The Adirondacks: Illustrated

"CONTAINING: Description of notable features of the region; forestry and its forest, their condition and needs; hints concerning fish and fishing, supplies and general outfit for camp and trail; cost and manner of reaching the various resorts; hotels, with capacity; price of board, etc.; tables of elevation and distances; maps, etc., etc."
-Title Page, The Adirondacks Illustrated, 1893


Hamilton College Library

First published in 1874, The Adirondacks: Illustrated is the most popular and widely used of Stoddard's numerous guide books about the Adirondacks. The guide caters to people thinking about visiting the park or taking part in some form of Adirondack recreation. Replete with maps, directions, photos, activities to do, and places to see, the Guidebook provides a window into the sought after Adirondack experience. The guide truly finds its niche as part of the "illustrated romantic travel literature" genre that included works from the like of Adirondack Murray (Horrell, 127). The original version began with a narrative of one of Stoddard's own journeys into the park, followed by an extensive guide about the specifics of visiting the Adirondacks. Stoddard issued annual revisions of the guidebook to provide updated information on access routes, transportation fares, and boarding accomodations as well as pocket sized editions useful for travelling and "perfect for a souvenir" (Horrell, 105). According to the Adirondack Museum exhibit curator, William Crowley, Stoddard's guidebook was "by far the most widely consulted guidebook of the region" (Crowley, 10). Stoddard's book was hugely influential, both in luring tourists to the Park as well as putting the Adirondacks on the map (literally!). To some degree, Stoddard's guide was actually aimed at "armchair travelers," using descriptive prose passages and detailed illustrations to transport the audience to the scene without actually travelling (Horrell, 57). By 1888, Stoddard began including photographs in later editions of the Guidebook, providing a stronger visual lure to the Adirondacks.
the environmentalist perspective

In the 1891 version of Stoddard's guidebook, he added a 'greeting' that focused particularly on the protection of the Adirondack park from an environmentalist's point of view. This was around the time that Stoddard was preparing to give an important lecture to the New York State Legislature regarding his work in the Adirondacks as a whole, while using his photographs and knowledge to describe why this space should be protected. This 'greeting,' pictured below, focuses on the destruction of the watersheds in the Adirondacks, and suggests remedies for this situation.

The Adirondacks: Illustrated, VI-VII



To view the full text of Stoddard's 1891 guidebook, please click HERE.