Publication: 1895, NP
Two travel diaries by an adventurous New England schoolteacher (Anna S. Lamson of Topsfield, Massachusetts) along with six of her portrait photographs. The first diary, dated in 1886, describes Lamson's journey via train from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to California. The second diary is kept during a Grand Tour visit to Europe in 1895. Anna Lamson was an unmarried schoolteacher from Topsfield, Massachusetts. She attended Salem Normal School (one of the first teaching colleges in the country and today Salem State University) in the mid-1860s and went on to teach at Cambridgeport for the next 35 - 40 years. She died in 1910 at the age of 69. Both trips taken by Lamson were done so with people she know. For the rail trip our west, her travel group ws rather loosely formed with some members making the trip to attend the 20th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic at San Francisco. While Lamson attended some GAR events, it appears the ultimate purpose of her trip was to visit family friends in Colton, California. On her European trip her travelling group was more organized and consisted of twenty people. Anna Lamson's western adventure began on July 22nd when she boarded a train in Boston and it continues until she reached Deming, New Mexico on October 9th on her return trip, following a 36-day stay in Colton. Lamson's entries describing her journal are fascinating and provide considerable insight into not just travel in the 1880s but into life and culture as well. The journal reads in part ..... July 22, 1886 I went to Boston on the 8-30 train had tooth filled and cleansed .... Mr. And Mrs. Tapley met me at the station and Elmon and Lizzie and Mrs. Ferris were there and at 4-30 p.m. we steamed out of the station amidst many cheers from the crowd ... on route for Cal.... Saturday 24 Reached Chicago at 12-30 pm ... Went to Grand Pacific Hotel. Rode for the first time on Cable Cars ... Sunday 25 The hottest day yet ... steamed across the Mis. River to Omaha .... had a good supper of ham and eggs, fried potatoes, berries, coffee &c ... Monday 26 Lovely morning. Steaming across immense prairie stretching in all directions 300 miles from Omaha. Saw so many villages of prairie dogs ... a prairie chicken and large herds of 5000 cattle tended by cow boys. Not a tree for hundreds of miles ... Reached Denver at 4 p.m. ... The Rockies extend from one limit of horizon to the other ... Went t G.A.R. headquarters was the Commander, many relics from war, confederate flag captured by colored troops .... Tuesday 27 Left Denver for an excursion to Graymont ... The scenery was perfectly delightful ... Went to the wonderful loop where the track crosses itslelf twice ... Went to Grand Opera House one of the grandest of buildings in country. Got silver specimen ... Bought a Resurrection Plant here. Gen Loga (U.S. senator from Illinois and former Commander of the G.A.R.) And Gov. Alger (Governor of Michigan and future Commander of the G.A.R.) arrived to night. Execution of negro here today 15000 present. Wednesday 28 and Friday 30 We passed over the vast prairies toward Cheyennd ... headquarters of the cowboys ... Wet up Oak Ames's monument (a 60' tall granite pyramid built at the highest point on the Union Pacific in honor of its financiers) ... Sagebrush everywhere. ... Played whist all afternoon in the Gov. Car then went up in the observatory of the caboose ... Saw Shoshone Indians ... 4-45 first view of Salt Lake ... delightful trip and bath in lake for some ... went to the Temple which has been 33 years in building ... Tabernacle will seat 10000. Saw the city, ... Brigham's house ... schoolhouse for his 72 children. Had 19 wives. Amelia his favorite we saw at her new home ... Heard Gen Logan's speech on Mormonism ... Saturday 31 and Sunday August 1 Passed all day on the alkali plains of Utah and Nevada. They are covered with jack rabbits and sagebrush. ... The hottest day of the trip ... Stopped at the Indian huts along the route. Had breakfast at Humbolt a perfect little oasis in the desert. ... Monday Aug 2 to Aug 11 7-30 arrived in San Francisco .... rode in cable cars over Nob Hill and nearly froze ... Grand G.A.R. procession passed our windows and was very fine ... went to see Golden Gate Park and Cliff House ... saw rocks covered with seal and others with cormorants ... Mrs. Ferris had a carriage and took us to drive to Old Mission Church oldest in San Francisco ... Sutro's Grounds containing 2 ships of statuary and finest library of rare books in the country ... Saw red wood 300 ft. tall 40 ft circumference. Geraniums 18 ft. tall Eucalyptus grows 500 ft tall ... Went to Oakland .... and dined at the Women's Relief Rooms ... In the evening we went with a party through Chinatown ... and saw them smoking opium in great style ... went with the excursion to San Jose ... In the courthouse we ... were introduced to John Brown's daughter ... visited a canning fruit establishment and ate all the fruit we could ... Miss Roby went with us to see the Mikado at the Tivoli Theatre. Friday Aug 13 to Aug 19 I start for Yosemite ... on the Oakland boat .... Went to Stockton on the train ... then took stage reaching Copperopolis at 5 o'clock had supper and went on .... arrived at 9 o'clock and spent the night ... Then took open stage through the Tuolumne grove of big trees 20 to 40 ft. in diameter, went over the most frightful road. The first view of the valley was truly magnificent. Reached Leidig's Hotel about dark. It was surrounded by El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Sentinel rock & Sentinel Falls ... Everybody was so tire ... we did but little ... till afternoon when we drove all around the valley, coming very near El Capitan seeing the chief in the rock. We forded the river to Bridal Veil Falls ... then had a nice view of the "Three Brothers" "Cathedral Rocks" "Face in the rock." ... started for Mirror Lake ... Saw the eagle and elephant in the rock... went with the trail on horseback to Vernal Falls ... We had some coffee at Glacier Pt. ... Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 Left [San Francisco] for Colton in southern Cal ... Met Mrs Harmon on the boat. Met Miss Holmes on the train and we went as far as Los Angeles together. We were detained two or three hours at Turlock on account of an accident to a freight train ... Saw the sunrise over the mountains ... then rode all day over horrid alkali plains, hot enough ... Got to Colton ... the hottest place I ever saw ... the glass was at 103 ....." This 1886 journal measures 8 1/2" x 7" and contains 50 pages of writings. The notebook was previously used by Lamson as a copybook and contains 28 pages of humorous essays, household hints (removing peach stains, how to make a rose jar, etc.), and quotations. The remainder of the notebook (22 pages) records her diary. The contents are in very good shape and are very legible. The copybook entries are faint but legible with a little effort. The binding is tender but holding. The heavy, marbled card cover shows some wear; the leather spine covering is in poor shape. Lamson's record of her 1895 European Grand Tour where she visited the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland is just as insightful and entertaining, and it contains far more details about her experience that the earlier journal. One of the best recounting of A Grand Tour that we've read! This 1895 journal measures 8" x 5 1/4" and contains 140 pages of writings beginning with listing of tourists on her trip and detailing everything she'd seen or learned. The contents are in very good shape and are very legible. The binding is tender but holding. The heavy, marbled card cover shows some wear; the leather spine covering is in poor shape with lose of leather to head and toe of spine.
Inventory Number: 44230