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James H. Causten diary of a European tour


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

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James H. Causten, Jr. was born on July 1, 1818, the son of James H. and Elizabeth "Eliza" Meyer Causten. Raised in a prominent family in Baltimore, Causten attended St. Mary's College in Baltimore in 1830 and Georgetown College in 1835. In 1850, Causten married Anna Payne (1819-1852), adopted daughter of Dolley Madison, and they were the parents of Mary Carvallo Causten (1851-1919).

From May 1845 to March 1846, Causten traveled abroad with another physician, Dr. R.K. Stone (possibly the same R.K. Stone who eventually served as President Abraham Lincoln's physician during his residence in Washington, D.C.). Their trip took them to France and England, with the majority of their time being spent in Paris and its environs.

According to the Association for the Preservation of the Historic Congressional Cemetery, Causten "retired early from the practice of medicine to engage in translation of documents." Causten died in early October 1856, at the age of 38.

Causten's brief travel diary describes his journey to France and England where he visited museums, churches, and various other notable sites. During his time in Europe, Causten remained interested in his profession as a physician, and visited hospitals and observed operations being performed. The majority of the diary describes his accommodations; the journeys from one location to another; the architecture of the cities he visited; and art and scientific specimens.

The diary begins on May 18, 1845 and describes his voyage from New York on the packet ship Francois Ier. There are descriptions of the ship, the weather, fellow passengers, and games played on board. There is significant description of their arrival in France at the custom house in Le Havre, although the date of arrival is not certain. It appears that Causten wrote large quantities of the diary in one sitting, rather than writing about each day as it occurred.

Their travels in France included stops in Rouen; Paris, including St. Denis, Père Lachaise Cemetery, and La Madeleine, to name only a few; and Normandy. In October, Causten traveled to England where he visited many popular sites in London and its outskirts, such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, and Pall Mall.

Causten was in France in March 1846, and it appears that Causten planned to continue his travels in Italy, but his entries end with descriptions of Lyons and Avignon.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Aleth Tisseau des Escotais
Finding Aid Date
2014 April 23
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Handwritten diary, 86 pages, 1845 May 18 to 1846 March 24.
Box 1

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