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San Antonio Travel Guides, 1890-1918

October 15, 2009

As one of Texas’ the top tourist destinations, San Antonio’s economy relies heavily on the hospitality industry. However, this situation is not merely a recent development. As early as the 1890s, San Antonio was a popular resort for tourists from across the United States. Newspapers and brochures from the early 20th century describe San Antonio as “the sunny Italy of America” and the “winter playground of America”(Câmpeaunu 358).

Among UTSA Special Collections’ local history holdings are a number of travel guides and souvenir booklets produced for the benefit of these early “snow-birds.” Although it’s enjoyable to page through these books simply to see how the city has grown and changed, the guides also offer a jumping-off point for scholarly examination of the commodification of place, the manipulation of ethnic identity in San Antonio, and the marketing techniques used in the early days of the now ubiquitous heritage industry.

Several San Antonio travel guides, dating from 1890 to 1918 are now available online as part of the UTSA Libraries – Rare Books digital collection. The guides have been OCR-ed to allow text searching, and print PDFs can be downloaded by selecting “complete print version” from the “view” drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the screen.

Works Cited:
Câmpeanu, Claudia N. “Tourism, Modernity, and Heritage Producation at the Alamo.” Advances in Consumer Research 30.1 (2003):357-360. EBSCO. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.

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