THE GREATER JOURNEY is the enthralling, inspiringâ€”and until now, untoldâ€”story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. This timeline reflects some of the relevant events discussed in McCullough's sweeping, fascinating masterpiece.
Created by simonschuster on Apr 7, 2011
Last updated: 05/25/11 at 09:26 AM
Tags: history paris america revolution 1800's 1900's the greater journey mccullough historians
Saint-Gaudensâ€™s Sherman monument is triumphantly unveiled on Fifth Avenue in New York City. (Image credit: Sherman monument, U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish NH (photograph by Kevin Daley)
This yearâ€™s Universal Exposition attracts a record 50 million visitors. Among the artists on display is a nineteen-year-old Spaniard, Pablo Picasso. American historian Henry Adams, a great-grandson of President John Adams, sees an enormous electric dynamo shown at the Exposition as the symbol of the spiritual force of the modern era.
The Grand Exposition of 1889 opens. Thomas Edison, with his hundreds of inventions, is a sensation, along with Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, featuring Annie Oakley. Also at the Exposition is the first internal combustion engine, developed by German engineer and inventor Gottlieb Daimler, which most people regard as a mere toy. John Singer Sargent receives one of the Expositionâ€™s gold medals and is inducted into the Legion of Honor at the age of thirty-three.
Designed by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower officially opens. Intended to celebrate both modern progress and the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution, it is called â€śa work of disconcerting uglinessâ€ť and utter â€ścoarsenessâ€ť by one of its many critics. Nevertheless, it is an instant popular sensation that becomes the main attraction of the 1889 Grand Exposition. (Image credit: Eiffel Tower and grounds, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
The Statue of Liberty is disassembled in the Paris neighborhood she towers over and is shipped to New York.
The unveiling of Saint-Gaudensâ€™s Farragut statue takes place in New York City. A critical triumph, it establishes him as a major artist fourteen years after his arrival in Paris. (Image credit: Farragut Monument, U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish NH)
Mary Cassatt, at thirty-four, makes her debut as an Impressionist at the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris. A few weeks later, John Singer Sargent, at twenty-three, exhibits his first major portrait at the Paris Salon. The work of both artists is warmly acclaimed.
Work on a colossal monument called Liberty Lighting the Worldâ€”more commonly known as the Statue of Libertyâ€”is well under way in Paris under the direction of the sculptor who designed it, FrĂ©dĂ©ric-Auguste Bartholdi.
The insurrection that becomes known as the Paris Commune begins with a violent confrontation in Montmartre between army troops and an angry armed crowd.
Paris surrenders to the Prussians.
The bombardment of Paris begins on the 109th day of the siege.
The Prussians begin the siege of Paris. American Minister to France Elihu Washburne oversees the safe departure of much of the cityâ€™s German population, and attends to the needs of the American colony, now down to about 150. (Image credits: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
Franceâ€™s defeat by the Prussians at Sedan is the most catastrophic defeat in French history, and the Second Empire instantly collapses. In short order, the Third Republic is born, the Empress EugĂ©nie escapes to England with the help of an American dentist, and the exiled Victor Hugo returns to Paris. (Image: Empress EugĂ©nie, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
France declares war on Prussia.
Aspiring sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the nineteen-year-old son of a French-born New York City shoemaker and Irish-born mother, arrives in Paris in the year of the Universal Exposition, the gilded apogee of Second Empire exuberance. (Photo: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish NH)
In the spring of 1855, with the approach of the 1855 Paris Exposition, the flood of travelers from America grows larger, and includes representatives of a new generation of American artists and thinkers, including twenty-one-year-old John Singer Sargent and twelve-year-old Henry James. (Photo: Henry James, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
Harriet Beecher Stowe arrives in Paris at age forty-one to escape the commotion over her novel Uncle Tomâ€™s Cabin. Upon her arrival in Paris, she said, â€śAt last I have come into a dreamland.â€ť
Louis Napoleon ascends to the throne as Emperor Napoleon III, marking the beginning of the Second Empire. Determined to make Paris more than ever the most beautiful city in the world, he undertakes a massive twenty-year redesign of the city under master organizer Georges-EugĂ¨ne Haussmann. The Second Empire was marked by extreme opulence. (Photo credit: Authorâ€™s Collection)
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to have become a doctor, arrives in Paris to further her medical studies
King Louis-Philippe is forced to abdicate after eighteen years on the throne by a popular uprising led by Prince Louis Napoleon, who is named president of the Second Republic.
P. T. Barnum and his tiny protĂ©gĂ©, Tom Thumb, arrive in Paris. The American painter of Plains Indians, George Catlin, along with a party of painted and feathered real-life â€śIoways,â€ť and the young virtuoso pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk of New Orleans follow them shortly afterward. They are the first wave of American curiosities or exotics in Paris, and the cause of great popular commotion. (Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
Morse opens a telegraph line, built with Congressional appropriation, between Washington and Baltimore.
Morse demonstrates the telegraph in Paris to great acclaim.
Samuel F.B. Morse successfully demonstrates his inventions, the telegraph and Morse code, for President Martin Van Buren and members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington. Morse got the idea for the telegraph from a semaphore signaling system he saw outside Paris.
Charles Sumner arrives in Paris and enrolls in the Sorbonne, where he is shocked to see African students being treated as equals in his classes, causing him to reconsider his views on race. Sumner would later become the most outspoken abolitionist in the U.S. Senate.
The Marquis de Lafayette, Americaâ€™s great ally during the Revolutionary War, dies in Paris at the age of 76. It is a particularly heavy loss for many Americans in Paris, for whom Lafayette has been both a welcoming host and a looming symbolic presence.
Samuel F. B. Morseâ€™s painting The Gallery of the Louvre goes on public view in a gallery in New York City and is eventually sold for $1,300. In 1982, it would be sold for $3.25 million, the highest sum ever paid until then for a work by an American artist. The painting depicts, among others, Morseâ€™s close friend James Fenimore Cooper, who visited Morse every day that he worked on the painting in the Louvre.
The July Revolution results in the loss of 3,000 lives, the overthrow of King Charles X, and the elevation to the throne of his cousin, the â€śCitizen King,â€ť Louis-Philippe. The new king speaks English fluently, having spent three years traveling across the United States, and working for a time as a waiter in a Boston oyster house.
Galignaniâ€™s New Paris Guide, 1830. Published by A. and W. Galignani, Paris, France When Americans came to Paris, this was the guide they used. It was the Rough Guide/Lonely Planet/Michelin Guide of its day.
An influx of Americans into Paris begins with James Fenimore Cooper. In the next few years, Cooper is joined by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emma Willard, Samuel F. B. Morse, Charles Sumner, and scores of other talented young Americans, all ambitious to excel in work that matters greatly to them. Photo credits: (Charles Sumner, Bibliotheque de la Sorbonne, Paris, France / Archives Charmet / The Bridgeman Art Library International) (Emma Willard, Emma Willard School Archives, Troy, NY)