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Book/Printed Material Mostly Mississippi,

About this Item


  • Mostly Mississippi,


  • Harold Speakman (1888-1928), a writer and visual artist, journeyed the Mississippi from its Minnesota headwaters to New Orleans by canoe and on a twenty-foot house boat in the company of his wife, Frances "Russell" Lindsay Speakman. The Speakmans made the 2,450-mile trip shortly after their marriage in July 5, 1925. The result was this work, Speakman's only full-scale American travel narrative, though he had earlier written accounts of travel in China, Palestine, and Ireland. Illustrated by Speakman's paintings and sketches and his wife's drawings, the book is an idyllic tour of the American heartland. It features lyrical descriptions of encounters with archetypical characters, landscapes, and experiences reflecting life along the river. The Speakmans met lumberjacks in northern Minnesota and Mormons at Nauvoo, as well as roustabouts, hoboes, farmers, drifters, Southern grandees, Native Americans, collegians thirsting for real life experiences, and convicts. They also encountered Padraic Colum, the Irish poet, then on tour; Laura Frazer, the inspiration for Mark Twain's Becky Thatcher; and a stereotypical "lady from Dubuque"-- a symbol of American provincialism for 1920s New Yorker readers. Historical anecdotes and local legends weave into the narrative, which also explores the deepening emotional bond between the newly married couple.


  • Speakman, Harold, 1888-
  • Speakman, Frances Lindsay, illus.

Created / Published

  • New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1927.


  • -  Mississippi River--Description and travel
  • -  Mississippi River Valley--Description and travel
  • -  Mississippi River Valley--History, Local
  • -  Speakman, Harold,--1888---Travel--Mississippi River
  • -  Speakman, Harold,--1888---Travel--Mississippi River Valley
  • -  Canoes and canoeing--Mississippi River


  • -  Maps on lining papers.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.


  • 7 p.l., 360 p. col. front., illus., plates, port. 22 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • F354 .S74

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 27024707

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the materials in the Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910 materials. The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, General Collections and Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Further copyright information is also available at American Memory and Copyright.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Speakman, Harold, and Frances Lindsay Speakman. Mostly Mississippi. New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1927. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Speakman, H. & Speakman, F. L. (1927) Mostly Mississippi. New York, Dodd, Mead and Company. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Speakman, Harold, and Frances Lindsay Speakman. Mostly Mississippi. New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1927. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.