Accommodation, Hospitality and Entertainment

The Daytona Plaza (A Craig Hotel). Copyright University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

Accommodation, hospitality and entertainment within Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism has a truly global reach, with the collection showcasing leaflets, brochures, guidebooks and ephemera from hotels and entertainment venues across the globe.

Both the ephemera collections from Michigan State University and the Anspach Travel Bureau at Duke University include twentieth century brochures advertising hotels from around the world. Researchers can discover hotels in Japan (Atami Fujiya Hotel, Imperial Hotel, Tokyo etc.), Fiji (Northern Hotels, Suva Travelodge etc.), Mexico (Acapulco Hotel, Alffer Hotel etc.), Germany (Hotel Nordland), the United States of America (Dude Ranches), Great Britain (the Carlton Tower, London) and in many other locations. Earlier accommodation adverts can be found in Thomas Cook’s Excursionist periodicals and in the records of the Polytechnic Touring Association, whose Swiss chalets became very sought after during the early twentieth century (see Holidays Abroad Made Easy. Polytechnic Summer Tours 1936). The records of Thomas Cook also include hotel receipts and ephemera from tours, including a Japanese hotel receipt for John Mason Cook in 1894.

Hotels and accommodation from particular areas have been selected to show how the region changed over time. For example, the Brier Rose Cottage Guest Book offers an insight into accommodation and pursuits in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. With entries from 1886 to 1914, the ledger begins with a list of guest names, but soon branches out into individual vacation descriptions detailing the weather, outdoor activities, food and opinions on guest facilities. Photographs are also including, making this a unique researching tool to trace the thoughts, experiences and activities of guests in the region. Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism also includes accommodation ephemera from other notable hotels in the area, including breakfast and dinner menus from the Mount Pleasant Hotel.

Coastal destinations have long been areas of interest for leisure pursuits, therefore it is not surprising that hotels and entertainment grew to cater primarily for the tourist market. The Tourism Ephemera Collection from the University of Florida contains many leaflets and brochures from hotels in Miami (Alcazar Hotel, Atlantique Motel etc.), Palm Beach (Aqua Motel etc.), St Augustine (Hotel Bennet, The Magnolia etc.) and Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay Hotel) which seek, in many cases, to offer luxury and entertainment on a budget (see Florida Hotel George Washington: Where Colonial Hospitality and Moderate Prices Prevail). Many brochures advertise picturesque strolls across beautiful sandy beaches although, for the more curious, the Alligator Farm, St Augustine proved popular entertainment for visitors to Florida. Blackpool also harnessed the tourism market, producing an official accommodation register (see Blackpool for Happy Holidays. Official Accommodation Register) detailing the addresses, telephone numbers and average rates for private boarding houses, holiday flat lets and hotels approved by the local council. Postcards were also produced of notable hotels.  

Lester Bros. Present the Greatest Midget Show on Earth. Copyright Cyril Critchlow Collection, Local and Family History Centre, Blackpool Central LibraryBlackpool capitalised on its tourist population with a vast amount of entertainment on offer. From 1912, the famous Blackpool Illuminations drew thousands of visitors keen to see the spectacular light shows. The Blackpool Tower complex with its circus, ballroom, menagerie and ‘Midget Town’ (see Lester Bros. Present the Greatest Midget Show on Earth and Postcards of John Lester's Midgets, Tower, Blackpool) provided dancing, impressive views and a chance to gaze on some of life’s more unusual attractions, whilst visitors could also take in one of the performances from the Winter Gardens or New Opera House (ephemera including souvenir guides and programmes are available to view in the Cyril Critchlow Collection from Blackpool Central Library Local History Centre).

From the mid-nineteenth century, Coney Island and Rockaway Beach also appealed directly to those looking to escape the bustle of New York for the day. Beginning with the building of the Coney Island Hotel, the resort soon expanded to become one of America’s most popular destinations and included the Iron Pier (see Coney Island and Rockaway Viewbook), Steeplechase Park, Dreamland and casino and music hall, amongst other attractions (see Glimpses of the New Coney Island. America's Most Popular Pleasure Resort).

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