Thursday – May 30, 1912 “Decoration Day” (in JBK’s handwriting)
Fine, cool and bright. Got up 6:15. Went out to Dominion Heights and borrowed some tools from Mr. Comley. Worked all day at camp. Put up mess tent & 3 floors. Dug holes etc. Big day’s work. Home at 6:30 Bath and supper. Talked with Marshall and got Greenway’s cot. Prayer meeting. Packed trunks. Bed 10:30.
Friday – May 31, 1912
Finest day. Rose 7:30. Lame and sore (guess he over did it with the Big Day’s work!) Took suit and hat. Busy day. Drew money from bank at noon. Saw about berths. Packed up. Letter from mother.
Saturday – June 1, 1912
Fine. Got tickets and berths at 8:30. Finished packing. Busy all day. Payday. After work got laundry. Mrs. Travers for dinner. Left for station at 6. Henry A, Gillis (from Ames), Carey and I got berth together – $2 each. Carried lunch. Bed at 9:30, 10 hours of sleep. Carey and I slept well in upper. Block of Olen, NY (?) (YMCA) going to Davenport. Ex Rep Gordon of Lima Ohio.
Sunday – June 2, 1912
Cloudy. Rose 7:30 (6:30) Sat in observation car and read. Fine ride across Ohio and Indiana. Chicago 2 pm (on time). Walked up Michigan Ave. Dinner at Thompsons on State Street. Went thru Field Museum. Left at 5:30. Slept 2 or 3 hours. Independence at 12:50. Bed at Gedney Hotel. Perfect night. Balmy & clear. Much cooler than Washington. Crops very backward.
So it seems JBK was making a trip home after his semester ended. A few observations.
He was clearly working several hours a day in addition to going to school at George Washington University. He was also active in church activities, some sort of camp in the suburbs of Washington DC where he was helping build part of the facilities, and took a two day train trip home.
I doubt there are many college students today who would get up at 6:15 am a few days after their last exam. Nor would they spend one of their only free days working so much that the next day they’d be “lame and sore.”
True to his nature, even during a layover in Chicago while waiting for his next train, JBK managed to include site seeing and a visit to a museum. Here’s a link to the modern Field Museum. Looks like fun! Apparently it was started to house the collection of natural history exhibits and artifacts assembled for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition. At the time JBK visited, it would have still been in Jackson Park, in one of the original buildings remaining from the World Exhibition but it moved to it’s current location in 1921.