Travel and Exploration
The Schulich-Woolf collection contains many travel and exploration narratives of expeditions across the globe. This selection particuarly highlights Canadian, New World, and South Asian Subcontinent exploration.
Incidents of travel in Yucatan is a follow up to John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood’s first work Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1841). Stephens and Catherwood extensively explored the peninsula visiting forty-four ruins. The work is illustrated with engravings based on the Daguerreotype views and drawings captured by Catherwood. On display is a large engraving of Casa de Gobernador at Uxmal.
Stephens' and Catherwood’s explorations created an international interest in the Mayan Civilization. While the Mayan ruins were known to some and had been explored previously, their extensive travels led to the rediscovery of some of these sites. Their works and site depictions laid the foundation for future Mayan Studies.
Narrative of the Canadian Red River Expedition of 1857 and of the Assinniboine [sic] and Saskatchewan Exploring Expedition of 1858 includes topographical descriptions and the settlement history of western Canada. There are beautiful colour chromoxylographic plates of the landscapes and maps throughout the work. Chromoxylography was an inexpensive printing process using three wood blocks—one for each primary colour. On display is an explorer observing the grand falls of the Nameaukan River.
Henry Youle Hind (1823-1908) was an author, journalist, teacher, explorer, and geologist. Hind participated in two expeditions to observe the Red and Assiniboine valleys, the first from July to October in 1857 and the second during the summer of 1858. The explorers conducted a geographical survey of the area and observed the mineral and agricultural potential of the land. Although Hind was not employed as an expedition geologist, he adapted his unofficial reports as part of his Narrative. The great success of this work prompted him to continue to travel and write.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bouchette was the Surveyor-General of Lower Canada from 1804-1839. When published, A Topographical description of the province of Lower Canada was the most comprehensive work on the colony. Included are several maps, plans, tables, and scenic views. On display is an image of the Village of Nicolet, Québec.
In order to get his work published, Bouchette presented his plan to produce a map of Lower Canada with a topographical dictionary to the House of Assembly in February 1814. The Assembly gave Bouchette £1,500 to support his project. With additional subscribers, Bouchette was able to publish his work in London in 1815. He produced two other topographical books: The British dominions in North America; or a topographical description of the provinces of Lower and Upper Canada (1831) and A topographical dictionary of the province of Lower Canada (1832).
In 1924, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward F. Norton, D.S.O., led the third British attempt to reach the summit Mount Everest. Norton and his fellow mountaineers followed the same route as the previous trips in 1921 and 1922.
Norton and his fellow climber Dr. T. Howard Somervell started their attempt on June 2nd. They reached 8,170 metres to establish Camp VI. The two attempted to ascend the North Face diagonally at which point Somervell was unable to continue. Norton climbed alone through a gulley later named “Norton Couloir” to reach a high point of 8,570 metres.
Norton, along with other members of the expedition, document this expedition in Fight for Everest: 1924. Our copy is signed by Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer, who along with his Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Hillary was also the first person to reach both poles and the summit of Everest.
The History of the Bucaniers of America contains the exploits and adventures of buccaneers Francis Lolonois, Rock Brasiliano, Bat the Portuguese, and Sir Henry Morgan, and narratives of dangerous voyages through the South-Sea. Each of the four pirates has his own portrait. There are also fold out plates of battles and maps. On display is a portrait of the infamous pirate, Sir Henry Morgan.
Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin's work was first published in Dutch in 1678 and was later translated into numerous languages. Exquemelin wrotefrom personal experience. Beginning in 1666, he lived in Tortuga for three years as an indentured servant before joining Sir Henry Morgan's buccaneers. He quit Morgan's crew in 1674 and returned to Europe briefly. His name appears on a crew list in the Caribbean in 1697.
Jean-Baptise Tavernier was a 17th-century French gem merchant and explorer who made six voyages to Persia and India between 1630 and 1668. The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier was published in 1676 at the request of his patron Louis XIV. On display is an image of the Faquirs at a Bannians-Tree in various acts of worship. The accompanying text describes the poses and actions of the figures represented in the scene.
Tavernier was an astute observer of the cultures he encountered and the places to which he traveled. Additionally, he wrote his work as a guide for other merchant travellers, including which routes to take and descriptions of foreign money. His work was translated into several languages during his lifetime. Tavernier is best known for discovering what is now known as the Hope Diamond—a 116-carat diamond he sold to Louis XIV. The diamond was passed down to Louis XV before it was stolen in 1792 only to reappear in London 30 years later.