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Item #: OP4917B-942
THE STORY OF MONT BLANC Albert Smith 1853 1st ed Hardcover Very Good
By Smith, Albert
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New York, 1853, 1st US edition. Putnam. 208 pages. [Neate S86.] Engraved frontispiece and title page, original green cloth with embossed oval picture of cluster of mountain climbers on both front and rear boards. Gilt lettering on spine. A very good copy with wear along the edges. Lacks the endpapers, some foxing on first and last pages. Very Good.
 
In 1851 Albert Smith ascended Mont Blanc, the 37th ascent of the peak, and the year after produced at the Egyptian Hall in London a descriptive entertainment, which he called ''Mont Blanc,'' describing the ascent of the mountain and the Englishman abroad. Smith's Mont Blanc show ran for 2000 performances over six years and helped to popularize mountain climbing in mid-Victorian Britain. The lectures made him rich.

He was one of the founding members of the British Alpine Club in 1857. Smith traveled to Hong Kong in 1858 and followed his Mont Blanc entertainment with a similar show about the overland route to China between 1858 to 1860.

It can be argued that Albert Smith's lectures created mountaineering as a popular activity, that the ''golden age'' of the Alps started with his climb, that most of the great British climbers of the second half of the 19th century were inspired by him, that this book was the first popular mountaineering book, and that as he created the interest in mountaineering, he also created it as a commercial activity (bad news for the later criticisms that mountaineering has become too commercial!).
 
 

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