In the previous blog we read about Tera’s reinforcement of international contacts. Both correspondence and travel in the fifties were a very different matter than nowadays. There was no email and international calls were outrageously expensive. In this blog I will elaborate on a foreign trip they made as a couple in 1949.
Tera received a postcard from Dr. Volsoe from Copenhagen in March 1949 asking her to identify a number of specimens. She decides to travel to Denmark to do so and informs Dr. Volsoe by postcard. Dr. Volsoe receives this postcard somewhere in April. He consults with his boss Dr. Thorson . He and Dr. Thorson are both very willing to receive Tera and Pico.
A year earlier, Pico and Tera had already visited a conference in Zurich. Switzerland is a country Pico liked to visit before the war and they will regularly go on holiday there. But about that later. In Zurich they were for scientific reasons.
Pictured is the dinner menu at the Zurich convention, a time when convention attendees were still being celebrated.
In June 1949, she receives a response from Dr. Volsoe.
So that’s settled, but we’re not there yet. A travel grant must first be applied for at the Institute for Pure Scientific Research. She will be taken by Dr Thorson to the island of Hven but that is on Swedish territory and she needs to verify if her passport is valid for both Sweden and Denmark.
When that is arranged, she writes to Dr. Thorson. She needs a formal invitation from the institute she is going to; the Danish Institute of Natural History. Only with such a formal invitation she can obtain Danish crowns from the bank, and of course Swedish crowns for when she is on the isle of Hven. Moreover, she still is owed some Danish crowns from a Danish colleague because she advanced the subscription fee for Basteria for him during the war. She will now finally meet him. She does, however, ask whether she can already arrange tickets for Danish public transport in the Netherlands. That saves some crowns. After all, she needs a lot of crowns, everything is paid in cash. Finally she writes:
It has now been decided that we will go to our Country House De Wael in Domburg from 23th July till 6 Aug. After that two weeks in Amsterdam and from 19 or 20 Aug till the end of the month in Denmark. Perhaps it will be best to spend the first few days to see the city and after that travel to Hven
It is not entirely certain whether this photo was taken in Denmark, but it was during that period and clearly with travel clothes on.
So it takes about 5 months from first contact to actual travel. Everything has to be arranged by letter. She has to arrange the tickets for the train at Amsterdam Central Station. Get the crowns with official papers from the bank. Apply for a travel grant and submit a travel report for that purpose. That is quite different from some email traffic and some googling to organize a trip in an afternoon.
More international travel and contacts in the next blog.