Narratives by [Women] Explorers Bibliography

Query From Marcia Griffin 23 Feb 1998

A friend and I were discussing Stephen Ambrose's _Undaunted Courage_ about Lewis and Clark and the Discovery Corps and she said, "There are no decent women explorers." Is this true?


Adams, Harriet Chalmers...with other women formed the Society of Women Explorers in 1926
Bear Robe, daughter of an Ogalala Souix chief, accompanied her partner, Henri Chatillon on expedition *before* Lewis and Clark See: Francis Parkman's _Oregon Trail_(pub. 1849, still in-print)
Bell, Gertrude (1868-1926) crossed the Syrian desert in 1911
Bly, Nellie
David-Neel, Alexandra...Tibet
Kingsley, Mary, 1862-1900, explored West Africa in the 1890s.
Mead, Margaret
Sacajewa, the Shoshoni women who accompanied Lewis & Clark on that expedition (while pregnant)

Other suggestions:

Contact: The Society of Women Geographers International
Headquarters, Library and Archives
415 E. Captiol St.
Washington, D.C. 20003

Children's books listed on the web, all by Margo McLoone:

Women Explorers In Africa: Christins Dodwell; Florence von Sass Baker; Alexandrine Tinne; Delia Akeley; Mary Kingsley.

Women Explorers in Asia: Susie Carson Rijnhart; Alexandra David-Neel; Lucy Atkinson; Freya Stark; Dervla Murphy.

Women Explorers in North and South America: Ynes Mexia; Nellie Cashman; Mary Blair Niles; Violet Cressy Marcks; Annie Peck.

Women Explorers in Polar Regions: Kate Marsden; Agnes Dean Cameron; Louise Arner Boyd; Ida Pfeiffer; Helen Thayer.

See also Women of the World: Women Travelers and Explorers by Rebecca Stefoff: Ida Pfeiffer (twice around the world); Isabella Bird Bishop; Florence Baker (searched for the source of the Nile); Fanny Bullock Workman, Mary Kingsley, Alexandra David-Neel; Marguerite Baker Harrison (reporter, spy, film producer); Louise Arner Baker (polar explorer); Freya Stark.

Contact: General Federation of Women's Clubs: Lorina Adkins, Women's History and resource Center Coordinator, or

Query From Maura Mackowski 15 Sept 1997

I'm trying to compile a long list of first-person accounts by explorers active during the past 500 years. This is for a graduate course, and the list needs to include every possible geographic area, all types of expeditions, groups and individuals, and every means of transportation. Can anyone cite first-person narratives by women explorers active since the fifteenth century? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
[Ed. Note: Dr. Thurman x-posted her request to H-West, and those replies, while not women-centered, are included in this bibliography]


Abbey, J.E. [from the library of] _Travel in Aquatint and Lithography, 1770-1860: A Bibliographic Catalogue_ (Folkstones, Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1972). [ A compendium of world travels... includes illustrations]

Adams, William Davenport _Celebrated Women Travellers of the Nineteenth Century_ (London: W.Swann Sonnenschein & Co., 1883)

Allen, Alexandra _Travelling Ladies: Victorian Adventuresses_ (London: Jupiter Books, 1980)

Alexander, Michael, Ed. _Discovering the New Worlds: Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry_ (New York, Harper & Row, 1976).

Andrews, William L., Ed; _Women In New Worlds_

Balano, James W., ed. 1979 _The Log of the Skipper's Wife_. (Camden, ME: Down East Books).

Bartram, William _Travels and Other Writings: Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia and East and West Florida_ (Library Classics of the United States, 1996)

Bird, Isabella _The Golden Chersonese: The Malayan Travels of a Victorian Lady_ (Oxford Press, 1967).

_A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains_(Oklahoma U Press, Norman, OK, reprint 1980; original pub. London: John Murray, 1879).

_The Yangtze Valley and Beyond_

Bray, Mary Matthews. 1920. _A Sea Trip in Clipper Ship Days_. (Boston:The Gorham Press).

Brooks, Gladys. _Boston and Return: Impressions and Memories of Two Cities, Two Continents, and Many People_. (New York: Atheneum, 1962).

Brown, Martha Smith Brewer _She Went A-Whaling: The Journal of Martha Smith Brewer Brown_ (Orient, New York)

Cabeza de Vaca, Nunez ...Title varies depending on translation.

