How to be a 19th-early 20th century British explorer
February 3, 2009 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Hints to Travellers served as the Royal Geographical Societies unofficial bible, used by late 19th and early 20th century British explorers such as Shackleton, Scott, Richard Burton, Col. Perry Fawcett and other legends who carried it into the field as a practical state of the art manual of gentlemanly exploration. Indiana Jones no doubt has his own copy too. Don't leave home without it!

Hints to Travellers, co-authored by Francis Galton, was for the serious explorer. A more general audience might have owned Art of Travel, also by Galton. Sir Francis Galton was a "half-cousin of Charles Darwin, an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician."
posted by stbalbach (19 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I have always fantasised about being invited to tell one of my travelling tales to an enraptured audience at the RGS. Alas my account of being diverted around snow-bound Heathrow via Frankfurt yesterday evening will probably not get me a slot on their shortlist.

Thanks for the link stbalbach - it looks fascinating and I will have to have a read through it. These days the society publishes The Expedition Handbook these days and that is fascinating reading if you go on the sort of trips where you may have to butcher a polar bear, bridge a gorge, confront spear wielding locals or find yourself having to deliver twins.
posted by rongorongo at 7:00 AM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Cool post - thanks! I just read a fiction book* where the main character consulted Hints to Travellers and it's great to come it here and download it. I'll now be keeping my eye out for an actual copy. Thanks!

*didn't really care for that particular book
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:15 AM on February 3, 2009

Once again, you come up trumps stbalbach

Thanks so much.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2009

100% wool underwear? So just how cranky were these guys?
posted by nax at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2009

This is superlative. Thank you.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:39 PM on February 3, 2009

Bookmarked. Oh man.

When you are a suburban housewife you need to cultivate a rich life of the mind. This is great source material for my supermarket "expeditions". Thanks, stbalbach.
posted by Catch at 1:40 PM on February 3, 2009

Hey! Staggering Jack, et. al. I have requested that make a reprint available through Hulu. I've used their free service to get new on-demand prints of out-of-copyright books such as this. It takes a few days to process, but I WILL post the link in these comments when it is ready to purchase from Lulu.

posted by MrChowWow at 5:35 PM on February 3, 2009

Oh yay, our National Library has it!
Paper goodness for me.
posted by Catch at 7:26 PM on February 3, 2009

The Second Volume of the 1906 Edition is ready from Lulu.

Can't find the first volume, but they are working on making the 1989 Single-Volume Edition available as we speak.

posted by MrChowWow at 7:45 PM on February 3, 2009

I meant 1889. Sorry.
posted by MrChowWow at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2009

MrChowWow, is the linked FPP the 1893 single-volume 7th edition?
posted by stbalbach at 8:31 PM on February 3, 2009

Also be sure to check out Art of Travel. It's more entertaining than Hints to Travelers, more of a technical reference.
posted by stbalbach at 8:35 PM on February 3, 2009

Excellent find. Fantastic post. Thanks!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:55 PM on February 3, 2009

STbalbach: This one is the single-volume seventh edition:

You can preview the whole thing from there too. I am unaffiliated with Public Domain Reprints and Lulu. I just love the service they provide for reprinting public domain books on demand. PDR is free and of course Lulu charges a few bucks to print and mail the book.
posted by MrChowWow at 1:32 PM on February 4, 2009

Oops. Clicky version here:
posted by MrChowWow at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2009

MrChowWow yes I even posted a FPP about PDR a while back. The guy who runs it lives not far from me in Baltimore. His blog is worth following as well.

I've since learned how to publish IA and Google Books through LuLu myself, it's not difficult and one can make a custom cover (or use the original), they look like books you'd buy in a store. Since PDR uses automated programs, it doesn't always get the formatting right with margin size so doing it myself is better (plus I can make hardcover and write my own intros etc..). All you need is a full copy of Adobe Acrobat. Email me if your interested how to do it.
posted by stbalbach at 9:31 AM on February 5, 2009

That would be - Colonel Percy Fawcett.
posted by tellurian at 3:43 PM on February 25, 2009

Oh! and thanks for the inspiration.
posted by tellurian at 2:05 PM on February 26, 2009

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