Top 20 Vintage Tourism Ads (Part 2): Travel ads as antidepressants

During our mission to discover the best vintage tourism ads, we came across so many posters that were too good to ignore. So guess what! Here comes the second part of abouTourism’s series of vintage tourism ads,  now renamed to Top 20!

The Art Deco style of vintage poster art had replaced Art Nouveau soon after World War I. Art Deco posters in the early 1900’s came into being with more organized geometrical shapes through the influence of the modern art movements of Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism. Geometric formality and simplicity would characterize this new style in vintage poster art of this period while poster artists conveyed their feelings of a new and modern future.

During the 1930’s there would be an explosion of advertising posters created to try to stimulate the depression era economy. Travel posters enjoyed considerable popularity as tourism begun emerging as an industry after WWII, destinations looked for a reinvented image and travelling was considered an antidote to the past economic depression. Enjoy!

#10. The Queen of Bermuda entering Hamilton Harbour, Adolph Treidler, 1930’s

This poster features the ‘Queen of Bermuda’ entering Hamilton Harbour with a couple taking a look in on her approach during their shoreline bike ride. Adolph Treidler took a risky trip to Paris during the Depression that led to the French Line account and that helped him get hired by the Bermuda Board of Trade in the 30s for campaigns and posters that put Bermuda on the tourist map.

#9. Prague, Rome of the North, 1935

#8. Visit Tunisia, the Land of Traditions, Elmekki, 1954

#7. Chicago, Leslie Darrell Ragan, 1929

Chicago was Leslie Ragan’s first poster for the New York Central Lines, the railroad for which he would produce many of his iconic Art Deco images. With its great depth and combination of shadowy and luminous areas, this timeless view of Michigan Avenue skyscrapers under a towering thunderhead contains all the romance and grandeur of Ragan’s mature style. He warmly embraced the skyscrapers of Chicago and New York as symbols of American progress. In Chicago, the City of the Big Shoulders is reborn as a Midwestern Athens.

#6. Hellas- Hydra, Yiannis Moralis, 1956

Yiannis Moralis was an important Greek visual artist and part of the so-called “Generation of the 30s”. The Greek National Tourism Organization commissioned this painting depicting a local scene in the island of Hydra in 1956. Over the years, Moralis was also involved with creating theatrical set and costume designs for the Greek National Theatre and the Greek National Ballet; illustrating poetic works by Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis; and decorating architectural works.
#5. Atlantic City – America’s Great Seashore Resort, Edward Eggleston, 1935

In the early 30s, Edward Eggleston produced what is often considered the best series of posters for the Pennsylvania Railroad, with the most spectacular ones featuring Atlantic City. The generally conservative rail line gave Eggleston the freedom to show off the famous Boardwalk with luscious scenes of aristocratic young ladies on the beach by day and night. Eggleston’s striking beauties are highlighted by a rich color palette and fabulous architectural settings which create an idyllic world somewhat akin to a Hollywood set. Indeed, Atlantic City was in its heyday during the Depression, when a weary public needed an escape to a more perfect world – either of celluloid or sunshine.

#4. Tokyo for Tourism, 1930’s

#3. Disneyland, Stan Galli, 1960

#2. Fly to South Sea Isles, Paul George Lawler, 1939

One of the most famous airline posters of all time, this great Pan Am poster brings to life the exotic adventure of luxury travel in the Thirties. A beautiful island native serenely watches a Boeing Super Clipper 314 land in the dramatic bay of Pago Pago, one of Pan Am’s string of seaplane bases across the Pacific. The 314 was the largest and most advanced flying boat of its era, capable of carrying 24 passengers over the unprecedented range of about 2800 miles. Like the zeppelins, this plane offered first class elegance plus the “legs” to handle intercontinental travel. It featured sleeping berths for all, a dining lounge and even a honeymoon suite. Indeed, the Boeing 314 enabled Pan Am to become the first airline to offer regularly scheduled routes across the Pacific, and shortly thereafter across the Atlantic, beginning service in June 1939.

#1. Paris, Salvadore Dali, 1969

Salvador Dali created this poster for Paris, one of a series of six posters emblazoned with butterflies for the French Railway.

Sources:, www.parisposters.coml,,,,,