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Vagabonds (Ford & Friends Camping) (1916)

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Published on Jun 9, 2009

Between 1916 and 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs -- the self-styled Vagabonds -- embarked on a series of camping excursions. For several weeks during the year, the group or parts of the group toured various sections of the eastern United States. These Vagabonds enjoyed retreating from the fast-paced world to explore nature and the pre-industrial countryside. They reveled in camping, hiking, sightseeing and just being in each others' company.
The Vagabonds also came well prepared. A caravan of vehicles loaded with camping provisions and gear -- tents and camping furniture, specially-designed cook stoves, electrical equipments, and on some trips a folding, round table with a "Lazy Susan" -- accompanied the group. A host of service and support staff -- cooks, personal attendants, drivers, mechanics and photographers and film crews -- attended the Vagabonds' needs. The elite company at times invited politicians, friends and later their wives to join their outings.
The Vagabonds discontinued these annual gatherings after 1924. The remaining participants -- Burroughs had passed away in 1921 -- had aged and important business matters intervened. The outings also had attracted reporters, cameramen and a growing number of interested local citizenry, which distracted from their leisure. For the Vagabonds, the novelty had worn off and the fun was gone.
(Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI)
Learn more about the collections of The Henry Ford:
http://www.thehenryford.org/
http://www.collections.thehenryford.org

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