Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Bonnie Miller

Second Advisor

Timothy Hacsi

Third Advisor

Vincent Cannato


My third-great-grandfather George Boardman Weston (1834-1908) hailed from a farm family in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Despite this fairly humble upbringing, Weston left home in 1855 and sailed across the Atlantic, eventually seeking adventure through his experiences in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and Crimea. This journey was memorialized in his travelogue, lectures, and newspaper articles, which have been preserved over the last 160 years. His writings and subsequent lectures helped to educate audiences of the places to which he visited, but they also reinforced attitudes that the audiences may have already had. This project will outline his family history, the journeys he undertook, his writing, and the attitudes he had that were passed on or reinforced. The first chapter will discuss the historiography of travel writing, the documents he left behind, and how Weston’s writing connects to the incredibly immense genre of travel writing. The second chapter will detail Weston’s family tree from just after the arrival of the Mayflower to the present day, including an attempt to determine how his travels were funded. The third chapter outlines the European leg of his journey, which includes the historical context of the countries he visited and how his writing was beginning to transform. The fourth chapter outlines his journey from Europe to Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and then the Crimea. There are comparisons between his travelogue and lectures and a discussion of Weston’s viewpoints toward Islam and slavery, which were two topics he focused on in his lectures. The fifth chapter will contextualize Weston’s writing in the genre by comparing his writing with that of Mark Twain, who traveled to the same places around the same time. In the fourth and fifth chapters, Weston’s writing will be tied to Orientalism, which he used to create dichotomies between the West versus East as he perceived life in the Ottoman Empire and Crimea and communicated them back to home audiences through his lectures.


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