Newsstand: 1925: Travel Magazine

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a virtual newsstand from the summer of 1925

Overview

           Travel magazine was a monthly general travel magazine devoted to

providing “travel, adventure, and exploration” to its audience. It

sought to provide pertinent information for the active traveler as

well as the armchair traveler.

Travel Magazine

 

           This period of American history has been called the “New Era” because of the massive economic boom in the 1920s. Between 1922 and 1929 American industrial output nearly doubled and the Gross National Product rose by 40 percent.(1) This economic boom, along with the introduction of the credit market, allowed for many Americans of previously meager means to experience the luxury of travel. Travel magazine became an important source of information for prospective travelers as well as those who wished to travel but lacked the means.

                      Travel, originally titled The Four Track News, was founded in July 1901 by George H. Daniels. The magazine was introduced as a 10 cent illustrated magazine of travel and education and was published by the Passenger Department of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad.(2) The Four Track News’s editorial policy aimed to serve the “armchair traveler,” while at the same time aimed to give pertinent advice to those who had the means and time to travel. The magazines stated aim was to provide “travel, adventure, and exploration” for its readers (Nourie 508).

           By 1921 several changes to the format had taken place:  the title changed from The Four Track News to Travel, the price rose to a whopping 35 cents per issue, and the magazine was much larger with full color covers depicting painted scenes of foreign locales (Nourie 508). Advertising for the National Travel Club appeared regularly offering readers of Travel the opportunity to join and partake in the club’s stated aim, which was “to furnish its members’ information on travel and secure concessions for them” (“Travel Club ad” 38).(3) Publisher Robert M. McBride played a large part in bringing about these sweeping changes. McBride began his career in magazines at Country Life in America. Later he went on to found Yachting magazine and take over publication of House and Garden for a time. Mcbride was briefly a partner with publisher Conde Nast and the new image that McBride brought to Travel was similar to the modern image that Nast had brought to Vanity Fair and Vogue.

           Travel focused more on text than on photographs, often including simple illustrations instead of photos of foreign locales. The magazine carried articles with thrilling titles such as “Dark People of India’s Hidden Hills,” and “Heart of Black Papua” as well as articles by fairly well known authors such as Hillaire Belloc, Vita Sackville-West, J. B. Priestly, and D. H. Lawrence (Nourie 508). The July 1925 issue featured an article titled “Those Who Worshipped the Sun,” which was an in-depth look at various native South American tribes that descended from the Inca civilization, written by noted author, illustrator, naturalist, and explorer A. Hyatt Verrill.(4)

           Education was another one of Travel’s stated aims. “Those Who Worshipped the Sun” is a prime example of the magazine’s goal to provide educational material. This article, which is the first in a series, provides an anthropological examination of various tribes throughout Central and South America based on the author’s extensive exploration through those areas. “In Quest of the Lost Continent,” an extended review of the book The Problem of Atlantis by Lewis Spence, posits the theory that a prehistoric land bridge between Europe and North America was the location of the fabled Atlantis.(5) The article draws heavily on the architectural similarities between the geographically distant Egyptian and the Aztec/Incan/Mayan civilizations and claims that these similarities are due to the fact that both groups descended from common Atlantean ancestors. “The Mountains that Moved” by William C. Alden is another educational piece. This article is a geological survey that examines the Rocky Mountains and the forces that formed them.(6) It examines the rock composition of the Mountains as well as possible theories concerning the formation of the mountains.

           Travel was reflective of the world at the time. For example, Peter Gray Wolf’s “From Illusion to Disillusion in Russia” briefly outlines the author’s experiences visiting Russia but mainly provides a platform for pro-American, anti-communist political views.(7) This sentiment was shared by many Americans at the time. Americans were wary of the Bolsheviks in part because of their “pulling Russia out of the war and calling for dissolution of all capitalistic governments” (Reeves 82). Anti-communist sentiment was certainly capitalized upon in this article and expressed by the statement “[o]ne could easily find enough hard luck stories … to compel the conclusion that the great experiment is not just even to its own converts” (Wolf 26). In this statement, Wolf points out the inequality that communism demonstrates among its adherents. Another example of Travel’s reflection of the times is evident in the article “In Quest of the Lost Continent” by Edward B. Hale. In 1922, Howard Carter had discovered King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt. This discovery was international news and affected many areas of life including fashion and architecture. The inclusion of an article which examines Egyptian architecture and art as possibly emerging from Atlantean influences shows Travel’s sensitivity to popular interests.

