An Adventure in 1914

An American Family's Journey on the Brink of WWI

Christopher Kelly
An Adventure in 1914 is a memoir written by my great grandfather Thomas Tileston Wells of New York City.  Wells, a lawyer, wrote this document after a harrowing journey he took in the summer of 1914 with his wife and two children.  He had planned on pleasurable hikes in the Swiss and Austrian Tyrol.  Instead he was a witness to history's greatest train wreck - the outbreak of World War I.  Wells wrote poignantly about the mobilization of European armies and its effect on the soldier's families.  He wrote about the impossibility of using a return ticket on French railway lines when all trains were being used to transport soldiers.  Wells was even arrested and threatened by Austrian authorities with immediate execution on the grounds of being a Russian spy!  Wells escaped but his manuscript was never published...until now.
In order to properly edit and provide context for Wells' memoir I needed to experience some of what he experienced.  In the summer of 2015 I retraced the journey taken by Wells and his family over a century ago.  I stayed at hotels where he had stayed, traveled by rail and boat taking photography along the way.  As a historian (America Invades and Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World) I am fascinated by a time period when the world fundamentally changed.  Wells was a witness to these tumultuous changes in the summer of 1914 and I am delighted to share his Adventure with the world.