William L. Clements Library

Current Exhibit at the Clements Library- Page One

Past Exhibit

Exhibit at the Great Hall of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

SUMMER PARADISE: The Role of Railway and Steamboat Lines in Promoting Vacation Travel


June 3rd - September 27th, 2002

For a period of about one hundred years, from the 1860's to the 1960's, vacation travel was a grand experience. Changes in 19th century transportation technology allowed travel to become faster, more affordable, and far more comfortable. In particular, the railroad and steamboat lines found that their greatly improved services could be promoted to a wider segment of society, who could now afford to travel for a vacation. In addition to increasing the traffic to existing vacation spots such as Newport or Saratoga, the transportation companies created new destinations, accessible only by rail or water, built and operated grand hotels and promoted these destinations to a wider audience of travelers. The motivation for this development was of course the increase in revenue obtained on existing transportation lines. The result was a golden age of vacation travel, a summer paradise.

This colorful exhibit is primarily made up of printed promotional materials from North American railroads and steamboat lines, private travel agencies, along with personal photo albums, ephemeral printed materials, and other miscellany from the collections of the William L. Clements Library.

This exhibit is running until September 27th, 2002 in the main room of the William L. Clements Library, Monday through Friday, 1:00 pm to 4:45 pm.

Please note, this website shows only a very small portion of the exhibit materials and scope. We encourage you to come to the Clements and experience the complete show.

Various transportation promotional materials from the Clements Library, displayed in Summer Paradise

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