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The Holiday Makers

Magazines, Advertising, and Mass Tourism in Postwar America

Richard K. Popp

Publication Year: 2012

In mid-twentieth-century America, mass tourism became emblematic of the expanding horizons associated with an affluent, industrial society. Nowhere was the image of leisurely travel more visible than in the parade of glossy articles and advertisements that beckoned readers from the pages of popular magazines. In Richard K. Popp’s The Holiday Makers, the magazine industry serves as a window into postwar media and consumer society, showing how the dynamics of market research and commercial print culture helped shape ideas about place, mobility, and leisure. Magazine publishers saw travel content as a way to connect audiences to a booming ad sector, while middlebrow editors believed sightseeing travel was a means of fostering a classless society at home and harmony abroad. Expanding transportation networks and free time lay at the heart of this idealized vision. Holiday magazine heralded nothing less than the dawn of a new era, calling it “the age of Mobile Man—Man gifted, for the first time in history, with leisure and the means to enjoy distance on a global scale.” For their part, advertisers understood that selling tourism meant turning “dreams into action,” as ad executive David Ogilvy put it. Doing so involved everything from countering ugly stereotypes to tapping into desires for “authentic” places and self-actualization. Though tourism was publicly touted in egalitarian terms, publishers and advertisers privately came to see it as an easy way to segment the elite free spenders from the penny-pinching masses. Just as importantly, marketers identified correlations between an interest in travel and other consumer behavior. Ultimately, Popp contends, the selling of tourism in postwar America played an early, integral role in the shift toward lifestyle marketing, an experiential service economy, and contributed to escalating levels of social inequality.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

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pp. vii-ix

Around 2005, I started to think a lot about travel. Like just about everyone else, I’d always enjoyed getting away. But for some reason, vacation travel started to . . .

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pp. 1-10

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock appeared before movie audiences and asked, “Have you planned your vacation yet?” The occasion was the trailer for . . .

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1. THE NEW MOBILITY: Travel and Leisure in Depression and War

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pp. 1-30

Surveying the state of American leisure in 1940, historian Foster Rhea Dulles described a nation remade by a half-century-long . . .

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2. CREATING HOLIDAY: Market Research, Play, and Magazine Reading

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pp. 31-57

As World War II drew to a close, businesses in the United States and their backers in government envisioned a coming era of unbound consumer spending.1 Scanning the horizon for . . .

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3. SELLING VACATIONS: Tourist Travel, Free Time, and Classlessness

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pp. 58-81

In the summer of 1946, twelve friends from Canton, Ohio, calling themselves the Kitty Kat Klub, embarked on a three-week train journey . . .

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4. “THIS IS HOW IT WILL BE WHEN YOU GET THERE”: Destination Profiles and Middlebrow Geography

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pp. 82-PS16

In March 1947, a lengthy profile of Mexico penned by author Anita Brenner appeared in Holiday. Brenner, an expatriate American journalist and . . .

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5. CASTING LURES: Tourism Advertising and the Experiential Ethos

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pp. 103-127

Poking fun at the barrage of ads pitching cities, states, and nations in postwar magazines, Advertising Age featured a cartoon in . . .

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6. GOING OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Authentic Places and the End of an Era

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pp. 128-144

As the 1950s drew to a close, Life devoted an issue to the fastchanging face of American leisure. Russell Lynes, editor of Harper’s Magazine and author . . .

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EPILOGUE: From National Folkway to Personal Quest

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pp. 145-148

Midcentury American tourist culture helped set the stage for larger structural adjustments to the global economy in the early 1970s and . . .


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pp. 149-193


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pp. 195-204

E-ISBN-13: 9780807142868
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807142844

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2012