Postcard and Brochure Collections

Sample brochure covers out of the Ephemera Collection: a late 1920s railroad brochure; a brochure for Jacksonville showing C. Adrian Pillars’ sculpture of “Spiritualized Life – Winged Victory” from 1924; and a 1925 brochure for Miami.

About Our Tourism Materials

Tourism is well represented in the graphic arts of our postcard and brochure collections.

Our postcard collections have been growing over the past decade and now contain more than 24,500 examples of Florida views running from the 1880s through 1980.  The single largest collection is the recently donated John Patrick Moran Postcard Collection of 10,446 cards, which encompasses everything from traditional postcard packets and color lithographs to “Wish you Were Here” greeting cards.  Next in size is the general postcard collection (@ 5,225 cards) that includes many early undivided-back postcards from pre-1907 as well as an abundance of cards that contain messages and were mailed.  Of similar size is the Gary Monroe Postcard Collection (4,889 cards), especially representative of Miami, Miami Beach, and St. Petersburg.  The Lee Harrison Postcard Collection (2,476 cards) focuses on Sarasota, Florida, and the Jerry Chicone Jr. Collection (@ 1,450 cards) on Orlando. A recent donation by David Snedeker contains the “Beautiful Florida” series from the 1920s.

Altogether, the collections provide a wide array of images of cityscapes, agricultural production, tourist destinations, hotels, motels, and restaurants, and represent all eras of postcard production, including early photographic, divided-back, color lithography, linen-texture, and modern glossy. About 10 percent of the cards have messages, and there are even a few runs with messages from the same correspondent.

Many of the people who have helped us to build these collections also contributed other souvenir and memorabilia materials to the Yonge Library, including the Jerry Chicone Jr. Florida Citrus Label Collection (3,000 items) and the David Snedeker Collection of Florida Stereoview Cards (2,072 items).  Lee Harrison is the principal person responsible for assembling the 8,000 tourism brochures in the Florida Ephemera Collection.

Our  tourism brochures, known as the Florida Tourism Ephemera Collection, number some 8,000 individually-labeled items organized under general subject headings. 

Florida East Coast 1910

Brochures and related promotional or souvenir materials range in date from 1854 to 1979 and are arranged in the following categories:  Cities (99 binders, 2,502 items);  Railroads, Hotels, Steamships and Bus Lines (including the Florida East Coast and Plant systems) (25 binders, 700 items); State Publications on Tourism, Immigration and Agriculture (16 binders, 260 items); Guides, Maps, View Books, Postcards, Letters (15 binders, 950 items); Hotels, Motels and Restaurants (9 binders, 823 items); Attractions (17 binders, 1,789 items); Illustrated Adventure Stories (1 binder, 13 items); and Government Documents and Miscellaneous Materials (10 binders, no count).  An online spreadsheet provides an index to contents, with textual descriptions of items, their identification numbers, and dates of publication.

Tip Top Weekly 1901
Tip Top Weekly 1901 (#4752)

Both the postcards and the brochures are wonderful examples of commercial art chronicling the rise of  Florida’s agricultural industries, land booms, railroads and transportation networks, and vacation-related businesses.   Items from the collection have appeared in Jeff Hurd’s Come on Down: Pitching Paradise During the Roaring ’20s (Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, Inc., 1995) and in John Margolis’s and Eric Baker’s See the U.S.A., The Art of the American Travel Brochure (Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2000).  Some two hundred items are also featured in the Adam Matthews’ online database Leisure, Travel, and Mass Culture: A History of Tourism.

Other publications related to tourism can be found throughout the book collection in County and City Histories (Call Number F.2), Travel and Description (Call Number F.091 thru F.094).