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[Poyer's journal of travels on the European continent]

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: MS B126


Volume describing an individual man's travels on the European continent, including visits to the Baltic Sea coast, France, and North Italy. He describes architectural sights, social life, travel anecdotes, scenery, town life, commercial statistics and processes, the theatre and the baths that he visited, libraries, and his opinions about local women. The volume includes two itemized invoices, one in English and one in German, for shipping grain between Wismar and Liverpool. There are also two poems in German and a single French verse, partially crossed out, on the inside front board of the volume, as well as documentation of some personal expenses.


  • Creation: 1800 - 1814

Language of Materials

Predonimantly written in English; includes some German poetry and a commercial invoice, as well as a piece of French verse.

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


1 volume : Binding: cardboard boards; boards and spine covered with light brownish-purple paper patterned with close-set dark purplish lozenges. Cover title: Miscellan. ; Volume measures no taller than 20 cm.

Scope and Contents

In 1800-1801 the diary author was traveling along the Baltic Coast, visiting such places as Stettin [Szczecin], Anclam [Anklam], Wolgast, Greifswald (including Greifswald University), Stralsund, Rostock, Wismar, Dobberan [Bad Doberan], Demmin, Danzig, Königsberg, Memel, Mitau [Jelgava], Riga, and Liebau [Liepāja?]. While in Rostock he mentioned his departure from St. Petersburg.

In 1802 the author was in France and Italy, traveling from Liverpool to Dover, Montreuil, Abbeville, Amiens, Clermont, Chantilly, Paris, Fontainebleau, the Loire Valley, Tarentese Mountains, Lyon, Mt. Cenis, Turin, Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, Bologna, Pisa, and Leghorn. He briefly notes becoming a prisoner of war in Leghorn when war broke out once again between France and England, indicating he was on his "parole of honour" rather than being fully imprisoned.

He was apparently allowed to travel further while still held by the French and their allies, as he resumes writing about his movements around France and Italy in 1809 and 1810. He visited Florence, Poggio, Prato, Pistoia, Lucca, Viareggio, Pietra Santa, Massa, Lerici, Geona, Marengo, Turin, Chambery, Nimes, Montpellier, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, noting the difficulties he had in getting permission to travel to and a passport for Bordeaux.

In 1812 he describes the British Army taking Bordeaux and that he was finally freed from being a captive after about 11 years. He provides an account of British occupation and interviews with Lord Beresford and Admiral Penrose to obtain his passage home. He arrived back in England and his home of Liverpool in April 1814 after sailing on the HMS Venus.

Poyer, if that was the author's name, mentions a brother named Thomas, and he mingled with the well-to-do bourgeoisie. On his travels he inspected salt and malt mills and local manufactures. He describes the "distresses" of riding in a diligence and other public conveyances, dealing with con men, and flooding necessitating boarding a boat near Ferrara. He also notes a play produced in Straslund by a local author insulting Swedish army officers.

Physical Location

MS B126

Custodial History

A 20th-century note included in the volume states "I am under the impression that this is a personal family Dairy [sic] of the father of 2 of my former patients who's name was poyer and one of which was the God-Daughter of Sir Philip Sidney. They had a part share in a sugar Estate in Barbadas under Management." A John Poyer published a history of Barbados in 1808 (see The history of Barbados, from the first discovery of the island, in the year 1605, till the accession of Lord Seaforth, 1801 at call number D1701 at Spencer Research Library), but the author's preface indicates that he was in Barbados at the time of publication.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Henry Bristow, 1975.

Guide to the Poyer Journal of Travels on the European Continent Collection
[Poyer's journal of travels on the European continent]
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1975. Finding aid encoded by mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
[Poyer's journal of travels on the European continent], MS B126, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States