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Overview

Only a few Americans at the turn of the century ever received the engraved invitation to join these Gilded Age elites at their “great camps” nestled deep in New York’s Adirondack forest.  For those favored guests of Uncas, Camp Pine Knot, and Sagamore, the trip by train, steamboat and carriage brought them out from soot-choked skies clouding industrial America to the pristine and unspoiled wilderness.  But what did they see when they arrived?

Join your “Forever Wild” colleagues for a week at the Great Camps of the Adirondacks to explore Gilded Age America from the unique perspective of the wilderness. These camps, now all National Historic Landmark sites, preserve the original buildings and serve as “history labs” for us to puzzle through the ironies and historic themes related to the Gilded Age's American “wilderness.” Morgan’s guests no doubt imagined the wilderness as a retreat to a virgin forest with restful and curative powers. But did they also see the Adirondack region's industrialization?  Did any of Vanderbilt’s companions, who embraced the raw and untamed wilderness as a test of manhood, nod with a note of irony at the two-lane private outdoor bowling alley erected on the banks of the Sagamore Lake? In what ways was their fantasy of “roughing it” in the wild undermined by the army of cooks, laundresses, maids, and caretakers who worked behind the scenes? Forever Wild explores the meaning of “wilderness” by anchoring the Adirondacks into its historical context to reveal the political, economic, social, and cultural history of this real and imagined landscape.

When will Forever Wild take place?

There are two, one-week opportunities to participate in this unique opportunity. You can choose from July 7th through the 13th or July 14th through the 20th. Because of the remote nature of the camp, you will not be able to join late in the week or leave early. Please indicate your week's preference on your application form.