The Alcedo

"Alcedo" at Dakar. West Coast of Africa.

Alcedo at Dakar, Senegal.

George W. Childs Drexel (1868-1944) was the youngest child of Anthony Joseph Drexel (1826–1893). George Drexel was owner and editor of the Public Ledger for eight years after the death of his namesake, George W. Childs (1829–1894). Passionate about motor cars and yachting, George Drexel ardently pursued these interests, buoyed by family wealth after the sale of the Public Ledger. His steam yacht Alcedo launched for the first time from Wilmington, Delaware shipyards in 1897. George Drexel, his wife Mary Stretch Irick Drexel (1868-1948), and family and friends enjoyed numerous trips on the Alcedo.

Livingston Biddle, Sr. (1877-1959) accompanied his Uncle George and Aunt Mary on at least two separate voyages around 1905 and later created three photo albums. The photographs depict landscapes from the deck of the Alcedo, cities, rural areas, and religious sites, and the activities of the travel party. These activities include sightseeing, hunting, and meeting people native to the areas visited and European colonizers. The captions for many of the candid portraits of native people comment on their dress, customs, and culture from a colonial perspective that reflects the time in which they were written. 

View these photo albums and travel around the world with Livingston, George, and Mary on the Alcedo.

Page 3, The Alcedo by A.J. Drexel Paul

An excerpt from A.J. Drexel Paul's account of the Alcedo during the time the ship was used by the U.S. Navy in World War I.

In an excerpt from A.J. Drexel Paul's account of the Alcedo circa 1920, he mentions meeting up with his Uncle George and traveling aboard the Alcedo for a time:

"In the Autumn of 1906 I went round the world with Morris Gray, Jr. of Boston. When we arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, we found that my uncle George Drexel was at Port Said on yacht, the ALCEDO, and he invited us to go with him to India. We had a very interesting trip to Bombay, stopping at places we ordinarily would not have had the opportunity to see: Suakim, Jibuti in French Somaliland, Jedda (the Port to Mohommedan Mecca), and Aden.

In the autumn of 1917, the ALCEDO was the first ship in the United States Navy to be torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. Her record in the Navy was a short one of three months, and during that time I served on her as a Watch and Divisions Officer..."

Read A.J. Drexel Paul's full account of the Alcedo's use in World War I.

Travels Abroad
The Alcedo