Item #6916 Thrilling Moments on Palestine Tour. Jacob W. Powell.

Thrilling Moments on Palestine Tour.

Malden, Mass. [Jacob W. Powell], 1937. 9¼” x 6¼”. Blue pebbled cloth, title gilt. Pp. xvi, 136 + 60 [of 60] photographically illustrated plates interspersed. Very good: light wear, a hint of toning to leaves.

This is a detailed and heavily illustrated travelogue written by an AME Zion Elder and religious educator, Jacob W. Powell. The first three pages of the book include a detailed chronology of Powell's life, along with his numerous certifications related to religious teaching. From it, we learn that Powell was born a Methodist Episcopalian in 1866 and converted to the AME Zion Church in Boston in 1881. He worked as a stenographer for a number of religious and civil clients before becoming ordained a Deacon and later Elder. Powell served as Pastor of a few AME Zion and Baptist churches and, according to this book's dedication, taught over 4,000 students during his 54-year career.

The book is simultaneously a travel log, travel guide, and collection of Powell's short essays on various religious subjects. It relays Powell's account of his six-week tour and is broken up into 25 chapters, each with numerous subdivisions. Powell described his observations of myriad sights and experiences throughout Rome, Naples, Genoa, Marseilles, Alexandria and Cairo, and Palestine. He related an incident involving a “Mohammedan lad” who took a liking to him and his group while they were visiting mosques, surmising that “perhaps my similar complexion helped to draw him toward me,” and of whom he snapped a photograph, angering a crowd of adults who had gathered nearby. His writing, while often rambling, is also often action-packed, such as this near accident returning to Marseilles:

“ANOTHER THRILLING INCIDENT—as it looked to me, our ship came perilously near 'going on to rocks' just before we reached the narrow outlet from Marseilles Harbor . . . . jagged rocks loomed ominously on either side of this narrow outlet as the 'Excalibur' pushed her prow forward. Hardly any saw the danger until the Captain in the pilot house looked out of his window and shouted to his deck officers, 'Throw out your sheet (?) anchor!' Immediately the command was obeyed (good discipline aboard this ship), and the staunch vessel stood fast within fifty yards or so from the perilous rocks!”

Powell's descriptions are complemented by detailed historical and geographical data as well as 60 plates of maps, illustrations and photographic images. He clearly intended this to be a guide book as well, as he provided histories of seemingly countless tourist destinations, as well as information on languages, locals, cities he did not get to visit and more. He also waxed on many religious topics including the history of Christianity, provided brief statements of the beliefs of Muslims and Jews, and devoted four pages to his outline on the symbolism of the book of Revelation.

Also of note is a rare piece of ephemera laid in to the book: Powell's promotional order form for this book, as well as others he'd written, along with a number of blurbs.

A meticulous and well-illustrated travelogue and collection of religious essays by an African American educator and religious leader. OCLC locates five copies. Very good. Item #6916

Price: $1,350.00

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