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Frontier] Howe, Frances.

14000 Miles: A Carriage and Two Women.


Howe, Frances S. 14000 Miles. A Carriage and Two Women. [Leominster, MA: Privately printed], 1906.
8vo.; partially unopened; frontispiece black-and-white photograph on coated paper; original tissue-guard; title page offset; t.e.g.; three-quarter grey paper-covered boards; 2 x 2-3/4" printed paper label affixed to upper cover; olive cloth spine, stamped in white; grey dust-jacket, stamped in black, spine sunned.
First edition of an amusing travelogue written by two female cousins, Frances Howe and Frances Allen. A presentation copy, inscribed in black ink on the front endpaper: To Mr. & Mrs. Ben Davenport Betts with all good wishes for their Life Journey from The Author May 1935. Howe also signed the second blank.
The book is organized into 16 chapters, each devoted to a region the cousins visited. The foreword, penned by both women, explains that much of the material in 14000 miles was originally published in The Boston Evening Transcript and "this volume is a response to 'You ought to make a book,' from many who have been interested in our rare experience." The book was privately printed and copies were made available for $1.50.
14000 Miles is the fascinating chronicle of cousins Frances Howe and Frances Allen, two unmarried women who caused a minor scandal when they took an unchaperoned trip in the summer of 1872. "The Two Fannies," as they came to be known in their hometown of Leominster, began a tradition of traveling every summer all over New England, making stops in Maine, New Hampshire, and upstate New York. The book begins with a description of the first day the ladies set out, much to the shock of their neighbors:
We were a jolly pair, we two, and ladies at that; and we had decided to go, amid the protestations of the towns-people and the remarks of Madam Grundy that it was not proper, and that there were so many tramps it was not prudent for two ladies to take a trip with their horse and carriage along the North Shore. Nevertheless, we take our lives in our hands, and 'do the trip' in a large comfortable, roomy buggy. (p. 1)
The ladies both kept journals on each trip, and also brought along a box which contained "a wrench, oil, strong cord, etc., for emergencies" (p. 2). They never embarked without a map either, since as Howe explains, "geography was not taught very practically in our school days, and we should be lost without one" (p. 2). After seven years of summer traveling, Howe and her cousin "were considered virtually members of the great 'Order of Tramps'" (p. 9). ("A Tale of Two 'Fannies,'" by Nancy Bell, Leominster Champ, July 21, 2006)
Neither Howe nor Allen look up in standard biographic references.

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