The Wheatons travel to Europe
In hopes of restoring Laban Morey Wheaton’s failing health, the Wheatons spent five months of 1862 on a “Grand Tour” of Europe. They traveled with David Emory Holman, of Attleboro, a cousin of Laban Morey Wheaton, and visited England, Wales, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Combining tourism with business, the men registered a patent for a machine to shape the crowns of straw hats while in London.
During their journey Mrs. Wheaton kept a journal, as well as collecting plants from the places they visited and pressing them in a two-volume herbaria.
Wheaton Assoc. Prof. of History Kathryn Tomasek has noted that this journey is a focus for studying the
economic ties and political divisions between North and South during the antebellum period; social, familial, and religious networks of white middle-class and elite women and men; the place of household economic arrangements in capitalist economies; and the changing contours of travel and tourism at a point when technological innovations facilitated rapid transport of people and goods.
Learn more at the Digital History Project.