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Around the World with the Library of Congress Poster Collection: An Overview of Travel Posters

Prints and Photographs Division


Introduction

For travel anywhere, everywhere - book through Burnes, Philip & Co. Ltd.
LC-USZC4-13607
Travel - air, land, sea. Book through Burnes, Philip & Co. Ltd.
LC-USZC4-13491

A successful poster grabs your attention and gets its message across quickly. Great travel posters attract the eye in a variety of ways: by highlighting points of interest, depicting the conveyance used to reach a location, or by featuring activities available at the destination.

The thousands of travel posters in the Prints and Photographs Division support the study of tourism and transportation as well as advertising and graphic design techniques. Viewing the posters also offers the pleasure of vicarious trips around the world. Most of the posters date from the golden age of the travel poster, which began in the 1920’s and was over by the 1960’s when photographic imagery began to be used more than graphically designed images. Railroad companies, airlines, and government tourist agencies commissioned the production of many of the posters, which came to the Library of Congress by a variety of means, including gift, purchase, and transfer from other institutions. 

This reference aid highlights some gems and explains how to find more travel posters. Links to larger versions of the posters are provided whenever possible, but because of rights considerations, some of the posters can only be shown in "thumbnail" size outside Library of Congress buildings. Larger digital images of the posters can be viewed inside Library of Congress buildings, and researchers who visit the Prints and Photographs Reading Room can request to see originals. For information on viewing originals and obtaining copies, see our Information for Researchers page.

Samples from the Collections

Travel by Land

London by L.N.E.R. Poster by Fred Taylor, published between 1920 and 1930
London by L.N.E.R. Poster by Fred Taylor, published between 1920 and 1930. LC-USZC4-12906


Netherlands Indian State Railways Java Night-Limited. Poster published between 1930 and 1940?
Netherlands Indian State Railways Java Night-Limited. Poster published between 1930 and 1940?
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24307

 

London & North Eastern Railway of England and Scotland... Poster by H.G. Gawthorn, published ca 1920
London & North Eastern Railway of England and Scotland... Poster by H.G. Gawthorn, published ca 1920.
LC-USZC4-10488

Traveling the London Underground

Much has been written about the posters created for the London Underground--landmarks in more ways than one. The Prints and Photographs Division has an impressive number of these posters.

Your next move and your best is on to Underground... Poster by Fred Taylor, published 1914.
Your next move and your best is on to Underground... Poster by Fred Taylor, published 1914.
LC-USZC4-14757
Underground to Wood Lane... Poster by Fred. C. Herrick, published 1920.
Underground to Wood Lane... Poster by Fred. C. Herrick, published 1920.
LC-USZC4-13952

Where it is warm and bright Underground. Poster by V. L. Danvers, published 1924
Where it is warm and bright Underground. Poster by V. L. Danvers, published 1924.
LC-USZC4-14750

It is warmer down below.... Poster by Austin Cooper, published 1924?
It is warmer down below.... Poster by Austin Cooper, published 1924?
LC-USZC4-12080
It is cooler down below.... Poster by Austin Cooper, published 1924.
It is cooler down below.... Poster by Austin Cooper, published 1924.
LC-USZC4-12079
Summer sales quickly reached by Underground. Poster by Mary Koop. Published 1925.
Summer sales quickly reached by Underground. Poster by Mary Koop. Published 1925.
LC-USZC4-13914

Travel by Sea

Unique in the travel world... Poster by Montague Birrell Black, published ca. 1920
Unique in the travel world... Poster by Montague Birrell Black, published ca. 1920.
LC-USZC4-9976
Save time by night services... Poster by Kenneth J. Shoesmith, published between 1920 and 1939
Save time by night services... Poster by Kenneth J. Shoesmith, published between 1920 and 1939.
LC-USZC4-5866

Holland, Harwich-Hook service. Poster by Austin Cooper, published between 1920 and 1930
Holland, Harwich-Hook service. Poster by Austin Cooper, published between 1920 and 1930.
LC-USZC4-12910

Booth Line, to Portugal, Madeira & North Brazil. Poster by Walter Thomas, published between 1930 and 1940
Booth Line, to Portugal, Madeira & North Brazil. Poster by Walter Thomas, published between 1930 and 1940.
LC-USZC4-12904
Holland-America Line... Poster by Austin Cooper, published ca. 1950
Holland-America Line... Poster by Austin Cooper, published ca. 1950.
LC-USZC4-11777
Over Kalundborg-Aarhus til Nordjylland
Over Kalundborg-Aarhus til Nordjylland. Poster by Henry Thelander, 1946.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-32282

