Burton Holmes and the Trans-Siberian Railroad


Burton Holmes is little known today, but for fifty years he was America's foremost traveler and travel writer. Sets of his multi-volume Lectures (aka Travelogues) can be found today in used book stores across the country, where they will generally stay, unopened and unbought. I must admit that it was only by chance that I discovered the Lectures were not discourses on religion, but the mostly photographic records of an early world traveler. These books are, in fact, printed versions of the "travelogue" lectures that Holmes gave to audiences across the US (he coined the word "travelogue" in 1904).

If these works are not hidden knowledge, then what is? As a railroad fan, and a travel fan, I thought that Holmes' trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad (in 1901, before the railroad was even completed) should be rescued from oblivion and brought out where people could see it again. Perhaps it's a bit grandiose to think that putting it on my web page will rescue it from "oblivion:" but it will make it available in ways that Holmes (who was always an early adopter of new technology for presentations) would approve.

From here you can go to a set of pages on Burton Holmes and his travelogues, or to a discussion of how this project came about and how it is being implemented, or directly to the travelogue itself at the contents page. I recommend reading these three in the order I just gave, but you can go anywhere you want; that's freedom, isn't it? Have a great trip!

Originally created 9 November 1996; most recent update 6 June 2011.