Gallery > Israel > Dreamland

Dreamland

 American Travelers to the Holy Land in the 19th Century

The image of the Holy Land current in 19th-century America derived from religious and cultural sentiment, encouraged by the experiences of a few groups: missionaries, pilgrims and tourists, explorers, settlers, and consular officers, all of whom had different motives for going to Palestine. They were influenced by the growing interests of other nations, and improvements in regional transportation made their travels possible. 
 
                                                                     Shapell Manuscript Foundation
Following the Civil War (1861-1865), travels to the Holy Land, then part of the Ottoman Empire, provided Americans with a unique opportunity for spiritual revival.
 
The year 2010 coincides with the centennial death of Mark Twain, who traveled to the Holy Land in 1867 and recorded his observations in The Innocents Abroad. Twain’s writing had a great impact on American perceptions of the Holy Land and the developing new age of travel in the Near East.
 
Other important American visitors featured in the exhibition are the writer Herman Melville and the Civil War generals: Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. They all were guests at the Mediterranean Hotel in Jerusalem. This hotel was also the intended destination of the Roosevelt family, but due to overbooking the family stayed at another hotel instead.
 
The manuscripts and documents showcased in the exhibition are part of the collections of the  Shapell Manuscript Foundation. The books and souvenirs are taken from the National Library's collections.
 
The exhibition is displayed on the 2nd floor at the Library.
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 09:00-19:30, Fri 09:00-12:00
 
Curators:
Dina Grossman, The Shapell Manuscript Foundation
Professor Ruth Kark, Hebrew University
Nira Ilsar, The National Library of Israel

Academic advisor:
Dr. Anthony Travis, Edelstein Center,
The Hebrew University

Design and production:
Studio Avidani

Museum consultant:
Liat Margalit
 

For more information, please visit the Shapell Foundation website:
 
