There is many an armchair traveler amongst you. I admit to it. I rather travel by comfy chair than most any other way, and cold winter days are heaven sent for exploring the world.
Born in 1870, Mr. Burton Holmes was the greatest traveler of his time. A Chicago lad, Burton caught the travel bug at 13 joining his parents on a trip to Europe. The bug never left. He dropped out of school at 16 intent on making travel his life's work.
In 1883 he purchased his first camera, learning how to develop his own glass plates. In 1886 his grandmother included him on a mini grand tour through England, Scotland, France and Germany. Four years later he returned with his Kodak knowing he had discovered his life's work.
To finance his trips he gave travel lectures anywhere that would have him. He would show slides of his travels and along with stories and tales of the backstory behind each photo. It took a while, but he eventually became quiet successful in his venture, continuing until the early 1950's.
His travels led him to all corners. In many places, if he was not the first white man who wasn't a missionary, he was the first to show up with a camera. His timing was impeccable. He was everywhere, at the right time. Holmes's early photography, later news reels and film before the ravages of the Great War, again before WW2 showed the beginning and end of eras.
As a pup I began collecting the printed travelogues of Burton Holmes. First published in 1910 the photos are small and black and white. I'm still missing several volumes, but I enjoy the hunt.
Later he had many of the glass plates colored for his lectures. The prints are exquisite.
WW1 era France
If you are traveler, an armchair traveler, a historian, or just a fan of old photos check your local library, Alibris, EBAY or favorite second hand book store for a copy of a recent reprint, Burton Holmes Travelogues, edited by Genoa Caldwell, published by Taschen, which include many of the hand tinted plates.
You'll be glad you did.