02 February 2009

Une Arrivée

One of the precursors to the Theatre of the Absurd -- along with such well-knowns as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jean Cocteau -- French playwright Armand Salacrou arrived in New York on the RMS Queen Mary on this day in 1948. He had not come to the United States to stage one of his surrealist plays, but to take part in a meeting of 3,000 delegates at a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regional conference in San Francisco. As for his choice of ships, there was at this time a lull in French shipping, as the S.S. Ile de France was in a shipyard at Saint Nazaire for restoration that would not be completed until 1949, and the S.S. Europa, having been turned over to France by Germany after WWII, had sunk two years earlier and would not be raised until 1950 (when she became known as the S.S. Liberte). The S.S. Normandie [pictured above with the Mauretania, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth] had, of course, burned in 1942 while waiting in New York Harbor for her conversion into a troop ship.

New York Times
UNESCO  Courier


  1. This photo does not include the Queen Mary.
    The three-stacker at the bottom of this photo, taken on March 18, 1937 is the Berengaria. Above the Berengaria is another Cunard-White Star liner the Georgic. Then French Line's Normandie, Italian Line's Rex, and the German liner Europa.

  2. You're right! Thanks. I have two pictures that look very much the same if you're not paying attention - which I obviously wasn't. I've changed the photo. I hope my eyes aren't deceiving me on this one.

    By the way, the correct photo comes from http://www.worldshipny.com/normandie.html - a great site about the Normandie (the pictures on the site were taken from AP, the National Archives, and Library of Congress).

  3. I believe the correct order in the updated photo is (from the top) Mauretania, Normandie, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth.