Yellowstone and the Great West: Journals, Letters, and Images from the 1871 Hayden Expedition

By Marlene Deahl Merrill | Go to book overview
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Prologue
Letters from Ferdinand Hayden to George Allen, 1870-1871

PHILADELPHIA, MAY 11TH, 1870

My Dear Professor Allen:

Your kind letter came to me today and I reply sooner than before. . . . I [have] left the way open for you to accompany my party. I hope I shall go out every year, should you desire to go out west another year. I have no doubt that the way would open clearly. I will always make room for you in such a way that it will suit you. As to your physical ability to endure such a trip, you are, and must be the best judge. It is quite possible you would go out and enjoy a tour of the kind very much and come back wonderfully delighted and wish to continue them. A Lutheran minister, Mr. Cyrus Thomas of Illinois, accompanied me last season, and he is now far more anxious to go this summer than ever before, although he leaves a wife and two small children behind.1

I did not mean to imply that you could not endure the hardships of such a campaign, for to me the hardships are not great. Whatever hardships there are, the younger members of my party gladly take upon themselves, as, standing guard at night etc. I was merely saying a few words to prepare your mind for rather rough times and rough people. Still, you might find in that part your greatest benefit, so far as health is concerned, [another] greatest pleasure. I am accustomed to look back upon your life at O[berlin] as a nice, regular, eminently proper one, while we roam over the limitless plains with a wild joyous freedom from restraint; that is, we cannot take our home-life with us. If I could see you for one hour, I could make myself better understood -- but perhaps you catch the idea. Rev. Thomas H. Robinson of Hanesbury, a classmate, is very anxious to go on the trip.2 I am afraid I shall be so late in getting into the field that I cannot stop at Oberlin on my way west. Should you conclude to go, I will inform you so that you can meet

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