London: Fielding and Walker. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. Undated, c. 1776. 4" x 6.25", pp. xvi,163, with engraved title page. Contemporary calf boards with new spine in six compartments. Boards scuffed, internally clean and sound. Part travelogue, part response to Samuel Johnson's A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), this anonymous work is structured as a series of letters never intended for publication—a common trope that allowed the author to use a more personal and colloquial style than convention dictated for a travel narrative. A pose of amateurism also made it more acceptable for a woman writer to venture into print with what was actually a work of skilled observation (indeed, she admits to having traveled with "pencil in hand" and "noticed several things worthy of being made public, which more laborious travelers ... had neglected, or overlooked") as well as a pointed critique of Johnson, whom she found to be pedantic and judgmental. The book was long credited to novelist Mary Ann Hanway, but recent scholarship has cast doubt on the attribution. ESTC T80850.
List 3: Adventurous Women
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New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1918. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. pp xxv, 334, with illustrations from photographs, 2 folding maps. Original blue cloth stamped in gilt, no dust jacket. Spine toned, minor wear to extremities. Contents clean and sound. Husband and wife each authored chapters of this lively, popular account of the American Museum of Natural History's 1916-1917 Asiatic Zoological Expedition, which ventured into southern Vietnam, China, and Burma to survey mammal populations and plan for future paleontological research. Explorer and naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews was the expedition's leader, while his wife was its photographer and also kept daily journals of the trip. She contributed six chapters to the book, including those on women in China, "Stalking Tibetans with a Camera," and prisoners of war in Burma.
New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1898. First American Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. 480 pp, with illustrations from photographs by the author, index, folding map of Korea and neighboring countries. One small stain to front board, else a fine copy in original cloth. One of the most celebrated and wide-ranging of all women travel writers, Isabella Bird Bishop (1831-1904) was the first woman to address a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society and one of the first 15 women elected to fellowship in that august institution. "In January 1894 she left England for Korea. She explored the Han River and crossed the Diamond mountains to the east coast of the peninsula. After a visit to Chinese Manchuria she went up the Yangtze, through Szechwan, to the Tibetan border, spending fifteen months and travelling 8000 miles in China alone" (DNB). This book recounts first part of this remarkable journey and includes much detail on Koran culture and customs and the role of women in Korean society.
London: Religious Tract Society, 1904. Hardcover. Very good. Second edition. 159 pp, illustrated with engravings. Bound in full red leather with marbled edges and endpapers. Joints and spine restored. Internals clean and sound. After traveling to India to visit several medical missions, Bishop took a side trip by horseback to Tibet, where she spent about four months, braving icy rivers and high mountains. Her account combines tales of adventure and enchanting vignettes of daily life with informative detail on the region’s flora and fauna, people and customs, trade routes and topography.
London: Cecil Palmer, 1929. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 179 pp + publisher's ads, illustrations from photographs, glossary of Pidgin-English terms as used in New Guinea. Original red cloth boards lightly soiled, internals clean and sound. No dust jacket. Doris Regina Booth (1895-1970) traveled with her husband from Australia to Papua New Guinea to mine gold. After they obtained a lease in Bulolo, her husband went off prospecting, leaving her alone to manage their claim. While there, she also organized and managed a racially segregated bush hospital to control a dysentery epidemic, treating over 32 patients at one time and more than 130 all told, for which she was much loved by the local people. This book recounts her experiences, with many interesting details about both mining and nursing.
New York: Macmillan, 1928. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. xi, 317 pp, with endpaper map, illustrations from photographs. Original black cloth, no dust jacket. Signed by the author on the half-title page. Courtney Letts came from a wealthy Chicago family and was one of the "Big Four"--a group of debutantes known as the city's most attractive and socially desirable women. In 1920, she married John Borden, a prominent Chicago attorney, trustee of the Field Museum, and avid adventurer and sportsman. In 1927, he was appointed to head a scientific expedition on behalf of the museum, and his wife was eager to accompany him. The party cruised north via the Inside Passage to Alaska, westward to Dutch Harbor, north through the Bering Strait to Point Hope, Wrangel Island, and then Cape Serdze Kamen before returning to San Francisco (Arctic Bib 1978). They hunted for grizzly and polar bears, walrus, and seals, and collected birds and arctic plants. Mrs. Borden kept a daily diary of the trip, which she turned into a lively book that includes details of expedition planning and preparation, tales of hunting and peril on the seas, and also nice detail about the tiny Alaskan towns they passed through and the people they encountered.
