It was extremely uncommon, if not unheard of, for a woman to travel without an escort in 1850s America for her own pleasure. Railroads did not yet reach the Mississippi, rapids barred ships from Lake Superior, and American Indians still inhabited the frontier. Traveling from New York City to Lake Superior's shores, the Mississippi River, and the newly created Minnesota Territory was most definitely not the ideal vacation—or was it?
A Fashionable Tour Through the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi is the complete daily journal written by Juliette Star Dana, a 35-year-old wife and mother, during her nine-week "pleasure" tour over three thousand miles of the United States in the summer of 1852. Traveling the frontier roads of rivers and lakes with only a female companion and her teenage son, Juliette sought the scenic waterfalls and shorelines along with such man-made sights as copper and lead mines, factories, military posts, and a prison. Juliette chronicles these places and the people thereinAmerican Indians, soldiers, lawyers, and politicianswith engrossing detail, and also describes the journey’s numerous hardships of accidents, vermin, sickness, and disease.
This one-of-a-kind journal offers the reader rare glimpses of the bustling and booming pre-Civil War United States with a brisk voice not often heard in travel writing of this time. Additional features of this journal include an itemized list of the tour's cost, biographical and historical research notes by Juliette Starr Dana’s great-great-grandson David T. Dana III, and an introduction by Brain Dunnigan. Historians, women's studies scholars, Great Lakes tourists, and general readers alike will find this book an insightful, informative, and enchanting read.
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