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About this Collection

William Lewis Sachtleben was an American long-distance cyclist who rode across Asia from Istanbul to Peking in 1891 to 1892 with Thomas Gaskell Allen Jr., his classmate from Washington University. Their journey had actually begun the day after they graduated from college, when they travelled to New York and on to Liverpool. In all they travelled 15,044 miles by bicycle, “the longest continuous land journey ever made around the world” as reported in their book Across Asia on a bicycle (1895). This collection consists of photographs taken in 1891 covering their winter stay in Athens and part of the journey that followed from Istanbul to Tashkent. The circular format photographs were taken with a Kodak box camera which was one of the first cameras available to amateur photographers (the Kodak, the No. 1, or the No. 2).


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