New York and London: Longmans, Green, 1899. Hardcover. Very good. First edition, American issue. 8vo. pp. xxiv, 490; with two folding maps, 20 full-page plates, many other illustrations in the text. Original blue cloth stamped in gilt, top edge gilt. Very mild spine slant, rubbing to extremities; internals clean and sound. Lady Brassey was a skilled photographer and botanist and also had an interest in medicine. She and her husband (a Member of Parliament and accomplished sailor) traveled extensively on their yacht "Sunbeam," and Annie's lively books about their adventures found an eager audience. This book, published after she died of malaria at age 48, recounts travels in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.
London: Seeley, Service & Co., 1925. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 278 pp + publisher's ads. Original orange cloth with gilt lettering and decoration, Cloth chipped at spine ends, spine dust soiled, uneven sunning to front board. Binding sound, contents clean. Inscribed by Cameron on the front free endpaper "To Dearest Paula, Who has been my treasured friend since 1919. When we met in Alaska, you initiated your charming personality into my heart--I think of you as a sort of 'Dream Daughter.' Wishing you every happiness on this, your wedding day. Charlotte Cameron, Oct 27th 1931." Mounted on the front pastedown (facing the inscription) is a real photo postcard of Cameron in Eskimo garb, hand-dated 1919. An attractive printed card mounted on the rear free endpaper lists Cameron's books published between 1910 and 1922. Cameron traveled extensively and generally alone, publishing books on Africa, South America, Alaska, and the South Seas, among others. Although she has been described by some critics as more of a globetrotting tourist than an explorer (see Robinson p. 177 and the DNB) she was elected to membership in the Royal Geographical Society in 1913, suggesting her contemporaries, at least, felt otherwise.
New York: R. Worthington, 1881. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. pp xiii, 281 + publisher's ads, with illustrations from sketches by Beerbohm. Cloth frayed at corners and spine ends, minor pen markings on 4 preliminary pages; else clean and sound. By her own account, Dixie (1857-1905) had tired of "the shallow artificiality of modern existence" and traveled to Patagonia "precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away" from her home in England. Much of the trip was spent hunting wild game, and Robinson (p. 65) comments that "one needs a strong stomach" to read this book, as well as another Lady Florence wrote about her adventures hunting in South Africa. Later in life, however, she regretted all the killing and wrote two pamphlets, The Horrors of Sport (1891) and The Mercilessness of Sport (1901), in which she denounced hunting as inhumane and advocated for the adoption of amusements that did not lead to bloodshed. Czech p. 33-40.
London: George Allen & Unwin, 1915. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. 7.25 x 10.5 inches,xv, 250, (1) pp, with index, illustrations from photographs (some tipped in). Inscribed (partially by hand, partially ink-stamped) on the front free endpaper "To the Alpine Club of Canada with the Compliments of" [the] New Zealand Government, Department of Tourist and Health Resorts. Alpine Club bookplate on front pastedown. Boards slightly bowed inward, else a fine copy in original brown cloth. Freda du Faur (1882-1935) grew up in the Australian bush, far from any mountains. But after visit to New Zealand in 1906, she became interested in climbing and soon discovered an aptitude for the sport. In 1910, clad in a shockingly short skirt, she became the first woman to reach the summit of New Zealand's highest peak, 12,218-ft Mt. Cook. Three years later she returned and completed the "grand traverse" of the mountain's three distinct summits, an accomplishment still considered one of the most impressive in New Zealand climbing (Mazel). Her female friends implored her not to risk her reputation by going off alone with male guides and climbers for days on end, but she declared "that if my reputation was so fragile a thing that it would not bear such a test, then I would be very well rid of a useless article."
