Reading Maps in 20th-Century Travel Brochures: A Primer
online, Washington, USA
For the past several decades, the Newberry Library has been collecting travel brochures advertising tourist attractions, points of interest, and other localities of potential interest to leisure travelers. Most of the library’s extensive holdings of these materials (numbering at least 100 000 items) are North American in origin and date from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries. In this presentation, Akerman will introduce us to this collection, by focusing on approximately 20 examples, offering a preliminary methodology for describing and drawing meaning from these ubiquitous yet widely disregarded sources at the intersection between mapping, cultural geography, and the history of travel and tourism. The presentation will consider three areas: (1) the physical relationship of the maps to the other elements of the brochure; (2) the authorship, design, and content of the maps; and (3) questions of meaning and interpretation. These are by no means an exhaustive list of what might be drawn from these objects but are offered as a starting point for conversation and further study.