Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Published by The University of the State of New York, The State Education Department, The New York State Library, Albany 1968.


In late August 1822, at the height of a yellow fever epidemic in New York City, an alarmed resident of the lower city resettled his family in the Bedford section of Brooklyn Village. With two male companions, he then boarded the steamboat Chancellor Livingston on August 28 and sailed up the Hudson River to Newburgh. There they boarded a stage and travelled across New York State to Niagara Falls and the adjoining area. They returned along the "psychic highway" of western and central New York to Albany, thence down the Hudson to New York City by steamboat. In the course of the month-long trip, the gentleman who had fled the city maintained a journal. He titled it "Our Travels, Statistical, Geographical, Mineorological, Geological, Historical, Political and Quizzical." This anonymous manuscript was acquired by the New York State Library in 1958.

An abridged version of "Our Travels" appeared in the New York American, in serialized form, from August 23 through September 8, 1825; there were fourteen installments. It, too, is of anonymous authorship.

Editor Louis Tucker prepared the text of the journal for publication (in 1968) and established the account's authorship as belonging to Johnston Verplanck (1789-1829), scion of an eminent Dutch lineage and one of the founders of the American.

The work is a satirical travel narrative in the New York Knickerbocker style. It includes 10 watercolor illustrations.