TL;DR -- Dickens visited the U.S. twice. The first was in 1842. He liked Boston and Harvard. At a site that offers Dickens-related material, his view during the 1842 visit of some people of fame can be found. He noted the American ways, good and bad. His western jaunt only went to St. Louis. On a later visit after the Civil War, he mainly read his writings at eastern locales. The west was still too wild. Dickens's views will be more apropos than those of the aristocrats who visited, too.
We got to Charles Dickens (1812-1870) somewhat in a circuitous manner. We, briefly, looked at Cornelius Conway Felton as one of the Heads of Harvard in order to assess information about him. Neither Wikipedia nor WikiTree had much. Lots of these profiles seem to be ignored; so, we will table Felton until we look at a few other administrations.
On further search, Felton was mentioned in relation to a publication: The Harvard Book. The record on archive[.]org is only the Table of Contents. Dickens was included. On browsing the content list, it does look worth while for further reading.
So, that led to a search on Dickens and Harvard. One article was published by The Crimson (A Moist and Oystery Twinkle: Charles Dickens at Harvard). This visit was in 1842. The article mentioned that Dickens loved three things about Boston, "its literature, its oysters, and its Harvard men." And, the article mentions the people who entertained Dickens whose names we now know due to this research. Felton was mentioned.
When Dickens ventured outside of Boston, Felton went with him to some areas. Dickens went further west; that is something to look at. St. Louis was as far as he got in the 1840s. Travel was arduous. Wherever people had started to settle there and further west, but it takes time to develop facilities.
A wonderful site covers the authors two visits to the U.S. and his other ventures: The Charles Dickens Page. Technically, we really like the layout of the site which is loaded with information and will be using it as a resource for our work when Dickens applies.
|Dickens' travels, 1842|
The first trip was in 1842. Missouri was all of twenty years old. One thing about the above site is that Dickens wrote of his travels. The Dickens site has made these writings available. This is the page on Travels in America and Canada 1842. Sites up to St. Louis are on the list and covered. But, here is Dickens on St. Louis. As mentioned, that was his furthest point west.
On his return trip in the 1860s, post the Civil War, Dickens did not even venture out of the east. This is the article about his travels: Charles Dickens in America 1867-68. A table provides some detail about the itinerary with some notes. These are not as extensive as he did with the 1842 trip. He was older. Also, he was reading his works. He got to DC but the furthest west was Niagara Falls.
The following are links to related articles provide only for reference.
- Charles Dickens Begins Second American Tour
- How Charles Dickens Saw America
- A murder that scandalized Harvard and the world
- Dickens's American Notes
- Charles Dickens, America, & The Civil War
- Charles Dickens Had Serious Beef with America and Its Bad Manners
It's great to hear of Harvard and Dickens repairing the ties that bound the old and the new English cultures. After all, there were still some conflicts going on in the 1840s as Canada served as the means for friction. The boundaries of Oregon were not settled until 1846.
Too, in 1842, Dickens was meeting the upper crust Americans who really had no counterpart in England. In fact, that type of dynamic is still with us and motivates some of our work. Over the 400 years of the U.S., all sorts of social and cultural issues have been a hotbed of conflict some of which we still see as unresolved.
So, actually, it is great to run into Dickens and his two trips. There is a more real flavor to this than we saw with the visits by the French aristocracy (say Lafayette's Trail).
Remarks: Modified: 12/16/2021