Fred A. Birchmore collection

Fred A. Birchmore collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911-
Title: Fred A. Birchmore collection
Dates: 1930s-1990s
Quantity: 2.9 Linear feet (1 document box, 1 half box, 1 oversized box, 1 frame, 1 oversized folder B)
Coll. Number: ms2960

Biographical/Historical Note

Fred A. Birchmore was born in November 1911. He is best known for taking the first trip around the world on a bicycle. He later wrote about his journey in a memoir, Around the World on a Bicycle. His global trip was in 1934 and 1935 when he was 23-24.

However, before Birchmore began cycling the world, he first travelled across Europe. He had just earned a law degree from the University of Georgia and was intending to go to the University of Cologne to study international law when he decided to buy a bicycle and tour the continent. The bicycle was a one-speed, 42-pound Reinhardt which he named Bucephalus, after Alexander the Great’s horse. It can be seen currently in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Before school started at the University of Cologne, he toured northern Europe with a German friend. Soon after, he traveled through Italy, France and Britain by himself.

After several months of study at the University of Cologne in Germany, Birchmore resumed his trip. He went through the Alps, to Egypt, and across Central Asia. Following this, he went the 1,300 miles of the Grand Trunk Road to Mandalay, below the Burma Road to the Malay Peninsula, through Thailand and French Indo-China. He took ships to the Philippines and resumed his ride in California, then going across the country to Athens, Georgia. The entire global trip was approximately 25,000 miles.

In 1939, Birchmore and his friend, Willie Broach, cycled to the New York World's Fair in a week's time, then rode across Canada to the Treasure Island (CA) World's Fair. Afterwards, the pair went down to Mexico and then back across to Athens, Georgia. They rode 12,000 miles in four mouths, averaging about 100 miles per day.

Later in 1939, Birchmore married Wiladean Stuckey, and the couple honeymooned on a two-seated tandem bike through Latin America. They totalled somewhere between 4,500 and 6,000 miles.

After America's involvement in World War II, Birchmore served as a gunner the United States Navy. On his return to civilian life, he ran a real estate agency and had four children with Wiladean.

When he retired in 1973, he decided to take another European tour on his bicycle, this time with his youngest son, Danny. They cycled about 4,000 miles. In 1975, the pair hiked 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Since his retirement, Birchmore has remained in Athens, Georgia, and continues to be focused on physical health, travel, and adventure. In 1996, he ran the Olympic torch through North Campus to the University of Georgia Arches.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence from the 1930s to the 1990s, clippings about Birchmore, photos of Birchmore, and a bound volume of magazines which contain cartoon versions of Birchmore's trip around the world on a bike. The oversized folder includes signs from Birchmore's experience as an Olympic torch bearer and a proclamation from Governor Zill Miller about the Kiwanis Club's 75th anniversary.


Arranged by record type.

Index Terms

Bicycle touring--Caricatures and cartoons.
Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911-
Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911- -- Caricatures and cartoons
Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911- -- Correspondence
Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911- -- Photographs
Magazines (periodicals)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Fred A. Birchmore collection, MS 2960. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related collections in this repository: Fred A. Birchmore papers, MS 713.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

2Certificates, News Releases, Writings, Travel Items
3 The Open Road for Boys
5Printed Material
6 Around the World on a Bicycle- manuscript, chapters 1-36 (on CD-Rom) and published copy
OS BoxItem
21Oversized Photos of Birchmore and family
1Large Framed Picture
OS BoxItem
OS Box
4Scrapbook of letters and printed items; photocopies of Atlanta Journal article by Birchmore
OS Box
5Scrapbook of clippings
OS Folder
1BKiwanis Club Proclamation, Olympic torch bearer signs, comic panels