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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 Sea-Gull Monument, in the Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City
Wild Flowers
A Glimpse of the Concrete Wall, Galveston
Atlantic to Pacific Automobile Party, Premier Tour, 1911, Stopping at Tahoe Tavern
A sheep ranch in Tehama County
The Hepplewhite Sideboard With Butler's Desk
Prune Orchards near Dundee, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Glen Affrick, near Inverness
Victoria, from House of Parliament
Or Bon Deschutes River Canyon
Manuelito, the Last Great Navaho Chief
The Rio Grande, with Mt. Blanca, of the Sangre de Cristo Range, in the Background
General Funston at the Gateway of Fort Brown, Brownsville
Coast Scene in Marin County
Electric Pumping Station, near Tucson, Arizona
Middle Fork of Kings River Canyon
Lansallos Church, Polperro
At Anchor Off Weyanoke
The State Capitol at Sacramento, domed in beaten gold
"Westward the Course of Empire takes its way"
Map of Alaska
"Christ on the Cross," in the Morada at Taos
Pier Lane, Whitby
Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley
The Crest of the Continental Divide at Corona
Front Cover
The harbor of San Francisco in November, 1849
Mount Sir Donald
Salmon Fishing
The Snowy Range
Tamarack and Echo Lakes
Peale's Portrait of George Washington
Tractor at Work on the Prairie
A Brick Oven in the Bake-Room
Tahoe Tavern from Lake Tahoe
Title Page
Man and Boy, Zuni
Crater Lake
Porterfield Cottage, Al Tahoe, on Lake Tahoe
"Often ... the Wandering Houseboat Comes Along to Find Only An Empty Pier"
Mining on Tundra, near Nome
An Old and Picturesque Well
"The Center of the Earth," Lost River
The State House, Tallahassee
Sugar Beet Field
Overhanging Rock, Yosemite Valley
Front Cover
Tallac, Lake Tahoe
A Seminole Hut and Indian Youths
Woman's Club House, Phoenix, Arizona
A View of the Inside Passage
Torrey Pines, near La Jolla
"Occasionally a Little Lake Appears"
The Mountain of the Sun, Zion Canyon
The Old Mexican Ovens at San Lorenzo
Old City Hall, Galveston
The Three Sisters, near Banff
We-wha, the remarkable Zuni character who visited President Cleveland
Ramona's home, Camulos
"Venerable Four-posters, Richly Carved and Dark"
Yellowstone Lake from Colonial Hotel, Yellowstone Park
A Trapper in Costume
"Classical, scholar-built Berkeley"
Alfalfa Farm, Near El Paso
Grand Valley Farms
The Guardian of the Desert
Fallen Leaf Lodge Among the Pines, on Fallen Leaf Lake
Zion Canyon
Launch towing boats out to the fishing grounds, Lake Tahoe
Luther Burbank and his work with the cactus
A Florida Alligator
Back Cover
Grass Lake, near Glen Alpine Springs
Indian Blanket Woven from Mountain Goat Wool
Field of Grain on the Government Experimental Farm at Fairbanks
A Typical Yukon Settlement
"Madonna and Child," in the Greek Church, Sitka
The Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton
Resurrection Bay
General Santa Anna, from an Old Etching
San Gabriel Mission, California
Church of San Felipe de Neri
A Phosphate Plant, near Lakeland
Crossing the Truckee River Near Deer Park Station
Our Ancestral Hunters' design
The Old Kittewan House
Map of British Columbia
Pier, Steamer Tahoe, and Lake Tahoe from Casino
Picturesque Palo Alto Lodge, at Lakeside Park, Lake Tahoe
Captain George Vancouver
Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Valley
A River Landing
View from Terrace, El Tovar, Grand Canyon
A View at Fort Myers


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


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