The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books

Sampler of Collection Themes:
Introduction | The Civil War | Slavery and Abolition | Religion | Education
Self-Help and Self-Improvement | Travel and Westward Expansion | Poetry

Travel and Westward Expansion

Illustration from Colorado River book

The Nineteenth Century in Print is especially rich in books that offer travellers’ impressions of various parts of the United States or that officially describe the Western territories that were incorporated into the nation during the course of the century. Even when such works were written by foreigners, their popularity suggests the urgency and fascination with which Americans mapped their country in words no less than in cartography, intellectually mastering and imaginatively subduing the dimensions of a vast and physically diverse continent. A number of particularly important books about the West were produced by or for the federal government, a reflection of the decisive role the government played in surveying and mapping the Western lands and in plotting the trajectories of conquest and settlement through military activity and railroad sponsorship. Some of these works offer glimpses—seldom unprejudiced—of the life and struggles and resistance of the native peoples who already inhabited those lands and for whom the American presence was almost invariably a continuing catastrophe. In the same era, the growth of recreational tourism ensured that throughout the nation soldiers, settlers, and railroad crews would soon be followed by growing numbers of curious travellers, eager to trace a national history in the lineaments of the land, discovering for themselves a country that seemed at once both familiar and exotic, ancient and new. As the travellers whose works appear in this collection portrayed it, America promised its citizens both pleasure-grounds and abundant places of prosperity.

H. Cowles Atwater, Incidents of a Southern Tour: or, The South, As Seen with Northern Eyes (1857).

J. W. Barlow, Letter from the Secretary of War, Accompanying an Engineer Report of a Reconnaissance of the Yellowstone River in 1871 ([1872]).

W. W. Beach, ed., The Indian Miscellany; Containing Papers on the History, Antiquities, Arts, Languages, Religions, Traditions and Superstitions of the American Aborigines; With Descriptions of Their Domestic Life, Manners, Customs, Traits, Amusements and Exploits; Travels and Adventures in the Indian Country; Incidents of Border Warfare; Missionary Relations, etc. (1877).

Samuel Bowles, The Pacific Railroad--Open. How to Go: What to See. Guide for Travel to and through Western America (1869).

Charles Brandon Boynton, Journey through Kansas; With Sketches of Nebraska (1855).

Burleigh [Matthew Hale Smith], The Old Colony Railroad: Its Connections, Popular Resorts, and Fashionable Watering-Places (1875).

Henry M. Burt, Burt's Illustrated Guide of the Connecticut Valley, Containing Descriptions of Mount Holyoke, Mount Mansfield, White Mountains, Lake Memphremagog, Lake Willoughby, Montreal, Quebec, &c. (1867).

Mrs. S. S. Colt, ed., The Tourist's Guide through the Empire State. Embracing All Cities, Towns and Watering Places, by Hudson River and New York Central Route (1871).

Samuel Woodworth Cozzens, The Marvellous Country, or, Three Years in Arizona and New Mexico. Containing an Authentic History of This Wonderful Country and Its Ancient Civilization . . . Together with a Full and Complete History of the Apache Tribe of Indians . . . Illustrated by More Than One Hundred Engravings (1876).

G. A. Custer, My Life on the Plains. Or, Personal Experiences with Indians (1874).

J. Disturnell, comp., Sailing on the Great Lakes and Rivers of America; Embracing a Description of Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan & Superior, and Rivers St. Mary, St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara & St. Lawrence; Also, the Copper, Iron and Silver Region of Lake Superior, Commerce of the Lakes, etc. Together with Notices of the Rivers Mississippi, Missouri and Red River of the North; Cities, Villages and Objects of Interest (1874).

Samuel Adams Drake, Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast ([1875]).

Samuel Adams Drake, Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston (1873).

John B. Ellis, The Sights and Secrets of the National Capital: A Work Descriptive of Washington City in All Its Various Phases (1869).

James T. Gardner, The Elevations of Certain Datum-Points on the Great Lakes and Rivers and in the Rocky Mountains. [Extracted from the Annual Report of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories for 1873.] (1875).

Geological Survey of California, The Yosemite Guide Book: A Description of the Yosemite Valley and the Adjacent Region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the Big Trees of California . . . Published by Authority of the Legislature (1871).

Thomas H. Gladstone, The Englishman in Kansas: or, Squatter Life and Border Warfare. With an Introduction by Fred. Law Olmsted (1857).

Horace Greeley, An Overland Journey, from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859 (1860).

Edward H. Hall, Appletons' Hand-Book of American Travel. The Southern Tour; Being a Guide through Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky . . . With Maps of the Leading Routes of Travel and of the Principal Cities (1866).

Harper's New York and Erie Rail-Road Guide Book . . . with One Hundred and Thirty-Six Engravings, by Lossing and Barritt. From Original Sketches Made Expressly for This Work . . . by William Macleod (1855-6).

J. T. Headley, The Adirondack; or, Life in the Woods (1853).

William S. Hunter Jr., Hunter's Panoramic Guide from Niagara Falls to Quebec (1857).

William D. Kelley, The New Northwest: An Address by Hon. William D. Kelley on the Northern Pacific Railway, in Its Relations to the Development of the Northwestern Section of the United States, and to the Industrial and Commercial Interests of the Nation ([1871?]).

