A Young Dutchman Views Post--Civil War America
Diary of Claude August Crommelin
Publication Year: 2011
Not long after the end of the American Civil War, a wealthy young Dutchman by the name of Claude August Crommelin embarked on a tour of the young country, visiting New England, the Middle Atlantic States, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the war-ravaged South. His family connections allowed him to meet important people, and his interests in industry, politics, and public institutions led him to observe what others might not have noticed. His meticulously kept journal reveals an inquisitive traveler with a keen eye for detail and a genial writing style. Available in English for the first time, Crommelin's book provides an illuminating outsider's account of the United States at a pivotal point in its history.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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This book is the result of a joint effort of two historians, one Dutch and one American. The Dutchman stumbled upon the diary of Claude August Crommelin while conducting research for another book project in the vast holdings of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul. He grew enthusiastic about the text of the diary and the way Crommelin described America and Americans a cen- ...
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During the nineteenth century the United States of America was somewhat of an enigma for Europeans. It was a country where democracy was in full swing, but with a popular sovereignty that frightened many Continentals. In European eyes it was likewise a place of unlimited economic and social possibilities, where an enterprising man could improve himself unhindered by ossified autocratic re- ...
1. From Amsterdam through Belgium and Great Britain to New York: April–May 1866
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Amsterdam to Brussels. Stopped at Delft at 3 pm to see Adr. Huet and his drawings of machinery. Big wall spreads drawn in color, but also simple black and white drawings. His favorites, however, are big drawings in color of American steam engines, especially machinery for ships and railway locomotives, the bigger the better. Illustrated catalogs, monographs about machines, issues of journals and ...
2. In New York City and Westward to Chicago: May 1866
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Coming down in the morning I met young Oyens at once, who had come to meet Meder. Had breakfast together and after that walked through the city, along Broadway to Castle Garden, where all emigrants are landed, and visited several persons for whom we had brought letters of recommendation, like Schushardt and Dulman. I just looked in at Morgan’s but found him leaving at that moment and ...
3. From Chicago through Illinois and Northward to Minnesota: May–June 1866
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Toured Chicago in a nice buggy with one of the clerks of the Illinois Central. Stockyards (cattle market) enormous, clean, and well-equipped, but dirt and dung everywhere on the streets. (Trollope) Visited with Mrs. McLane n
4. In Chicago and by way of Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia: June–July 1866
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Returned to Chicago. Visited with Mr. Moring, vice- president of the Chicago & Great Eastern Railway. Had dinner with Joe Tucker, and wrote letters in Mr. Kelloch, one of the shareholders of the Illinois Central RR. invited us to visit the Chicago waterworks now being built. Until now the water for the city has been taken from Lake Michigan close by the shore, which makes it less clean ...
5. New York City, Albany, Niagara Falls, Pennsylvania Oil, and Canada: July–August 1866
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Visited with the Huidekoper family. Alfred and Frederick were at home, also the children and widow of their deceased brother Edgar. Dinner at Frederick’s, tea at Alfred’s. Children of Frederick: Nelly, Annie, and Willie. Children of Alfred: Mrs. Bond in Boston, Emma in Europe, Annette, and a son, Arthur, who is now at Harvard College. He was already in the army at 16 and promoted to captain on ...
6. In Boston and New England: August–September 1866
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I had heard of a Methodist camp meeting being held in the neighborhood, so we went on our way to attend that meeting, at least for a part. The place was at Yarmouth on Cape Cod, the southeastern tip of Massachusetts. In a crowded train and after many delays we finally arrive there at the campground just after noon....
7. In New York City, New Jersey, and Troy, New York: September–October 1866
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Friday 7 September 1866 Met Mr. C. H. Russell, president of the Commercial Bank, by accident. He has known my father and grandfather well and he invites me to visit with him in Newport.1...
8. In Boston, Providence, Albany, and back to New York City: October–December 1866
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Monday 15 October 1866 Rode from Troy to Boston on the Western Massachusetts Railroad. Picturesque landscape, but barren, rocky, and a lot of stones. Negro minstrels with Mr. Fuller. ...
9. In the South: Charleston and Savannah: December 1866
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Departed for Charleston on board the Saratoga. Rain and fog at the time of departure, and we were obliged to anchor in the Narrows until the fog lifted. Around 7 pm we are finally at sea and have fairly heavy weather for the first twenty-four hours, but for the rest of the journey beautiful weather and a calm sea. This was very welcome to me as the room on board was very restricted and the fur- ...
10. In Georgia and Virginia: December 1866
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Savannah–Augusta, Central Georgia Railroad, 130 miles, from 8 am until 6:30 pm, with a two hours’ delay at Millen. It is Sunday. The whole region is nothing more than a vast pine forest, sandy and swampy in places. Only now and then I see a clearing and a settlement of a few houses. The clearings are mostly cotton plantations, also many cabins of Negroes. Here is being demonstrated how the Ne...
11. To Baltimore and Washington, D.C.: December 1866–January 1867
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Arrival in Baltimore at 9:30 am. Straightaway to an Episcopal Methodist black church. All shades of color, from coal black to almost white, some more yellow like Chinese. All kinds of hair, short woolly heads, some with a parting, some with long hair, and one with long silvery white curls. The owner of those curls was sitting in the front row, and he certainly had Negro blood in his veins, but his face,...
12. In New York City: January 1867
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To New York, and thought about America for a long time. I feel that in respect of business they are very good at organizing everything. Many things are neatly done and simple, such as the baggage check and express-system, the general character of their railroad carriages, their hotels, etc., but they completely lack the gift of executing these ideas to the smallest detail for comfort and convenience. I ...
13. In New York City and Boston and Salem, Massachusetts: January–February 1867
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In the morning back to New York. At 3 pm to Fordham, where Mr. Chrystie, brother of the one at Newburgh, has asked me for dinner, chiefly in honor of his wife and her brother, both named Punnett. Their father had a house in St. Albans that had very close relations with Daniel Crommelin & Sons. The Amsterdam house once sent them a tablecloth and napkins, which were still preserved in the ...
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Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 13 b&w illus., 2 maps
Publication Year: 2011