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New Book: Voices of Two Americans: Overseas in the 1920s Work and Adventures by Emily Reed Geyman

  • Written by Emily Geyman

Two Americans boarded ships a century ago for places unknown to them: Bulgaria, Japan and Russia. They were eager for adventure and to help make the world a better place. This book shares their stories - in their own words - from letters they sent home.

Harvey, in his 30s and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture, was invited by the YMCA to establish a new program in Vladivostok, Russia. The goal was for young people to create vegetable gardens to help feed their families - no easy task in a country torn at the time by revolution. It was successful and his ability to speak Russian led to his next endeavor: establishing a YMCA vocational school in Sofia, Bulgaria, for young Russians living in crowded refugee camps.

Roberta, in her 20s and a graduate of the University of Iowa, led diverse activities of the YWCA in Japan. She was adviser to a Business Girls Club and at the request of Japanese women held classes in Western cooking. She studied Japanese, learned to converse, and taught English to women and children.

Ride with Harvey from Irkutsk to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Climb Mt. Fuji with Roberta. Share their lives as they learned from and gave to others in different cultures. Their unique experiences are now part of history.

Harvey and Roberta wrote to family and friends frequently. They later married and became the parents of my brother and myself. We inherited their letters and are happy to share them with you.

Available at Griffin Bay Bookstore in Friday Harbor and Darvill’s Bookstore in Eastsound.

- Emily Geyman


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