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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
A Bright Angel Trail Party - Grand Canyon
Back Cover
In the White River Valley
"Indian Hunter," Cooperstown
Old City Hall, Galveston
Back Cover
Mt. Rainier - Tacoma Reflected in Spanaway Lake
Rice Ready for Harvesting
Map of Yellowstone National Park
Riverward Front of Brandon
Poppies and Lupines
The Hall, With Its Carved Mahogany Staircase
On the Range
Trail to the Great Glacier
Durango Lambs
Mission Santa Clara in the old days
View from Terrace, El Tovar, Grand Canyon
Icebergs in Taku Inlet
On the Pacific Highway
Santa Cruz River Bridge, near Nogales, Arizona
The Baldwin Oaks
Miss Harrison in the Court Gown of Her Colonial Aunt, Evelyn Byrd
Relief Map of California
A Fox Farm
The Mohawk Valley, near Schenectady
Logging on Vancouver Island
A Forest Glade
Looking North from Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
Bridal Veil Meadow, Yosemite Valley
"Glaciated snows . . . imprisoned by some vendetta-spirited Mountain"
Porterfield Cottage, Al Tahoe, on Lake Tahoe
Bubbling Spring Branch of Sagie Canyon, on the Navaho Reservation, Arizona
Cherries grown at Kelowna
Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
Camp Agassiz Boys Setting out for a Trip, Lake Tahoe, Cal. Copyright 1910, by Harold A. Parker.
Kendal Parish Church
The State Capitol at Sacramento, domed in beaten gold
The marble tablet on one of Maggie's Peaks, bearing the inscription:
Wilford Woodruff, Fourth President of the Mormon Church
A Big Turtle Ready for Market
West Lake Park, Los Angeles
Old Peel Tower at Darnick, near Abbotsford
A Cypress Swamp Along the Ocklawaha River
State Agricultural College, Logan
Ruins of Capistrano Church by Moonlight
Front Cover
Map of Western Massachusetts and Western Connecticut
The Portico of Brandon, from the Garden
A Brick Oven in the Bake-Room
Back Cover
Indians in Their Potlatch Costumes
Middle Fork of Kings River Canyon
Cove in Chippoak Creek
Dance at the Fiesta de San Esteban at Acoma
A View of the Inside Passage
The Falls of Yosemite pour through a gap in the wall, plowed out by a glacier ages ago
Mt. Shasta, the wonder of the Sacramento Valley
Pasturing Sheep in the Salt River Valley, near Phoenix, Arizona
Tolte Gorge, Colorado
Front Cover
The Ottaquechee Valley
Grass Lake, near Glen Alpine Springs
At Palm Beach
Silos on the King Million-acre Ranch
On the Famous Ormond-Daytona Beach
Echo Lake and Eagle Cliff
Pyramid Peak and Lake of the Woods, near Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Looking North from Grand View Point, Grand Canyon
Sunset, Grand Canyon
Amboise from Across the Loire
Orange trees at Riverside
The Cemetery Garden, Santa Barbara Mission, California
Mangolia Drive, Riverside
A Corner in the Old Graveyard
A Street in St. Malo
The Marie House
Locating What Is Left of the Site of the First Settlement
Map of Yosemite National Park
"The cataclysmal work of the Master Fates"
A River Landing
John Taylor, Third President of the Mormon Church
Leland Stanford Jr. University, Palo Alto
A Trapper in Costume
Tarrant County Court House, Fort Worth
Hotel, John O'groats
Lake Okeechobee
The Willey House
The Midnight Sun
The Pueblo of Zuni from across the River
A field of California poppies
One of the New Tree-Lined Roads in the Salt River Valley
A Country Byway
Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe
At Anchor Off Weyanoke


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


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