Category Archives: Vintage Travel

A Diary of Travels Abroad, 1958

There’s something sneaky about reading the journal of another, even if the journal in question is fifty-seven years old.  In 1958 Judy B. went on the “Imperial Tour of Europe.”  It lasted all summer and was surely the trip of a lifetime – the 1950s equivalent of the Victorian Grand Tour.

I first read parts of this journal when Donna of The Vintage Vendeuse started posting entries from the diary at the Vintage Fashion Guild.  She then made a website for the entries, which are now being posted as a day by day entry of what happened fifty-seven years ago.  There is a new site, which is great, with Judy’s entry followed by extra information and photos of the places she mentioned.  You can subscribe to get the daily entry, and I suggest you back up through the old ones to read about the ocean voyage and Judy’s adventures thus far.

If Judy is still alive she is eighty-one years old.  That’s hard to imagine when the diary is so full of the young men she met and the fashionable clothes she wore.  Or maybe not.  I’d like to think she is still traveling, and meeting boys and buying out the stores.




Filed under Vintage Travel

Trip Time

It evidently is not cold enough here in North Carolina, because I’ll be traveling north with friends for the next week.  I’ll be in New York City just in time for New York Fashion Week, which I’ll be ignoring, and the Westminster Dog Show, which I may have to trick my friends into attending.  Otherwise it will be nonstop museum hopping and fabric shopping, with a bit of sight-seeing and warm bars and restaurants thrown in for fun.

There will be scheduled posts here while I’m gone, and I’ll try to check in to reply to comments.  I’ll be posting on Instagram as well, so check in for a preview of all the things I’ll find to write about here on The Vintage Traveler.


Filed under Vintage Travel

1930s Rosebyrd Notebook

Last week had several of those days that it was too cold to even think about leaving my house, and I somehow got involved with cleaning my office.  It was a long overdue straightening and clearing away of clutter, and in the process I found some things that I forgotten that I had.

Hiding under a bookshelf was this 1930s school binder.  I bought it years ago from a retired teacher, and my guess is that it dates from her early teaching days.  It was unused, and I paid a dollar for it at a yard sale her daughter was having for her.  They had cleaned out the attic, and I bought a lot of old teaching things that day, all of which are long gone, except the binder.

In the binder I’d stored some articles I’d taken from sewing magazines and I’m looking forward to revisiting what I thought was important enough to save ten years ago.

The binder itself dates from the mid 1930s.  The plane flying is probably a DC-2, which was first produced in 1934.  Not that I know anything about airplanes; my husband identified it for me.

I kind of wish it had been gently used, or at least had the scheduled penciled in.

I love the ultra-modern train, but I love the traveler’s outfit even more.

Of course, this was back when girls’ sports took a real backseat to those of the boys.  Still it’s a bit disappointing that the artist didn’t at least show a girl basketball player.  In many schools it was the only sport that had a team for girls.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Travel

Ad Campaign – Grace Line, 1950

After it became obvious that airplane travel was here to stay, and that a trip to Europe could be completed in 10 hours instead of five days, the cruise line companies began to shift gears from providing transportation to providing vacations.  A ship voyage was already a pleasurable experience for those with the money to buy first class tickets, and so that level of luxury was easily converted to the idea of the ship as a hotel that visited different ports.

The idea really caught on after WWII, when the cruise lines got their ships back after their wartime service.  Cruises to Hawaii and South America became big business.  These pleasure cruises would last up to a month, in contrast to the common three and four day cruises of today.

I’m sure you have all read how the 3100 passengers on the Carnival Triumph got an unwanted four day extension of their four day Mexican cruise.  This was big news in the US, and completely overshadowed what was an even worse incident on a cruise in the Canary Islands when five crew members of the Thomson Majesty were killed during a routine lifeboat drill.

I’m not qualified to comment on the safety regulations and procedures of cruise ships, but for an industry that has people talking about the accident of the Costa Concordia over a year later, it seems to me that they have some ‘splaining to do.

Does anyone beside me remember that series on The Mickey Mouse Club where Annette took a trip to Hawaii?  She went on a cruise ship and I thought it was the most fun thing ever.

Several years ago a friend and I took a cruise through the Aegean as part of an educational tour of Greece.  As such, we were on a small ship which held about 600 people, and I thought *that* was big.  I can’t imagine being on one of those floating towns of up to 5000 people that pass for cruise ships today.  Especially now.


Filed under Ad Campaign, Viewpoint, Vintage Travel

What I Didn’t Buy – 1950s Esso Skotch Kooler

These photos are so poor that I hesitated about putting them up.  But I have a little point to make, and they do at least show the product and the problem.

For a very long time I’ve wanted this map of the USA cooler, made by Skotch Kooler for Esso sometime in the 1950s.  I want one because I have this crazy love for old tin maps, and I can remember this cooler from my childhood.  It’s a fairly common thing; I run across them all the time.  The problem is that they are always either rusty or the graphics have faded.  I’m wanting one in excellent condition, mainly because I want to use it.

I spotted this one hanging in a mall, but even before I’d seen the price – $39.99 – I’d ruled it out. I just can’t live with that much rust.  I thought the price was too high, especially given the condition, but a quick look on etsy put this in line with what people are asking online.

Oh, well, someday my cooler will come in.


Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Vintage Travel

Work Projects Administration Posters, 1936 – 1943

In 1935 President Roosevelt signed into law the Works Progress Administration (changed to Works Projects Administration in 1939) which spent billions to create jobs during the height of the  Great Depression.  Most of the money was spent on construction projects (many communities got a new library or post office or bridge) but a small part of it was spent on the arts.  Artists and writers and musicians were put to work on projects that were to benefit the population at large.

One way artists were employed was in the creation of posters.  From 1936 through the end of the program in 1943, over 2000 posters were created.  They advertised theatrical productions, encouraged the use of public libraries, educated about the evils of syphilis, promoted our Nation Park system and promoted tourism.

The United States Library of Congress has a collection of 906 of these posters, and all of them are viewable online as part of the library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.  Even better, there is no known restriction on their use as they were commissioned by the US government as part of the New Deal.

Also check out the other resources in the Prints and Photographs Catalog.  Many are pre-1923, and thus are in the public domain.  Just be sure to check the rights and restrictions for each division.  That information is easily found in the left sidebar.

Some of my favorites from the WPA collection:

Continue reading


Filed under Curiosities, Vintage Travel, Winter Sports

Ad Campaign – 20th Century Limited, 1951

The Time: 6 P.M., any night.  The Place: Grand Central Terminal, New York. The Star: you, stepping from the crimson carpet to the magic carpet that is the famous 20th Century Limited.  It’s the New York Central’s luxury hotel on wheels, your overnight vacation between New York and Chicago, first night on your coast-to-coast week end.

If you love old magazines, then I bet you are like me, always lamenting the total lack of glamour in travel today.  I don’t think it would be so bad if not for these reminders of how travel itself was once an experience to be savored.  Unfortunately, travel today is more likely to just be endured, especially travel by plane.  But even trains are not the luxurious and relaxing places they once were.  But in our busy lives, it is often time that is the luxury, and the speed of modern travel does allow us more time when on a trip.

I’m writing this several days in advance, because when it is published I’ll be on a trip, with two of my dearest friends who knew I needed a change of scenery.  Maybe this post should have been about friendship instead of travel.

I bet you can guess where I am!



Filed under Ad Campaign, Proper Clothing, Vintage Travel