Pet Book Origins Post: The Cruise of the Fleur-de-Lys in the Ocean Race

In my search, I found that The Cruise of the Fleur-de-Lys in the Ocean Race does not display a great deal of its history of compilation in detail. The only information stated clearly is the names of the author, publishing company, and that the book was privately printed. There is no copyright stated, there is no recognition given to an editor, and there is no credit given to the photographer that provided the illustrations within the book. The book, though it does have a great deal of character, definitely presents a minimalist quality upon first glance.

Portrait of Lewis Atterbury Stimson in his later years

The author of this anecdote in the Kaiser’s Cup is a man by the name of Lewis Atterbury Stimson M.D., who lived from 1844 to 1917. He lived his professional life as a professor of surgery at Cornell Medical College, as well as an American surgeon. Stimson was well known because of his public demonstration of a new surgery technique. On the personal side of his lifeStimson was a well-off man who belonged to many clubs and organizations, including where the race in the book took place. He was the captain of the Fleur-de-Lys, and was aboard the boat for the trip across the Atlantic.

In addition to The Cruise of the Fleur-de-Lys in the Ocean Race, Stimson wrote a fairly similar book, published in 1904, with the title
The Cruise of the Fleur-de-Lys in the Mediterranean. Other than these travel-based works, most of his writing was in the medical field. He edited a great deal of books on the subject of surgery, such as: Lectures on the Principles of Surgery, A Text-book of Surgery, and The Principles of Surgery and Surgical Pathology to name a few. Compared to his compilation of other literary works, his depiction of his boat’s experience in the Kaiser’s Cup is a fairly unique one. This book heirs on the leisure side of his life, rather than professional, which gives us more insight to the purpose of its pathway of origin.

The publishing company of the book went by the name G.P. Putnam’s Sons located in New York. The company was founded in 1838 by

George Palmer Putnam and John Wiley. This company had itsown printing and manufacturing office that went by the name of The Knickerbocker Press. At the time the book was released, in 1905, the printing side of the company moved to its own separate location about fifteen years earlier, though printing and publishing were still considered

to be part of the same company. G.P. Putnam’s Sons is presently owned by penguin publishing, purchased in 1996, though they do not disclose information on The Cruise of the Fleur-de-Lys in the Ocean Race within their public resources. The payment for the printing of the book was privately fronted and no specific source is eluded to or advertised. I speculate that the payment was most likely made by Lewis Atterbury Stimson, as he was a fairly well-off man and feasibly had the funds to propel this work showing the leisure side of his life.

Within the book there are a multitude of photos showing visual representations of the tiny ships journey across that Atlantic, though there is no claim to the illustrations.

photograph of the captain: Thomas Bohlin

There is no photographer noted to have recorded the trip, though the lack thereof credit lead me to believe that the photographs were most likely taken by some member of the crew as an amateur photographer. However, there was a photographer listed as the man who created the illustration used to advertise the race in the pamphlet that is kept with the book. The photographers name is James Burton, and, in addition to this work, he photographed the Americas cup of 1903, though he was not the photographer who produced the images aboard the Fleur-de-Lys.

James Burton’s photograph

There is a pamphlet paired with the book which acts as an advertisement for the entire event, whereas the book tells of the specific journey of one of the teams within the race. This advertisement pairing with my pet book did give more insight into the beginnings of the book as a whole, and the environment it was created within. The book seems to have been written, produced, and distributed by and for the same people. The upper-class of the New York area created the book to memorialize the experience, rather than for educational purposes. The same man who owned the boat participated in the race, wrote the book, and most likely fronted the funds to have the book printed. Learning more about how this book was created gave me a lot of insight into its past as well as its purpose, and I am excited to delve into greater detail in its past and its purpose in the coming months.