London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1877. First Edition. Hardcover. Near Fine. pp. xxv, 732, copiously illustrated with full-page plates and illustrations in the text from Edwards' own drawings, two colored folding maps (Egypt, Lower Nubia). In the publisher's original red cloth decorated with Egyptian motifs in red and black; all edges gilt. Recently rebacked (original spine retained); binding sound, contents clean and bright. Edwards (1831-1892) already had a successful career as a novelist when she traveled to Egypt for the first time in 1873 and discovered her lifelong passion. She and her traveling companion, Lucy Renshawe, hired a boat in Cairo and "sailed to Wadi Halfa, accompanying friends met on the crossing from Italy. While at Abu Simbel the party discovered, excavated, and described in detail a previously unknown small temple with a painted chamber. [The two women] also visited Syria, crossed the Lebanese ranges to Damascus and Baalbek, and traveled on to Constantinople" (DNB). On her return to England, Edwards read extensively about ancient Egypt and studied hieroglyphics before writing this book, based on her experiences and the detailed notes and measurements she made on the journey. It was the first general archaeological survey of Egypt's ruins and earned Edwards the admiration of the leading archaeologists of the day, as well as praise from the popular press for "its ‘brilliant descriptions of scenery and the exactness of its information' and as 'a delightful, gossiping book'" (DNB). A recognized classic of travel literature, it has been reprinted many times, but is quite scarce in the first edition. This volume is accompanied by handwritten note dated Dec. 31, 1878 from Edwards to "My dear Miss [May] Crommelin" (1850-1930), at the time a young and aspiring author who would eventually publish more than 40 travel narratives and novels. "Pray be quite sure that I have never forgotten you, & that I always take a very sincere interest in you & your literary progress. You greatly overrate the very small use I was so fortunate as to be of in the matter--& that you should still remember it, is to me the most astonishing experience of my life. Ever most sincerely yours, Amelia B. Edwards." The "most astonishing experience of my life," may refer to her role in the discovery and excavation of the ruins at Abu Simbel.
London and New York: John Lane and Dodd, Mead, . Hardcover. Very good. Presumed first edition. xii, 304 pp, with sketch map, 3 color plates, 9 half-tone plates, and many drawings by the authors in the text. Original blue cloth decorated in black and red; no dust jacket. Corners bumped and rubbed, a few tiny tears to the cloth at the spine ends, ownership inscriptions on front free endpaper. Otherwise clean and sound. British couple Jan and Cora Gordon wrote several travel books together, as well as painting, giving musical performances, and lecturing together in Europe and the United States. This book their 1925 trip to Albania, which they describe as "a half-Oritental, half-Western community trying to make a state of itself." They roamed extensively, sometimes on horseback, sometimes via dilapidated car or lorry on perilous roads, and seem to have made friends whereever they went. Their narrative includes interesting accounts of local customs, food, village life, and politics.
London: Methuen, 1907. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. xvi, 424 pp, with 64 illustrations from photographs and 2 folding maps. Recently rebound in quarter leather and marbled boards, with new endpapers. Light foxing, a few smudges in the margins, else fine. Hall was the first woman to cross Africa from south to north, which she did by foot, rail, steamer, and rickshaw in the company of her terrier and the native guides she hired along the way.Robinson (p. 15) describes it as "an astonishing journey, which Miss Hall took entirely in her diminutive stride...Her bands of porters became little communities of which she, with her small, rounded figure and thoroughly British bearing, became a local Queen Victoria...Where possible, she would stay at mission stations en route, but never regretted having to camp in a native village if need be; the chief might meet her with suspicious bewilderment, but they would always part with gales of laughter and 'the best of friends.'" In the Preface, Hall herself expresses hope that her book may find an receptive readership notwithstanding the fact that it is "written from a woman's point of view, minus big game romances, and the usual exaggerations incidental to all things African."
London and New York: John Lane, 1909. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. xii, 316 pp + ads, with 29 illustrations from photographs. Original green cloth stamped in gilt. Corners lightly rubbed, a few pale water droplet stains on upper board; all else clean and sound. Herbert and her cousin Cicely opted to defy convention and mount their own big-game hunting expeditions. They went first to Africa (recounted in another book) and then on to Alaska, where they cruised among the islands of Prince William Sound and the Bering Sea hunting for walrus, moose, sheep, caribou, and bear. Herbert begins with a warning that some may "regard all forms of taking life as unwomanly" and advises anyone with that opinion to read no further, for "We went to Alaska to shoot, and--we shot." Arctic Bib. 7007; Wickersham 2954.
New York: McClure Company, 1908. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 305 pp, with 51 halftone illustrations and a map. Original red cloth, rubbed at the extremities, spine slightly toned. Wallace was the first white woman to cross Labrador, as well as the first person to chart the Naskaupee and George River systems and to describe the region's flora and fauna. She undertook the 576-mile journey to complete the journey started by her husband, who had died of starvation in the attempt. The first part of the book offers a short account of her husband's life and trip; the rest describes her own journey, with notes on the topography, geology, and native populations. Mrs. Leonidas was hailed as a national heroine in Canada upon her return from the wilderness, where she had felt, she declared, "less homeless than I ever felt anywhere." Robinson p. 16-17; Arctic Bib. 4559.