Calderon de la Barca, Frances (Fanny) _Life in Mexico_

Champlain, Samuel De _Voyages to New France_ Michael Machlem, Ed. (Canada, Oberon Press, 1970).

Creighton, Margaret S. and Norling, Lisa. _Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920_. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, 1996).

Dana, Richard H. Jr. _To Cuba and Back_

de Braganz, Ronald Louis Silveira and Charlotte Oaks _The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages_

de Chastellux, Marquis _Travels in North America_ (2 vols., 2nd Ed., London, G.G. J. and J. Robnimson; Pater-Noster-Row, 1968).

de Vries, David Peterson; Trans. by Henry C. Murphy _Voyages from Holland to America, A.D. 1632-1644_ (NY, 1853).

del Castillo, Bernal Diaz; Trans. by A.P. Maudsley _The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico_ (NY: De Capo Press, 1996)

Dinesen, Isak _Letters From Africa: 1914-1931_(Anne Born, Trans., U of Chicago Press, 1981).

Frank, Katherine _A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley_, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,1986)

FreeHand, Julianna. _A Seafaring Legacy: The Photographs, Diaries, Letters and Memorabilia of a Maine Sea Captain and His Wife 1859-1908_. (New York: Random House, 1981).

Greenhill, Basil & Ann Giffard, Eds. _Women Under Sail: Letters and Journals Concerning Eight Women Traveling or Sailing in Vessels Between 1829-1949_ (Newton Abott, Devon, England; David & Charles, LTD; ND)

Guillain, France and Guillain, Christian. Hillier, Caroline trans. _Call of the Sea_ (New York: Harper & Row, 1974).

Gullick, John, Ed.: " Lady Brooke Sylvia, the Rawnee of Sarawak, Queen of the Head Hunters" from _Adventurous Women in South-East Asia: Six Lives_ (OUP, 1995)

Head, Francis B. _Rough Notes Taken During Some Rapid Journeys Across the Pampas and Among the Andes_

Hennepin, Father Louis _ A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America_, (2 vols., NY, Kraus Reprint Co., 1972; Original printing Chicago, A.C. McClurg & Co., 1903).

Holton, Issac F. _New Granada: Twenty Months in the Andes_

Innes, Emily _The Chersonese with the Guilding Off_ (Vols 1 & 2, OUP, 1993).

Johnson, Osa. _I Married Adventure: The Lives and Adventures of Martin and Osa Johnson_. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1940). {****This one is particularly about exploration****}

Kobak, Annette _Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt_ (NY: Knopf, 1988).

LeBlond, Mrs. Aubrey _True Tales of Mountain Adventure_ (London: Unwin, 1902)

Leonowens, Anna _The English Governess at the Siamese Court_ (OUP, n.d.)

Ley, Charles Davis, Ed. _Portuguese Voyages, 1498-1663_ (London, J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., NY, E.P. Dutton & Co, Inc., 1947)

MacKay,Anne, ed. _Around the World on the Whaling Ship Lucy Ann, 1847-1849_ (Orient, New York; Oysterponds Historical Society, 1993).

Mackenzie, Alexander _Voyages From Montreal on the River St. Laurence_ (Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms, Inc., 1966)

Maillart, Ella Wrote book on her travels in Chinese Central Asia

Also: -Turkistan Solo_

Major, R.H., Ed.& Trans. _Christopher Columbus: Four Voyages to the New World_ (Intro by John E. Fagg, Corinth Books, Inc., 1961).

Mannix, Julie _Adventure Happy_(NY: Simon & Schuster, 1954)

Middleton, Dorothy _Victorian Lady Travellers_ (Academy Chicago Publishers, 1965; pbk eds. in 1982 and 1993).

Miller, Luree _On Top of the World: Five Women Explorers in Tibet_ (The Mountaineers, Seattle, Wa., 1984).

Olds, Elizabeth Faggs _Women of the Four Winds: The Adventures of Four of America's First Women Explorers_(NY, Houghton-Mifflin, 1985)

Pagden, Anthony, Ed & Trans. _Hernan Cotes: Letters From Mexico_ (Intro by J.H. Elliott (new Haven, Yale U Press, 1986).

Parker, Franklin D. _Travels in Central America, 1821-1840_

Payne, Edward D. Parker, Ed. _Voyages of the Elizabethan Seamen to America: Select Narratives From the Principal Navigations of Hakluyt, R._ (2nd Ed., Oxford, Claredon, P, 1893)

Perez, Louis A. Jr., Ed. _Slaves, Sugar & Colonial Society_ (Collection of travel documents)

Pratt, Mary Louise _Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation_ (NY, Routledge, 1992)

Robertson, Janet _The Magnificent Mountain Women:Adventures in the Colorado Rockies_(U of Nebraska Press, 1980).

