• "California Highway Map, official tourist picture map." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    California Highway Map, official tourist picture map.
    • Date
    • 1936
    • Creator
    • All-Year Club of Southern California. Californians Inc. Owens, Charles H.
    • Description
    • 2 maps on 1 sheet : back-to-back. With bird's-eye view picture of California on the back. Includes numbered key and text on principal points of tourist interest, and roads. Map belongs to Glen Bachmann.
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • "Photograph of girl & road maps." Courtesy the University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Photograph of girl & road maps,

  • "The Tourist's Pocket Map Of The State Of Ohio." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    The Tourist's Pocket Map Of The State Of Ohio
    • Date
    • 1833
    • Creator
    • Mitchell, Samuel Augustus. Young, James H. Haines, D.
    • Description
    • 1st issue was 1831. Ohio was one of the earliest Tourist pocket maps. Folded into red leather covers 12x7.5 with "Mitchell's Map Of Ohio" and a decorative border in gilt. Full color. See note field above. None found.
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • Sample pages from Photo-auto maps. (New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Springs to Albany and New York). Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Photo-auto maps. (New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Springs to Albany and New York).
    • Date
    • 1907
    • Creator
    • Chapin, Gardner S. Rand McNally and Company. Schumacher, Arthur H.
    • Description
    • Dark brown leather covers. In gold on the front cover: The Rand McNally Photo=Auto Maps and Guide Book. New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Springs to Albany and New York. Rand McNally is not listed on the title page. A very unusual pre... more
      Dark brown leather covers. In gold on the front cover: The Rand McNally Photo=Auto Maps and Guide Book. New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Springs to Albany and New York. Rand McNally is not listed on the title page. A very unusual presentation of nine index maps showing the route from New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs and return, with photographs showing with printed arrows each turn to make in the road. Eventually, route signs were posted for automobiles, but before that occurred, this book filled a need. The preface shows seven "Divisions" of maps published, including Chicago, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, and New York City. The photographs are wonderful and give a real feeling of the environment people traveled through in the first years of the automobile. Buisseret calls the presentation "ingenious" though he notes that not many journeys occurred at night, when these photos would not be very useful. Bound with dark brown leather covers. In gold on the front cover: The Rand McNally Photo=Auto Maps and Guide Book. New York to Albany and Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Springs to Albany and New York. Includes many advertisements for automobiles, hotels and automotive products (not scanned). Buisseret "Sea Charts to Satellite Images" p270-271; not in Phillips. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

Prior to the proliferation of mainstream automobile sales, travel for Americans meant taking the train, trolley, or standard horse and carriage. Traveling by road was not for the faint of heart and was considered a potentially dangerous adventure, limited to those with a purpose.

In the early twentieth century, the motorcar was a rich man’s toy and road conditions were often dismal. In the 1920s, as cars became more available to the average citizen, road conditions improved and leisure travel increased in popularity. Maps became readily available at gas stations and were often made free by companies that would profit from car, fuel, and related commodities. Auto clubs also provided maps for a subscription fee. The Automobile Association of America (A.A.A.) perfected route-specific, spiral-bound maps called “TripTik” travel planners, which continue to be produced for their members today but saw their heyday during pre-GPS guided road trips. They included not just routes, but also road conditions and improvements, attractions, and other points of interest. They were highly detailed and heavy with text. This created a boom in road map creation that continued until the gas shortages of the 1970s.