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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > The Evolution of the Conservation Movement

[Detail] The Harvest Moon. Currier & Ives, between 1860 and 1870.

3) Journal Writing

Several interesting examples of journals and journal-like documents are included in the collection. Students can review these documents, then write and illustrate their own nature journals or travel journals.

For example, students might research The Harriman Alaska Expedition: Chronicles and Souvenirs May to August 1899. This was the private souvenir album created by members of a scientific expedition to the Alaskan coast in the summer of 1899. The expedition party included the family of railroad magnate Edward Harriman (who funded the trip) and scientific, literary, and artistic thinkers who contributed to the album.

Students might also read passages from travel journals such as Ramblings through the High Sierra, in which Joseph Le Conte describes a five week horseback and camping trip to the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierras in the summer of 1870.

The Falls of Niagara.

The Falls of Niagara Currier & Ives. [c1868]

Students might also discover The Table Rock Album [1850] which published entries from public albums provided at Table Rock, a site for tourists viewing Niagara Falls in the mid-nineteenth century. (Table Rock has since tumbled into the Falls). The album records impressions of ordinary men and women seeing the beauty and grandeur of wild American scenery. One entry says:

(page 95)

In the evening I again visited the Cataract to behold it by moonlight. Taking my seat on a projecting rock, at a little distance from the Falls I gazed till my senses were almost entirely absorbed in the contemplation of this most magnificent scene. Although the shades of night increased the sublimity of the prospect, and √ędeepened the murmur of the falling flood,√≠ the moon, in placid beauty, shed her soft influence upon the mind, and mitigated the terror of the scene. The thunders which bellowed from the abyss, and the brilliancy of the falling waters, which glistened like molten silver in the moonlight, seemed to exhibit in absolute perfection the rare union of the beautiful and sublime.

-- Thomas Day

Search on album and journal to find writings, logs, sketches, and reminiscences of travel and nature.