Schriber, Mary Suzanne _Telling Travels: Selected Writings by Nineteenth-Century American Women Abroad_ (Northern Illinois 1995)

Sheil, Lady Mary _Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia_

Smith, Harry F. _American Travelers Abroad: A Bibliography of Accounts Published Before 1900_ (Southern Illinois, 1969)

Stanley, Jo, ed.. _Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages_. (New York: HarperCollins, 1995).

Tabor, Margaret _Pioneer Women_(London: Sheldon Press, 1930)

Turnbull, David _Travels in the West: Cuba, with Notices of Porto Rico and the Slave Trade_ (NY, Negro Universities Press, 1969).

Vail, R.W.G. _The Voice of the Old Frontier_(Philadelphia, U of Pennsylvania Press, 1949) [covers colonial North America]

Van Thal, Herbert _Victoria's Subjects Travelled_ (London: Arthur Baker, 1951).

Wagner, Henry R. _The Spanish Southwest, 1542-1794: An Annotated Bibliography_ (NY, Arno Press, 1967).

Wagner, Henry R. & Charles L. Camp _The Plains and the Rockies: A Critical Bibliography of Exploration, Adventure and Travel in the American West, 1800-1865_ ( 4th Ed, enlarged & revised & edited by Robert H. Becker; San Francisco: J. Howell Books, 1982).

Williams, Harold ed. _One Whaling Family_. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1964).

Other Suggestions: You might also look at women missionary stories, the Schomburg Library on black American women's writings includes, for example, Amanda Berry Smith's account of her life/travels in Africa. There are loads of women's travel narratives, which generally involve exploration: my copy of Lady Anne Blunt's _A Pilgrimage to Nejd_ (1881)--a trip with her husband from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf through virtually impassable deserts--was republished (London: Century Publishing, 1985) in the "Century Travellers" series; the list of Century Travellers books is quite long (at the beginning of the book) and includes several books that are clearly by women (_A Thousand Miles Up the Nile_ by Amelia B. Edwards, e.g.). Margery Kempe's spiritual as-told-to narrative includes a description of a traditional pilgrimage, but I'm not sure if those kinds of pilgrimages would count as "explorations."

EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows is a LONG series of posts, provided by co-editor Cathy Lavender, from the list on environmental history, H-ASEH. The original query (to H-ASEH) did not explicitly mention women, but the responses are potentially so useful that I thought it worth posting. -------------------S. A. Cordery [There may be some overlap with H-Women and H-West postings.]

Query From: Maura Mackowski <MAURA.MACKOWSKI@ASU.Edu> 15 Sept 1997

I'm trying to come up with a graduate reading list of approximately 130 titles, all first-hand narratives of exploration undertaken within the past 500 years. What books would you suggest? BTW, these can be trips to any destination, by any means, by any person or group, as long as he/she/they wrote their own book about their experiences.

What immediately jumps to my mind is the journal of Charles Preuss, a German cartographer on John Fremont's several expeditions on the route of what would become the Oregon Trail. (Charles Preuss, _Exploring with Fremont:The Private Diaries of Charles Preuss, Cartographer for John C. Fremont on His First, Second and Fourth Expeditions to the Far West_, translated with introduction by Erwin G. and Elisabeth K. Gudde (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958).) He gives a slightly different account of the westward journey than does Fremont, though often colored by his own disdainful pessimism. A fairly basic journal, but interesting nonetheless.

On exploration narratives, see the massive collection of the Hakluyt Society publications. Any decent research library will have a set. David Beers Quinn's collection _New American World_ also is great for early exploration narratives, many of which provide great fodder for environmental historians.

Exploration literature is among my favorites. I sure hope you post the final list here. Some of what comes to mind of the cuff follows. Not all of it great, but what I can think of at the moment. I'm looking forward to this thread.

"Endurance" by Lansing detailing the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica is a must. Great stuff. A failed expedition but perhaps one of the greatest testaments to human perseverance against adversity.

Add also a biography of the African explorer Richard Burton. There is a recent one that is excellent, but the title of which I have forgotten.