Travel by Air

Imperial Airways... Poster by Mark Severin, published 1936.
Imperial Airways... Poster by Mark Severin, published 1936.
LC-USZC4-10489
Devlet Hava Yolları. Poster by İhap Hulusi, published 1938.
Devlet Hava Yolları. Poster by İhap Hulusi, published 1938.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24302
Paris - fly TCA, Trans-Canada Air Lines. Poster by H.P., published 1951
Paris - fly TCA, Trans-Canada Air Lines. Poster by H.P., published 1951.
LC-USZC4-13460

Air France - Lourdes. Poster by E. Maurus, published between 1950 and 1960
Air France - Lourdes. Poster by E. Maurus, published between 1950 and 1960.
LC-USZC4-13186

Fly to the Southern Sudan Sudan Airways. Poster by K.P.S., published between 1960 and 1969
Fly to the Southern Sudan Sudan Airways. Poster by K.P.S., published between 1960 and 1969.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24301

Miami, Braniff International Airways
Miami, Braniff International Airways. Poster by Hoyt, ca. 1960.
LC-USZC4-13494

Destinations

Travel posters routinely illustrate a specific destination--a tourist hot spot not to be missed. The accuracy of the imagery is often remarkable.

Chicago's beautiful churches by the elevated lines... Poster by O.R. Hanson, published 1923
Chicago's beautiful churches by the elevated lines... Poster by O.R. Hanson, published 1923.
LC-USZC4-6554
Visit India; the Taj Mahal. Poster by W.S. Bagdatopulos, published ca. 1930.
Visit India; the Taj Mahal. Poster by W.S. Bagdatopulos, published ca. 1930.
LC-USZC4-13464

Rome, par le train de luxe "Rome Express". Poster by Roger Broders, published 1923
Rome, par le train de luxe "Rome Express". Poster by Roger Broders, published 1923.
LC-USZC4-12901

Ravenna, Italia. Poster by Osvaldo Ballerio, published between 1920 and 1930.
Ravenna, Italia. Poster by Osvaldo Ballerio, published between 1920 and 1930.
LC-USZC4-12902
Visit Prague. Poster by Milena Fňouková, published between 1930 and 1940
Visit Prague. Poster by Milena Fňouková, published between 1930 and 1940.
LC-USZC4-12912
Sightseeing in Manchuria and the Great Wall. Poster by Seibin Higuchi, published 1937
Sightseeing in Manchuria and the Great Wall. Poster by Seibin Higuchi, published 1937.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24296
Pennsylvania Railroad - Washington, the city beautiful. Poster by Grif Teller, published ca. 1940.
Pennsylvania Railroad - Washington, the city beautiful. Poster by Grif Teller, published ca. 1940.
LC-USZC4-13452
Leningrad. Poster by N. Zhukov, published between 1950 and 1959.
Leningrad. Poster by N. Zhukov, published between 1950 and 1959.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24304
Stockholm. Poster by	Iwar Donnér, published 1936
Stockholm. Poster by Iwar Donnér, published 1936.
LC-USZC4-12913

Whimsical

Posters also get their message across in light-hearted ways. They don’t take themselves too seriously but still manage to do their job and sell their locations.

KLM Royal Dutch Airline. Poster by Paul Erkelens, published 1947
KLM Royal Dutch Airline. Poster by Paul Erkelens, published 1947.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19715
Mexico. Poster by Espert, published 1945
Mexico. Poster by Espert, published 1945.
LC-USZC4-13294
Rio - Braniff International Airways, published between 1950 and 1959
Rio - Braniff International Airways, published between 1950 and 1959.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19708

Air like wine... Poster by William A. Sennett, published between 1930 and 1940
Air like wine... Poster by William A. Sennett, published between 1930 and 1940.
LC-USZC4-12914

Chicago, Braniff International Airways. Poster, published between 1950 and 1959.
Chicago, Braniff International Airways. Poster, published between 1950 and 1959.
LC-USZC4-13495
Montreux - Oberland Bahn. Poster by Herbert Leupin, published between 1940 and 1960
Montreux - Oberland Bahn. Poster by Herbert Leupin, published between 1940 and 1960.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19706

To Finland with me. Poster by Heikki Ahtiala, published 1950
To Finland with me. Poster by Heikki Ahtiala, published 1950.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19716

Wonderful Copenhagen. Poster, by Viggo Vagnby, published 1961
Wonderful Copenhagen. Poster, by Viggo Vagnby, published 1961.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19717
Phillip Island Take a Kodak. Poster by J. Miller Marshall, published between 1930 and 1939?
Phillip Island Take a Kodak. Poster by J. Miller Marshall, published between 1930 and 1939?
LC-USZC4-14775

Seasonal

When posters cater to the seasonal traveler, common themes include the winter sports potential of their sponsors as well as summer destinations.

