View Books, Guidebooks & Directories
Guide books have been available to travelers for centuries, and have multiplied exponentially with the rise of affordable travel, such as convenient trains, automobiles, and eventually planes. The information contained in a guide book may aide business travelers and recreational visitors alike, with information about trade routes and commercial opportunities such as reporting on the availability of regional products. Recreational benefits might include a highlights tour of large metropolitan areas or a national park trail guide – all worth keeping for the information they contain.
City directories have proven their worth for decades. Packed with information, they informed the consumer about addresses, advised the public where they might acquire products ranging from tonics to windows, and provided a snapshot of commercial activity in a particular locale. When used in conjunction with contemporary atlases, fire insurance maps, and view books, a researcher might be able to paint a complete geographical and visual picture of a city or town otherwise lost to redevelopment or other modernization.
View books have been purchased by the traveling public for over a century. Originally populated by lithographs and other forms of art, content transitioned to photographs - in the early days, original - after advances in photography made them more affordable. Purchase was likely motivated by the desire to preserve memories from a summer vacation, a favorite destination, or even a home town. These ephemeral publications were likely deemed worth keeping by their owners who, on occasion, might reminisce about travels with a sense of nostalgia. Today, they might serve as a source of information for historic preservationists wishing to restore architectural elements to a locale, or to environmentalists looking at shorelines and mountain ranges.