For an interesting contrast, "In Darkest Africa" by Stanley is fascinating but long. While killing hundreds of porters while carrying huge amounts of useless and vain equipment, he starves to death countless Africans while keeping his little lap terrier healthy and alive. Don't know if its available in any newer printings.

As a child I loved "I Married Adventure" by Osa Johnson about the first American couple to take movie cameras to Africa. They traveled throughout Africa and the South Pacific and were close friends with Jack London and others. I hesitate to say if it's good history. But worth a glimpse from you to evaluation.

I have used Baclay, Maguire, and Wild's _Into the Wilderness Dream: Exploration Narratives of the American West, 1500-1800_ (U of Utah Press,1995?).

I find it quite enjoyable, for it gives a nice background before each segment which is comprised of narratives (chronologically organized) from the Spanish, English, German and other perspectives. It's too much for an undergrad class, but would be useful in a grad seminar.

One starting point would be the bibliography in Bill Goetzmann's EXPLORATION AND EMPIRE.

Of course, there are the journals of Lewis and Clark. That will easily fall under the heading you've described, and I'm sure dozens of folks will suggest it. Are you interested in personal narratives of more modern excursions? If you are, I recall reading (and thoroughly enjoying) a book by Brian Hall entitled _Stealing From a Deep Place_ (or something close to that); it was a recent journalistic account (in the wonderful mode of something by John McPhee) of a bicycle trip he took across eastern Europe.

The narratives of exploration I like include a lot of natural history, anthropology and art.

I would first see Barbara Maria Stafford's <Voyage Into Substance: Art, Science, Nature and the Illustrated Travel Account, 1760-1840> (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984). She analyzes the landscape pre-conceptions of narrators and illustrators of discovery.

A good source for narratives about the US is <Early Western Travels> Ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites. (Cleveland, OH: 1904-1907) 31 vols.

Charles Wilkes <Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition> (Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1845), 5 vol. with: Jessie Poesch <Titian Ramsay Peale 1799-1885 and His Journals of the Wilkes Expedition> (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1961) and: <Magnificent Voyagers: the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842> Ed. Herman J. Viola and Carolyn Margolis. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985)

Alexander Humboldt <Personal Narrative of Travels to Equinoctial Regions of America> Trans. Thomasina Ross. (London, 1852), 3 vol. with: Douglas Botting <Humboldt and the Cosmos> (NY: Harper & Row, 1973)

T. de Bry <America> Illus. John White. (1591) supposing you can't get your students' hands on it, try this: <The New World> Ed. Stefan Lorant. (NY: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946)

Maximilian, prinz zu Wied-Neuwied <Reise in das innere Nord-America, 1832-4> German ed. (Coblenz, 1839-41)
Most complete English ed. (London, 1843) This is Maximilian's journal about traveling up the Missouri River, that accompanies the better-known portfolio of prints after his artist, Karl Bodmer.

George Catlin <Letters and Notes on . . . American Indians> (London, 1841) there are lots of later editions; Dover might have reprinted it recently

John James Audubon <The 1826 Journal of John James Audubon> Ed. Alice Ford (Norman, OK: U of Oklahoma Press, 1967)

Definitely a narrative of exploration, geographical, anthropological, biological, and spiritual: Peter Matthiessen <The Snow Leopard> (ca. 1985?)

American Philosophical Society hosted a conference in March about exploration, "Surveying the Record: North American Scientific Exploration to 1900"; you might contact the convener, Edward C. Carter II, Librarian, APS, 105 S. 5th St., Philadelphia PA 19106-3386

What a great list to assemble. Let me add some of my diverse favorites for your consideration. Depending on how tightly you elect to define "explorations," here are a few from Northwestern California.

Ernest deMassey, A FRENCHMAN IN THE GOLDRUSH trans. Margurite Eyer Wilbur (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1927).

George Gibbs, "Journal of the Expedition of Colonel Reddick M'Kee," pp. 99-177 in Henry Schoolcraft, compiler, HISTORICAL AND STATISTICAL INFORMATION, RESPECTING THE HISTORY, CONDITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE INDIAN TRIBES OF THE UNITED STATES (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincot & Co., 1853).

A.S. Halladie, "A Trip to the Eurocs and Back in 1861," OVERLAND MONTHLY IX(52)(April 1887): 340-346.

Now that the Central Arizona Project delivers the Colorado to Tempe, you must include Major Powell. J. W. Powell, EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER OF THE WEST (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875). See for the story behind the stories, Martin J. Anderson, "John Wesley Powell's Explorations of the Colorado River ... Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy?" JOURNAL OF ARIZONA HISTORY 24(4)(1983): 363-380.

