Saturday, January 9, 2010

See America First ...

Many American travelers in the first part of the Twentieth Century were familiar with the advertising phrase, "See America First." The point behind the slogan was that America's scenic wonders were every bit the equal of those in Europe or elsewhere ... so it made sense to vacation in the U.S.

Credit for inventing the phrase goes to a man named Fred Kiser, who's best remembered for his early photographs of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. "See America First," though, dates from Kiser's earlier photography work for the Great Northern Railway, in particular the images he captured of northwestern Montana. The Great Northern began using "See America First" as an advertising slogan in 1906, and the phrase spread. Kiser's photos were used in the railroad's lobbying campaign for the creation of Glacier Park, and his catchphrase was tied to the park for decades thereafter.

Today's image is a luggage sticker from the 1920s or so, created by the railroad as a promotional item for its travelers.


  1. Are these luggage stickers part of your personal collection, or are you finding the images elsewhere? They are wonderful.

  2. I always thought that "See America First" also got a big boost after the sinking of the Titanic. Why risk your life going to the Alps, when you can see the American Rockies?

    Hmm... I wonder if we can create luggage stickers of Harrison, Idaho as favors for our wedding guests...

  3. I blogged about finding my Mom's train ticket from 1959. Images of the ticket envelope and some other memorabilia from her trip are here: Scroll down to July 20th