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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 Glimpse of the Concrete Wall, Galveston
Touring in the Uncompahgre Forests
General Funston at the Gateway of Fort Brown, Brownsville
The Hall, With Its Carved Mahogany Staircase
Morning in the High Sierras
A Flowing Artesian Well
Map of Colorado
"Mush on, You Huskies"
A View in Corpus Christi
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
Totems and Dug-out Canoes, Nootka Sound
Partial View of Fort Bliss, El Paso
A New Town in the Panhandle
Breckenridge, on the Blue River
The Author attempting to carry a typical Penitente Cross
Vineyard on the Automotive Highway between Placerville and Lake Tahoe
Coleman Lake, near Williams, Arizona
Over the Apache Trail in the Olden Days
Lake Tahoe and Cave Rock
The Massacre at Wyoming
Portland and Mt. Hood
Old Mill on City Creek, near Salt Lake City
The Front of Tahoe Tavern from a Table in the Dining-Room
"The Salt Lake Trail"
Outlet of Lake Tahoe, Truckee River
Map of New Mexico
The Road Across the Island
The Voyage Ended, Gadabout in Winter Quarters
Front Cover
The marble tablet on one of Maggie's Peaks, bearing the inscription:
San Mateo Mountain - also called Mt. Taylor
A Day's Catch of Walrus
A Dredge in the Everglades
Present-day Fleur De Hundred
Goethe's House-frankfort
Death of Colonel Ephraim Williams, in "The Bloody Morning Scout," September 8, 1755
Bingen on the Rhine
Overlooking Deschutes Canyon. Mt. Jefferson
The Sea-Gull Monument, in the Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City
On the Pike's Peak Automobile Highway
Seals on Pribilof Islands
Resurrection Bay
Mt. Rainier, Washington
An Acre of Herring
Wild Mustard, Miramar
The Great Divide
Totem Carved to Represent White Man
Map of Arizona
The Franconia Range, from North Woodstock
Old White House, First Residence of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City
Chris Nelson, With His Catch, a 23 lb. Tahoe Trout
"A Distant View of the Towers of Windsor"
On the Wolf Creek Pass Road
Title Page
Interior Church, San Miguel
Map of Utah
Junction of Thompson Rivers, near Kamloops
Canyon of the Yellowstone River
Castle Rock at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island
Mirabeau B. Lamar, from an Old Etching
Middle Fork of Kings River Canyon
River Portal, Gunnison Tunnel
Title Page
Lake Tahoe from Tahoe Tavern
A View in Winter Park
A Bird's-eye View of Seward
Atlantic to Pacific Automobile Party, Premier Tour, 1911, Stopping at Tahoe Tavern
Ruins of La Purisima
"Westward the Course of Empire takes its way"
A Typical Mining Scene, Yavapai County, Arizona
The Deschutes River Canyon
A Street Scene, Nome
Gadabout Looking For the Lost Isthmus
A California Trout Stream
Or Bon Deschutes River Canyon
General View of Salt Lake City
Some Noteworthy Pieces of Old Shirley Plate
Helen Hunt Jackson
The Portico of Brandon, from the Garden
Mt. Monadnock, from the Toy Town Golf Links
San Carlos Borromeo, Monterey
Coast Scene in Marin County
The Gate of Valpaiso Canyon, Monterey
A Gold of Ophir rose bush
Mountain Heather, in Desolation Valley, near Lake Tahoe
Great Falls from Below, Yellowstone Park
Raisin-drying racks in a vineyard near Fresno
Cascade Falls, Yosemite Park
The Willamette near Eugene, Oregon
The Water Tower, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio
Castle Rheinstein
At the Foot of the Fish Creek Grade, on the Apache Trail
Bathing in Lake Tahoe, Near Tahoe Tavern
Gilmore Lake, Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range, in winter, from summit of Mount Tallac
The Platte Canyon


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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