Finland for winter sports. Poster by O.K. Oksanen, published 1949
Finland for winter sports. Poster by O.K. Oksanen, published 1949.
LC-USZC4-13363
New Hampshire. Poster by Hechenberger, copyrighted 1941
New Hampshire. Poster by Hechenberger, copyrighted 1941.
LC-USZC4-3081
Winter sports in Quebec.... Poster published between 1900 and 1993
Winter sports in Quebec.... Poster published between 1900 and 1993.[narrow?]
LC-USZC4-2352

Ste. Croix et Les Rasses ... Poster by HR, published 1922
Ste. Croix et Les Rasses ... Poster by HR, published 1922.
LC-USZC4-4521

Pologne. Poster by Stefan Osiecki and Jerzi Skolimowski, published 1936
Pologne. Poster by Stefan Osiecki and Jerzi Skolimowski, published 1936.
LC-USZC4-4497
Cortina d'Ampezzo . Poster published ca. 1920
Cortina d'Ampezzo . Poster published ca. 1920.
LC-USZC4-12496

Polska--Kraj polowań . Poster by Stefan Norblin, published 1927
Polska--Kraj polowań . Poster by Stefan Norblin, published 1927.
LC-USZC4-7130

Cortina.... Poster, published 1938
Cortina.... Poster, published 1938.
LC-USZC4-13455
Sommer in Deutschland... Poster by Ludwig Hohlwein, published 1927
Sommer in Deutschland... Poster by Ludwig Hohlwein, published 1927.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24299

Norway in September. Poster by Freda Lingstrom, published between 1920 and 1929
Norway in September. Poster by Freda Lingstrom, published between 1920 and 1929.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-18920

Summer in Italy. Poster by Alfredo Lalia, published 1951
Summer in Italy. Poster by Alfredo Lalia, published 1951.
LC-USZC4-13457

Season's best way to travel. Poster published ca. 1955
Season's best way to travel. Poster published ca. 1955.
LC-USZC4-11942

Cartographic

Maplike images often appear on travel posters.  Most of these posters illustrate the routes travelled by particular transit companies.

Nach Südamerika in 3 tagen! Poster by Ottmar Anton, published 1937
Nach Südamerika in 3 tagen! Poster by Ottmar Anton, published 1937.
LC-USZC4-11782
La route des Alpes Services... Poster by Roger Broders, published 1920 and 1929
La route des Alpes Services... Poster by Roger Broders, published 1920 and 1929.
LC-USZC4-10758
Travel by Trans-Australian Railway.... Poster by Northfield, published ca, 1930
Travel by Trans-Australian Railway.... Poster by Northfield, published ca, 1930.
LC-USZC4-12510

Casablanca Porte du Maroc. Poster by Xima, published between 1930 and 1940?
Casablanca Porte du Maroc. Poster by Xima, published between 1930 and 1940?
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24298

Iraqi State Railways... Poster, published between 1930 and 1940?
Iraqi State Railways... Poster, published between 1930 and 1940?.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24305
The Philippines... Poster by Walther-Boland Associates, 1953
The Philippines... Poster by Walther-Boland Associates, 1953.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-24306

Travel to Ireland the easy way... Poster, published between 1950 and 1960
Travel to Ireland the easy way... Poster, published between 1950 and 1960.
LC-USZC4-13487

China, the overland route... Poster, published 1950
China, the overland route... Poster, published 1950.
LC-USZC4-12517

Chemins de fer de l'état, la Seine de Rouen au Havre. Poster by Constant Duval, between 1930 and 1940
Chemins de fer de l'état, la Seine de Rouen au Havre. Poster by Constant Duval, between 1930 and 1940.
LC-USZC4-13185

Work Projects Administration

The Prints & Photographs Division has more than 900 WPA posters that deal with a variety of subjects [view an overview]. Various WPA poster divisions produced posters to stimulate travel in the United States.