New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1917. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. (2), 98 pp, with 7 plates from photographs. Original black boards lightly rubbed, else fine. A native of Bismarck, North Dakota, the author is best known for her philanthropic work on behalf of the American Braille Institute and other worthy causes. But she was also a writer, and this work is a charming example of the motoring narratives that proliferated in the early decades of the 20th century. Mr. Hughes--an engineer, inventor, and state legislator--owned the first automobile in North Dakota and had been pestering his wife to agree to a cross-county trip for years. She finally agreed, as long as she got to plan the route, stock the car with anything and everything a motor traveler might need, and, of course "keep a perfect log of the trip."
Philadelphia: Macrae Smith Company, 1930. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 227 pp, beautifully illustrated with block prints by Vogt. Publisher's cloth, spine toned; internals fine. With the original printed slipcase (chipped and rubbed); no dust jacket. Signed by Hulme on the half-title page and additionally inscribed on the front flyleaf: "To Harold Seeger, Godfather of my first strange-shaped brat--with best of wishes always, Kathryn March 3, 1931." Hulme and Vogt drove alone across North Africa, a three-thousand mile journey that took them through Tunisa, Algeria, and Morocco over a four-month period. Hulme warns the reader to expect no classic tales of feminine peril: "Much as we would relish recording an abduction in the desert, or an encounter with brigands in the Atlas Mountains, honesty compels us to forego the pleasure...Nothing happened to us that, by the law of averages, would not have happened to any Occidental touring in a Mohammedean country." But no misadventures are needed to enliven this narrative, for Hulme's rich prose, observant eye, and contagious enthusiasm are a thrill in themselves.
London and Glasgow: Blackie and Son, 1934. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good in a very good dust jacket. viii, 232 pp, with 20 plates, some colored. Spine cocked, minor foxing; else clean and sound, in a lightly rubbed dust jacket. A botanist, Hutchison was commissioned by Kew Gardens and the British Museum to collect specimens in the Arctic. Robinson (p. 136) calls this book "the most spectacular" of her adventures: "she took a cargo vessel from Manchester to Vancouver, then a mixture of river boat, train, and four-seater airplane up to Nome; she cadged lifts from a tiny 10-ton trading vessel and a local motor boat to Sandspit Island, north of Point Barrow, and then joined a husky team to her destination of Herschel Island...On the way home--just for fun--she spent two weeks at a reindeer camp in the Mackenzie Delta." An appendix includes an annotated list of plants collected. Arctic Bib. 7598.
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923. First American Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. 349 pp, with illustrations from photographs taken on the expedition. Original red cloth; no dust jacket. Mild bump to one corner, a few spots to the top edge, else fine. Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, was a successful writer well before the publication of her mother's famous Little House series (on which she had substantial editorial input). "After several years working for the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1920 Lane accepted a Red Cross posting to Europe to report on postwar conditions. She would spend more than five years abroad, living for nearly two years in Albania and traveling to Baghdad, Cairo, and Constantinople with a series of traveling companions or sometimes by herself" (ANB). She fell in love with Albania, coming to consider it a second home. This volume describes an expedition into the northern Albanian mountains she made with two Red Cross workers who hoped to establish a school there. Her vivid descriptions of the customs and beliefs of the Shala tribe they encountered helped make this one of her most successful books.
London: Fisher Unwin, 1908. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. xii, 304 pp, with a map and 64 plates. Original pictorial cloth; top edge gilt. Light rubbing to extremities, a few small stains on spine, internally clean and sound. Mrs. Le Blond was a wealthy society woman who originally went to Switzerland for health reasons. There she discovered a love for mountaineering, climbing extensively in the Alps and later Norway. She was determined to prove that good breeding and a sense of adventure were not mutually exclusive. "Her burgeoning accomplishments also included learning to skate (she was the first woman to pass the coveted Men's Skating Test), tobogganing (she helped plan and construct the fabulous Cresta Run)...and snow photography (producing a textbook on technique in 1895)" (Robinson, pp 20-21). She was among the first people to make bicycle tours through the Alps, and she raced early motor cars in hill-climbing competitions. In 1907, she helped found and was elected first president of the Ladies Alpine Club. One of the scarcer of her many books, this one describes her climbs in Norway in 1898, including several first ascents, and also includes a chapter on the social roles and status of Norwegian women.
