From Wikipedia:

Verlag Karl Baedeker is a Germany-based publisher and pioneer in the business of worldwide travel guides. The guides, often referred as simply "Baedekers" (sometimes the term is used about similar works from other publishers), contain important introductions, descriptions of buildings, of museum collections, etc., written by the best specialists, and are frequently revised in order to be up to date. For the convenience of travellers, they are in a handy format and in small print.
Founded by Karl Baedeker in 1827, the company relocated in 1872 to Leipzig under his third son Fritz Baedeker, who took over control of the company following the death and disablement of his older brothers. With the widespread advent of mechanical transportation, it was Fritz who managed an explosive growth in the line of travel guides, also producing international guides. Prior to World War I, Baedeker's guides were famous enough that baedekering became an English language verb for the process of travelling a country for the purpose of writing a travel guide or travelogue about it.

From Pynchon's introduction to Slow Learner:

"If [...] you believe that nothing is original, and that all writers 'borrow' from 'sources,' there still remains the question of credit lines or acknowledgements. It wasn't till Under the Rose (1959) that I could bring myself, even indirectly, to credit guidebook eponym Karl Baedeker, whose guide to Egypt for 1899 was the major 'source' for the story.
"Loot the Baedeker I did, all the details of a time and place I had never been to, right down to the names of the diplomatic corps." [1]
"[...] The old Baedeker trick again." [2]

Excellent article on Baedeker guides...


  1. Pynchon, Thomas, Slow Learner, Jonathan Cape, 1985, p. 17
  2. Ibid., p. 21
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