NYPL Digital Library
“I have found a dream of beauty at which one might look all one’s life and sigh.”
In last week’s Friday essay for Latitudes Longitudes I referenced Isabella Bird, explorer extraordinaire and my costume choice for a dinner club excursion to Antelope Island. While we could spend paragraphs here about Hawaiian volcano climbing or private audiences with Korean kings, 8000 mile round trips or a Coloradan love affair with Rocky Mountain Jim, I mostly want only to leave here a handful of her photographs, images I find astounding and remarkable and lovely and haunting, worthy of knowing and — I hope — impetus enough to set off adventuring into the life of this ‘Samson abroad’ yourself.
Much of Ms Bird’s writing is available through Project Gutenberg; above epigraph lifted from her essay on Lake Tahoe (Adventures in the Rocky Mountains), found here. Quote in title from a review of her work in The Spectator: “Miss Bird is an ideal traveller. She can see, and she can use the words that place what she sees before the reader. Not the least noteworthy among Miss Bird’s gifts is a heaven-sent faculty for having adventures.”
Unless noted otherwise, all images via the National Library of Scotland’s John Murray Archive.