Return to Beinecke Library Home Page | Return to Exhibition Introduction


THE ILLUSTRATING TRAVELER

George Catlin painting a Chief

Customs of the Country
Part II of III


Mederic-Louis Moreau de Saint-Mery. Recueil de Vues des Lieux Principaux de la Colonie Francoise de Saint-Domingue. Paris, 1791.

Vue du Cap Francois

Fernand de la Bruniere, "Vue du Cap Francois." (Engraving)

This sweeping view of one of the principal cities in St. Domingo gives a lively sense of the colonial Caribbean at its peak. Within a few years of this publication, conceived before the French Revolution, the slave-based economy which had built the city was swept away by emancipation and revolution. The town was largely destroyed in the bitter fighting of the next several decades. Moreau de Saint-Mery, an administrative official in the old regime, fled St. Domingo when the Revolution came, moving to Philadelphia to write the history of the island.


C. Linati. Costumes Civils, Militaires et Religieux du Mexique. Dessines D'Apres Natures.... Bruxelles, 1828.

Extracting pulque from the maguey

"Coustumes Mexicains. Extraction du Pulque du Maguey." (Colored lithograph)

An Apache Cheif

"Cacique Apache des lords du Rio Colorado dans la Californie." (Colored lithograph)

Linati's book followed the popular pattern of European costume books which exhibited national characteristics and typical trades, displaying different Mexican types from Apaches to soldiers. He was at pains to show occupations which would seem exotic to his European audience, including an image of an Indian extracting sap from a Maguey plant to prepare the fermented drink, pulque


Capt. Basil Hall. Forty Etchings, from Sketches Made with the Camera Lucida, in North America, in 1827 and 1828. Edinburgh & London, 1829.

Ohio River shipping port

"Shipping-Port on the Ohio in Kentucky." (Lithograph)

Backwoodmen

"Backwoodsmen and Steam Boat Pilot." (Lithograph)

Hall shared the usual British distaste for things American. His skill with the camera lucida allowed him to ridicule the hicks he encountered in another format. The plates shown here, which were placed together on a single page, show a typical river port town and some of the types found there, depicted by Hall with the same sardonic tone he brought to his prose. The camera lucida was a much misunderstood contraption by the Americans who saw Hall at work. One Georgia local queried "I presume you mean to publish a geography of the country, from your being so particular?"

Additional Hall plates


Adlard Welby. A Visit to North America and the English Settlements in Illinois, with a Winter Residence at Philadelphia: Solely to Ascertain the Actual Prospects of the Emigrating Agriculturalist, Mechanic, and Commercial Speculator. London, 1821.

Ligonier campground

"Place of Worship and Burial Ground at Ligonier Town, Pennsylvania." (Lithograph)

Another skeptical Englishman, Welby visited the United States in 1820. He was not impressed by what he saw and reports unfavorably on the Illinois country. American manners affronted as usual; on thanking a stableman he was told, "you need not be so full in your thanks for I mean to charge you for it!" Welby drew numerous sketches on his trip, fourteen of which are reproduced here. This view of a camp meeting ground in central Pennsylvania illustrates the kind of place used by many frontier ministers for revivals or regular religious services.


Customs of the Country, Part III

Valor and Endurance
An Analytic Eye
The Sublime and the Picturesque
The Spirit of Place
Encountering Native Americans

Return to Exhibition Introduction | Return to Beinecke Library Home Page


Send comments to George Miles, William Roberston Coe Curator of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University


Database of Archival Collections and Manuscripts / Orbis / Yale University Library / Beinecke Home / Contact Us / Search the Site
© Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Last updated May 25, 2004