John Bigelow: An American Abroad Between 1850-1886

John Bigelow (November 25, 1817 - December 19, 1911), Union College class of 1835, lived a dynamic life during a period where there was rapid social and industrial change. During his long life, he was fortunate enough to have traveled extensively around the world for leisure and for business. This digital exhibit aims to delight audiences by showcasing various trips Bigelow and his family made between 1850 and 1886. Through his letters, family diaries, and other collection materials from the John Bigelow papers (SCA-0022), visitors can accompany Bigelow around Europe and the Caribbean to learn more about global travel during the nineteenth century.

John Bigelow was an American author, diplomat, lawyer, and distinguished man of letters who was involved in significant historical events such as discouraging France from building ships for the Confederacy during the Civil War and helping to expose the political corruption of Tammany Hall’s William “Boss” Tweed in New York City. A browsing of his collection reveals that his acquaintances, business associates, and friends represented an extensive list of the leaders of his time, with these leaders steering literary, political, and social movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

To learn more or to explore the John Bigelow collection, please email Special Collections and Archives or visit our website. You can also browse the John Bigelow collection on Schaffer Library's digital repository, ARCHES.

Curated in 2023 by Amanda Greenwood (Bigelow Project Archivist), Kate Grant (Cataloging and Digital Services Specialist), and Corinne Chatnik (Digital Collections and Preservation Librarian).