Down the Amur/Peking/The Forbidden City – Burton Holmes (1920)


Down the Amur/Peking/The Forbidden City – Burton Holmes (1920)


Photographs of Siberia, Russian Manchuria, Peking and The Forbidden City by the man who invented the term “travelogue”.

Title: Down the Amur, Peking, The Forbidden City (Vol 9 of the Travelogues)

Author: Burton Holmes

Publisher: The Travelogue Bureau, Chicago, 1920.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Very good. Binding clean and tight, but sagging slightly. With 3 tissue-guarded colour plates and numerous black-and-white photographs. 343pp., app 10″x7″. Overseas shipping will cost extra.

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Vol 9 of Burton Holmes’ Travelogues, covering the Amur River that links Russian Siberia with Inner Manchuria, Peking, and The Forbidden City. With numerous photographs, about 2 on each page, and 3 colour plates.

About Burton Holmes (from Wikipedia):

Elias Burton Holmes (1870–1958) was an American traveler, photographer and filmmaker, who coined the term “travelogue”.

Travel stories, slide shows, and motion pictures were all in existence before Holmes began his career, as was the profession of travel lecturer; but Holmes was the first person to put all of these elements together into documentary travel lectures.

Holmes traveled extensively: North and South America, Europe, Russia, India, Ethiopia, Burma (now Myanmar). He lectured about such topics as the Panama Canal, the “Frivolities of Paris,” even the adventures of Richard Halliburton, one of his competitors in the travel lecture profession. He visited the first modern Olympics in 1896, rode the first trans-Siberian train, and shot what may be the first movies ever made of Japan, in 1899. In the course of his travels, he crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans more than 50 times. As Holmes became more well-known he brought along assistants, such as Andre de la Varre, to shoot film and stills while he made notes for his lectures, and he also employed a business manager. With the rise of Hollywood, Holmes began to make short travel films for Paramount and later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Holmes’s talks—which totaled over 8000 by the end of his life—drew their largest audiences in cosmopolitan cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. He catered especially to the armchair traveler with escapist fantasies, and for this reason he consciously focused his lectures on the most agreeable and scenic aspects of the places he lectured about. He avoided all discussion of politics, poverty, and other social ills.

Burton Holmes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2004, 200 reels of Holmes’s documentary footage, long thought lost, turned up in an abandoned storage unit. They are currently housed in the George Eastman House film museum.