Letter, 31.7.1925, from Fridtjof Bryde
Object reference: RA 318B13
Sender / Author: Fridtjof Bryde
Recipient: Roald Amundsen
LOS ANGELES, CAL …31st July 1925 –
Dear Mr AMUNDSEN, –
I don’t know whether you will still remember the undersigned [me], as a little boy the time you visited Sandefjord, and thus my parents’ home on the return from the Northwest Passage; – but I remember it as clearly as if it where today. It will perhaps interest you to hear, that I still have in my possession book no. 610 from my father’s collection – he had around 2000 volumes, – this was titled “A mad world”, and has the signatures of those who passed through the N.W. Passage with “Gjøa”. Father gave me the book on my birthday many years ago. As you may know, he sadly died on the 24th of May – albeit after a year-long and painful illness, so it came as rather a relief.
Why I am today taking the liberty of writing to you is in order to offer you my services in Los Angeles, Cal., as I assume that you will also honour this city with a visit when you come to the States to give your interesting account of the adventurous journey.
During the war I lived in Oslo, where I ran a large shipping company with a branch office in New York, in which several of Norway’s larger shipowners were had interests. But unfortunately, I, like several of my family, among them G.M. Bryde, formerly of the Norway-Mexico Gulf Line, etc., lost all our money and business. This was during the great crisis of 1921/22. I have now teamed up with uncle G.M. Bryde, and we run a modest business in shipping and timber in Mexico, where G.M.B. has been granted concessions. It’s going slowly though, – from hand to mouth, but I have faith in the possibilities. I should add that I am married (b. Forseth, daughter of factory owner Forseth, Chra. Glasmagasin), and have my home here. –
Mr Roald Amundsen. #2.
I have many good friends and connections in the city, and could easily arrange your lecture here, thus hire of premises, advance advertising, etc., and would feel only most honoured to be entrusted with your arrangements here, at the same time, I believe that you will be able to have full confidence in everything that will be done in this case. I don’t know what the conditions are, whether you intend to give one or more lectures, the cost of the entrance, etc., but I can in any case, with the necessary guidance from you, make all the arrangements in advance, secure a suitable venue, etc. I might have to do everything on your account, and would only reckon for myself a modest fee for the work and time. You would be able to count on an exceptionally large audience here, especially if the entrance is set low, – $1 – or so and flat, the city is a residential one with approx. 1,000,000 inhabitants, a large percentage of whom have the time and means to attend. You could easily either rent the city’s largest venue, or also – if a Sunday fitted your itinerary – the famous Hollywood Bowl, which is nature’s very own concert venue – a circle-shaped hollow in the mountain with natural acoustics, and where approx. 25,000 people daily attend the most excellent symphony concerts. This could probably be obtained for a Sunday morning. I would follow your instructions in all respects. Quite frankly, I do not hide the fact that apart from the great personal interest and joy I would gain from arranging this for you, so would the assignment – especially if you would grant me a percentage basis, – mean
a more than welcome financial support for me. –
Based on the friendship that always existed between you and my father, and the unshakable confidence he always had in you and your undertakings, I hope that you will not hold this letter against me; but be able to honour me with your prompt, favourable reply.
At the same time, I add my very best congratulations on the occasion of the just-completed deed, an illuminating adventure story for everyone about courage and spirit – and which for the rest of us in a wearisome time – makes us happy again to bear the label Norwegian.
With my respectful regards,
P.S. Should you find the opportunity to use my proposal, then for business reasons I will ask you to write to me in English. –
[In a different hand] Organized by Keedick