Guest books, it seems, are trendier than ever! Kevin James is quoted in a New York Times article on the reinvention of the guest book in modern hotels, including one that is haunted….
Jérémie Magnin’s hunt for guest books has yielded a large number of new finds, but he has also taken advantage of the summer months to photograph manuscripts. In July, Jérémie went to Zermatt to see the 1865 Monte Rosa book, still owned by the Seiler family. He and Patrick Vincent also spent a day looking at books from the Simplon and Great St.Bernard Hospices in the archives of the Congregation of St-Bernard in Martigny, and two days at the Musée Alpin and the Association des Amis du Vieux Chamonix.
On a side trip to Montanvers, they saw what was left of the Temple de la Nature, built in 1795 to replace Blair’s Hut, and where many famous tourists, including Shelley, signed their name in the guest book. Two hotels were built beside it, the first in 1840, the second in 1890. The latter is still a hotel and has been beautifully restored. Even more impressive was seeing what was left of the Mer de glace. A different kind of inscription marks the glacier’s level in 1990, only thirty years ago.