Travel accounts of all sorts—published and unpublished, by women and men, by foreigners and Americans, written for pleasure, pay, or spiritual expression—can provide a wealth of unusual detail on topics such as manners, clothing, education, childcare, health, regional differences, interpersonal relationships, and political events.
Such works are rarely indexed, so only patient perusal of individual volumes will uncover the gold. In these often overlooked sources you can explore important questions of gender, class, race, and national identity and observe interactions among people of different cultures.
To locate travel accounts, search the Library of Congress Online Catalog using Library of Congress Subject Headings:
In addition to general or broad search terms, consider the specific terminologies used for various types of travels. Furthermore, consider how these terms translate into foreign languages. Some examples:
This list is meant to serve as a starting point for researchers and is not meant to be comprehensive. Many of these women have yet to be written about or researched. Writers with materials in the Library:
Women's experiences far from home can also be found in reports and letters published in women's missionary journals. The general collections have several thousand books and pamphlets by missionaries and missionary organizations. The kind of information you can find includes:
Follow the links below to browse these appropriate Library of Congress Subject Headings for locating missionary journals:
Library of Congress Call Numbers: BV2612 and BV2350 (for some missionary journals).
In journals such as Heathen Woman's Friend (Methodist, 1869-94), Life and Light for Woman (Congregational, 1869-1922), and Messenger of Our Lady of Africa (Roman Catholic, 1930-) you may find names of members of the denomination with home towns; obituaries; excerpts from letters and journals of women missionaries and foreign women who have been converted; texts of original hymns sung at meetings and composed by women; and much more.
The following selected materials link link to more detailed bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.
The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.
To find primary sources related to women and travel in the Library of Congress print collections, you can search the online catalog by keyword, name, or Subject Heading. Earlier publications can be difficult to find, as titles and authors are unknown.
This list is not comprehensive, but is meant to provide a representative sample of formats in the General and International Collections.