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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.

References:

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

Available Books

Images

Image Name
Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Columbia River Highway
Launch towing boats out to the fishing grounds, Lake Tahoe
Totem Carved to Represent White Man
Through Pines and Redwoods
Back Cover
A Pueblo Indian Funeral Procession at Isleta
Glen Alpine Falls
The Old Kittewan House
Truckee, Calif., Where Travelers Take Trains for Lake Tahoe
Portland and Mt. Hood
Paradise Bay, Lake George
"Going to Town"
Bridge over the Colorado River, Austin
Evening near Monterey
Front Cover
The marble tablet on one of Maggie's Peaks, bearing the inscription:
Sunset on Forked Lake, in the Adirondacks
"Wooding Up"
Automobile Road Around Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
The Ruins of Casa Grande in the Gila River Valley, Arizona, Prior to their Preservation by the U.S. Government
Mining on Tundra, near Nome
Cascade Lake, Near the Automobile Bouldvard, Lake Tahoe
Map of Yosemite National Park
Ingleside Club House, near Phoenix, Arizona
Berry Pomeroy Castle-wall of Inner Court
Brockway's Hot Springs Hotel, Lake Tahoe
Front Cover
The Indian Pink
Big Trees, Santa Cruz
Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Park
Entrance to Zion Canyon
A Sugar-Beet Field
Lake Christina
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier
"Christ on the Cross," in the Morada at Taos
A Glimpse of the Grand Canyon
"Westward the Course of Empire takes its way"
A Native Alaskan Indian
The Columbia River near Bonneville
Sunset, Grand Canyon
On the Trail of a Trout
Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe the Lake of the Sky
Tahoe Tavern from Lake Tahoe
Berkeley; the Ancestral Home of A Signer of the Declaration of Independence and of Two Presidents of the United States
Section of the Main Canal, Carlsbad Project
At the Foot of the Fish Creek Grade, on the Apache Trail
The Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City
Sugar Beet Field
The Great White Throne, Zion Canyon
The first Mission in California
A Youthful Fisherman, his Catch and his Weapon
The St. John's River
Panorama from South End Fallen Leaf Lake
The Bridge Across Back River
Bridge over the Arkansas at La Junta
Map Showing Author's Route in Oregon
Bingen on the Rhine
Cliffs of Green River, Utah
Copper at Cordova, Ready to be Shipped
Snowballing in June, July and August, near the Summit of
Coleman Lake, near Williams, Arizona
On the Pacific Highway
Refuge Hut and Headquarters for Snow Studies on Mt. Rose, 9000 Feet
The Crest of the Continental Divide at Corona
The Cliffs of Acoma, showing the Old Franciscan Mission
A Field of Milo Maize, on the Tucson Farms, Arizona
John Taylor, Third President of the Mormon Church
Crawford Notch, from Elephant's Head
The Deschutes River Canyon
Tolte Gorge, Colorado
Bret Harte
In the White River Valley
Salt Beds, Great Salt Lake
A Gold Prospector
Vineyard on the Automotive Highway between Placerville and Lake Tahoe
The Deschutes near North Junction
Hotel at Sicamous
Juan Ponce de Leon at the Fountain of Youth
Twin Falls in Yoho Valley
A Street Scene, St Petersburg
Nevada Falls, Yosemite Valley
The Grand Canyon of Arizona
A Cypress Swamp Along the Ocklawaha River
John Muir
Polperro, Cornwall-looking Toward the Sea
The Falls Above the Bridge, Glens Falls
Sheppard's Bridge from Beneath-columbia Highway
Denbigh Castle-the Entrance and Keep
Zuni Dick and his Brother making shell bead necklaces
Quaken Aspen Grove, Cloudcroft
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Entrance Towers
A field of California poppies
Ute Pass
Santa Cruz River Bridge, near Nogales, Arizona
Inner Court, Plas Mawr, Conway
A Portion of the Campus, University of Arizona, Tuscan

Maps

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

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