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NliImageGallery
  • Robinson's Arch today.
  • Plan of Jerusalem (Heinrich Kiepert, 1841) from Robinson's books (on display).
  • Buchanan was later the fifteenth president of the United States. Document signed, 23 October 1846.
    Reverend Eli Smith's passport document, for a trip to the Holy Land, signed by Secretary of State James Buchanan.
  • Map of the Dead Sea, from Lynch's book (on display).
  • Melville expresses his desire to visit the Holy Land. He fulfilled it five years later. Autograph letter signed, New York, 8 January, 1852.
    "…Even then we must not despair, because across the great sea, however desolate and vacant it may look, lie all Persia & the delicious lands roundabout Damascus."
  • Melville expresses his desire to visit the Holy Land. He fulfilled it five years later. Autograph letter signed, New York, 8 January, 1852.
    "…Even then we must not despair, because across the great sea, however desolate and vacant it may look, lie all Persia & the delicious lands roundabout Damascus."
  • ordering payment of salaries to his troops besieging Acre.
    Letter signed by Napoleon on 19 April 1799,
  • Melville's letter to a British admirer, to whom he sent a copy of his relatively unknown and unpopular book, Clarel: A poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Autograph letter signed, New York, 22 January 1885.
    "…there was one – 'Clarel' – that your spade had not yet succeeded in getting at. Fearing that you never will get at it by yourself, I have disinterred a copy for you of which I ask your acceptance."
  • Melville's letter to a British admirer, to whom he sent a copy of his relatively unknown and unpopular book, Clarel: A poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Autograph letter signed, New York, 22 January 1885.
    "…there was one – 'Clarel' – that your spade had not yet succeeded in getting at. Fearing that you never will get at it by yourself, I have disinterred a copy for you of which I ask your acceptance."
  • Melville's letter to a British admirer, to whom he sent a copy of his relatively unknown and unpopular book, Clarel: A poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Autograph letter signed, New York, 22 January 1885.
    "…there was one – 'Clarel' – that your spade had not yet succeeded in getting at. Fearing that you never will get at it by yourself, I have disinterred a copy for you of which I ask your acceptance."
  • Members of the Dickson family were victims of the barbaric attack at Mount Hope.
    Dickson's Palestine Museum, 1858. Advertisement for exhibition of items from the Holy Land, arranged by Henry Dickson.
  • but had to drop out in order to deal with Indian affairs (in his position as lieutenant general). The Quaker City left New York on 8 June 1867 and returned almost six months later on November 19.
    Page from Twain's notebook, ca. April 1867, in which he first mentions his upcoming Quaker City trip to Europe and the Holy Land. Civil War general William Sherman was one of the intended passengers,
  • From A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Mrs. Stephen M. Griswold, 1872 (on display).
  • The steamship Quaker City.
  • The Innocents Abroad, or, the new pilgrims' progress; being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land. Hartford: American Pub. Co., 1901. 2v. First edition 1869.
    Twain, Mark (Clemens, Samuel L.).
  • Section of the first scientific map of Palestine, by Cartographer Pierre Jacotin, Paris [1818].
  • Mark Twain's letter describing the night before the Quaker City sailed. His dispatches were eventually collected in The Innocents Abroad. Autograph letter signed, New York, 8 June 1867.
    "Now I feel good… & I could write a good correspondence… as soon as I get out of this most dismal town."
  • taken by the Abdulla brothers, the Ottoman Sultan's official photographers. Signed photograph, Constantinople, September 1867.
    Signed photograph, or carte-de-visite, of Mark Twain, on the way to the Holy Land,
  • taken by the Abdulla brothers, the Ottoman Sultan's official photographers. Signed photograph, Constantinople, September 1867.
    Signed photograph, or carte-de-visite, of Mark Twain, on the way to the Holy Land,
  • it would look as much like me." Mark Twain to Miss Emma Beach, Twain's friend and traveling companion. Autograph letter signed, 8 January 1868.
    "Those Constantinople pictures were very bad, though. I might almost as well send you a photograph of the Sphynx-
  • it would look as much like me." Mark Twain to Miss Emma Beach, Twain's friend and traveling companion. Autograph letter signed, 8 January 1868.
    "Those Constantinople pictures were very bad, though. I might almost as well send you a photograph of the Sphynx-
  • Printed in 1863 for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Twain entered the Holy Land on September 17 and departured on October 1, 1867.
    Replica of the King James Bible which Twain purchased for his mother during his visit to the Holy Land.
  • Printed in 1863 for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Twain entered the Holy Land on September 17 and departured on October 1, 1867.
    Replica of the King James Bible which Twain purchased for his mother during his visit to the Holy Land.
  • blood relation... The foundation of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths, and I gave way to tumultuous emotion." Autograph quotation signed, New York, November 1870.
    Mark Twain records his visit to the purported Tomb of Adam in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. "The grave of Adam! How touching it was, here in a land of strangers, far away from home, and friends, all who cared for me, thus to discover the grave of a
  • David Roberts Autograph letter signed, 2 February 1849.
    "I send you all the Large Sketches I have here of the Holy City."
  • set out for a lecture tour about his travels to the Holy Land, hints that his fellow passengers were not so innocent, and even stole souvenirs from holy sites. Autograph letter signed, Connecticut, 7 October, 1868.
    "If I have heretofore told you the title of my proposed lecture I beg to alter it... It has taken a little different shape from what I had expected- so I now call it "The American Vandal Abroad". I am one of those myself. Twain, on the evening before he
  • Autograph letter signed, New York, 28 December 1869.
    Two years after his return Twain recommends his traveling companion, Dan Stole, as distributor of the "The Innocents Abroad".
  • "Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World", American Publishing, 1897. This book describes Twain's 1895 world trip and includes his criticism of British racialist imperialism.
    Mark Twain, autograph mock-up of title page and dedication for "THE SURVIVING INNOCENT ABROAD AGAIN or ANOTHER INNOCENT ABROAD AGAIN", to Chatto & Windus, London, 1897. The book was published as "More Tramps Abroad" later in the year. The U.S. edition was
  • "Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World", American Publishing, 1897. This book describes Twain's 1895 world trip and includes his criticism of British racialist imperialism.
    Mark Twain, autograph mock-up of title page and dedication for "THE SURVIVING INNOCENT ABROAD AGAIN or ANOTHER INNOCENT ABROAD AGAIN", to Chatto & Windus, London, 1897. The book was published as "More Tramps Abroad" later in the year. The U.S. edition was
  • Farragut had been authorized to provide them free passage home to the United States. "I enclose a copy of Seward's last letter to me concerning the "Jaffa Colonists".
    On 31 August 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward wrote to Maine Governor Joshua Chamberlain about the condition of the 156 "Jaffa Colonists", originally from Maine. A week later, Chamberlain advised Maine Congressman Sidney Perham that Admiral
  • Farragut had been authorized to provide them free passage home to the United States. "I enclose a copy of Seward's last letter to me concerning the "Jaffa Colonists".
    On 31 August 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward wrote to Maine Governor Joshua Chamberlain about the condition of the 156 "Jaffa Colonists", originally from Maine. A week later, Chamberlain advised Maine Congressman Sidney Perham that Admiral
  • Ticket from the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway, end of the 19th century.
  • Ticket from the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway, end of the 19th century.
  • Jerusalem train station on opening day, 16 September, 1892.
  • The English firm of Thomas Cook pioneered organized tourism to the Holy Land from the end of the 1860's.
    Poster for Cook's "Nile & Palestine Tours", 1901
  • Edward Robinson, in London, to his British publisher, John Murray. Autograph letter signed, London, 12 October 1840.
    "Will Mr. Murray permit me to ask: How he is getting on with my Manuscript of Palestine?"
  • Robinson's Arch, engraving from: Wilson, Charles, Picturesque Palestine. London, 1881-83. v.1, p.72.
  • Engraving from: Wilson, Charles, The Picturesque Eretz Israel.
    Jerusalem as seen from Mount Scopus
  • During the time of Mark Twain's visit. Scale: 1:75
    Model of the Mediterranean Hotel in its second location in the year 1867
  • One of the most important American families to visit the Holy Land. Theodore Roosevelt is seated second from left.
    The Roosevelt Family
  • Photograph taken in Constantinople, en route to the Holy Land, September 1867.
    Signed photograph of Mark Twain
  • Panoramic view of the exhibit