Health and Recreation in the North Woods

Booklet courtesy of Richard Blacher. Comments and pictures by Paul Jackson.

Health and Recreation in the North Woods
A Little Journey to Billy Beans Beanery

By Elbert Hubbard, 1913

This booklet measures 8" x 6" and has 15 numbered pages. I have been unable to locate any info on Billy Bean's Beanery. This booklet does mention s Rev. W. H. H. Murray or "Adirondack Murray" and this is known of him. His relationship will Billy Bean in not known by me. Murray did promote New York's north woods as health-giving and spirit-enhancing, claiming that the rustic nobility typical of Adirondack woodsmen came from their intimacy with wilderness and he also wrote a book published in 1869 called, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks that within five years led to the building of over 200 "Great Camps" in the Adirondacks.

William Henry Harrison Murray, (1840-1904) also known as Adirondack Murray, was a clergyman and author of an influential series of articles and books which popularized the Adirondacks; he became known as the father of the Outdoor Movement.
Born in Guilford, CT. he graduated from Yale in 1862 and served as a minister in Greenwich and Meriden CT. from 1869 through 1873. He also delivered Sunday evening lectures about the Adirondacks in a Boston music-hall that proved highly popular, and he published a series of articles based on the lectures in a Meriden newspaper. In 1869, they were published as a book, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks.
The literary tone of the book made it extremely successful; it went through eight printings in its first year. Murray promoted New York's north woods as health-giving and spirit-enhancing, claiming that the rustic nobility typical of Adirondack woodsmen came from their intimacy with wilderness. A subsequent printing, subtitled Tourist's Edition, included maps of the region and train schedules from various Eastern cities to the Adirondacks. Although the book was to become one of the most influential books in the conservation movement of the 19th century, paradoxically, within five years it led to the building of over 200 "Great Camps" in the Adirondacks; "Murray’s Fools" poured into the wilderness each weekend, packing specially scheduled railroad trains.

Above info From Wikipedia

Excerpts below taken from:
A Peopled Wilderness: A New Exhibition Explores Adirondack History

By Rachel Galvin

“Ladies, even invalids, can penetrate the wilderness for scores of miles without making any exertion which a healthy child of five years cannot safely and easily put forth,” wrote Rev. W.H.H. Murray in 1869.
Murray may have greatly exaggerated the accessibility of the Adirondack region, but he did speak to nineteenth- century’s America’s growing interest in wilderness as a place of respite from urban living. His promotion of the Adirondacks contributed to the region’s growing reputation as a health resort and artistic retreat. Its mountains, lakes, and forests in upstate New York eventually drew not only the city’s wealthiest?the Astors, Morgans, and Vanderbilts?but also ordinary middle-class families.

Literature and art first fueled people’s conceptions of the Adirondacks early in the century. The publication of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans in 1826 and Charles Fenno Hoffman’s Wild Scenes in the Forest and Prairie in 1839 popularized the Adirondacks with their tales of adventure. The novels’ characters, such as the Adirondack guide, became icons of the wilderness. Last of the Mohicans guide Natty Bumppo set the standard for Adirondack folk heroes.

Artists of the Hudson River School, such as Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand, idealized the landscape and contributed to the Adirondacks’ image as a retreat into the beauty of the wilderness. Some painters of this school were opposed to industrialization and sought to conserve the wilderness. “Landscape painters publicized vistas of the Adirondacks that very few people were privy to,” says Kenneth Myers, cultural historian and consulting curator at the Adirondack Museum. “They held up the region as an example of the beauty of natural landscape and as an expression of God’s approbation of humankind.”

The region inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson and other nineteenth-century New England Transcendentalists, who believed that divinity permeated nature and all humankind. “In the wilderness we turn to reason and faith,” Emerson wrote in his essay “Nature.” Emerson and some of his intellectual circle spent a month fishing and hunting at Follensby Pond in the central Adirondacks. The visit was memorialized in William James Stillman’s 1858 painting “The Philosophers’ Camp” and in Emerson’s poem “The Adirondacs.”

All day we swept the lake,
searched every cove,
North from Camp Maple, south
to Osprey Bay,
Watching when the loud dogs
should drive in deer,

. . . . Or, listening to the laughter of
the loon;
Or, in the evening twilight’s
latest red,
Beholding the procession of the
Or, later yet, beneath a lighted

In the boat’s bows, a silent night
Stealing with a paddle to the
feeding grounds
Of the red deer.

Several New England ministers endorsed finding spiritual renewal through nature, emphasizing the experience of being outdoors. The Rev. W.H.H. Murray, known as “Adirondack Murray,” published Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869, drawing public attention to the Adirondacks and initiating “Murray’s Rush,” a sudden influx of urban vacationers.

“Murray’s Rush” was aided by new railway access and by economic changes in American society. A growing middle class sought new forms of leisure and recreation. As society became wealthier, the number of individuals able to vacation increased.

The expanding middle class “used wilderness appreciation both as a marker of class identity and as a means of confirming received values and beliefs,” explains Myers.

The kind of vacation a person took indicated social class and identity. The very rich built large estates; the middle class stayed in hotels. The hotels themselves were divided by class: Middle- to upper-class lodgings forbade alcohol, adopted a high moral tone, and offered religious services; lower-class lodgings allowed alcohol and had fewer restrictions.

The old system of scattered boardinghouses was transformed into a complete tourist economy supported by magazines, guide books, and advertising. Commercial photographers produced stereo cards and yearly guidebooks. Photographs and artwork appeared in the print media, democratizing access to images of the Adirondacks. Anyone who bought a Harper’s Weekly could have a view of the Adirondacks. “America read the sublimity of the national landscape as a sign of national prestige and virtue, thereby confirming the sense that America itself was an important nation,” says Myers.

Excerpt from A Peopled Wilderness: A new exhibition explores Adirondack history
Humanities, July/August 1999, Volume 20/Number 4
By Rachel Galvin  a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas

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