Thomas Starr King, The White Hills; Their Legends, Landscape, and Poetry. . . .  With Sixty Illustrations, Engraved by Andrew, from Drawings by Wheelock (1864).

Sidney Lanier, Florida: Its Scenery, Climate, and History. With an Account of Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, and Aiken; A Chapter for Consumptives; Various Papers on Fruit-Culture; and a Complete Hand-Book and Guide (1876).

Charles Lanman, Haw-ho-noo; or, Records of a Tourist (1850).

William Ludlow, Report of a Reconnaissance of the Black Hills of Dakota, Made in the Summer of 1874 (1875).

J. Milton Mackie, From Cape Cod to Dixie and the Tropics (1864).

Washington Matthews, Ethnography and Philology of the Hidatsa Indians (1877).

Arthur Mazyck, comp., Guide to Charleston Illustrated ([1875]).

J. W. Meader, The Merrimack River; Its Source and its Tributaries. Embracing a History of Manufactures, and of the Towns along Its Course; Their Geography, Topography, and Products, with a Description of the Magnificent Natural Scenery about Its Upper Waters (1869).

William H. H. Murray, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks (1869).

Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey through Texas; or, A Saddle-Trip on the Southwestern Frontier; With a Statistical Appendix (1857).

Nathan Howe Parker, Iowa As It Is in 1855 (1855).

George W. Pine, Beyond the West; Containing an Account of Two Years' Travel in the Other Half of Our Great Continent Far beyond the Old West, on the Plains, in the Rocky Mountains, and Picturesque Parks of Colorado. Also, Characteristic Features of New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho . . . Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and . . . California, the End of the West . . . the Great Continental Railroad, Together with the . . . Most Wonderful Natural Scenery in the World (1873).

Edward A. Pollard, The Virginia Tourist. Sketches of the Springs and Mountains of Virginia: Containing an Exposition of Fields for the Tourist in Virginia Natural Beauties and Wonders of the State; Also Accounts of Its Mineral Springs: And a Medical Guide to the Use of the Waters. Etc., etc. . . . Illustrated by Engravings from Actual Sketches (1870).

James F. Rusling, The Great West and Pacific Coast; or, Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage-Coach, Ambulance, Horseback, Railroad, and Steamer--across the Continent and along the Pacific Slope . . . among Indians, Mormons, Miners and Mexicans. By Order of the United States Government. With a Map of Entire Route and Eight Full-Page Engravings. With a Chapter of Advice to Emigrants and Settlers ([1877]).

Rufus B. Sage, Rocky Mountain Life; or, Startling Scenes and Perilous Adventures in the Far West during an Expedition of Three Years (1859).

Smithsonian Institution, Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries. Explored in 1869, 1870, 1871, and 1872, under the Direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (1875).

W. P. Strickland, Old Mackinaw, or, The Fortress of the Lakes and Its Surroundings (1860).

Union Pacific Railroad Company, Progress of the Union Pacific Railroad West from Omaha, Nebraska, across the Continent, Making, with Its Connections, an Unbroken Line from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ([1868]).

United States Army Corps of Engineers, Preliminary Report upon a Reconnaissance through Southern and Southeastern Nevada, Made in 1869, by Geo. M. Wheeler, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Assisted by D. W. Lockwood, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army (1875).

United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah: Including a Description of Its Geography, Natural History, and Minerals, and an Analysis of its Waters; With an Authentic Account of the Mormon Settlement . . . Also, a Reconnoissance of a New Route through the Rocky Mountains, and Two Large and Accurate Maps of That Region. By Howard Stansbury, Captain, Corps Topographical Engineers, United States Army (1855).

United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Report upon the Colorado River of the West, Explored in 1857 and 1858 by Joseph C. Ives (1861).

United States Congress Joint Special Committee to Inquire into the Condition of the Indian Tribes, Condition of the Indian Tribes. Report of the Joint Special Committee, Appointed under Joint Resolution of March 3, 1865. With an Appendix (1867).

United States Department of the Interior, Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey / Made under the Direction of the Secretary of the Interior, by William H. Emory, Major First Cavalry and United States Commissioner Volume 1, Part 1, Volume 1, Part 2 - Paleontology and geology , Volume 2, Part 1 - Introduction and general botany, Volume 2, Part 1 - Cactaceae, Volume 2, Part 2 - Mammals, Volume 2, Part 2 - Birds, (Volume 2, Part 2 - Reptiles, Volume 2, Part 2 - Fishes (1857-59).

United States War Department, Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana in the Year 1852, by Randolph B. Marcy; Assisted by George B. McClellan. With Reports on the Natural History of the Country, and Numerous Illustrations (1854).

United States War Department, Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Volumes 1-10, 12 (1855-60).

John C. Van Tramp, Prairie and Rocky Mountain Adventures, or, Life in the West. To Which Is Added a View of the States and Territorial Regions of Our Western Empire: Embracing History, Statistics and Geography, and Descriptions of the Chief Cities of the West (1870).

W. Williams, The Traveller's and Tourist's Guide through the United States of America, Canada, etc. (1851).

Alexander Winchell, Michigan. Being Condensed Popular Sketches of the Topography, Climate and Geology of the State (1873).

Introduction | The Civil War | Slavery and Abolition | Religion | Education
Self-Help and Self-Improvement | Travel and Westward Expansion | Poetry

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books