Research Group

Project team

Patrick Vincent is professor of English and American literature at the University of Neuchâtel and the project coordinator of the Swiss Guestbook project.  His research interests focus on Romantic-period cultural relations between Great Britain and the Continent. He is currently finishing a monograph on British representations of Switzerland in the Romantic period, tentatively titled Republicanism, Romanticism and Switzerland.

His books on Switzerland include  La Suisse vue par les écrivains de langue anglaise (2009), Chillon: A Literary Guide (2010), a scholarly edition of Helen Maria Williams, A Tour of Switzerland (with Florence Widmer-Schnyder, 2011), and, most recently, an edited collection of essays entitled Romanticism, Rousseau, Switzerland: New Prospects (with Angela Esterhammer and Diane Piccitto, 2015).

Jérémie Magnin is a doctoral student under the supervision of Professor Patrick Vincent. His research focuses on hotel guest books in Switzerland in the nineteenth century and their use in relation to British travellers and the rise of tourism. Balanced between English studies and Historical studies, the thesis is co-supervised by Professor Kevin James.

Kevin James is professor of History and member of the Tourism History Working Group at the University of Guelph, Canada. His teaching and research focuses on Ireland and Britain during the long nineteenth century, and also encompasses trans-national themes such as travel, tourism, and the history of the modern hospitality sector. His current research, drawing on old hotel books, explores the social and cultural history of the inn and hotel in Victorian Ireland and Britain. It extends his previous research program, which examined ‘tourist development’ projects in nineteenth-century Ireland and the intersections of gendered, racial and class identities in Irish travel writing.  His  current work on Irish hotel and inns and his previous projects on Irish and British tourism and travel history have been funded through SSHRC grants. Kevin’s books include Tourism, Land and Landscape in Ireland: The Commodification of Culture (Routledge, 2014),Handloom Weavers in Ulster’s Linen Industry, 1815-1914 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), and he is the editor, with Eric G.E. Zuelow, of Tourism Histories in Ulster and Scotland: Connections and Comparisons, 1800-1939 (Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013).

Individual collaborations

Michael Heafford is a travel historian based in Cambridge. He has long been researching British travellers on the Continent, and especially in Switzerland, in the period 1814-1850. In order to move away from histories of travel based solely on written testimonies (travelogues, letters and diaries), he has created a database using visitors’ books, hotel guest books, and passport/visa registers. This is still being expanded. He published some of the resulting findings in an article entitled Between Grand Tour and Tourism, British travellers to Switzerland in the period of transition 1814-1860 (Journal of Transport History, 3rd Series, Vol. 27, No,1, March 2006). He has also assembled a collection of 19th century manuscript travel journals of which he has published two: Two Victorian Ladies on the Continent (2008) and Life in the South. The Naples Journal of Marianne Talbot 1829-32 (2012). The Swiss section of a journal of 1856 by Sir Henry Byam Martin appeared in the Zürcher         Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 2016 (Zurich, 2015).

Rafael Matos-Wasem, professor of geography at the HES-Valais, has published many books and articles, among them Territoire, capitaux et modernisation à Tenerife (îles Canaries), 1800-1914, Genève à pied : dix promenades à thèmes, Tourisme et vacances. Une machine qui change le monde et le regard (with Gabriel Bender, 2007), Política turística: La competitividad y sostenibilidad de los destinos (with Flora Diaz Perez and Christophe Clivaz, 2006), Le tourisme à Genève : Une géographie humaine (with Bertrand Levy and Sven Raffestin, 2002), and Population & Développement. Lexique multilingue de termes démographiques (with Claudine Sauvain-Dugerdil and Jean-Marie Le Goff, 2001).

Laurent Tissot is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Neuchâtel. He is a Founding member of the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism and member of its Committee (2002-), and also served in the committee of the National Council for Scientific Research,  the Foundation Board of the Swiss Hotel Archives (2008-), and the International Committee of Historical Sciences (2008-). Among his many publications related to travel in Switzerland and the Alps is Tissot, L. (2000). Naissance d’une industrie touristique: les anglais et la Suisse au XIXe siecle. Lausanne: Payot.

Institutional collaborations

The Swiss Hotel Archives is a foundation whose mission is to identify and conserve historic archives linked to the Swiss hotel and tourist industry. These artifacts and documents will be made available, with certain restrictions, to the public, and must serve the purposes of research, teaching, and training so that this rare cultural heritage can be protected and shared.

Past collaborators

Mattia Della Corte worked as a research collaborator on the Swiss Guestbook Project from January to June 2015. He created this blog as well as our databases on Swiss hotels and on extant guestbooks. He is the author of a MA thesis on Swiss traveller Jules Jacot-Guillarmod.

Dr. Katarzyna Michaelkiewicz worked on the project as part of a Swiss Scientific Exchange between 2010 and 2012. She notably researched and scanned guestbooks from the Zermatt and Lötschental area. Her thesis, entitled « The Alps and the Tatras: Mountain Representations in 19th and 20th Century Literature », was defended at Jagellonian University in 2014.

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