Scope and Content
Title: Venezuelan vistas : Spanish American life, and some notes on a year in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela
Date (inclusive): 1890
Collection number: 94/323
York, Ervine Denison, 1853-
1 v. (ca.  leaves ) : ill., maps, ports. ; 28 cm.
Text in blue carbon typescript; interleaved with leaves of white paper containing mounted photographs, excerpts of text and
illustration from published works, printed maps, business and diplomatic documents, including U.S. State Department request
for safe passage for York, dated June 16, 1887, business correspondence on American Telephone Company letterhead, printed
calling cards, samples of currency (Cuban bills of 5 and 10 centavos), postage stamps, hotel and steamship menus, timetables,
advertising circulars for commercial establishments in Caracas and Havana, and other memorabilia.
Modern dark brown leather binding by Berger of Rio de Janeiro; ornamental gold-stamped border on upper and lower covers; gold-stamped
spine title "Ervine Denison York. Venezuelan vistas. 1890;" gilt dentelles; marbled endpapers. Housed in modern beige cloth
Abstract: Scrapbook containing the travel account by Ervine Denison York, General Manager and Assistant Vice-President of the American
Telephone Company, of his travels from Washington, D.C. to Caracas, Venezuela via Cuba, between April 24,1889 and Mar. 30,
1890, illustrated with 103 photographs (some cyanotypes), most of which were taken by York himself, printed maps and illustrations,
calling cards, bank notes, postage stamps, menus, business correspondence and other memorabilia of his travels.
Language: Finding aid is written in
Language of the Material:
Materials are in English.
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections
for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library
Special Collections for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the
creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright
owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Venezuelan vistas : Spanish American life, and some notes on a year in Caracas, the capital city
of Venezuela (Collection Number 94/323). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
While serving as clerk to U.S. Supreme Court justice Samuel Freeman Miller, E.D. York is appointed Local Manager of the Caracas
office of The American Telephone Company on April 8, 1889, and sets sail from New York City for Caracas on April 12, 1889
aboard the steamer "Philadelphia" of the Red D Line (operated by the Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Company, successor
to Dallett, Boulton and Bliss & Co.) York includes many pages of text on Venezuela and Cuba from published travel accounts,
as well as maps tracing his travel route, shipboard menus, and original photographs of the steamship, and sites along the
way, such as the harbor at Curaçao, harbor and city scenes of Puerto Cabello and the lighthouse and customs house and wharf
at La Guaira.
Scope and Content
Photographs document the city of Caracas--Parque El Calvario, and the American Telephone Company tower, offices, switchboard,
and operators. There are photos of York's home-- "Quinta Jacquin," which he and his family--wife, Margaret Magnon York, and
son Everett Magnon York who join him in July 1889--occupy between July and December. In December 1889, the Yorks move to a
newer house known as "La Pastora," on higher ground in the city. York's typewritten account describes the geography and customs
of Caracas, the daily routine, local cuisine, and the difficulties in finding a housekeeper. He also provides accounts of
nearby hikes, and train excursions to Antimano, Las Adjuntas, Petare, El Encantado, and the bathing beaches of Macuto. York
mentions seeing coffee plantations and sugar-mills along the way. On one occasion, York and his wife explore some nearby ruins,
which house the silkworms of a neglected silk culture industry. York includes chapters on special topics such as "The Spanish
Mother Goose," on native children's rhymes, and "Una estudiante de la medicina," on local medical treatments. There are also
short paragraphs on superstitions, beggary, how to dismiss a visitor, blessing a house, and bathing customs at Macuto. York's
long chapter on Caracas and its people describes local transportation, churches, social classes, status of the negro, slavery,
morality, theaters, bull-fighting, "pulperías" or corner grocery stores, cleanliness, and Carnaval. York includes business
correspondence, Spanish newspaper clippings of editorials on his business management of American Telephone, accompanied by
English translations, and description of a lawsuit in which he was named as a defendant. In a dispute over what York considers
unethical and bad management on the part of the Company, which he believes is "engaged in a game of bluffing the people and
Government without a dollar in the Treasury or any material to continue the work we had promised to perform," York resigns
in late March 1890, and the family begins its homeward voyage. On April 1, 1890, they board the steamer "Mendez Nuñez" in
the port of La Guaira, and sail to Santiago de Cuba and then on to Havana. After a short visit to that city, where they shop,
view the Cathedral, and El Moro fortress, the Yorks reach New York City. On May 1, 1890, the American Telephone Company (Consolidated)
went out of business, and its property and effects sold to the American Electric and Manufacturing Company.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
York, Ervine Denison, 1853- --Travel.
York, Margaret Magnon --Travel.
York, Everett Magnon --Travel.
Castillo del Morro (Havana, Cuba) --Photographs.
American Telephone Company --History.
Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Company.
Architecture, Domestic --Venezuela --Caracas --Photographs.
Steamboats --Venezuela --Photographs.
Telephone switchboards --Photographs.
Street vendors --Venezuela --Caracas --Photographs.
Voyages and travels.
Caracas (Venezuela) --Photographs.
Caracas (Venezuela) --Buildings, structures, etc. --Photographs.
Caracas (Venezuela) --Social life and customs --19th century --Photographs.
La Guaira (Vargas, Venezuela) --Photographs.
Puerto Cabello (Venezuela : District) --Photographs.
Macuto (Venezuela) --Photographs.
Havana (Cuba) --Photographs.
Venezuela --Description and travel.
Venezuela --Social life and customs --Photographs.
Cuba --Description and travel.
Cuba --Social life and customs --Photographs.
Genres and Forms of Material