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See America First

See America First Collection

History Archive - See America First Collection

In 1914 a Boston publishing firm called the Page Company began printing a series of travel books intended to capitalize on the growing domestic travel market in the United States after World War I. The published volumes represent one of the most comprehensive series of American national travel history between 1880 and 1940.

This period linked tourism to the simultaneous growth of national transportation systems, print media, a national market, and a middle class with money and time to spend on leisure. In fact, the marketing strategies used to promote tourism contained messages of patriotism and loyalty embedded in the tourist experience that helped forge the national identity.

Interest in travel had grown considerably with the invention of the automobile and the growth of nationalistic sentiments in the country during this period. The scope of the series intended to cover the whole continent of North America with a primary focus on the United States.

Over the course of the series publication between 1912 and 1931 there were twenty-one books released that spanned a wide geographic range. These included books covering New England, New York, California, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Colorado, Alaska, New Mexico, Virginia, Utah, Maine and Ohio as well as British Columbia and the Panama Canal.

The series was officially launched by George Wharton James with his publication "California, Romantic and Beautiful". This work helped lay out the foundation for future books. More than half the volumes in this series were written by Wharton James and Thomas Dowler Murphy who had slightly sometimes differing styles.

Generally each of these volumes began with a survey of the major attractions and natural landscapes along with a history of exploration and settlement in the region. Next there was a review of the natural and agricultural resources along with overviews of the flora, fauna and other aspects of culture such as arts, education, the economy and more.

Overall these books helped idealize American travel in the early 20th century and provide an excellent pictorial record of many areas that have long since changed with the times.


Marguerite Shaffer (2001). See America First: Tourism and National Identity, 1880-1940

Available Books


Image Name
The court at the Coronado Hotel, San Diego
Totems and Dug-out Canoes, Nootka Sound
Navaho Blanket and Belt Weavers, Arizona
Sea-Gulls on Hat Island, in Great Salt Lake
Whispering Pines', Al Tahoe, on Lake Tahoe
The Pillars known as "The Caique's Son and Daughter," on Taiyoallane, near Zuni
Morning Service at the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Tahoe Tavern
The Pueblo of Isleta
Morning in the High Sierras
Dutch Gap Canal
Totem Carved to Represent White Man
Mount Robson
Old White House, First Residence of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City
Salt Beds, Great Salt Lake
Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe
Church of San Felipe de Neri
Title Page
An Albuquerque Residential Street
Map of Alaska
Map of British Columbia
Wharf Sign at Jamestown Island
Section of the Main Canal, Carlsbad Project
Map of Western Massachusetts and Western Connecticut
A Washoe indian Campoodie, Near Lakeside Park, Lake Tahoe
"Two Sisters" guarding Vancouver Harbour
San Xavier del Bac Mission, near Tucson, Arizona
The Royal Gorge
Elephant Butte Dam
A Street Scene, Tallahassee
Title Page
A Carlsbad Home
We-wha, the remarkable Zuni character who visited President Cleveland
A Lake on a Forest Reserve in Arizona
Washoe indians at Lake Tahoe
Locating What Is Left of the Site of the First Settlement
Back Cover
Steamer Landing, McKinney's, Lake Tahoe
David Crockett
Front Cover
Wizard Island from Garfield Peak
Trestle of Logs on Kettle Valley Route
Ambrose Bierce
Brigham Young, Second President of the Mormon Church
Shasta City, 1855
Monument Park, in Southeastern Utah
A Cocoanut Palm
"Pigs, Peas and Alfalfa"
"Venerable Four-posters, Richly Carved and Dark"
Monument over Sam Houston's Grave, Huntsville
The "Lone Cypress"
The Governor of Laguna
Group of Mexican Insurrectos, opposite Brownsville
Gadabout Looking For the Lost Isthmus
The Bridal Veil, one of the Yosemite's sky-pouring waterfalls
Dust Jacket
The Green Mountain Range
The Sea-Gull Monument, in the Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City
Through Pines and Redwoods
Beginnings of Vancouver Island Town
A Little Group of Future Citizens
Palo Verde - Mesquite - Desert Flora
"Big Billy," the "Record" Mountain Goat
The water front, Seattle
A View of Jacksonville from the St. John's River
The Dividing Line Between Mexico and the United States at Nogales
Title Page
Cape Florida Light House, Miami
Emigration Canyon
Mt. Rainier, Washington
Market St., San Francisco
Automobiling along the Truckee River
Pasturing Sheep in the Salt River Valley, near Phoenix, Arizona
A Forest Ranger's Corral in a Utah National Forest
East Side High School, Salt Lake City
The Three Sisters, Deschutes Canyon
The Foothill Boulevard near Monrovia
General Funston at the Gateway of Fort Brown, Brownsville
Stand of Engelmann Spruce, Uinta National Forest
Murphey Cottage, Al Tahoe, on Lake Tahoe
The City Hall, Tampa
Lake Mary, near Flagstaff, Arizona
Mangolia Drive, Riverside
"Going to Town"
England and Wales
Great Falls from Below, Yellowstone Park
The Ottaquechee Valley
The State Capitol at Sacramento, domed in beaten gold
House of William Cullen Bryant (1759), Great Barrington
Trophies from Fish Lake
"Grizzly Giant," Mariposa Grove, California
Portland and Mt. Hood, Oregon
The Interior of Mission San Xavier del Bac, near Tuscan, Arizona
Back Cover


Map Name
A Wonderland of the East - Map of Western Massachusetts and Connecticut (1920)
A Wonderland of the East - Map of Vermont and New Hampshire (1920)
A Wonderland of the East - Map of Eastern New York (1920)


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