Hilary Pyle (loc. cit.) comments, 'Yeats did a pencil sketch of a crowd watching a side car speeding away along a rocky road, when visiting Dungloe in August 1898 (sketchbook 11), adding the caption 'To America'. It may have been the basis for the fuller composition. A sketch of The Emigrant, under the title Off to America, and signed by Yeats, was published in the Dublin Independent, 19 May 1899'.