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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
Bell Tower, Santa Ynez
Interior of the Alamo
San Francisco Peaks at Sunset, from near Flagstaff, Arizona
Palmettoes
The Mission of San Antonio
Columbia Highway near Eagle Creek
Llewellyn Glacier
Columbia River Gorge from Chanticleer Inn
Looking North from Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
The Highlands of the Hudson
Rock Towers of the Rio Virgin, Grand Canyon
President Jackson
Bridge over the Salt River, Tempe, Arizona
Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Park
Through Pines and Redwoods
Portland and Mt. Hood
A New Mexico "Vocalist"
Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor
Title Page
The Meeting of the Old and the New
"The cataclysmal work of the Master Fates"
Sand Dunes on the North Coast
Emperor Falls
Fishing in Grass Lake, Near Glen Alpine Springs
San Gabriel Mission, California
Map of Yellowstone National Park
Lansallos Church, Polperro
"Pool of Enchantment" By Melvin Earl Cummings
The Marie House
Henry Hudson in New York Harbor
Difficult Climbing on Mount Lefroy
"Mush on, You Huskies"
The harbor of San Francisco in November, 1849
Salton Sea
A Glimpse of the Concrete Wall, Galveston
Hotel, John O'groats
Glenbrook on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe
Front Cover
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
At the Foot of the Fish Creek Grade, on the Apache Trail
The Mountain of the Sun, Zion Canyon
Al Tahoe Inn and Cottages, on Lake Tahoe
Harvest Time, Strathtay
The Sea-Gull Monument, in the Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City
Looking Up Salt River Canyon towards the Roosevelt Dam
Entrance to Chippoak Creek
Lorenzo Snow, Fifth President of the Mormon Church
Looking Toward the Casino, Tahoe Tavern, Lake Tahoe
Crossing the Truckee River Near Deer Park Station
The outer corridors of the Mission San Juan Capistrano
The Patio and Pergola, San Marcos Hotel, Chandler, Arizona
St. Wulfram's Church-grantham
Electric Pumping Station, near Tucson, Arizona
Along the Columbia Highway
Ouray, a famous chief of the Ute Indians
Preparing for a Dance, Zuni
An Acre of Herring
Stephen F. Austin, from an Old Etching
Luxemburg-general View
A Phosphate Plant, near Lakeland
Plas Mawr, Conway, Home of Royal Cambrian Academy
Wordsworth's Birthplace - Cockermouth
Washoe baskets made by Dat-so-la-le, 'Happy Homes' design
A Corner in the Dining-room
Front Cover
Sir Francis Drake
The Guardian of the Desert
A Carlsbad Home
The Front of Tahoe Tavern from a Table in the Dining-Room
Title Page
Sierra Madre from Redlands
Victoria, from House of Parliament
The Pecos River
"Big Foot" Wallace
Road to Warner's Hot Springs
Whales at Dock on Alberni Canal
Looking Toward the First Landing-place
"Vermont" and "Wawona," Mariposa Grove, California
A California Trout Stream
Back Cover
A Narrow Street in St. Augustine
The Great White Throne, Zion Canyon
Back Cover
Carvings of the Ages, Bryce Canyon
Map of Alaska
Dance at the Fiesta de San Esteban at Acoma
The Cliff Palace
The Voyage Ended, Gadabout in Winter Quarters
The Field Road and the Quarters
Two Monsters of the Deep Caught in Florida Waters
Pier Lane, Whitby
Jupiter Terrace, Yellowstone Park
Barges loaded with Salmon at Steveston
Camel Back Mountain
Mount Massive in Winter
Cottage overlooking Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe

Maps

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)

Topics

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