Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour

Printed in full color with illustrations on every page, Franklina C. Gray: the Grand Tour, is a feast for the eyes and a unique opportunity to understand a Victorian woman and the world in which she lived.

Franklina Gray The Grand Tour

In 1875 Franklina C. Gray embarked on a two-year Grand Tour of Europe and the Middle East. She kept a journal chronicling her adventures and wrote hundreds of letters to William Bartlett, her fiancé in Oakland, California.

Thanks to the generosity of her great-granddaughters, Camron-Stanford House is publishing a collection of her candid, never-before-published writings. She is not the stereotypical Victorian ideal. Franklina is an opinionated, imperfect woman of wit, spirit, and determination. In getting to know Franklina, readers will share some of her grand adventures as she climbs the Alps and sails the Nile.

Travelers will appreciate learning how much has changed while marveling that some problems, such as lost luggage, are much the same. Historians will find Franklina a detailed reporter of contemporaneous events whether it be a Sioux treaty or the deposition of an Ottoman Sultan. But it is Franklina’s mesmerizing descriptions of “a world so full of the glorious and the beautiful” that will enchant. From a moonlight dinner on an Egyptian temple to watching Johann Strauss conduct his orchestra in Vienna, the beauty and magic of the world are reflected through the eyes of Franklina Gray.

The book is also a love story. Franklina’s letters to William are full of emotion, worry, love, and longing. During their separation, the young couple faced financial ruin and family objections to their match. Hampered by the “little pieces of paper” that were their only communication, Franklina grappled with the demands of her family while William attempted to improve his position in the world and earn the respect of her family.

Camron-Stanford House is pleased to present this unique opportunity to eavesdrop on the personal musings of a young, intelligent, Victorian woman.

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Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour (Exhibit)

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Photographs of Camron-Stanford House by Reenie Raschke Photography