Cornell-Harvard Cornell (1902–1905)
After an uneventful atlantic crossing, Hendrik Willem van Loon arrived in New York where he stayed a few days with friends of his aunt’s. Uncle Jan and Aunt Sally accompanied him to Cornell. The train ride to the university, in upstate Ithaca, was a disappointment. “Not that I had exactly expected to see real Injuns chase our train. But I was not prepared for quite so much drabness, for quite so much that was utterly commonplace, for so much natural beauty ruthlessly spoiled by carelessness and greed,” he wrote many years later. “[N]othing to indicate that this was that New World where all men were supposed to have been born free and to enjoy an equal chance at life and happiness. Indeed, it was all very different from what good James Bryce and his American Commonwealth (duly learned by heart) had led me to expect.”1
KeywordsTrain Ride Natural Beauty Cayuga Lake Ordinary Society Trip Home
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