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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
Birds Rising from a Florida Rookery
Title Page
Mt. Equinox and the Battenkill River, from near Arlington, Vt.
Map of Colorado
Peale's Portrait of George Washington
Berry Pomeroy Castle-wall of Inner Court
In the Drawing-room
Picturesque Palo Alto Lodge, at Lakeside Park, Lake Tahoe
Tallac, Lake Tahoe
Bird's-Eye View of Natural Bridge, Verde Valley, Arizona
"Bucky" O'Neil Monument, in the Plaza, Prescott, Arizona
Evening near Monterey
Tahoe Tavern, Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Placerville, El Dorado Co., California
Mangolia Drive, Riverside
Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
The Seven Mile Bridge
The Smuggler-Union, Liberty Bell and Tom-Boy Mills, near Telluride
Bear Canyon, in the Sandias
Mt. McKinley
David Crockett
A Wheat Field, near the Foot Hills
Emigration Canyon
The Ancient Garrison House
A Corner of Capistrano
Shasta City, 1855
The Great Glen, Sunset
Main Street, Dawson
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Snowballing in June, July and August, near the Summit of
Black Rock, Great Salt Lake
Herd of Buffalo at Banff
A Street in Acoma
General Santa Anna, from an Old Etching
Man and Boy, Zuni
Entrance Hall, Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone Park
Title Page
Front Cover
The Mountain Meadows, Bavarian Tyrol
Big Trees in Stanley Park, Vancouver
San Diego Mission
Back Cover
The Surrender of Burgoyne, after the Battle of Saratoga, October 17, 1777
A Home in Tucson, Arizona
A Visit to the "Lone Cypress"
St. Hilary's Church, Denbigh
"Classical, scholar-built Berkeley"
A Passing Shower, Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Lick Observatory, and its immense and unique lens
The Rio Grande
A Narrow Street in St. Augustine
A Cypress Swamp Along the Ocklawaha River
The first Mission in California
Kendal Parish Church
Portland and Mt. Hood, Oregon
"Way down upon the Suwanee River"
The Fergusson Metrograph on the summit of Mt. Rose, wrecked by snow...
Present-day Fleur De Hundred
Ruins of Castle Rheinfels
In the Forward Cabin
A Cocoanut Palm
The Cemetery Garden, Santa Barbara Mission, California
Bathing in Lake Tahoe, Near Tahoe Tavern
Touring in the Uncompahgre Forests
Leland Stanford Jr. University, Palo Alto
Sunset, Grand Canyon
The Indian Pink
The Three Treaty Rocks at West Entrance to Cochise's Stronghold, Arizona
Columbia Highway at Mitchell Point
Falling Creek
Map Showing Author's Route in Oregon
Cyrus E. Dallin, Sculptor
Automobiling along the Picturesque Truckee River, on the way to Lake Tahoe
Typical View on a Texas Ranch
The picturesque Truckee River, near Lake Tahoe
Rock Towers of the Rio Virgin, Grand Canyon
"The Cotter's Saturday Night"
Back Cover
Water Hyacinths
In the Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Map Showing Author's Route in California
Victoria, from House of Parliament
The Royal Gorge
Refuge Hut and Headquarters for Snow Studies on Mt. Rose, 9000 Feet
Miss Harrison in the Court Gown of Her Colonial Aunt, Evelyn Byrd
On the Slopes of Mt. St. Helena
Flowers of the Prickly Pear, One of the Desert Cacti of Arizona
Big Trees, Mariposa Grove
Giant Grapevine near Carpinteria
The Pueblo of Laguna
France and Germany
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Looking North from Grand View Point, Grand Canyon
The Great White Throne, Zion Canyon
Front Cover
Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Mormon Church


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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