Bird, Isabella. The Englishwoman in America, 1856.
In 1856, Isabella Bird published The Englishwoman in America, the first of what would be many books of her travels around the world. Adopting a tone of aloof bemusement, she describes in detail the hardships and annoyances of her travels by sea from England to Halifax, and on the road to Boston, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The book's 20 chapters are full of keenly observed and entertainingly told stories of pickpockets and luggage thieves, greasy hotels, and Americans who are very polite, but have the unfortunate habit of spitting on the floor. Bird admits to sharing the regrettably prejudiced view the English have of America, but nevertheless finds much to like and admire in this new country bustling with ethnically diverse immigrants full of energy and bravado. The Englishwoman in America is a wonderful travelogue that offers a lively and personal glimpse into mid-nineteenth-century America.