The "Innocents Abroad" was apparently a loosely organized club composed of government clerks and devoted to annual boat excursions up the East Coast. All but three of the members named in the journal are listed in the Washington City Directory as clerks working either in the treasury, the post office, or the 6th auditing division.
Members wore a uniform consisting of black pants and a navy blue shirt. On the front of the shirt was a red star with white initials "I" and "A".
This collection consists of two logs of the Innocents Abroad Yacht Club. These logs are for the second and fourth annual cruises taken by the club, dated 1876 and 1878. The two logs contain a total of 79 pages, 11 photographs, and 1 banquet bill of fare. The journal for the second annual cruise is 68 pages in length, and is written in a bound volume. Enclosed are 11 photographs. The author left space in the text for sketches of various events on the cruise, but those sketches were apparently never drawn. The journal for the fourth annual cruise is contained on 11 loose sheets, and includes a bill of fare dated August 1878.
The activities of the first cruise are more completely detailed. As light winds and unfavorable tides slowed the progress of the ship, some members relieved their boredom with varieties of boisterous behavior. One member had obtained a cannon for the boat from a friend in the Navy Department, and the crew enjoyed firing blanks from it. While onshore in Philadelphia, another member decided to fire a pistol in the streets, attracting the attention of the police. But perhaps the most popular pastime involved the consumption of alcohol. Indeed, the drinking habits of a few of the members were the subject of some controversy. These members were reprimanded by their companions for their rowdy behavior, and they were also accused of drinking more than their fair share of the club's supply of liquor. The author suggests that the cruise is an exercise in debauchery. Soon after, these bacchanalian escapades moderated. By the end of the trip, the "Innocents" had settled down into a routine of fishing and eating.
The fourth annual cruise was a considerably more sedate affair, and the eleven loose sheets that describe it contain discussion of more fishing, eating, and moderate drinking.
Despite the fact that the "Innocents Abroad" was a club devoted to travel, its logs do not really offer a record of the people and places of late 19th century America. Rather, they serve as an illustration of how white-collar middle class clerks and bureaucrats spent their leisure time.