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Eighteenth-century coach travel was slow and demanding, but by the end of the nineteenth century, tourists could travel comfortably and quickly by rail or steamship. In particular, the steamship enabled Americans to travel to Europe in greater numbers after the Civil War. The proliferation of new guidebooks, often illustrated, reflects the increasing popularity and democratization of tourism during the nineteenth century. In addition to recording the activity of traveling itself, many nineteenth-century drawings and paintings depict the landscapes travelers passed through. Travelers on their way to Italy, for example, often stopped to record the majestic scenery of the Alps.
Topographical draftsmen had long accompanied European explorers on their voyages to North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Because learning to draw was an important element of a middle- and upper-class education in the nineteenth century, most tourists were also well equipped to sketch the places they explored and the people they encountered. Particularly in the era before photography, the sketchbook was an indispensable and easily portable means of preserving travel memories. Small sketches were often annotated with the date and location, and were later often mounted in albums to be shared with family and friends.