Derby History Quiz

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The mythical Traprock Expedition

Our thanks to Rick Dunne for submitting this quiz and the following information:

Walter E. Traprock is the pseudonym of New York Architect George Shepard Chappell. Traprock was the “author” and subject of three popular travel parodies written between 1921 and 1931. According to the books, Traprock’s estate was located in Derby, on the banks of the Housatonic River.

In the 1920's, the New York architect George S Chappell wrote a trilogy of books under the pseudonym "Dr. Walter E Traprock". These books were written in the first person about (his) various adventures. They were satires of the popular travel books of the 1920s, the South Seas adventure, the Arctic travel, etc. Chappell was a friend of publisher George Putnam [GP Putnam's Sons publishing house] and the Traprock books were thought to be the brainchild of Putnam, who recruited Chappell into writing them. Putnam is more widely known as the husband of Amelia Earhart. The books consistently refer to Traprock as living in Derby, Connecticut. (Chappell & Putnam graduated from Yale in 1899. We know that Mrs. Kellogg knew Earhart and that Mr. Kellogg was also an architect and lived in New York at the same time. Could that be the connection?)

Chappell's first book, published in 1921, was Cruise of the Kawa (Wanderings in the South Seas), then in 1922, followed by My Northern Exposure (The Kawa at the Pole) and the third and last was Sarah of the Sahara in 1925. A fourth Traprock book, Dr Traprock's Memory Book (or Aged in the Wood) was written in 1931 with Chappell using his own name, 'interviewing' the retired explorer at his estate in Derby on the banks of the Housatonic River.

If you would like to read The Cruise of the Kawa, you can read it online or download it from Project Gutenberg for free by clicking here.

Correct answers were received from:  Randy Ritter, Fred Grant, Ann Searles, Mary Lou Boroski, Nick from Terryville,  Millie from Ansonia, Joe Romano, Mary Seuss, Marc J. Garofalo, Joe Pinto, Joe Melewski, Dawn Berry, Raymond M. Petrillo, John Kowarik, Jack Skelding, Ruth E. Barnett, Eileen Krugel, Tom Francione, Rick Schreiner, Stephanie Anne D'Onofrio,  Jack Vagnini, Carolyn Nowakowski Kovach, Cyndi Poppa, Mark Jackson, and John Whalen.

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