The Majestic Nature of the North
Thomas Kelah Wharton’s Journeys in Antebellum America through the Hudson River Valley and New England
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Additional Book Details
Thomas Kelah Wharton's travel diaries provide an intimate glimpse into the society of early nineteenth-century America. As a young immigrant from England, the eldest son of a wealthy merchant who fell on hard times, Wharton (1814–1862) navigated the complex world of New York and the Hudson River Valley in the early 1830s and his diaries reveal a vibrant cultural and social scene. Wharton's details of encounters with the Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole; the author Washington Irving; Sylvanus Thayer, superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point; the Greek Revival architect Martin E. Thompson, and many others enliven his story. Skipping two decades to 1853, Wharton—now an established professional living in New Orleans—brought his young family from New Orleans to Boston. The trip to and from Boston illuminates the joys and hazards of traveling aboard steamboats and trains, and touches on the tensions growing between North and South. The diary entries show an inquisitive, observant mind at work. A gifted pen-and-ink artist, the inclusion of Wharton's faithful drawings provide rare and wonderful views of an America from a very unique and personal perspective.
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