Travel guide for American invalids, 1887

1887's Appleton's illustrated hand-book of American winter resorts for tourists and invalids is a whirlwind tour through all the places you can go and die of consumption in the America of yesteryear:
Out west in scenic California the land and times were much, much different than today. Appleton's guide takes visitors on a botanical tour of "cacti of the most curious sort," and it also explains why I saw so many Eucalyptus trees while living there in 2000-2004: "But the people plant a little shoot of the Australian blue-gum (Eucalyptus globulus), and in two years it becomes a shade-tree 15 or 20 feet high." Fashion and comfort were obviously not commodities in the near horizon if Eucalyptus shade-providing trees were the amenities.

Be sure to head north to Santa Barbara and buy a horse for only $20 so you can tour the beaches. Cure your rheumatism at the Hot Sulphur Springs with sulphureted hydrogen, iron, aluminum, and potash. The dry air the guides associated with relief for consumptive illnesses was and is the same dry air responsible for horrendous wildfires that we see in the news every summer.

Appleton's illustrated hand-book of American winter resorts for tourists and invalids (Thanks, ButIfAndThat, via Submitterator!)


  1. This is a really neat document. I have been doing a lot of research on old springs and travel destinations, but I hadn’t found this travel guide yet. Is there anywhere to download a PDF or other version for reading on a mobile device of my choosing? I see that the HathiTrust website allows downloading one page at a time as a PDF, but not the whole thing as a single file. Surely this thing is out-of-copyright, being from 1887.

    1. Although it will cost you (I’m not sure how much or little), you can have this document bound into a book via Hathi, or if you download each PDF as you read it, Adobe allows you to combine the PDFs into one manageable document. At least it is accessible from the good work from the people of CIC, Google, and Hathi.

  2. Note that the “sulphureted hydrogen” they refer to is hydrogen sulfide, and hence highly toxic (a knockdown killer!)

    I don’t recommend exposing yourself to it as a cure for rheumatism; acetyl salicylate will help much more.

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