Image of Frank G. Carpenter


Lifetime: 1855 - 1924 Passed: ≈ 99 years ago


Journalist, Traveler


United States

Frank G. Carpenter

Frank George Carpenter was a journalist, traveler, travel writer, photographer, and lecturer. Carpenter was a writer of geography textbooks and lecturer on geography, and wrote a series of books called Carpenter's World Travels. His writings helped popularize cultural anthropology and geography.

Carpenter was born in Mansfield, Ohio, son of George F. and Jennette L. Carpenter. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from University of Wooster in 1877. He began working as a journalist for the Cleveland Leader in 1879, and in 1882 he moved to Washington DC as the correspondent there. He married Joanna D. Condict of Mansfield in 1883. In 1884 he became a correspondent for the American Press Association. In 1887 he worked for the New York World. By this point his writings were being widely syndicated to other newspapers and magazines around the USA.

Carpenter collected enough assignments with newspaper syndicates and Cosmopolitan Magazine to pay for a trip around the world in 1888–1889. He was charged with sending a "letter" each week to twelve periodicals, describing life in the countries to which he traveled.

Following this trip's completion, he continued to travel extensively, logging 25,000 miles in South America in 1898, and later doing letter-writing tours of Central America, South America, and Europe. From the mid-1890s until he died, Carpenter traveled almost continuously around the world, authoring nearly 40 books and many magazine articles about his travels. His travels and writings were so extensive historians have trouble placing his exact whereabouts at any given time, though his books speak to where he went.

His writings include personal memoirs and what he called 'geographical readers' for use in geography classes. These would remain standard texts used in American schools for forty years. His writings helped popularize cultural anthropology and geography. He has been noted for his 1922 study of the regeneration of Europe after WWI, and the first granted interview with Chinese statesman Li Hung Chang.

He traveled with his wife, and while not traveling they stayed in Washington, D.C., or at their home near the Shenandoah Valley in the summers. He had two children. His real estate holdings in Washington made him a millionaire. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the National Press Club, and numerous scientific societies.

With his daughter Frances Carpenter, Carpenter photographed Alaska between 1910 and 1924. A collection of over 5,000 images were donated to the Library of Congress by Frances at her death in 1972. The collection at the Library of Congress totals approximately 16,800 photographs and about 7,000 negatives.

Carpenter died of sickness in 1924 while in Nanking, China, on his third round the world trip. The Boston Globe obituary observed he "always wrote fascinatingly, always in a language the common man and woman could understand, always of subjects even children are interested in. [He] had a genius for finding out things, and the things that interest everyone, and then for writing them interestingly."

Books by Frank G. Carpenter

Canada and Newfoundland Cover image

Canada and Newfoundland

Love Romance Sea Travelling Empire Geography

Another entry in Carpenter's series of World Travels focusing on Canada and Newfoundland.

The Alps, the Danube and the Near East Cover image

The Alps, the Danube and the Near East

Non-Fiction Travel
Social Science Ancient Travelling Civilization Anthropology Geography

It is an enlightening travelogue that explores the rich cultural heritage of Europe and the Middle East. Written by one of the most celebrated travel writers of his time, Frank G. Carpenter, the book provides a fascinating glimpse into the customs, c...

China Cover image


History Tradition Travelling Culture Life Geography Nation

It explores the country of China. It offers a comprehensive overview of China's culture, history, geography, and people, providing insights into the world's most populous nation. Written in an engaging and informative style, the book offers a vivid a...

The British Isles and the Baltic States Cover image

The British Isles and the Baltic States

Adventure Exploration Geography Historical Travelogue

Embark on a captivating expedition through the time-honored realms of "The British Isles and the Baltic States" by Frank G. Carpenter—a vivid travelogue that unveils the enchanting beauty, cultural treasures, and historical tapestry of these captivat...

Carpenter's Geographical Reader: Asia Cover image

Carpenter's Geographical Reader: Asia

Non-Fiction Travel
Beauty Trade Ancient Expedition Travelling Literature Wisdom Observation Mountains

In the captivating pages of "Carpenter's Geographical Reader: Asia," acclaimed author Frank G. Carpenter takes you on an enthralling expedition through the heart of the world's most diverse and enigmatic continent. Embark on a journey that transcends...

Japan and Korea Cover image

Japan and Korea

Non-Fiction Travel
History Exploration Culture Modernity Geography Japan Asian Antiquity Travelogue

"Embark on an immersive journey through the enigmatic heart of the East with 'Japan and Korea' by Frank G. Carpenter. Step into a world where tradition meets modernity, where the gentle embrace of cherry blossoms coexists with the buzz of bustling ci...