Every day we travel. Examples of the desire to do so as well as the varied means by which we move are found in many of the department’s named collections and collecting areas. Some of the items displayed are from our Bernath, Wyles, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) and other collections, but the focus of this exhibit is on the travel and transportation components contained in our Lawrence B. Romaine Trade Catalog Collection (Romaine Trade Catalog Collection (RTC), Mss 107).
The period following the Civil War was one of increasing industrialization and modernization, with an attendant rise in advertising, especially via newly improved print media. The trade catalog, a multi-page listing of manufactured or produced items offered for sale by stock number or specific name, became the most widespread form of advertising beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is only recently that trade catalogs have come to be recognized as a valuable source for the study of social, business, industrial, and advertising history.
Lawrence B. Romaine (1900–1967) was an antiquarian book dealer who bought and sold rare books, manuscripts, trade catalogs, and other Americana. Recognized as the nation’s leading expert on trade catalogs, Romaine was the author of A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1774–1900, the standard reference work in this field.
Represented subject areas from the Romaine Trade Catalog Collection in this exhibit, besides the category “Transportation” itself (featuring maps, hotel catalogs, and travel brochures, among others), include Automotive, Aviation, Bicycles, Boats, Railroad Supplies, and Motorcycles.
Additional selections from other collections noted above include photo albums, journals, letters, and other items from travelers to various locales in the U.S. as well as to a number of foreign lands. Specific collection–related information is provided with each of these items.