history, visit

By David Null for the UW-Madison Archives.

Filed under 20th Century Limited F. Chandler Young London RMS Samaria University of Wisconsin-Madison shuffleboard travelogues Vice Chancellors UW-Madison university history US history Wisconsin 1920s