The Acquisitions Table: Walking from Boston to Washington

Walking from Boston to Washington between February 22d and March 4th 1861. Boston, 1861.

This small handbill records the unusual political activism of the Providence, RI, book publisher Edward Payson Weston (1839-1929). During the 1860 presidential campaign, Weston made a wager against the odds of Lincoln winning. If Lincoln won, Weston agreed to walk from Boston to Washington in ten days and to be present at the inauguration. Lincoln did win and Weston was successful in his 470 mile walk. In fact, he gave up book publishing to become a promoter of pedestrian sports and is today considered the father of race walking. AAS holds several books of poetry published by Weston in the 1840s, as well as a pamphlet he issued after his walk to Washington, DC. This handbill, which also includes an advertisement for a sewing machine company, states that Weston would “leave this card with those who choose to preserve it as a memento of his trip.” Purchased from Aiglatson. Ahmanson Foundation Fund.

~ Lauren Hewes

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