Forbes, Rosita. (1890-1967). Noted British woman explorer. AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED WITH HER INITIALS BY NOTED WOMAN EXPLORER ROSITA FORBES TO THE SECRETARY OF JAMES POND, LECTURE BUREAU MANAGER. Together with a brochure advertising a "Town Hall" lecture.
New York: circa . . Very good Signed
- A letter penned in black ink & filling both sides of a 9-3/8 inch high by 6 inch wide sheet of Hotel Webster letterhead. Signed "Yrs. sincerely & abjectly / R. F." A large checkmark is penned on each side of the letter, indicating that it has been acknowledged. Folded twice for mailing. Together with a 4-page 11 inch high by 8-1/2 inch wide brochure printed in green, red & white and illustrated in green & white, advertising a Town Hall lecture. Near fine.
The letter offers an abject apology to the James B. Pond Lecture Bureau for having missed a scheduled lecture: "The most GHASTLY thing happened to-day. I thought the Crescent Athletic Club lecture at Brooklyn was at 8 p.m. I'd got it firmly fixed in my mind & so did not look at the contract & sat all the afternoon waiting for 7.30! The Brooklyn Eagle rang up at 6 & told me what had happened. I immediately called the Secretary & apologised, profusely, profoundly, prodigiously..." Fortunately, a large and eager audience was ready to return on another day and the "perfectly angelic" secretary agreed to schedule her for any other free Sunday. "Don't be too terribly angry please & make my peace with Mr. Pond...."
The four-page brochure advertises the explorer's "First New York Public Lecture", organized by the Pond Bureau and to take place at Town Hall. The lecture is titled "The Secret of the Sahara". The fourth page advertises her book "Quest", "A Novel of Adventure and Travel in the Near East".
Though Rosita Forbes started traveling at an early age, following her marriage to Major Ronald Forbes, it wasn't until after a nervous breakdown following her husband's death in World War I that her travels started in earnest. At first she served as an ambulance driver in France during the war and subsequently traveled around the world "by way of American Hawaii, Papua, Sumatra, Java, Cochin China, Siam, and China". In China she was taken prisoner during the revolution and ended up doing Red Cross work for the Chinese army. In 1919, she resumed her travels through Africa and the Middle East and was in Jerusalem for the riots of 1920. "From here her journeys are chronicled in her lectures....After her return from Kufra she met and married Col. Arthur McGrath of the British War Office...." Astonishingly, all this had been accomplished by the time she was thirty years old.
Rosita Forbes described her journey around the world in her first book, "Unconducted Wanderers" (1919). Disguised as a Moslem, she traveled across the Libyan desert to the oasis of Kufara from 1920-21. This journey is described by her in "The Secrets of the Sahara Kufara" (1924).