Contemporary to the famous Baedeker Guides for travel in Europe, in 1851 Wellington Williams assembled a guide to travel in the eastern United States. Almost at the same time, and also for American travel, came the Appletons' guides. It is likely that similar, updated information was available to immigrants in several later publications.
Williams, W. (Wellington), The traveller's and tourist's guide through the United States of America, Canada, etc. .. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & co., 1851). The document is available through University of Michigan Library at Ann Arbor, Michigan and online. I have found that this document was republished in 1855, and it came in a variety of focus. After 1855, the primary guides were published as the Appleton Guides. A "Travel Guides" page of the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum has an abundance of detail about North American Guides. Guide books has additional information about European guide books. If you want to find information relevant to research for your own family, try to find a publication date that precedes the historical travel by a year or two.
Williams cites the 1851 trip from New York to Chicago via Buffalo to be 1048 miles, take 59 hours, and cost $21.50. The Wellington book has no table of contents, so I list some important divisions:
Preface, page iii
Routes from Boston, beginning page 1
- Provides advice on the shortest distance and best time for various modes of transportation.
- Followed by detailed schedules of waypoints for each direction of travel.
Routes in Canada, beginning page 57
Routes from Detroit, page 68
Routes from Chicago, page 74
Great Southern Route from New York, beginning page 81
Routes from Philadelphia, beginning page 88
Routes from Pittsburgh, beginning page 103
Routes from Cincinnati, beginning page 104
Routes from St. Louis, beginning page 105
Routes from Indianapolis, beginning page 124
Routes from Baltimore, beginning page 141
Routes from Charleston, beginning page 153
Routes from New Orleans, beginning page 171
Routes to Oregon, etc. page 177
New York to California, page 181
The Tourist's Guide to Places of Fashionable and Healthful Resort, page 183
General Information, Weights and Measures, page 197
Currency exchange information, page 199
Town populations, page 203
Transatlantic steamships, page 206
Index of travel schedules, page 209
Index to Tourist's Guide, page 216
Advertisements, page 217
Found Online Examples of Appletons' GuidesAppletons' Railroad and Steamboat Companion: Being a travellers' guide through the United States of American, Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia with maps of the country though which the routes pass, in the northern, middle, and eastern states. 1848
Appletons' Illustrated Hand-Book of American Travel: a full and reliable guide by railway, steamboat, and stage, to the cities, towns, waterfalls, battle-fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, hunting and fishing grounds, watering places, summer resorts, and all scenes and objects of importance and interest in the United States and the British provinces. 1861, 253 pages. Possibly part 1 of 2 (the eastern, middle, and southern states).
Appletons' Illustrated Hand-Book of American Travel: Part II The southern and western states, and the territories. 1857, 292 pages.
Appletons' New and Complete Unites States Guide Book for Travellers: Embracing the northern, eastern, southern, and western states, Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc. 1850, 557 pages.
Appletons' New and Complete Unites States Guide Book for Travellers: Embracing the northern, eastern, southern, and western states, Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc. 1851, 543 pages.
Appletons' New and Complete Unites States Guide Book for Travellers: Embracing the northern, eastern, southern, and western states, Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc. 1853, 572 pages.
California of the South: its physical geography, cliimate, resources, routes of travel, and health-resorts, Being a complete guide to southern California. 1888, 439 pages.