New York: From the Press of John Polhemus, Trade Supplied by The American News Company, 1890. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 12mo. viii, 358 pp. Original brown cloth. Moderate wear to boards; internally clean and sound. The daughter of two freethinkers, Lilian Leland was encouraged to read widely as a child, and this led to a deep curiosity and a desire to see the world. Setting out from New York in 1884 at age 25, she traveled alone for more than two years and 60,000 miles. She visited Chile, Hawaii, Japan, China, Java, Ceylon, India, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, and much of Europe.This account was compiled from her private letters, and the style is breezy and informal. A contemporary reviewer noted with approval that "Miss Leland cared nothing about dates, dimensions, or statistics; was not eager to immortalize her name by attempting to add one more to the long list of tedious guide books, but wrote in a delightfully free and off-hand fashion."
New York: Cassell Publishing, 1892. First American Edition. Hardcover. Very good. xvii, 291 pp, with two facsimile letters, many illustrations from photographs, map of the route traversed. Original brown cloth with decoration in gilt. Light dust soiling, faded spot on lower spine, otherwise a lovely copy. Inscribed on a front blank: "Praying our lord bless us each one in the work for His poor sick and suffering ones, Kate Marsden, July[?] 1893." A trained nurse, Marsden (1859-1931) was sent to Bulgaria to care for casualties of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877. There she first observed the sufferings of lepers and also heard rumors of an herb reputed to offer a cure for the disease. This herb was said to be found only in northern Siberia, and Marsden was determined to go find it and make it available to the world. After some years of additional travel and research, in 1890 she finally set off for Moscow, where she gained an audience with the Tsarina and an official letter sanctioning her trip. The journey across Russia (by train, sledge, horseback, and boat) was rugged and difficult, "but after several months she reached Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia region in northern Siberia. From there she rode 2000 miles on horseback to Viluisk, then traveled around visiting the scattered groups of leprosy sufferers...whose living conditions appalled her" (McVicker, Women Adventurers). Although she failed to bring back the curative herb, Marsden did succeed in bringing new attention the plight of lepers through this book and the lectures she gave on her return to London. In 1892, she became one of the first women elected to the Royal Geographical Society.
New York: Dodd, Mead, 1911. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. pp xviii, 370, with a folding map and many illustrations from photographs. Original green cloth with decoration in gilt and white. Upper corners bumped, bookplate of noted climber William D. Hackett (1918-1999) on front free endpaper; else fine. Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935) was a founding member of the American Alpine Club and a pioneer on many fronts. An ardent advocate for the equal education of women, she earned a masters degree from the University of Michigan in 1881 and then went on to be the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She taught archaeology at Perdue University and Smith College before giving up teaching to pursue her passion for travel and mountaineering. After a successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1895 (during which she scandalized the world by wearing pants), she set her sights on South America. This book recounts periods of residence in La Paz and Lima as well as several notable climbing expeditions, including the first ascent of Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru (though due to a miscalculation she achieved the north summit, rather than the higher summit). Neate P36; Robinson pp 24-25.
New York: George H. Doran, 1913. Hardcover. Near fine. Early reprint. pp [xvi], 298, with index, bibliography, folding map, and illustrations from photographs. Original pictorial cloth lightly rubbed at the corners, bookplate of Roy Cleve Bagley and another previous owner's name and old price on front endpapers. After traveling extensively in South America to scale several sizeable peaks, Peck became an enthusastic promoter of American tourism and investment there. This book described how a tourist might travel in safety and comfort and offered details of sights to be seen--from small villages to major cities--in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil.
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1935. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine in a good dust jacket. 315 pp, with illustrations from photographs. Fading to cloth at spine ends, else a fine copy in a good dust jacket with chipping to the corners and upper spine. Riddell (c.1885-1960) was a British author of romantic novels set in exotic locales. Here, however, she recounts the story or her own life, which included living in Kenya, Bombay, Calcutta, Bavaria, New York, and England and working as a governess, teacher, matron of a boarding house, and manager of a boarding school. The jacket notes that her life "has been filled with thrilling experiences," from encounters with cobras, panthers, and hostile natives to attacks of cholera and fever (which, in truth, sound less than thrilling).