A Lady's Tour of Europe, Narrated Through Letters Home (1862-1868)

Class Year


Document Type

Digital Project

Date of Creation

Summer 2016

Department 1



A Lady's Tour of Europe, Narrated Through Letters Home (1862-1868) is an online selection of epistles chosen from Letters From Abroad, a 900+ page volume that contains about 120 letters by Louisa Augusta Webb (Augusta), Louisa Melena Parminter Black (Mena), and Frances Ellen Julia Black (Julie). These half-sisters spent six years traveling through Europe with their father, Glass Black. Their itinerary included the cities of France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Belgium--all common stops from The Grand Tour, a right of passage for wealthy, English men that fizzled out with the start of the Victorian era and the rise of tourism. In part, this website looks at the sisters' experience as a feminized version of this masculine tradition. More significantly, it tracks the sisters through three major historical moments: the unification of Italy (Risorgimento), the Austro-Prussian War, and the Fourth Cholera Pandemic. Augusta's reflections on these events are particularly interesting because she is seventeen when the family begins traveling and about twenty-three when she return home. She sees these phenomena with the perspective that college-aged students would have had if they lived during the Victorian period. The letters available on A Lady's Tour of Europe, Narrated Through Letters Home (1862-1868) focus on the sisters' responses to these significant events with the intention of contextualizing a historical epoch for a modern audience.