Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2009 Issue

Collecting Travels and Voyages in the Modern Era

Holiday.1.1

Travels & Voyages in the 20th Century


By Bruce McKinney

In the aftermath of World War II a glow descended upon America. The nation was victorious and all things seemed possible. The post-depression lethargy that gripped America in the 1930s and anxious discipline that characterized the country during the Second World War were now slipping into the past tense. With the coming of peace, for the first time in two decades, America was poised for renewed prosperity. For four years the government had employed a war-time command economy to create jobs and enforce savings by limiting production to necessary goods. With constraints now lifting fundamental shifts in the American social contract, a surge in college education, and a new era in consumption would soon send America and much of the world careening into an upward spiral of rising expectations and possibilities. Among the emissaries of change were new magazines introduced to satisfy what was becoming consumer demand. One of those new publications was Holiday whose life would precisely span the transformation of America from post-war [1946] to post-innocence [1971].

I write about this because a few years ago I purchased the extensive bound magazine holdings of a library in Michigan. Included was a uniformly bound complete run of Holiday. In time I found in it the world I knew growing up, the early post-war years followed by the serious 1950's and the increasingly relaxed sixties culminating with its final volumes in the early 1970s. If today we live in the moment we then lived in the era and there was time to see the changes, many of them reflected in print.

Clifton Fadiman, writing the introduction to "Ten Years of Holiday" in 1956 describes Holiday as "a magazine of civilized entertainment" and suggests that those first ten years saw the transformation of a world limited by wheels to one now taken to wing. It was much more than that but it wasn't yet clear that this twenty-five year run would span a cultural revolution, first of rising expectations for political and economic equality of every category of American, by race, religion and ethnic background and in time also lead into the revolution of social expectations we are living through today. We look back on the 1950's as a cultural backwater. In fact they were the breeding ground.

It would be easy to believe that retrospective consideration is leading me to see more in these magazines than is there. But to the contrary, I think that the more I look the more I see. The advertising is particularly interesting. Most of the advertisers have disappeared. The women are formal. The Evan Case Company bought a half page in color to advertise lighters and the person smoking is a woman. Kohinoor advertises "America's first rayon blend" that doesn't need to be dry cleaned. Various companies offer fishing gear in a national magazine, several railroads encourage personal travel. There are avertisements for car radios and batteries, cameras that look positively complex compared to today's. There's an article on "radar" as a way to make air travel safer and also a full page cut-away of the Lockheed Constellation. All this in its first four months of publication in 1946.

Twenty years later [1966] the magazine is slick, the paper that is. There is some good advice but it's too late now to take it. Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns are celebrated. Who knew the prices of their paintings would orbit the very world Holiday was encouraging its readers to explore. The travel orientation is still Europe with a bit of South Seas cruising. Even then, twenty-five years after Pearl Harbor, the world of Holiday is still only half a globe. Who knew the world's great travelers were growing up in Asia?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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