Memories of Tomorrow

I’ve long been a fan of vintage travel posters and I especially enjoy the historic posters created to promote the U.S. National Parks. In 1934, the park service began to encourage  state and national park tourism by designing their own promotional posters to be displayed at local railroad and bus stations and hotels. In one of its 1934 Park Bulletin newsletters, the organization explained: “With the aid of State Park Emergency Conservation Work Funds, it has been possible for the Service to have printed for distribution to tour bureaus, railroads, schools, travel clubs, etc., a set of six colorful posters depicting national park scenes. Miss Dorothy Waugh, a New York artist, sketched the posters and they were printed by the Burland Printing Company of New York City under contract let by the Government Printing Office. United States citizens for many years have seen the Swiss Alps, the Italian Lake country, and other beauty spots of foreign lands depicted in beautiful posters on display throughout the land and it is time that Americans should be acquainted with their own beauty spots through the same medium.”

Over the course of two years, from 1934 to 1936, artist Dorothy Waugh designed 17 posters for the federal government agency. Waugh’s bright and bold designs proved the perfect visual match for capturing interest in the great outdoors. From 1933 to 1937, Waugh worked as a landscape architect and artist in the Branch of Planning for the park service, at first developing and designing technical manuals for the but eventually turning to the creation of posters promoting state and national parks that would become her hallmark.

I recently stumbled upon this set of posters that Waugh created for the park service. You can read more about her diverse career in a profile of the artist featured on the park service website.





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