There are other river "explorers" of diverse times and places including:

Hernando de Alarcon, "Relation of the Navigation and Discovery [of the lower reaches of the Colorado River]," pp. 125-155 in Hammond and Rey, eds., NARRATIVES OF THE CORONADO EXPEDITION 1540-1542 (Albuquerque: U of New Mexico Press, 1940).

Ann Zwinger, RUN, RIVER, RUN (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1975).

Tracy Johnson, SHOOTING THE BOH (New York: Vintage Books, 1992).

Barry Goldwater, DELIGHTFUL JOURNEY (Tempe: Arizona Historical Foundation,1970).

If you want to balance all that downstream travel with some uphill, check into the climbers.

Maurice Herzog, ANNAPURNA (New York: Dutton, 1953).

Arlene Blum, ANNAPURNA, A WOMAN'S PLACE (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1983).

Here are some travellers accounts for the Middle East with emphasis on Arabia in the 19th century. Hope they are of use.

Blunt, Lady Anne. _Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates._ 2 vols. (London: John Murray, 1879).

_____ A Pilgrimage to Nejd_. (London: John Murray, 1881. Reprinted by Century Pub., London, 1985.)

de Bode, Baron C. _Travels in Luristan and Arabistan_. (J. Madden, London: 1845).

Burckhardt, John Lewis. _Travels in Syria and the Holy Land_. (John Murray,London: 1822).

_____ Travels in Arabia_. (London: Henry Colburn, 1829. Repr. by Frank Cass, London, 1968).

_____ Notes on the Bedouins and the Wahabys_. 2 vols. (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831).

Carruthers, Douglas, ed. _The Desert Route to India_. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1928. Repr. by Kraus Reprint, Nendeln, Germany, 1967.)

Doughty, Charles M. _Travels in Arabia Deserta_. (New York: Random House, 1936 edition).

Euting, Julius. _Tagebuch Einer Reise in Inner-Arabien_. 2 vols. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1896).

Gadsby, John. _My Wanderings. Being Travels in the East in 1846-47, 1850-51, 1852-53_. (Gadsby, London: 1860).

Guarmani, Carlo. _Northern Nejd, A Journey from Jerusalem to Anaiza in Qasim_. Lady Capel-Cure, trans. (Argonaut Press: London, 1938. 1st ed. in 1866.)

Musil, Alois. _Arabia Deserta: a topographical survey_. (American Geographical Society: New York, 1927).

_____ Palmyrena: a topographical itinerary_. (American Geographical Society: New York,1928).

_____ Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins_. (American Geographical Society Oriental Explorations and Studies, No. 6. Published under the auspices of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts. Charles R. Cane: New York,1928).

_____ The Middle Euphrates_. (American Geographical Society: New York, ???)

_____ The Northern Hegaz, A Topographical Itinerary_. (American Geographical Society: New York, 1926).

_____ Northern Nejd_. (American Geographical Society: New York,1928).

Palgrave, William Gifford. _Personal Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-63)_. (London: Macmillan, 1873).

Philby, H. St. John B. _The Heart of Arabia_. 2 vols. (London: Constable, 1922).

Rousseau, J.B. _Voyage de Bagdad a Alep, 1808_ (Paris, 1899).

Thesiger, W. _Desert, Marsh and Mountain_. (Collins, London: 1979).

______. Arabian Sands_.(Longmans, Green, London: 1959).

Wellsted, J.R. _Travels to the City of the Caliphs, along the shores of the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean including a voyage to the coast of Arabia, and a tour on the Island of Socotra_. (Farnborough, Hans: Gregg International, 1968. Repr. of 1840 d.)

Other Suggestions:

Beineke Library Web Site URL: illus.html Exhibition Title: _The Illustrating Traveller: Adventure Illustration in North America and the Carribean, 1760-1895_

...don't forget the vast literature of women pioneers in the American West.From Tue Dec 9 10:02:04 1997

The University of Iowa Main Library is now (but only for an additional short time) hosting an exhibit entitled "Intrepid Travelers: Women on the Road, 1850-1950" which may interest anyone near enough to visit.

From Loni Bramson-Lerche 05 Mar 1998

I see this thread is on again. I am recuperating from the flu, so I can only add off the top of my head Martha Root, a American journalist who in the first half of this century traveled around the world four times.