From “Vampire Hunter” to #wanderlust: The evolution of female travel tropes since 1910

When you start to research early 20th-century female travelers, there’s an uncomfortable phrase that appears regularly: “first white woman to go here or there.” I don’t mean to single out Harriet Chalmers Adams for this, but here’s an example from an interview she did with the New York Times in 1912:

I have circumnavigated the South American continent, covering more than 40,000 miles, and penetrated savage wildernesses where no white woman had ever been.

For us to successfully make the case that HCA (and many of her contemporaries) warrants a larger place in our historical canon, she needs to represent something more historically substantive. So does she?Read More »

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What is it I do seek, what thing I lack?

Margaret FullerWhy do we travel? What are we missing that we hope to find so far from home? Margaret Fuller, the first female American journalist to work as a foreign correspondent, has some thoughts on the matter.

Fuller wrote from England and Italy for The New York Tribune from 1846 to 1850, when she died with her family in a shipwreck on her way back to the States. This partial poem is from Summer on the Lakes, an earlier, hard-to-classify work about her time exploring the Great Lakes, then considered the American frontier:Read More »