See America. Poster by Dux, published between 1936 and 1939
See America. Poster by Dux, published between 1936 and 1939.
LC-USZC4-10489
See America: Visit the national parks. Poster by Harry Herzog, published between 1936 and 1940
See America: Visit the national parks. Poster by Harry Herzog, published between 1936 and 1940.
LC-USZC2-833
Buckingham Fountain on Chicago's lake front... Poster by John Buczak, published 1939
Buckingham Fountain on Chicago's lake front... Poster by John Buczak, published 1939.
LC-USZC4-5158

Discover Puerto Rico U.S.A... Poster by Frank S. Nicholson, published between 1936 and 1940
Discover Puerto Rico U.S.A... Poster by Frank S. Nicholson, published between 1936 and 1940.
LC-USZC2-847

Grand Canyon National Park... Poster published ca. 1938
Grand Canyon National Park... Poster published ca. 1938.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-13397
Just one long step to Sea Cliff... Poster published between 1936 and 1939
Just one long step to Sea Cliff... Poster published between 1936 and 1939.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-04892

Finding More Travel Posters in Prints and Photographs Division Collections

Searching for the phrase travel posters [view search results] is the primary means of finding this type of image. The search results include posters that have been digitized and those that have been described but not digitized, where a visit may be needed to view the materials. Information on viewing materials in the reading room is available in our Information for Researchers page.

Additional travel posters may also be found by using card indexes in the reading room, searching by the "promotional goal" category for "transportation & travel," category "E."

Related Resources

Select Bibliography

Anthony, Scott, and Oliver Green. British Aviation Posters: Art, Design and Flight. Farnham: Lund Humphries, 2012. Call number: Not in LC

Bownes, David, Oliver Green, and Jonathan Black. London Transport Posters: A Century of Art and Design. Aldershot: Lund Humphries, 2008. Call number: NC1849.R34 L66 2008

Cadringher, Gabriele, and Anne Massey. Schiffsplakate, 1873-1962. München: Hirmer, 2009. Call number:NC1878.S4 C33 2009

Choko, Marc H., and David L. Jones. Posters of the Canadian Pacific. Richmond Hill, Ont: Firefly Books, 2004.   Call number: NC1849.T68 C49 2004

Cohen, Ronald D., and Stephen G. McShane. Moonlight in Duneland: The Illustrated Story of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998. Call number: HE2791.C6849 M66 1998 fol.

Cole, Beverley, and Richard Durack. Railway Posters: 1923-1947: From the Collection of the National Railway Museum, York, England. New York: Rizzoli, 1992.Call number: NC1849.R34 C65 1992

Edelstein, T. J. Art for All: British Posters for Transport. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2010. Call number: NC1849.T7 A78 2010

Green, Oliver. Art for the London Underground: London Transport Posters 1908 to the Present. New York: Rizzoli, 1990. Call number: NC1807.G7 A77 1990 [P&P - Posters]

Ottaviani, Lorenzo. Travel Italia: the Golden Age of Italian Travel Posters: Posters from the Collection Alessandro Bellenda, Alassio, Italy. New York: Abrams, 2007. Call number: NC1849.T68 O88 2007

Szurovy, Geza. The Art of the Airways. St. Paul: MBI Pub. Co., 2002. Call number: NC1849.A35 S98 2002

Thomas, W. Donald. Airline Artistry: Vintage Posters & Publicity. Dunedin, Fla: W.D. Thomas, 1992. Call number: NC1849.A35 T56 1992

Travel Poster Collections Featured on the Web

Boston Public Library
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/sets/72157618058787787/ (via Flickr) External link
Approximately 350 travel posters from the Boston Public Library’s Print Department, most dating from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.

British Airways Poster Gallery
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/heritage-posters/public/en_us# External link
A selection of posters from the British Airways Heritage Centre, from the 1920’s to the present day.

Follow the Sun: Australian Travel Posters 1930s – 1950s (National Library of Australia exhibition)
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/36385/20030707-0000/www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/sun/index.html External link
A small selection from the National Library of Australia.

The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, Smithsonian Institution
http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/group/fly-now External link
Approximately 1,300 posters focused primarily on advertising for aviation related products and activities, most dating from the late 19th century to the 1990’s.

National Railway Museum (U.K.)
http://www.nrm.org.uk/OurCollection/Posters.aspx External link
More than 10,000 posters advertising railways and the places they served.

London Transport Museum External link
http://www.ltmcollection.org/posters/index.html
 More than 5,000 posters and 1,000 original poster artworks used for London Underground publicity.


Compiled by: Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist, March 2014.
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  March 21, 2014
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