My Favorite (Old) Travel Resources

Last month I pointed readers to a potentially great deal on a Logos Bible Software collection of works of early explorers.  That offer is still available and accepting bids, but I commented at the time that an even better collection could be created.  What are the best resources by 19th-century explorers of Palestine?  Below is what I suggest would be a dream collection.

Burckhardt, John Lewis. 1822 Travels in Syria and the Holy Land. London: John Murray.

Clermont-Ganneau, Charles. 1896 Archaeological Researches in Palestine During the Years 1873-1874. 2 vols. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Conder, Claude R. 1878 Tent Work in Palestine. 2 vols. London: Richard Bentley & Son.

Conder, Claude R. 1889 Palestine. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.

Dalman, Gustaf. 1935 Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels, trans. Paul

P. Levertoff. New York: Macmillan. [This work is more recent than the others but uniquely valuable and out of copyright, I believe.]

Lynch, W. F. 1849 Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.

MacGregor, John. 1870 The Rob Roy on the Jordan, Nile, Red Sea, & Gennesareth, Etc.: A Canoe Cruise in Palestine and Egypt, and the Waters of Damascus, 2nd ed. London: John Murray.

Porter, J. L. 1882 The Giant Cities of Bashan and Syria’s Holy Places. London: T. Nelson and Sons.

Robinson, Edward and Eli Smith. 1841 Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petrea: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838. 3 vols. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.  [This is probably the most important work in this list.]

Robinson, Edward and Eli Smith. 1871 Later Biblical Researches in Palestine, and in the Adjacent Regions: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1852, 2nd ed. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.

Rogers, Mary Eliza. 1867 Domestic Life in Palestine. Cincinnati: Poe & Hitchcock.  [Not as well known, but a fascinating read!  It has recently been reprinted.]

Smith, George Adam. 1909 The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. 26th ed. New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son. [This is a classic.]

Thomson, William M. 1880 The Land and the Book. Vol. 1: Southern Palestine and Jerusalem. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Thomson, William M. 1882 The Land and the Book. Vol. 2: Central Palestine and Phoenicia. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Thomson, William M. 1885 The Land and the Book. Vol. 3: Lebanon, Damascus, and Beyond Jordan. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Tristram, Henry Baker. 1868 The Natural History of the Bible: Being a Review of the Physical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology of the Holy Land, with a Description of Every Animal and 
Plant Mentioned in Holy Scripture, 2nd ed. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

1874 The Land of Moab. London: John Murray. [This is in the current Logos offering.]
Twain, Mark. 1869 The Innocents Abroad. Hartford: American Publishing.

Wilson, Charles, ed. 1881 Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt. 4 vols. London: J. S. Virtue & Co.

[This has been published in non-Logos format at LifeintheHolyLand.com.]

I have excluded works specifically on Jerusalem from this list, as those would make up their own collection.  Also the size and challenge of digitizing another would surely necessitate a separate collection:

Conder, Claude R. and H. H. Kitchener. 1882 The Survey of Western Palestine, 11 volumes. London:

The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. [For a list of volumes, see here.  A reprint edition now sells for about $4,000.  We have produced electronic editions of the maps and index.]

Two final comments: (1) All of the resources listed above were used extensively in the creation of the annotations in the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection.  (2) A Logos representative read my previous post and contacted me for this list.  I am hopeful that they will catch the vision and bring back these rare and valuable works for our and future generations.


3 thoughts on “My Favorite (Old) Travel Resources

  1. Todd,

    Thanks for putting this list together. I have one question and one comment.
    Question: Is there significance to the editions/years you give for these volumes?, or is that what you happen to have on hand?
    Comment: For those of us who can’t make financial contributions to Logos (or any other vendor, for that matter), I did a quick check of most of the titles on your list, and all of them, or nearly all of them, can be downloaded from http://www.archive.org or Google Books. I did not always see the same year/edition that you give, however—hence my question.


  2. A.D. – thanks for checking Google Books. The thought crossed my mind as I went to post this that I should check and add links, but I think that's a job for another week or another person.

    I don't think the years/editions are usually significant. G.A. Smith had 26 editions but I think any would work (with the exception of tracking down citations). Some years ago I was working on digitizing Edward Robinson's volumes and I saw that Google Books had some strange editions, with three volumes in two and the like. For reference purposes, I think it's much better to use his original 3-volume work (1841). As for his supplementary volume, I don't know the differences between the first and second edition. (BTW, the Robinson project died and will probably not be resurrected.)

    I find Logos editions to be significantly easier to use and thus worth some (reasonable) expense. Maybe some day when you are gainfully employed…

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