Charles White Watson Travel Diaries

Manuscripts Collection 179

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Watson, Charles W. (Charles White), 1841-1917
Title: Charles White Watson Travel Diaries
Dates: 1841-1917
Extent: 10 volumes
Identification: Coll. 179

Biography of Charles White Watson, 1841-1917

Charles White Watson (1841-1917) may have spent his early years in Worcester, Massachusetts, and later entered the “importing business” in New York City. Hew was also a Civil Service Commissioner, and at the time of his death in 1917, he lived at 500 Madison Avenue. He was also a member of the Union League Club.

From what his diaries tell us, it seems that young Charles W. Watson may have been sent to Great Britain and Europe by his father – as recorded in his first diary, 1859 – to visit his aunt, meet his father’s business associates, and learn about life in other countries. Subsequent diaries record trips by Watson and his family, often visiting the same places covered in previous travels. The 10 diaries in this collection describe a total of 8 trips made by the Watson’s between 1859 and 1913. Their travels would usually last from 5 to 8 months, and they stayed at the better inns and hotels. They visited numerous galleries, castles, and other popular attractions from Scotland to Egypt. The volumes are filled with detailed descriptions of these places, as well as C. W. Watson’s impressions of the people he met and the things he saw. He comments on Queen Victoria, Mark Twain, John Jacob Astor, famous artists and their work, and compares life in London and Paris. He was evidently a well educated and wealthy man who felt quite comfortable evaluating dining amenities, hotels accommodations, and service.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Astor, John Jacob,–1822-1890
Twain, Mark,–1835-1910
Victoria,–Queen of Great Britain,–1819-1901


Europe–Description and travel
Great Britain–Description and travel
Mediterranean Region–Description and travel


Ocean travel
Voyages and travels

Document Types:

Travelers’ writings, American

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 179, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Diary 1859-1913
Box Folder
1 Diary; 1859 Apr-Nov
2 Diary; 1882 May-Sep
3 Diary; 1897 May-Aug
4 Diary; 1897 Aug-Sep
5 Diary; 1899 May-1900 Mar
6 Diary; 1901 Apr-Oct; 1905 Feb-Mar
7 Diary; 1905 Mar-Aug
8 Diary; 1905 Sep-Oct
9 Diary; 1909 Apr-Oct
10 Diary; 1913 May-Nov

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