- Paperback: 132 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books (November 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811822729
- ISBN-13: 978-0811822725
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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See the USA: The Art of the American Travel Brochure Paperback – November 1, 1999
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Have you ever seen a travel advertisement that truly made you want to pick up and go? Perhaps it was a shot of the Grand Canyon at sunset or the majestic, snow-capped Rocky Mountains. The selling of America through glossy travel brochures is a multimillion-dollar business, but its heyday was in the 1920s and '30s, when tourist boards hired graphic illustrators to dream up splashy Technicolor characters and copywriters came up with hokey slogans to sell their state. If you're intrigued by commercial design and have a healthy case of wanderlust, you'll enjoy See the USA: The Art of the American Travel Brochure, written by pop-culture specialist John Margolies and designed by Eric Baker. Pore over 200 examples of earnest and often unintentionally humorous travel literature that inspired countless Americans to hop aboard trains or into their Model Ts. A 1918 brochure touting Boston reads, "You don't know beans till you've 'Bean' to Boston!" A 1939 ad for Las Vegas features a straw-chewing cowboy in a four-gallon hat and checked shirt holding a "Howdy, Podner! Come on Out Just for Fun" sign. While advertising has come a long way (you'll no longer see tomahawk-wielding Indians selling the Adirondacks), certain elements somehow remain the same (those bikini-clad, smiling women imploring you to come on down to their eternal beach paradise). --Jill Fergus
Reviews from: Condé Nast Traveler
Contemporary travel brochures and posters look positively bland compared with those from the early part of the twentieth century. See the U.S.A.: The Art of the American Travel Brochure celebrates that era with a nostalgic collection of images and phrases which seem at turns ironic, fanciful, and charming (about New York: "You fell like a pigmy amid the mammoth towers"; Oklahoma City: "Illuminated oil derricks gleam like Christmas trees in the night"). The book recalls the dawn of American tourism, when ever the most mundane destinations had the chance to be the next Eden.
When flipping through this colorful book, lyrics such as "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam" and "She's a grand ol' flag" come rolling through my head. Perhaps it's due to the nationalistic colors of red, white and blue that dominate the book's cover. Inside, more than 200 vintage fill-color images travel well beyond the borders of our patriotic colors. Just like the titles suggest, See the USA takes us on a nostalgic journey through America via early modern travel and tourism brochures and pamphlets. The American roadtrip is practically a thing of the past as our world becomes smaller, global and airborne. Perusing these pages is to rediscover America, the idealized, fanciful and simpler era of American life. What seem to be the most mundane of destinations, become paradise, places like Decatur, "The Playground of Central Illinois" or Reno, Nevada, "Fun center of the West." Snippets of prose—often exaggerated, decidedly yankee or brutally honest—accompany many of these examples of commercial art. Who wouldn't want to visit Kentucky where the likeness of the Colonel bids you a warm welcome, a Kentucky traditions, or Rapid City, South Dakota, where "The climate is excellent and hog cholera is as yet a stranger." Bet you didn't know that Liberal, Kansas, used to tout itself as the "Pancake Hub of the Universe." All sorts of surprises from America's 50 states can be found in See the USA. It's divided into four sections: Parade of the State; Seaside America; Natural Attractions; and On Vacation. And for those readers who are hungry for more, the Bibliography and Source List will prove to be most helpful. After gazing at these visual treasures from America's past, you might find yourself hitting the road for your next vacation.
Top customer reviews
Authors Margolies and Baker write an interesting short history of these brochures and their choice of material is comprehensive. A bibliography is provided and a very detailed source list. If you have travelled around the country in the early part of the last century and like to look at printed Americana this book is certainly well worth having.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.