Some African Highways: A Journey of Two American Women to Uganda and the Transvaal

by Caroline Kirkland, Introduction by Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell

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Much of this work originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Caroline Kirkland’s goal was to encourage other Americans, particularly women, to make the voyage into Uganda and parts of East Africa. Kirkland described her journey as “made with entire safety and great comfort…where else can you look out from railway carriage windows and see zebras, gnus, giraffes, hyneas, and even lions as you steam through a land?” While this work is greatly valuable as a travelogue by a female traveler, it is not unbound from the social mores of the time. For example, Kirkland also describes Uganda as for,

“the lover of strong contrasts, of high lights and black shadows, of wonderful scenery, of great spaces, of all that is new and free and sitting, I recommend a trip to this dark, mysterious, violent and enchanting country. We two women only touched the surface of it, but we were ever conscious of much we could not see, nor hear, nor formulate, but which exists in a land teeming with fierce and savage life.”

Kirkland took the journey with her mother, and an Italian maid, Nannina, who was to work for Kirkland’s sister residing in Central Africa. Her work includes a historical sketch, and numerous photographs.

 

The Barbary Coast: Sketches of French North Africa

by Albert Edwards

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The region, French North Africa, was a group of territories in the upper portion of Africa. It emerged after the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which lost control of the region in 1830 when French forces captured Algiers. Algiers became the site of power for France, until the powerful Algerian independence movement fought for free rule in 1962. Morocco overthrew the French protectorate in 1955, and Tunisia in 1956.

Albert Edwards’ work illustrates a xenophobic look at the people, culture and customs he encountered in North Africa. Despite his biased critiques of his encounters, he offers insight on the architecture, markets, and other aspects of the region at the time.

 

Iceland: Horseback Tours in Saga Land

by W. S. C. Russell

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Waterman Spaulding Chapman Russell, wrote under the much abbreviated name, W. S. C. Russell (1871-1918). Though a many year resident of New Hampshire, he enjoyed traveling, particularly to Iceland. He was fascinated with the country, its fire and ice and sagas, and surprised by the scant ethnographic, geological, or other studies of it. He took it upon himself to study the area, and wrote multiple books on Iceland, including Askja, A Volcano in the Interior of Iceland (1917). Russell spent a great deal of time in Iceland, living there for a while, and because of this, he felt his accounts of the region and its people were superior. He energetically encouraged others to visit, study and learn more about what he felt was one of the most fascinating places in the world.

 

Adrift on an Ice-Pan

by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

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Snow and ice can present significant danger, which can produce considerable self-examination. In Adrift on an Ice-Pan, Wilfred Thomason Grenfell discusses his experience of being trapped on an ice-pan. Grenfell was an Englishman who became a doctor and decided to serve the remote populace of Labrador, comprised of fishers and villages with limited access. This book carries a very moralistic and Christian approach, and also offers conflicting thoughts and portrayals on the value of life. As Grenfell states in the introduction, “ is little book is only the story of a Doctor in the wilds. His name and his identity do not matter. They will soon be forgotten anyhow. It was only a nameless fisher-lad whose life was at issue.”

Grenfell was born in 1865 in Chester, England to a family of several distinguished scholars and members of the military. Grenfell enjoyed his childhood in a rural area, and was ingrained with a deep appreciation for nature. The advantages of family wealth and pedigree allowed him to be able to concentrate on schooling, at Marlborough College, University of London, and then an internship at London Hospital. Seeking adventure, an advisor recommended Grenfell join the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. At the time, it served four hospitals, with isolated persons attended to by doctors driving dogsleds across a very treacherous landscape.

 

Illustrated Sketches of Death Valley: and Other Borax Deserts of the Pacific Coast

by John R. Spears

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John R. Spears was born in 1850 in Van Wert, Ohio. Though an inveterate traveler, particularly out west, he ended up residing in Little Falls, New York. He wrote a great deal, particularly for the
New York Sun, and his books include The Port of Missing Ships and Other Stories of the Sea (1896), The Story of Nee England Whalers (1908), and The Story of the American Merchant Marine (1910). A great deal had been written about life in gold and silver mining camps, as well as the terrain surrounding them. However, Spears felt less attention had been paid to the desert, and wanted to depict the life in Death Valley, which he described as, “a gruesome story of a rugged  country…a story, too, of apparent paradoxes and of wonders.” Spears’ photographs offer a useful historical record of Death Valley, its people and animals, as they were in the 1890s.

 

 

Through the Heart of Africa: Being an Account of a Journey on Bicycles and on Foot from Northern Rhodesia, past the Great Lakes, to Egypt, Undertaken While on Leave in 1910

Frank H. Melland and Edward H. Cholmeley

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In 1910, Fheartrank H. Melland and Edward H. Cholmeley undertook a remarkable journey from southern to northern Africa. While the general premise is that they traveled by bicycle, in reality, it was a more elaborate expedition than they let on and they partly walked, partly biked and had “native porters” carry their gear, which required sixty bearers “to carry a certain quantity of respectable clothing…drugs, carbide, cameras, books, five loads of spirit tanks, and other apparatus for the preservation of zoological specimens” which the duo considered “for two travellers, by no means an excessive allowance.” This work highlights what extreme wealth can command—the pleasures and adventures of imperial voyeurism and curiosity in the colonial era.

This edition is dedicated to Daniel Gutierrez-Sandoval, bicyclist and world traveler.

 

 

A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt: 1920s Travel Recollections

by Grace Thompson Seton

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The author, Grace Gallatin Seton Thompson (1872-1959) was a remarkable voyager to distant places. Her first work, A Woman Tenderfoot (1900), offered a detailed, illustrated guide for women to traverse, hunt and explore the Rocky Mountain area. She was an outspoken leader in the women’s suffrage movement and other causes advancing women’s rights both in the United States and around the world. She played a major part in directing aid to France during World War I, began the Biblioteca Femina, served as president of the Connecticut Women Suffrage Association and Pen and Brush, among numerous other activities.

This work, A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt, details her experiences in Egypt. She also explored China, India, Japan, parts of South America and numerous other places throughout her life, but particularly during the 1920s-30s. She wrote accounts of some her travels in works like Chinese Lanterns (1924) and Yes, Lady Saheb (1925).

This new edition is dedicated to Professor Marianne Marchand of the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, another traveler of note and a teacher of distinction.