Travel narratives communicate a wealth of geographical information about the physical and cultural landscapes of the past, but cartographic representation of travelers' perceptions is challenging. When a traveler's journey is represented as a line on a map, the depth of the traveler's geographical observations and judgments is obscured. This study employed a spatial history methodology to map the environmental and cultural perceptions evident in the 1818-1819 Arkansas travel narratives of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) and Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859). The published journals of each traveler were coded to identify cultural and environmental observations. These observations were further coded as descriptive or subjective perceptions. The resulting maps and analysis contribute to a deeper understanding of the cultural and environmental perceptions of these travelers than has been previously explored by scholars. The occasional cultural invectives present in the narratives have overshadowed predominantly positive environmental perceptions. The maps and analysis reveal the spatial patterns evident in these travelers' perceptions and suggest a better sense of the places experienced rather than merely the spaces traversed by these travelers.


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pp. 172-187
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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