A Celebration of Women Writers

"Swiss Customs." by Miss Cecile Gohl.
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 316-317.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 316] 



Miss Cecile Gohl being a professional lecturer, business reasons forbid the printing of her address in full. The following is but the introduction, specially adapted to the World's Fair, and a synopsis of the subject matter.


Switzerland, your tiny sister republic, has long been reputed as one of the show-places of the world, attracting tourists of all countries to admire our professional beauties, the Alps. This year, however, the pendulum has been pleased to swing the other way, and, behold! Chicago has become the show-place of the globe–for just one season. All Europeans who can afford it are flocking Chicagoward, and all loyal Americans are supposed to stay at home doing the honors of this wonderful country to the foreigners.

Considering the poor business outlook for Switzerland under these circumstances, she could easily have spared a mountain or two to represent her as loan exhibits in Chicago. She might even have been coaxed to send the "Jungfrau," if America, with her superior engineering skill and powerful machinery, had assumed charge of the transfer and given a guarantee to return the exhibit in good condition. My country is very little, but it has standing exhibits so very large as to realize even Chicago's standard of greatness.

Old as the "Jungfrau" is, she enjoys the reputation of everlasting beauty; and besides, she would have made herself eminently useful as a refrigerator in the dog days in Jackson Park. You could not have set her up here, for fear of dwarfing the show; you would have had to place her in the lake.

Suppose Mount Washington or Pike's Peak had heard of, or caught a glimpse of, the "Jungfrau" on her journey, and had asked her to stay on this side of the ocean and become, at her option, "Mrs. Pike's Peak," or "Mrs. Mount Washington," there would be, for once, a prospect of a well-matched, solidly-based international marriage.


American travelers in relation to the Swiss custom of tips. Switzerland a crazy quilt. Diversity of races, languages and religions. The engine an enemy to old customs. Superstition, inherited and developed. The village quack and his working method. Quack cure vs. faith cure. Einsiedeln. Customs connected with birth, marriage, death. Easter customs and sports. Ascension Day and ascent of mountains. Swiss people like whipped cream and believe in whipping of children. Traveling schools. Maiden Sunday. Moving to the mountains in the merry month of May. Kuhreihen and Jodel. The magic power of a simple strain. Poetic nature and prosy business on the Alps. The great Canadian cheese eclipsing the record of [Page 317]  Swiss cheese. Wrestling match. The Swiss a singing, shooting, athletic people. Cultivation of patriotism. Little Helvetia and great Columbia.

[Page 316] 

Miss Cecile Gohl is a native of Switzerland. She was educated in Switzerland and spent ten years as a teacher in Sweden. She has traveled in Germany, England, Sweden, Canada and the United States. Her principal literary works are contributions to the Swedish and American press. Her profession is that of teacher, linguist, journalist and lecturer. In religious faith she is Unitarian. Her postoffice address is No. 457 Twenty-first Street, New York City.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteer
Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom