This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland. In commemoration of the milestone, Penguin Books is publishing Airline Maps (Nov.) by design historian Mark Ovenden and Maxwell Roberts, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Essex. As the centennial approached, says Terezia Cicel, assistant editor at Viking and Penguin, it made sense for Ovenden, whose previous books include Transit Maps of the World and Railway Maps of the World, to turn his attention skyward. “It’s nostalgic and celebratory, a visual narrative of 100 years of passenger flights.”
Airline Maps traces the rise of commercial air travel through an illustrated collection of flight routes and the travel posters that accompanied the nascent industry. Soon after British aviators survived that first crash landing in Ireland, travel guides advertising aerial journeys between London and Paris began popping up; zooming airplanes in a 1919 illustration featured in the book represent the newfound speed with which travelers could span the two capitals.
A 1921 poster for Transport Aeriens Guyanais advertises a pair of routes serviced by its fleet of five seaplanes, with an inset map of French Guiana and an illustration of colonists standing on the palm-lined shores of a treacherous river, looking in wonder at planes overhead. “The ways the designers sought to depict our planet was key to making travel attractive,” Cicel says. “They made our world seem smaller and accessible.”
Lucinda Gosling mines similar archival material portraying the promise and glamour of early-20th-century travel in the social history Holidays and High Society (History Press, Oct.), tracking how Britain’s idle rich, beginning in the late 1880s, turned Europe’s southern coast and other locales, including Egypt and St. Moritz, into glamorous playgrounds.
Nearly every page of text is accompanied by period photographs of beaming, fashionable vacationers on sun-kissed boulevards or illustrations taken from society magazines. The cover of the Jan. 8, 1913, edition of the Bystander shows women bedecked in gloves and feather-topped hats reading the society mag along the French Riviera. Art deco ads from later editions of the same publication tout the charms of Monte Carlo, showing a couple in their tennis whites during the day and elegant formal wear at night. The book was produced in conjunction with the Mary Evans Picture Library, where Gosling is a historical specialist.
The evolution of tourism stretching back to the 17th century is the subject of Hugh Thomson’s The Map Tour (Carlton, Oct.), produced in collaboration with the Royal Geographic Society. Featuring personal accounts, such as James Boswell’s [em]Journal
of a Tour to the Hebrides[/em], as well as photos and detailed, heavily illustrated maps, Thomson highlights the importance of cartography in not only delineating the world but also selling a vision of it. Instead of maps that originated with expeditionary treks, Thomson reproduces maps from the Society’s collection that were intended for the traveler “who enjoyed the comforts of an inn or the availability of a railway,” he writes in the introduction. “These maps were designed to entice the viewer to a known world.”