Advice for Women Traveling Abroad In 1891—long before international travel and the guides that facilitate it were commonplace—the Women’s Rest Tour Association (WRTA) published its first travel guide for women, A Summer in England. In early September 2009, while conducting a preliminary survey of the addenda to the records of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union (WEIU) of Boston, catalogers at the Schlesinger Library discovered a trove of WRTA records. The WRTA was established in 1891 by Alice Brown, Maria G. Reed, Anna C. Murdock, and Louise Imogen Guiney, and its first president was Julia Ward Howe, the prominent abolitionist and social activist best known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The timing of this find was particularly fortuitous because it coincided with the opening of our women and travel exhibit. By its second year, the WRTA had begun to publish The Pilgrim Scrip and the Lodging List. Additional publications included the American Lodging List, the Lodging List of the Americas, and the Foreign Lodging List. These publications offered guidance to women about sites to visit, as well as lists of safe and reputable establishments at which to stay. One piece of advice appearing in the 1896 issue of The Pilgrim Scrip, from a member identified as “H.G.,” stated, “Do warn your friends who go to the Three Tuns, Durham, that they must drink the glass of cherry brandy presented in welcome, or they will very much hurt the landlady’s feelings.” In 1955, the WRTA changed its name to the Women’s Rest Tour Association for the Interchange of Travel Information, and in 1976 it became the Traveler’s Information Exchange. Its records consist of meeting minutes, bylaws, histories, clippings, correspondence, photographs, announcements, and publications. A bit of investigation revealed that although the WEIU and the WRTA had their own distinct identities, they maintained close connections over the years, with the WEIU providing office space for the WRTA for a large portion of its existence and, for some time, sharing a board of trustees. A brief container list for the WRTA records can be viewed at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch01253. The Pilgrim Scrip will be cataloged separately. —Mark Vassar Manuscript Cataloger
credits: Images on cover and pages 4 and 5 are from the Elizabeth Blodgett Hall Papers. Photo on page 7 is from the Bernice Resnick Sandler Papers. Photos from page 6 are from the Stark Family Papers. Back cover photo is from the Katharine Lane Weems Papers.
Schlesinger Library Events, Fall 2009–Spring 2010 thursday, september 3, 2009 Brown Bag Lunch Talk “‘Dear Sharer of Many Problems’: The Correspondence of Ida M. Cannon and Richard Clarke Cabot, 1905–1939” Laura Praglin, associate professor of social work, University of Northern Iowa, and Schlesinger Library Research Support Grant recipient thursday, september 17, 2009 Brown Bag Lunch Talk “Utopian Socialism in a Transnational Context: The Fourierists and their Social Network” Megan Perle Bowman, University of California at Santa Barbara, Schlesinger Library Dissertation Support Grant recipient wednesday, october 7, 2009 Movie Night Give the Ballot to the Mothers (1996), directed by Francie Wolff, and The Lottery (1969), produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation A discussion with Elizabeth Singer More, PhD candidate in history at Harvard University, followed the film. thursday, october 15, 2009 Boston Seminar on the History of Women and Gender “Historicizing Social Citizenship in the United States: Gender, Disability, and Comparative Perspectives” Felicia Kornbluh, University of Vermont, with commentary by Laura L. Frader, Northeastern University thursday, october 22, 2009 Brown Bag Lunch Talk “The Life and Work of Book Designer Bertha Stuart” Barbara Hebard, conservator, Boston College, and curator, A Fixed Rule of Design: The Book Art of Bertha Stuart, Boston Public Library, on view through December 31 friday, october 23, 2009 Brown Bag Lunch Talk “Cold Feet: Non-Marriage, Neglected Vows, and Unlawful Wedlock in the United States, 1865–1940” William Kuby, University of Pennsylvania, Schlesinger Library Dissertation Support Grant recipient monday, november 2, 2009 Maurine and Robert Rothschild Lecture “Women and Health: A Comprehensive Focus for Global Health” Julio Frenk, dean, Harvard School of Public Health