Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flying Clouds

I recently read and enjoyed Dare The Wind, from Tracey Fern and Emily Arnold McCully, a new book which tells how in 1851 Ellen Prentiss helped the clipper ship Flying Cloud make a record-setting run from New York to San Francisco — 89 days, 21 hours. I enjoyed the book because it’s a well told story, beautifully illustrated, on an interesting subject. I took a little extra pleasure from the book because a small drawing of the Flying Cloud appears in the front endpapers of Locomotive as an illustration of how one might have traveled between the East and West Coasts before the opening of the transcontinental railroad (which reduced the travel time for such a trip to about a week). (That’s the drawing from Locomotive above, based a model that I saw and photographed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. A fantastic model; you can see it online here.) I like to think that someone, somewhere, might end up reading both Dare the Wind and Locomotive, and make the connection. 

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