           One interesting aspect of this magazine is its commerciality. Travel was one of the most widely read travel magazines after National Geographic. The magazine was designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. It seemed to cater to advertisers as well, particularly the Railroad lines. Many of the covers were provided courtesy of various Railroad lines, often with a full-page advertisement for this same railroad company on the inside cover. In the previously mentioned article, “The Mountains That Moved,” the author notes: “at the southeastern end of Glacier National Park the Great Northern Railway traverses a gap in the mountain range” (Alden 12). Ironically, two pages before the conclusion of the article an advertisement for The Great Northern Railway and Glacier National Park appears. It is impossible to tell if this article was written for the advertiser or if the ad was procured because of the article; however, it does show the commerciality of the magazine.

           In 1931 Travel merged with the American Automobile Association’s magazine Holiday, which was one of many travel magazines devoted to the motorist. In the 1940s Travel again changed its format to suit its readers. The depression had hindered Americans ability to travel and the magazine acknowledged limited resources for travel and reflected this fact in their content (Nourie 508). Travel pared down the magazine and black and white photos of scenic destinations became the new cover design. In 1942 the magazine ran a series of articles called “Background for War,” which detailed the history and significance of locations Americans knew through news about the war (508). In the 50s and 60s Travel returned to a format aimed at the active traveler. The content included commonly used foreign phrases and their pronunciations, a calendar of world-wide events for that month, a guide for Broadway theaters, reviews of new hotels, and “how-to” articles on successful traveling (508). In 1977 the magazine merged with the Saturday Evening Post Company’s popular Holiday (different from the magazine mentioned above) and changed the name to  Travel-Holiday and in 1979 it incorporated Travel Advisor (508). The magazine continued in this vein until April 2003 when Travel- Holiday published its last issue due to economic troubles. The magazine ran for  102 years.

—Contextualization by Clay Dillon

 

Notes

 

1. Reeves, Thomas C. Twentieth-century America a brief history. New York: Oxford UP, 2000

2. Nourie, Alan, and Barbara Nourie, eds. American mass-market magazines. New York: Greenwood, 1990

3.  The Travel Club. Advertisement. Travel July 1925: 38.

4.  Verrill, A. Hyatt. "Those Who Worshipped the Sun." Travel July 1925: 7-11.

5.  Hale, Edward B. "In Quest of the Lost Continent." Travel July 1925: 32-35

6.  Alden, William C. "The Mountains That Moved." Travel July 1925: 12-14.

7.  Wolf, Peter G. "From Illusion to Disillusion in Russia." Travel July 1925: 25-27.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Alden, William C. "The Mountains That Moved." Travel July 1925: 12-14. Print.

Hale, Edward B. "In Quest of the Lost Continent." Travel July 1925: 32-35. Print.

Nourie, Alan, and Barbara Nourie, eds. American mass-market magazines. New York: Greenwood, 1990.

           Print.

Reeves, Thomas C. Twentieth-century America a brief history. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.

The Travel Club. Advertisement. Travel July 1925: 38. Print.

Verrill, A. Hyatt. "Those Who Worsipped the Sun." Travel July 1925: 7-11. Print.

Wolf, Peter G. "From Illusion to Disillusion in Russia." Travel July 1925: 25-27. Print.

 

 

 

 

click cover for magazine

July 1925

Genre:

General Travel

Publisher:

Robert M. McBride Publishing Co

Place of Publication:

New York

Years of Run:

1902 — 2003

Frequency of Publication:

Monthly

Circulation in 1925: