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Doing the TownThe Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850-1915$

Catherine Cocks

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520227460

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520227460.001.0001

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“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

(p.143) Five “An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915
Doing the Town

Catherine Cocks

University of California Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter talks about the turn-of-the-century city guidebooks and urban sketches that promoted new ways of approaching and moving about cities, and which helped to create the tourist as a distinct social type, and tourism as a distinct spatial practice. The sense of corporate ownership through tourism became most clear in two related forms of visits: historical walking tours and slumming in the neighborhoods of ethnic minorities. Both inscribed on city landscapes the legitimate social authority of well-to-do Americans and encouraged them to repossess large parts of the city given over to commerce and the immigrant working class. Both practices contributed to the erosion of refinement and separate spheres, most obviously by easing the social dangers of public places. They also exemplified the uses of a historical narrative and racial ideas to create a broad sense of social ownership that made genteel self-possession less culturally necessary.

Keywords:   tourism, corporate ownership, well to do, historical narrative, racial ideas, city landscapes, city guidebooks, urban sketches

“This little pocket folio is intended to aid the out-of-town visitor in locating the many places and objects of interest which have an undying and ever-increasing fascination for those whose opportunities are limited,” declared the anonymous author of The Tourist’s Hand-Book of New York in 1905. The slender, fifteen-cent paperback pamphlet had been written specifically for the modern tourist: “The subject matter…has been variously treated by other writers and historians in times past, but as far as we are aware, no attempt has heretofore been made to arrange or classify such material in a way that would insure not only acceptability, but accessibility as well.”1

The author of this convenient little guidebook exaggerated its singularity. Far from unique, it exemplified a form of nonfictional urban representation new in the late nineteenth century: the city guidebook. Beginning in the 1870s, publishers associated with the railroads and tourist enterprises began to produce growing numbers of such works. In the same years, middle-class mass-circulation magazines frequently published self-consciously literary urban sketches whose authors wrote about American cities as they long had written about Old World metropolises. Melding the earlier traditions of travel writing and urban description, the new guidebooks and urban sketches focused on cities but were addressed chiefly or exclusively to pleasure travelers. They tended to distinguish the cultural significance of American urbanity from its social consequences and to celebrate the former. These works integrated (p.144) American cities into national and international tourist networks by portraying them as subjects appropriate for respectable leisure and literature.

These turn-of-the-century city guidebooks and urban sketches promoted new ways of approaching and moving about the cities that helped to create the tourist as a distinct social type and tourism as a distinct spatial practice. Like the extra-fare cars, businessmen’s hotels, and organized tours, the guidebooks and urban sketches of the 1890s and 1900s sharpened the distinction between residents old or new and those visiting the city to see the sights. With the aid of cheap guidebooks, even those visitors “whose opportunities are limited” and who lacked local contacts or a hired guide knew where to go and how to get there. The detailed itineraries and new forms of transit, especially the tourist trolleys and “seeing the city” cars, enabled pleasure travelers to encounter the city as they might have a rural resort at midcentury: a site of leisure safely distant from the anxieties and obligations of everyday life.

Organized city tours also promised to restore the vital sense of community that the nation’s sprawling cities had lost but on a new, modern basis that transcended older, parochial loyalties. The idea that each city had a “personality” or “an individuality all its own”2 played a key role in both making cities appealing to tourists and conveying a sense of social unity. Complementing this perspective, the new guidebooks and urban sketches often portrayed urban landscapes as tidy artistic compositions. Treating cities as objects of literary and pictorial art rather than as social aggregations helped well-to-do Americans not just to make sense of but to take pleasure in the rapid changes in the scale and character of urban landscapes and their denizens at the turn of the century. The spatial practice of tourism promised to weave the many fragments of the city together precisely because it was a public, mobile form of leisure that provided an alternative to the strict division of public from private characteristic of mid-nineteenth-century sociospatial ideals.

Of course, urban tourism was in its infancy in the early twentieth century. It never surpassed the popularity of rural resorts, soon to be reinforced by the rise of autocamping in the 1920s. Further, the urban vision promoted in guidebooks was only one among many competing ideas about social relations and city landscapes. Even the most uninformed and wholehearted tourists had a broader frame of reference than their guidebooks. Muckraking journalists, Progressive reformers, and realist novelists published reams of pages detailing the persistence of urban degradation (p.145) and spiraling class conflict. Despite their relentlessly cheerful banality, the guidebooks shared these concerns. As guides to public leisure, they expressed the same preoccupation with reconciling cultural and class differences through wholesome recreation as did more critical writings. What distinguished the guidebooks was their bland faith that industrialized leisure made the landscape of modernity livable; that, by “doing” the town, the ideal urban tourist transformed life into art and division into unity.

Urban Personality and the Tourist

The idea that places had personalities was a venerable convention in travel writing, yet it had not been much applied to American cities in the mid-nineteenth century. The cities of earlier sensationalist sketches competed for the title of wickedest city of them all, and each claimed peculiar regional characteristics, but none claimed to have personalities. By the end of the nineteenth century, the authors of the new guidebooks and urban sketches began to make just that claim on behalf of American metropolises. The journalist and railroad publicist Edward Hungerford titled his 1913 collection of sketches The Personality of American Cities. The chamber of commerce’s 1915 guide to San Francisco asserted that the city “has evolved an individuality and a versatility beyond any other American city.” Like people, cities had ceased to have character, the result of a disciplined struggle to be good, and began to have personality, a unique yet conventionally appealing collection of people-pleasing traits.3

Asserting that cities had personalities was a thoroughly modern, industrial means of making them readily available and intelligible to a national readership—and to tourists. The idea of an urban personality packaged a city as a salable commodity for a national clientele. Succinctly differentiating one city from all the others, it gave a simple, compelling reason why it was worth visiting, despite the fact that the markers of metropolitan status remained standard: fine commercial and governmental buildings, mansions, parks and boulevards, good shops and theaters, and so on. Ridiculing the pretension of the man who claimed to see Paris in New York, Hungerford argued that “New York does not aim to be a replica of any foreign metropolis. She has her own personality, her own aggressive individualism.” Like the brand name of a mass-produced product, personality gave a city an imaginative profile (p.146) that distinguished it from other, very similar sites. The similarity was not accidental; by the turn of the century both goods and cities were increasingly competing on a nationwide, rather than simply a regional, basis.4

The idea of the uniqueness of places smoothed the tourist’s path into any city by casting it as a meaningful entity similar to Niagara Falls or other natural monuments. A city’s personality derived in part from the character of the city’s setting and built environment and in part from the character of its citizens taken in the aggregate. Bay windows, cosmopolitanism, and lighthearted hospitality, alternately attributed to the city’s “Latin” heritage, its pioneer spirit, or its temperate climate, characterized San Francisco. Soaring skyscrapers, frenetic hustle, and up-to-dateness stood for New York and its residents. Contending for the title in urban hustle and claiming a more loquacious civic pride, Chicago also boasted that it was the most typically American of the nation’s cities, notwithstanding its considerable proportion of foreign-born residents. Tinctured with a romantic southern aristocracy and host to Americans from all regions, Washington residents exhibited a greater degree of civilized leisure.5 These were characteristics requiring no long acquaintance to perceive, for they were immanent in the same crowds and facades that had seemed rife with deceit, chicanery, and indifference to midcentury urban sketch artists.

The guidebooks and urban sketches that promoted the idea of city personality were themselves thoroughly modern products of the industrial economy. Because guidebook authors addressed a far more specific audience and were employees of the tour industry, they had a different relationship to their readers than had their predecessors in urban description. Mid-nineteenth-century writers had not been shy of addressing their readers directly, often inviting them to join the authors in entering a low dive or presenting a card at the finest New Year’s Day soirees. The urban sketches and compendiums were works by singular authors reaching out directly to their social equals. They spoke man to man, with an occasional piece of advice for lady readers.

The circumstances of their production supported this direct address to some degree. Although often serialized in newspapers before publication or periodically updated and expanded for reissue, the earlier urban sketches remained individual pieces of writing by identifiable human beings who offered their own experience to augment the reader’s. The journey these authors depicted also often included encounters with individual, named city dwellers, both actual and apocryphal. Biographical (p.147) sketches of famous city dwellers served as an urban approximation of the personal knowledge that small-town residents were supposed to have about local elites. Fallen women, redeemed drunkards, Mose the Bowery B’hoy, and finicky dandies spoke out in these pages, populating the city with knowable, if also highly stylized, characters. Urban description between the 1850s and the 1870s embodied the personal expertise and wary, yet appreciative view of the city’s residents and activities that the authors themselves possessed.

The early urban handbooks, in contrast, were far more likely to be compiled or edited by a publisher and credited either to him or to the firm. Yet the publisher was usually a local man, established in the city he wrote of and presumably familiar with it. Sometimes the handbooks were thinly disguised advertising pamphlets for the city’s businesses or even a single enterprise. Offering less intimate expertise, the writers of these works were vitally connected to the economic and social interests of a particular city. Works national in scope, such as Appletons General Guide or The Hand-Book of American Cities, often made extravagant claims for the breadth and depth of the research done in every locale named; they also solicited corrections and updates from readers.6

In some ways drawing on the example of urban sketches, the new city guidebooks followed the precedent of the urban handbooks and national guides. They were often sponsored, compiled, and edited by publishers or interested enterprises such as railroads, hotels, and businessmen’s organizations. Yet they also differed from the handbooks in downplaying government and philanthropic institutions to focus more narrowly on the tourist, transient services, and the city’s amusements and landmarks. Although many guidebooks incorporated the descriptive mode of the urban sketch, now the publisher or sponsor’s name overshadowed the author’s.7

The waning of the author’s visibility corresponded to the rise of a national tourist industry. The consolidation of the many competing railroads of the 1850s into a small number of large ones meant that railroad passenger departments now advertised national routes of travel to a nationwide clientele. By the 1890s a few large publishing houses specializing in the production of guidebooks had also developed. The best known was Rand, McNally, a Chicago company that had been printing tickets and travel guides for the railroads since the 1860s. By the last decade of the nineteenth century, the company was publishing urban guides under its own name. Unlike Appleton’s, which continued to print its General (p.148) Guide through the 1890s, Rand, McNally specialized in travel and geography-related materials, but it was not owned or run by a railroad company. It joined other regional and national firms in producing single-city guides in addition to the more usual resort and route guides. The Standard Guide Company, for example, was associated with the Florida-based tour information company, Ask Mr. Foster, and a chain of information bureaus. A national market had emerged for travel to urban locations even apart from regional or national tours.8

Local publishers and hotels continued to print handbooks, guides, and souvenir folders, and individuals continued to write and publish urban guides throughout this period. Business and street directories remained common and now grew thicker than ever to incorporate more enterprises, telephone numbers, and the proliferating means of mass transportation. Still, the development of publishing companies and railroads trying to reach national markets with highly specialized works signaled a less intimate relationship between guidebook and tourist. No longer did a guidebook’s author stand as a surrogate friend to his social equals; now, large companies extended a generic welcome to a broad range of users. Ernest Ingersoll wrote and updated guides to New York for the Rand, McNally company, while the passenger agent C. A. Higgins wrote a long-lasting route guide for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, including a lengthy entry on San Francisco.9 In both cases, the authors were employees of the company. They were more like hired guides than personal friends. Although both midcentury and turn-of-the-century authors hoped to make money from their writings, the later works were not simply literary commodities but also advertisements for specific companies.

The expertise of the new-style guidebooks did not pretend to be local or personal; rather, it was corporate and businesslike—and, according to the companies, more reliable as a result. Rand, McNally informed readers of its 1891 New York guide, for example, that “‘guide-books,’ unfortunately so called, are often prepared primarily in the interest of certain advertising [enterprises], and hence are both partial and untrustworthy.” In contrast, the makers of Rand, McNally’s guides were quite independent: “in no single case has any remuneration, [direct or] indirect, influenced them in anything herein written or omitted.” This proud statement, however, did not indicate that business interests had vanished from the guide. Like turn-of-the-century newspapers and magazines, Rand, McNally sold advertising space in its guides, trusting this commercial transaction to provide the “independence” that the sponsorship (p.149) of single enterprises or political parties denied.10 Like Thomas Cook’s conductors, the guidebook writer embodied a new, professional position at once distancing tourists from local, particular social relationships and gaining them broader access to public places and information.

Still a popular form, urban sketches also changed in substance and distribution at the end of the nineteenth century. Writing about natural scenery had long been an integral part of the experience of viewing it. American cities had been the site and subject of ambitious literary efforts at least from midcentury. The journalist and urban sketch artist George Foster, for example, had sought literary fame and fortune, goals he believed had been frustrated by the vulgar nouveaux riches whose wealth bought them cultural preeminence. But, however popular, the sensational subject and style of much city description did not qualify as literature.11

Turn-of-the-century urban sketches began to situate American cities within the literary conventions of pleasure travel, just as tour companies, railroad passenger departments, and businessmen’s organizations were literally putting them on the tourist’s map. The authors of the later city sketches largely abandoned the earlier, sensationalist and reform-minded approach to focus on the charming, eccentric, or picturesque aspects of metropolitan life. Adopting a breezy, lighthearted voice, the new generation often turned its eyes away from the slums and ceased to question what lay behind closed doors. Often visitors to the city of their musings rather than residents, the urban sketch artists of the turn of the century dallied among the city’s cultural and recreational resources without much concern for any iniquities. Adopting the opposition between work and leisure forming in other arenas, they left the almshouses and asylums to reformers without literary pretensions or to novelists experimenting with a gritty new aesthetic and got on with the business of making popular art.12

The greater professionalization of writing and publishing was as important to the change in urban sketches as it was in city guides. The later writers had ready access to a broad, genteel audience through the pages of the middle-class, mass-circulation magazines that proliferated in these years. Upscale magazines such as Harper’s commissioned journalist-litterateurs to roam the country, particularly the Midwest and the West, visiting all good-sized cities. This practice was not entirely new; mid-nineteenth-century journals had published many essays on the phenomenal growth of midwestern cities. The articles that resulted from the earlier writers’ visits, however, tended to be serious discussions of each (p.150) city’s industrial and commercial importance, usually accompanied by a lament about its cultural impoverishment. Like the contemporaneous urban handbooks and sketches, their first concern was for the moral economy of the new city.13

Neither industry nor social structure dominated the new style of sketch, although both might be treated. Turn-of-the-century urban essayists tended to emphasize not a city’s role in the development of an American, industrial republic but its cultural significance for the development of a distinctively American literature and art. To express a native culture, each city had to have a unique, easily recognizable identity. City personality and national literature went hand in hand. Hungerford declared that he intended the sketches in The Personality of American Cities to portray “something of the flavor and personality of a typical American town.”14 A sensual experience had become the key to understanding both cities and America, where once the discipline of natural history dominated the metaphors.

Notably, both Hungerford and the popular writer Julian Street, author of Abroad at Home: American Ramblings, Observations, and Adventures (1914), visited only sizable cities, ignoring the vast rural areas and small towns so long thought the repository of a genuine, if democratically plebeian, American culture. And they understood their mission to have a cultural significance unrelated to the mundane facts of industry and commerce. As he packed in his New York flat for his venture into the provinces, Street received a telegram from a “literary friend” advising him that “you are going to discover the united states dont be afraid to say so.” Why be afraid? The journalist confessed that the project seemed at once worthwhile and yet “ridiculous, and ponderous, and solemn with an asinine solemnity.”15 Perhaps American cities did not yet merit the serious literary treatment of European sites, but Street nevetheless boldly risked their integration into the canon of travel literature.

Street’s account revealed the incorporation of American cities into a tourist circuit in another way as well, one less rarefied than a claim to literary significance. Although Street disavowed tourism, his approach exemplified the tourist’s. He had long wanted to roam the United States, “not as a tourist with a short vacation and a round-trip ticket, but as a kind of privateer with a roving commission.” The problem with tourism was its industrial regimentation and vicariousness of experience: “we Americans…rush about obsessed by ‘sights,’ seeing with the eyes of guides and thinking the ‘canned’ thoughts of guidebooks.” And too often journalists “go in search of some specific thing,” such as corruption (p.151) or comedy. Street rejected both kinds of structure: “I claim the right to ignore, when I desire to, the most important things, or to dwell with loving pen upon the unimportant.…I shall mention things which people told me not to mention.”16

In taking this tack, Street expressed the reigning ideal, if not the reality, of twentieth-century pleasure travel. His scorn for the industrialization of experience was one of the chief motives for pleasure travel in this era. Moreover, Street’s insistence on the primacy of the artistic temperament expressed the growing separation of the cultural from the economic that helped to underwrite urban tourism in the United States. Street’s wanderings would not produce an evaluation of social, commercial, and industrial factors shaping American urban life. Rather, he invoked the spiritual and aesthetic quest of earlier, romantic tourists to assert that the significance of his urban wanderings lay in the literary rendition of an entirely personal experience. Governed by whim, pleasure travel was emphatically not work; and yet, through its very lack of concentrated enterprise, it enabled the perspicacious traveler to discern a deeper truth about the places he or she visited. Leisure and self-indulgence might be the key to wisdom as well as personal pleasure. It was this kind of experience that tour providers promised to tourists and that city boosters believed would foster civic loyalty.17

The idea of city personality rested on the reconceptualization of the city as a living entity composed of the built environment and the citizens, both animated by civic spirit. This view was not unique to guidebooks. Its endorsement by advocates of the City Beautiful movement revealed both its political implications and how different it was from mid-nineteenth-century understandings of urbanity. Earlier reformers, notably the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, had conceived of cities as artificial constructs whose alienating effects on human beings needed to be leavened by rustic oases. In contrast, the idea of the city-as-organism assumed urban vitality and insisted on the interconnected-ness and functionality of its constituent parts:

The city that was a short while ago a mere aggregation of human cells has become a highly developed organism, with specialized members, definite needs, and ordered functions. It is growing a nervous system. A certain measure of civic spirit pervades it, so that it is recognized that what harms any part of it harms the whole.18

To portray a city as an individual or an organism abstracted it from its social relations and recast it as a singular subject whose needs and purposes (p.152) were already given in its physical structure. The realm of debate was radically limited, but the mobility and interconnection of parts ensured the participation of all—precisely the ideal of the tourist city.

The city-as-organism also lent itself to a forgiving attitude toward the urban evils that so appalled earlier writers: “Faults? Chicago has plenty of them, and knows it. So has the human race—and the universe, too, for that matter. But the faults of Chicago are those of youth,” insisted one travel writer in 1907. A chamber of commerce-sponsored guide to San Francisco informed the visitor, “You have reached a city so rich in its varied types and personal elements, so versatile, so human in its strengths and weaknesses.…, that it is fit to rank among the dominant communities of the world.”19 The evangelical and republican urgency of earlier authors faded in the face of a belief that urban areas were just going through a stage. Their adolescent awkwardness and emotional extremes would soon pass away with the normal onset of adulthood.

Set in the context of the turbulent urban politics of the turn of the century, the assertion of a unitary and unifying urban personality with an organic basis and life cycle was wishful thinking at best. At worst, it lent itself to cynical political maneuvering. It could easily be used to invoke a preexisting, apolitical unity to which all city dwellers owed allegiance. Any dissent became a betrayal rather than a legitimate exercise of democratic citizenship. Certainly this usage was implicit in the insistence of business organizations that any opposition to their plans indicated selfish, partisan “class interests.” But to see the idea of urban personality simply as a fantasy or a Machiavellian stratagem caricatures the complex mix of class interests and social anxieties that shaped elite and middle-class Americans’ responses to urban conditions at the turn of the century.20

Many Americans wanted to believe that no irreconcilable conflict existed between capital and labor, black and white, native-born and foreign-born. Some larger set of values, whether derived from Christianity, the Declaration of Independence, the new social sciences, or a carefully stylized urban built environment, could surely bring Americans in general and urbanites in particular together in harmony. Despite its limits, the imagined unity of the city’s personality indicated a continuing concern about the conditions enabling a legitimate social hierarchy in the city and a yearning for a sense of community. Guidebook writers and sketch artists expressed the same preoccupation with healing the rents in the social fabric that characterized muckraking, early social science, and realist writings. In these genres, writers hoped that finding (p.153) literary or statistical means of representing the deep divisions among city residents would reveal the way to overcome them.21 Implicit in the assertion of an organic personality magically incorporating all of the human and physical elements of the city was the hope that it really could be so.

Investing hopes for social harmony in the idea of urban personality marked a significant change in the ways that Americans understood the constitution and enactment of proper, republican social relations. It marked the demise of an older vision of moral community based on the creation of a “tangible” or knowable republic by means of face-to-face relations and refined behavior. The idea of city “personality” signaled the abandonment of any attempt to integrate visitors into the social structure of the city; instead, it integrated the city into the nation. Knowing that San Franciscans were particularly warm and hospitable people, a key aspect of the city’s personality, would replace for most tourists any real experience of the hospitality of city dwellers. What welcome they did encounter would come from workers in the tourist industry: hotel employees, paid guides, and souvenir sellers. Occupying a distinct “stranger’s path,” tourists perceived each city in terms of the personality traits that made it nationally distinctive rather than through local patterns of social interaction.22

As well as signaling and encouraging the integration of American cities into tourist itineraries, the idea of city personality smoothed the path of the broadening range of Americans who could afford to travel by the 1890s. The traces of this change appear in the guidebooks’ recommendations for how best to see the city. Earlier urban descriptions rarely made mention of the money or time to be spent in sight-seeing, although they might steer visitors to relatively expensive practices, such as hiring carriages, or time-consuming ones, such as walking up Broadway and Fifth Avenue from the Battery to Central Park. These were itineraries meant to introduce the well-to-do, genteel visitor to the social structure as much as the built environment of the city. Guidebook writers, in contrast, often assumed that visitors had limited time, money, and social contacts—and wanted to maximize their use of all three. As the publicist Frank Morton Todd declared, “To enable the stranger to appreciate and enjoy these quite exceptional scenes, with the least inconvenience and expenditure of time and money, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has prepared these directions for little jaunts on the street cars.”23

The replacement of the promenade by “little jaunts” hinted at the altered (p.154) relationship the turn-of-the-century tourist would have to both the urban built environment and city dwellers. Responding to the fear that the rationalization of city visits would devalue the experience, guidebooks typically promised tourists that they could still achieve the personal enlightenment and serious analysis of the places and peoples that travel was supposed to offer. The guides routinely insisted that to know a city required weeks, if not months or years: “To become well acquainted with the National Capital, and to thoroughly enjoy its many distinctive features, an extended visit is necessary.” Unfortunately, this kind of travel was no longer possible: “But as hundreds of visitors are pressed for time, and yet desire to see as much as possible, and the most interesting things, a few hints and suggestions may be of service.”24 No longer leisured gentlemen and ladies, modern tourists wanted the fastest and cheapest means of getting to the right places.

The guidebook presented itself as a substitute for the old-fashioned intensive investigation as well as an aid in the modern goal of the efficient use of leisure time. Not only was the Tourist’s Hand-Book of New York “intended to aid the out-of-town visitor in locating the many places and objects of interest,” but it would also help him or her in “avoiding those long and tedious side trips.” The guidebooks’ emphasis on efficiency highlighted the industrialization of leisure that eased lingering fears about the perils of enjoying oneself in public. Hutchins Hapgood lamented that Americans “hurry our business in order to get at our pleasure, and hurry our pleasure to get at our business.” Indeed, the leisure that most city guides encouraged was far from the “gentle loafing” that Hapgood dreamed of and that tourists often indulged on the long verandas of resort hotels in Saratoga and Monterey.25

City guides commonly insisted that sight-seeing was hard work. If the tourist attempted anything like the thoroughness and tight scheduling most published itineraries demanded, it certainly was. Advising readers to begin their tour of New York at the Battery in the south and to work northward, the anonymous author of New York City Illustrated (1902) added: “Don’t recoil at the term ‘work,’ for if you see anything like the better part of all that is to be seen in New York you will have accomplished a good deal more of work than of play.” A brochure distributed by the tourist agency Ask Mr. Foster provided a detailed schedule for seeing the national capital. Under the heading “ECONOMIZE TIME,” it specified to the half hour how much time a visitor should spend at each site.26

(p.155) As well as affiliating tourists with the waning tradition of elite travel, the strenuousness of tourism distinguished its practitioners from other, socially dangerous representatives of urban leisure of the period: tramps and bohemians. According to a slew of state laws criminalizing begging and vagrancy in the 1870s, a tramp was any person wandering about without visible means of support. Guidebook authors and urban sketch artists used the term “bohemian” loosely to describe the “careless and disreputable” men (and a few women) who lounged about in a few shabby cafe-saloons, justifying their unusual dress and dissipated habits as the signs of artistic temperament.27

Tourists certainly might fit either description, since they roamed through the city’s streets and institutions without any obvious source of income and often took tea or stronger beverages in city cafes. Visible industry, along with the brevity and commercial structure of the tourists’ visit to less than genteel places and people, was an important antidote to misspent leisure. The obvious cost and propriety of their clothing and their use of carriages, hotel rooms, and, increasingly, guidebooks, cameras, and tourist trolleys also helped to distinguish tourists from tramps and bohemians. Although they might occupy a park bench or enjoy a fine, slow-paced dinner, they did not sit idle on stairs or in beer gardens; they did not have the time to waste. Tourists’ modern efficiency in touring enabled them to partake in pleasures once available only to the rich. City touring thus embodied and expressed spatially the cultural position of a new middle class defined largely by its cultural capital and efficient use of resources.28

The Chicago teacher Helen Boyden, her mother, and a friend made up a particularly well-disciplined party. On their first day in New York in the summer of 1894, the three women rode the Fifth Avenue stage north, taking in the sights, and spent several hours touring Central Park and the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then the ladies boarded the elevated and rode down Broadway to the Battery on the waterfront, noting the parks, squares, churches, and other important buildings along the way. By then: “It is late so we board the 3rd Av. El. and ride across Wall Street over the famed Bowery,” ever vigilant for sights. After having supper with their local host, they visited Madison Square Garden’s rooftop summer theater before finally retiring. No one would mistake these sturdy voyagers for the leisured poor or dissipated artists; nor were they the philanthropic or business-minded sight-seers of the 1850s. Hapgood lamented that the American “always retains an element (p.156) of strenuousness,” even while playing. Boyden, with a week remaining in her monthlong summer vacation, told herself sternly, “Ma is quite ill & I am worn out but must not give up.”29

At the same time that they portrayed American cities as unified “personalities” deserving of literary and artistic treatment, the new city guidebooks and urban sketches created a distinct and thoroughly modern social role for the tourist. Because of their mobility and efficient use of leisure, tourists were the lifeblood of the urban organism. They circulated a holistic vision of the city even as their movement articulated its parts and connections. To fulfill this social function, tourists needed to know what to see and how to see it. Turn-of-the-century guidebooks and city sketches gave them this information by recasting urban landscapes as tidy artistic compositions and offering detailed itineraries. Both the composition and the itinerary shaped a distinctive spatial practice that enabled tourists to perceive sprawling, divided, and often squalid cities as a series of lovely sites available to the cultured transient. Undermining the distinction between public and private, this new geography replaced it with an opposition between work and leisure that privileged the latter as the realm of freedom and potential social reconciliation.

Creating Urban Landscapes

An essential element of a city’s personality was its built environment, or at least select parts of it. Both the new style of urban sketch and the city guidebook tended to portray cities primarily as visual, architectural artifacts rather than arenas of personal interaction. Like City Beautiful advocates, turn-of-the-century authors of urban description insisted that cities could be objects of beauty and refinement just as natural scenery was. But Americans had to be trained to see this beauty, as they were learning to appreciate stark western landscapes through travel sketches and photographs.30 The authors of guidebooks and city sketches intended to impart this skill by encouraging people to move about cities in a way that endowed the landscape with the spatial and social unity that the city’s personality presupposed. By overcoming the parochial tendencies of local residents, the tourist’s itineraries offered a means for realizing the new, cosmopolitan, and leisured social bonds that reformers, city boosters, and travel entrepreneurs envisioned.

Teaching Americans to see urban beauty at the turn of the century (p.157) was an easier task than it would have been fifty years earlier. By the late nineteenth century, the expansion of first-class retail, theater, and hotel districts created refined enclaves at the heart of many cities. These areas were concentrated celebrations of the power of industrial capitalism to provide both material abundance and meaningful freedoms to the individual, especially middle-class white women. Magnificent skyscrapers extended the reach of a modern kind of gentility into the business district as well. The rapid spread of electric trolley lines at the turn of the century accelerated the development of residential suburbs. The number of well-off city dwellers fleeing expanding areas of manufacturing, industry, and the neighborhoods of working-class and foreign-born residents rose quickly as well.31 In other words, as they grew in area and population, American cities became increasingly segregated by class, ethnicity, function, and gender. By directing the visitor to a city’s show-places, urban sketches and guidebooks portrayed these sprawling, divided cities as visually coherent landscapes readily available to the knowledgeable onlooker.

The guides and urban sketches often began by presenting the city as a composition, usually seen from afar. Authors of urban description had long urged visitors to climb church steeples (or the Capitol Dome) to survey the city from above, and views from the water were equally important for San Francisco and New York. Lithographed and photographed panoramas of the nation’s growing cities had been popular at least since midcentury. But often the city’s buildings were less important in such views than was evidence of the city’s commerce, in the shape of ships or lumberyards. Mid-nineteenth-century images tended to depict “dryness” by means of an indistinct, vast sprawl of uniform low buildings, long, straight streets, and isolated steeples and domes seen from a then-impossible aerial vantage point (see Fig. 8). As late as 1876 the veteran travel guide producer John Disturnell could write, “The panoramic view of the approach to [New York] City from the sea is very fine.” But, he sniffed, “[t]he view of the City is less prepossessing,” for “little of it is visible from the water, and it has no very striking object to arrest the eye.”32

By the early twentieth century, such a statement would have been ludicrous. More and more often, written and pictorial panoramas drew the approving eye past the picturesque and prosperous forest of masts and steamship smokestacks to distinctive urban landscapes. The newer views directed the reader’s attention to the city’s profile as limned by its (p.158) tallest edifices and seen from actual approaches to the city or from a lofty rooftop. By 1891 New York made a nicely composed painting when viewed from the harbor: “the massive commercial and office buildings at the lower end of the city group themselves into a magnificent mountain of stately architecture.…The focal and foreground point of the splendid scene is the Battery.”33

“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

Figure 8. Bird’s-eye view of New York City. Engraving by Frank Leslie, 1853. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62–23779.

Aided by guidebooks, stereoscope slides, and postcards, people came to recognize city profiles, soon dubbed “skylines,” and were eager to ascend to the observation decks that the owners of tall buildings so kindly provided to test their ability to recognize both individual landmarks and the overall pattern. Static images of important buildings, often shot at an angle that portrayed the hotel or city hall or church looming up in a landscape empty of other buildings, continued to dominate the multiplying numbers of stereographs and postcards produced at the turn of the century. But a growing number of street scenes depicted both soaring walls and a long stretch of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Such images attempted to portray the city in motion by incorporating large crowds, streetcars, and other symbols of mobility in the frame.34

The cover of the guidebook “New York Illustrated” (1914) is a striking (p.159) example of the pictorial representation of the tourist city. Tall buildings spike the city’s profile, while the sweep of the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan invites the visitor’s approach (Fig. 9). At the center of the booklet, a drawing picked out the looming office buildings of the business district in impossible size and detail. At the tip of the island, the exaggerated Battery Park is perfectly designed to balance the skyscrapers (Fig. 10). Aesthetically and literally, it provides the viewer with a place to rest and from which to view the city. Like guidebook narratives, this image shows a legible, orderly, and grand urban landscape.35

“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

Figure 9. Brooklyn Bridge looking toward Manhattan, “New York Illustrated” (1914). Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection.


“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

Figure 10. Lower Manhattan skyscrapers and Battery Park, “New York Illustrated” (1914). Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection.

The new method of perceiving cities as distinctive, dynamic wholes resulted in part from the availability of new building technologies and new forms of mass transportation. Rising far beyond the structural capacity of masonry and quickly overtopping the tallest church steeples, steel-framed skyscrapers made striking landmarks amid a sea of five-and six-story buildings. New York and Chicago entrepreneurs continually vied to build the world’s tallest building, and even San Francisco businessmen built upward in spite of the danger of earthquakes. Despite the criticism that such buildings barred sun from the streets and neighboring edifices, dehumanized the urban landscape, and increased traffic congestion, only Washington enjoyed an effective limit on building height before 1915, thanks to congressional fiat. But the perception of the new tall buildings, sometimes clumped and other times widely separated, as elements endowing the city with a visual, expressive unity was (p.161) not simply a function of their presence. The growing tendency to perceive the city as a unified work of art rather than an agglomeration of buildings, streets, and people endowed the tall buildings with a cultural significance their builders fully exploited.36

The panoramic view from above or from the water was only the initial, orienting step into the city. Guidebooks also offered a new mode of moving about cities, one that allowed tourists to avoid the perils and pitfalls so common in midcentury urban description. Unlike earlier works, the guidebooks provided detailed information about what the sights were, how to get there, and what the tourist should make of them. More and more often, detailed itineraries and maps highlighted tourist attractions, ensuring that visitors would not overlook anything worth seeing or see anything not so worthy.37 Like the conducted tours, guidebooks rationalized the landscape so it could best serve the casual visitor, and in the process separated pleasure travelers further from the everyday and local social relations. One of their aims, after all, was to eliminate the visitor’s need to ask for directions.

The exposition handbooks published for the Centennial Fair and the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1876 and 1893 had set a precedent for the new city guidebooks. Like the goods displayed on the fairgrounds, the host cities and others along the railways were exhibits of the nation’s history and progress. The relatively few city guides produced for the 1876 fair were quite similar to the existing urban handbooks. However, they explicitly addressed temporary visitors to the city, and they demonstrated more interest in naming the “points of interest” than had been characteristic of such works previously. Thus one Philadelphia guide included a map that showed the location of the fairgrounds, the main lines of transportation, and the “location of important buildings” and “points of commercial interest,” as well as the “built-up portion of Philadelphia as it was one hundred years ago.” Whereas some handbooks and the national guides had included maps, urban sketches never had. Combining the two genres, guidebooks now began to offer specialized tourist maps instead of reprinting existing city plans. Although more topographically accurate than the moral geography of earlier works, tourist maps were equally selective, emphasizing architecturally or historically important buildings and sites rather than neighborhoods.38

The guides to the exposition grounds influenced the development of the city guidebook proper in other ways as well, by providing an ideal urban landscape and a characteristically modern way of moving through (p.162) it. Expositions had begun under one roof in the innovative Crystal Palace in London in 1851. Americans had imitated that model in the not very successful New York fair of 1853. But by 1876 the volume of exhibits, the number of participants, and the scale of ambition had grown. Beginning with the 1873 Vienna exposition, large, landscaped parks containing several exhibition buildings replaced the single hall. Located in Philadelphia’s extensive Fairmount Park, the Centennial grounds covered 236 acres and included five shared exhibit halls (Main, Machinery, Art, Horticulture, and Agriculture) as well as dozens of state and foreign buildings.39 Later world’s fairs would make the 1876 event look small.

Given the sheer size of the grounds of the Philadelphia fair, the construction of an intramural railway was a pragmatic concession to the limits of human physical strength. But the three-mile, narrow-gauge, double-track railroad circling the fairgrounds was much more than that. The tiny railroad was itself a display of American industrial strength, a miniature version of the nation’s vast railway network, which included more than ninety-three thousand miles of track in 1880. Further, it had a crucial role to play in the tourist’s experience of the fair: “On arrival on the grounds, take a seat in one of the narrow-gauge railroad cars.…The tour of the entire grounds is thus made, occupying twenty minutes, at the cost of five cents, and giving an excellent general idea of the grounds and relative location of buildings.”40 Riding on the intramural railway enabled visitors to encounter the exposition as a coherent, visual whole before they passed among its walls and crowds. In cities, a growing variety of mass transportation similarly offered a means of seeing the city at once distant, like the view from above, and mobile, encompassing areas too distant to be seen from a single perspective.

The grounds and buildings of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 made forcefully apparent what was only suggested at the Centennial celebration: the fairgrounds constituted an ideal city. Planned as an architectural ensemble, uniform in style and color, the “White City” also boasted monumental buildings and statuary, plentiful and clean modes of travel, broad streets, elegant waterways, artistic lighting, and good policing. The notorious ugliness, dirt, and danger of the host city, Chicago, furnished an all-too-obvious contrast. In 1912 Charles Moore, the director of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915), made a grand claim for host San Francisco: “Her whole house will be open, decorated, lighted, swept and made ready. The city is the site.”41

Corollary to the exposition’s ideal built environment was an ideal (p.163) mode of inhabiting a city, one foreshadowed by the cultural uses of the intramural railroad at the Philadelphia fair. The grounds and buildings of the great expositions constituted an urban built environment specifically created to move through and to look at: a tourist’s city. The magnificent, though temporary, edifices and the lavish displays of manufactured goods and produce presented the ideal urban landscape as an artifact of aesthetic significance and commercial abundance. The broad avenues reserved for foot and pushchair traffic eliminated the vehicular dangers of city streets, and the cost of admission—usually fifty cents—excluded the human ones.42

Ordinary, permanent cities would never achieve the unity of style, careful spatial organization, cleanliness, and personal security that exposition grounds provided, Moore’s claim for San Francisco notwithstanding. Nor could real cities ensure the supremacy of leisurely contemplation that the world’s fairs encouraged. The near-impossibility of implementing the plans promoted by the City Beautiful movement for the nation’s largest cities proved that. But by the 1890s urban guidebooks nevertheless began to write about real cities as if they were expositions. Landmarks proliferated nearly as quickly as exposition buildings and statuary, the gifts of philanthropic millionaires, proud ethnic and veterans’ organizations, and public subscription campaigns.43 And the means of getting about the city quickly also increased, making possible the mobility that allowed exposition visitors to master the grounds before setting foot in them.

Mid-nineteenth-century urban description had rarely made mass transportation the basis for a tour of the city, merely advising visitors to be wary of the chicaneries of hack drivers. Most of the earlier works, in fact, did not bother to explain how the visitor was to get to the city hall, prison, almshouse, college, church, or hospital described as among the city’s salient features. The spatial practice of the visitor was not so different from that of the resident as to require special directions, and most visitors would have had local hosts to guide them. In contrast, guidebook writers frequently offered detailed advice on how to “do” the city. Lacking local connections, tourists needed instructions about not just what to see but how to see it, if they were to grasp the city’s personality quickly and efficiently.44

Urban railways were crucial to the new focus and practice of tourism. A growing number of turn-of-the-century tourists likely did not have the money to spend on frequent or extensive carriage rides, and in any case there were simply more “modes of conveyance” and many more miles of (p.164) track in the nation’s sprawling cities. By 1900 Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C., all had both horse-drawn and electric rail systems plying their streets. San Francisco and Chicago also had cable cars, invented to make the former city’s steep hills accessible for business and housing. In addition, Chicago and New York featured elevated steam and electric railways, and in 1904 the latter opened its subway system. These services often cost a mere five cents a ride. Steamboats also served commuters and excursionists in each city.45

In giving detailed instructions about how to reach the important landmarks and how to board and pay for trolley rides, guidebook writers assumed that visitors were unfamiliar with the city. They also assumed that the main-street promenade was no longer sufficient to introduce the tourist to a city’s characteristic buildings and residents. That experience would remain important, particularly in New York, but it increasingly became associated with a visit to the first-class business, retail, and theater districts, not an experience of the city’s social structure. Instead, echoing many exposition guides, one author advised the tourist that “the best way to familiarize himself with a city is to ride over the main lines of the street railway.” Traveling from Boston to Daytona, Florida, in 1892–93, the sisters Anna and Bessie Douglas spent several hours riding from one end of the streetcar line to the other during their brief stay in Jacksonville.46

Tourists’ reliance on mass transportation affected their experience of the city. Traveling relatively quickly through the landscape, the rider could perceive the buildings and people there as the elements in a panorama. A popular form of entertainment at the time, panoramas were great circular murals past which the viewer walked. They promised to make the surrounded viewer feel as if he or she was participating in a dramatic, usually terrifying event such as the Battle of Gettysburg, the Great Chicago Fire, or the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However magnificent, of course, they remained painted representations, and the visitor was in little danger of death by fire.47

Rapid transit permitted passengers to treat the passing city in a similarly spectatorial, fascinated manner. In a much-quoted passage from the novel A Hazard of New Fortunes, William Dean Howells had New York newcomers Basil and Isabel March board the elevated:

She now said that the fleeting intimacy you formed with people in second and third floor interiors…had a domestic intensity mixed with a perfect repose that was the last effect of good society with all its security and exclusiveness. He said it was better than the theatre.48

(p.165) Such an encounter contrasted sharply with the promenade, which plunged the stranger and the visitor into the urban crowds. Walking on State or Market Street, Broadway or Pennsylvania Avenue, offered an intensity far from domestic and very little exclusivity. The stroller was necessarily a player as well as an onlooker. Riding the cars removed the tourist from participation in the everyday and simultaneously offered it to him or her as spectacle. As Isabel March’s words suggest, this distance endowed the city with all the “security and exclusiveness” of elevated social circles, making city touring safer and more accessible for the refined.

Moreover, like the rail circuit of the exposition grounds, a ride over a city’s streetcar lines gave the rider a primarily architectural sense of the city’s differences. Rather than the dress and manner of the citizens, the streetcar promenader could see chiefly the height, material, and style of the buildings. Boarding a Market Street car at the Ferry Building, Charles Keeler wrote of San Francisco’s main business street, “[H]ere and there a fine modern building of stone or terra cotta shows that the city is alive and growing.” Particularly good evidence was “[t]he fine Crocker building…while across the way…a whole block is taken up with the Palace Hotel.”49 This kind of perception assumed that fine buildings were sufficient evidence of the city’s good health, something the mid-nineteenth-century urban sketch artists, with their penchant for revealing the evil hidden behind fine facades, would never have done.

Of course, the social distance that the streetcar ride made possible was far from complete, for a cross section of ordinary city residents crowded into the seats and hung onto the straps of every mode of mass transit. Like the Broadway omnibus in Foster’s day, streetcars were microcosms of urban social relations. Guidebooks rarely mentioned the social relations of mass transit cars, but turn-of-the-century newspaper sketches and popular songs often did. “On a north side car, one day recently,” the Chicago journalist George Ade reported, “a woman calmly handed the conductor a $20 bill and said ‘One.’” As the other passengers snickered, the conductor got his revenge by returning the $19.95 change in coins. When the woman promptly discovered that she had a nickel after all, the conductor refused to accept it.50 Well-to-do women’s disdain for streetcar etiquette was a frequent butt of men’s jokes.

At night, a streetcar ride revealed the underbelly of urban social relations. “Did you ever ride south on State street in the 4 o’clock car?” Ade asked his readers. “In one corner is a human being, ‘drunk.’…There are always three or four flashy young colored men who are smoking.… (p.166) If a Chinaman can squeeze in next to the stove it helps out.” The “frowsy girls” who boarded next were so unrefined that the men continued to smoke, and the conductor was often called on to break up fights. Unlike a midcentury urban sketch artist, Ade did not make this anecdote the basis for social or moral criticism. Nor did his night’s ride on the cars illuminate the social order and the relations among the different classes. Instead, Ade portrayed nonwhite, lower-class urbanites as occupying a world of their own, available to respectable Chicagoans but hardly a threat to their station. This world need not impinge on the tourist if he or she did not go looking for it.51

But Ade’s cool distance from the crowd was sometimes hard to achieve. Riding in the cars often exemplified the social and physical discomforts of urban life, as William Jerome’s lyrics for “Hold Fast!” (1901) illustrated:

  • There wasn’t room for breathing and you couldn’t turn your head,
  • For fear you’d bunk it into someone’s face,
  • And this is what we call the ‘human race,’
  • They slammed us in and they jammed us in and piled us up in stacks,
  • The Irish, Dutch and Blacks, stuck elbows in our backs.52

The cars were renowned for violating sexual proprieties as well as the ethnic ones that Jerome’s indignant Anglo-Saxons bemoaned. The 1907 song “I Lost Her in the Subway” chronicled the tragic separation of a young couple just married at city hall:

  • When last I saw my dear, just let me shed a tear,
  • With both her hands she hung on to a strap,
  • The train went ‘round a curve, the crowd began to swerve,
  • She fell and fourteen men dropped in her lap;
  • A youth gave her a seat, then stepped upon her feet.…
  • I saw him wink his eye, I heard my darling’s sigh,
  • I hate to think what happened after that.53

Here was no deception such as the Young Widow had practiced but simply nature taking its way. Just as cities would grow out of their adolescent flaws, so would city residents become acquainted as the inconvenience of urban life dictated.

But even though visitors and residents often used the same streetcars, each group went to different places at different times and for different reasons. Tourists’ goals, and the efforts of guidebook writers to structure them, drew them away from urbanites’ everyday routines of work and leisure. Guidebooks accomplished this separation by providing long (p.167) lists of the “sights” worth seeing and, with increasing frequency, detailed itineraries. As well as listing the various “modes of conveyance,” the authors of city guidebooks told visitors where they ought to go.54

Once again, the exposition guides provided a precedent. The Visitors’ Guide to the Centennial Exposition adjured its readers sternly to avoid “an objectless loitering tour” by studying the guide and map carefully to design an itinerary. The anonymous author of the Official Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition agreed that such study was “an absolute necessity to one who would not travel aimlessly over the grounds and who has a purpose beyond that of a mere curiosity hunter.” Aimlessness and objectlessness caused the tourist to see “nothing in particular but things in general.”55 The educative, uplifting effect that expositions—and refined urban landscapes—were intended to exercise was lost if the sight-seer merely wandered. In spite of the growing acceptance of public, urban leisure, fairgoing and urban tourism still required some didactic purpose if they were to be respectable entertainments. Now that tourists no longer shared residents’ aims in moving about the city, they needed some other respectable motive.

Guidebook authors similarly insisted that they provided the itineraries to enable tourists to get the most out of their stays. Frank Morton Todd wrote in his chamber of commerce-sponsored San Francisco guide, “We shall give you your bearings, in time and place. We shall endeavor to show you the way, and smooth it for you too. We shall tell you what to seek and how to find it, and possibly what it may mean when you have found it.”56 The itinerary defined and mapped the city the visitor was to see and guided visitors toward its selection of “sights.” It was a means of rationalizing both the urban built environment and tourism.

By the turn of the century, many cities offered a genteel, rational alternative to the streetcars that contributed to this rationalization: the seeing-the-city streetcars and autos. The Seeing Washington Observation Cars were advertised as “Exclusive” as well as “Diverting/Economical/Instructive.” A competitor declared: “LADIES Remember our coaches have no awkward ladders to climb. Built for your convenience. Polite, uniformed guides on every trip.”57 Like the railroads and hotels, the sight-seeing cars sought to provide an ideal social space removed from the urban masses. (See figs. 11,12.) While the trolleys often used the tracks of the local electric rail system, they did not follow the usual routes that moved residents between work, shopping, and home.

When motorized, open-topped buses began to replace trolleys in the early twentieth century, the sight-seeing companies boasted that they of (p.168) fered tourists a glimpse of what was off the beaten track. Moreover, they did so in an economical yet comprehensive fashion, as the traveler James Law found: “A thousand points of interest were passed in review in about two hours at a total expense of fifty cents.”58 To do the same tour in a hired carriage would have taken hours longer and cost several dollars. The sight-seeing car was the modern, efficient way to get the job done right.

“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

Figure 11. Seeing Washington touring car, “Touring Washington” brochure. Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection.

The selected sights and the guide’s determinedly amusing monologue directed the attention of the car’s riders primarily to the historical and aesthetic features of the urban landscape: “the public buildings, the grand boulevards, the residences of great men of the past and of the present, the beautiful parks, the noble monuments.…, the historic spots and the 20th century business sections.” A focus on the built environment characterized urban handbooks as well, but in those earlier works, the institutions of government and benevolence had predominated. Turn-of-the-century sight-seeing cars and guidebook itineraries emphasized instead a city’s parks, mansions, and monuments, skyscrapers and retail palaces. Although government buildings remained an important (p.169) part of the tour, especially in Washington, D.C., hospitals and asylums no longer made the grade for tourist itineraries.59

“An Individuality All Its Own”: Tourist City and Tourist Citizens, 1876–1915

Figure 12. Seeing Chicago auto at Monroe Street near State Street. Detroit Publishing Company. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-D4–39413.

Moreover, whereas the midcentury urban sketch artists had written of mansions and magnificent business edifices as evidence of opportunity and opportunism, the later guidebooks presented them as signs of a general aesthetic awakening. The authors of King’s Handbook of New York City declared, “The general art taste of the community is revealed on every side, especially the local architecture.…The Vanderbilt houses, the Stewart Mansion, the Union-League-Club buildings,” and a series of new, towering hotels all “give architectural distinction to the city.”60 Replacing biographical sketches as a stategy for personalizing city landscapes, the descriptions of such mansions allowed tourists to feel the kind of vicarious domesticity that Isabel March experienced as she glanced into people’s windows along the elevated tracks. The mobile, aesthetic appreciation of the city’s architecture encouraged visitors (p.170) to perceive private wealth as an expression of the nation’s success, just as expositions did.

In addition to turning sight-seers’ attention primarily to the built environment, trolley touring furnished a discontinuous, visually oriented experience quite distinct from the promenader’s stroll at street level amid the urban crowds. Frank Morton Todd’s How to See San Francisco by Trolley and Cable (1912) provided a striking example. The first of eight detailed itineraries began at the Ferry Building on the bay and took the tourist “through the edge of Chinatown, over the top of Nob Hill, where the Comstock and railroad millionaires built their mansions.” It ended on the western edge of the peninsula at “a point within easy walking distance of the Cliff House and Sutro Garden, Museum, and Baths.” Along the way, the rider would glimpse old St. Mary’s Church, two Chinese bazaars, Telegraph Hill, Yerba Buena Island, the University Club, the Fairmont Hotel, and more. Some of these “points of interest” stood along the route; others appeared in the medium and far distance.61

The visually discontinuous experience that a streetcar ride permitted also may have contributed to a changed sense of locality. A crucial factor enabling the segmentation of cities, mass transit permitted travelers to cross urban social boundaries even as it created them. The ability to travel rapidly through the city might allow a person to be “at home” in several geographically distinct regions. Also, the development of residential suburbs accelerated after the introduction of the electric trolley in 1888. A growing range of well-off but not wealthy Americans could now afford to live outside the city proper while commuting there for work, shopping, and entertainment. Suburbanization created an expanding pool of people familiar with city attractions and yet able to evade urban conflicts, especially when suburbs began resisting annexation at the turn of the century. Although commuting was quite different from pleasure travel, both invited the passenger to experience a city as linked together by patterns of transience rather than residence.62

Residents, suburban commuters, and visitors all enjoyed playing in the city’s retail and theater districts, but tourists could approach the entire urban landscape as a site of leisure. Guidebooks presented the skyscrapers and banks of the city’s business district primarily as aesthetic wonders. Boasting a courtyard with “a tessellated pavement, from which rise lines of rose-colored marble columns with onyx capitals, upholding an entablature of polished red granite,” the ensemble topped by a stained-glass dome, the Equitable building in New York was an ornament to lower Broadway.63 Tourists admired skyscrapers’ lavish lobbies, (p.171) and many took the express elevator to their rooftop observatories for a view of the city. The proliferation of fine retail and office buildings opened the entire business district to refined leisure.

Guidebook writers often noted the cost of construction or number of workers of skyscrapers and banks, but the labors performed there received little attention. Instead, travel writers like Edward Hungerford were more prone to notice what workers—especially the growing numbers of women employed in offices—did during their lunch hours. According to his tale of a day’s visit to New York, the female clerks frequented dance halls; men’s noontime place of preference seemed to be crowded, hectic cafeterias. Even when travel writers took their readers behind the scenes, to the pressrooms of the great daily newspapers and the back halls and workrooms of department stores, few workers appeared in prose.64 Fifty years before, urban portraitists had found the sight of such large enterprises, with every man in his place, a powerful symbol of the ability of industrial organization to overcome the centrifugal effects of a market economy.

The lack of attention to work and workers was not unique to urban guidebooks. American tourists had long made a practice of visiting industrial sites and were fascinated to find out how things worked, as many exposition exhibits demonstrated. Factory tours continued to be popular in the twentieth century, although city guidebooks rarely mentioned them. But the interest in workplaces did not amount to an interest in the people laboring there. By the early twentieth century, an “industrial aesthetic” shaped the perceptions of many middling Americans. Tall chimneys pouring smoke into the air, huge, fiery furnaces, and cluttered, sprawling industrial sites demonstrated the nation’s industrial prowess and a stark, modern kind of beauty. To perceive factories in terms of chiaroscuro necessarily dulled the viewer’s awareness of workers and working conditions. In contributing to the transformation of cities into aesthetic landscapes, guidebooks helped to efface the evidence of the social relations underlying them.65

The chief exception to the neglect of industrial sites in urban guidebooks was the near-obligatory visit to Chicago’s Union Stockyards and its associated packinghouses. They quickly became one of the city’s characteristic attractions after their opening in 1865. With a keen eye for publicity, company officials provided conducted tours for visitors to the complex at least from the 1870s. Most tourists found the operations an awesome example of American organizational genius and industrial might. A few admitted that the mass butchery in the packinghouses (p.172) made them squeamish. But, as Upton Sinclair found after the publication of his expose of the industry in 1906, well-to-do Americans were not particularly concerned with the working conditions there. Concerns about health and sanitation probably helped to turn public sentiment against the tour in the early twentieth century. Perhaps equally important, the scale and efficiency of the stockyard and packinghouses were no longer extraordinary.66

Mass transportation, guidebook itineraries, and seeing-the-city cars each contributed to distancing tourists from local residents and their uses of the built environment. The corollary of the development of specialized tourist services and spatial practices was that tourists became an increasingly distinct presence in city streets. New York’s Fifth Avenue stages, among the last surviving lines of horse-drawn omnibuses, allowed tourists to join and to gawk at the carriage parade and mansions of the wealthy. Turn-of-the-century travel writers frequently noted (and scorned) the groups of “rubberneckers” and the seeing-the-city cars led by the well-rehearsed “man with the megaphone.”67

Obviously out of place, city visitors could also be annoyingly well informed about the “sights.” When Chicago businessman Elden Hartley’s brother Jonas came to visit, George Ade wrote, he found that despite several years’ residence in the city, Elden had not visited the Art Institute in its new building, did not know where the waterworks were, had never seen the Newberry Library, and did not know how to get to Humboldt Park. Jonas, who did know and planned to visit all these attractions, told his brother, “‘I think you had better lay off a week or two and become acquainted with your own town.’” City businessmen, City Beautiful advocates, tour companies, and many Progressives heartily endorsed Jonas Hartley’s advice. Elden’s admission that he was not well acquainted with some of Chicago’s sights because “one has little occasion to be over in this neighborhood” spoke to a physical and social segmentation that many urban reformers hoped to overcome by encouraging the proper use of leisure.68

To many city boosters, the creation of beautiful city landscapes and the refined tourists they attracted seemed the key to overcoming this urban parochialism and inspiring a sense of civic belonging that had little to do with the mundane relationships and spatial practices of work, family, and local community. Primers for this new spatial practice, the new guidebooks described the tourist’s transient, architectural appreciation of the city as a kind of vicarious, democratic ownership, available to anyone with eyes to see. Aiming to “beautify and adorn San Francisco,” (p.173) the Association for the Improvement and Adornment of San Francisco declared, “We have thought of our parks, our neighbors’ houses, our streets and our city as of our own home”—although not, of course, in any literal sense. Tourism, not socialism, was the proper means of realizing this collective possession: “Stay-at-homes know who owns the next house, the adjoining farm, but to the traveler in distant states, there is a sense of ownership in everything.”69

This sense of corporate ownership through tourism became most clear in two related forms of city visits: historical walking tours and slumming in the neighborhoods of ethnic minorities. Both inscribed on city landscapes the legitimate social authority of well-to-do Americans and encouraged them to repossess large parts of the city given over to commerce and the immigrant working class. Both practices contributed to the erosion of refinement and separate spheres most obviously by easing the social dangers of public places. They also exemplified the uses of a historical narrative and racial ideas to create a broad sense of social ownership that made genteel self-possession less culturally necessary.


(1) . The Tourist’s Hand-Book of New York: Old Landmarks, Memorial Tablets, Origin of Street Names, Old Sites of Playhouses, Historical Features, Special Trips for Visitors, Chronology of Manhattan, from 1524 to 1905, for the Resident and Visitor Alike (New York: Historical Press, 1905), cover and introd.; emphasis in the original.

(2) . Southern Pacific Railroad, New York/New Orleans Sunset Route (Southern Pacific Railroad, 1914–15), 45.

(3) . Edward Hungerford, The Personality of American Cities: San Francisco (San Francisco: Chamber of Commerce, 1915), 3; Frank Morton Todd, The Chamber of Commerce Handbook for San Francisco, Historical and Descrip tive; a Guide for Visitors (San Francisco: Chamber of Commerce, 1914), 29. See also James W. Shepp and Daniel B. Shepp, Shepp’s New York Illustrated (New York: Shepp & Shepp, 1893), 4; Julian Street, Abroad at Home: American Ram- blings, Observations, and Adventures (New York: Century Co., 1914), 18: “places, no less than persons, have characters and traits and habits of their own.” Warren Susman, “‘Personality’ and the Making of Twentieth-Century Culture,” in his Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 271–86.

(4) . Hungerford, Personality of American Cities, 23–24; Susan Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market (New York: Pantheon, 1989).

(5) . On Washington, see Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Washington, the Capital City, and Its Part in the History of the Nation (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1902), 2:386–87; Stilson Hutchins and Joseph West Moore, The National Capital, Past and Present: The Story of Its Settlement, Progress, and Development, with Profuse Illustrations of Its Historical Objects, Public Buildings, Memorial Statuary, and Beautiful Homes (Washington, D.C.: Post Publishing Co., 1885), 303–4; and Henry James, The American Scene (New York: Penguin Books, 1994; orig. 1907), 345. On Chicago, see Frederick Francis Cook, speech before the Chicago Historical Society, 1910, 8–10 and passim, Chicago Description, CHS; Hungerford, Personality of American Cities, 200–204; Commerce 5:30 (December 3, 1909): 30. On New York, see Hungerford, Personality of American Cities, 17, 19; M. F. Sweetser and Simeon Ford, How to Know New York City; a Serviceable and Trustworthy Guide,…revised to October 1, 1890, with map, 8th ed. (New York: J. J. Little & Co., 1891), 4–6. On San Francisco, see William Doxey, Doxey’s Guide to San Francisco and the Pleasure Resorts of California (San Francisco: William Doxey, 1897), 97; Southern Pacific Railroad, Wayside Notes Along the Sunset Route (Eastbound) (San Francisco: Southern Pacific Passenger Department, 1911), 3–4; Benjamin Ide Wheeler, “The New San Francisco,” American Monthly Illustrated Review of Reviews 33:197 (June 1906): 683; Charles Sedgwick Aiken, San Francisco, California’s Metropolis; the City that Fronts the Orient (San Francisco: San Francisco Commissioners for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904), n.p.

(6) . See, for example, Robert Harlan, At the Sign of the Lark: William Dox-ey’s (p.254) San Francisco Publishing Venture (San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1983); Doxey published his city guidebook, Doxey’s Guide to San Francisco and the Pleasure Resorts of California, as he launched his business as a bookseller and publisher.

(7) . For example, George Englehardt, New York, the Metropolis: The Book of Its Merchants’ Association and of Co-operating Public Bodies (New York: George W. Englehardt Co., 1902); Ernest Ingersoll, A Week in New York (New York: Rand, McNally, 1891); and idem, Rand, McNally & Co.’s Handy Guide to New York City, nth ed. (New York: Rand, McNally, 1901); note the title change.

(8) . “Ask Mr. Foster” (Buffalo, N.Y.: W. Hengerer Co., 1914), Warshaw Collection, Tours, box 4; Cynthia H. Peters, “Rand, McNally and Company in the Nineteenth Century: Reaching for a National Market,” Chicago History 13: i (Spring 1984): 64–72; Andrew McNally III, The World of Rand McNally (New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1956).

(9) . Ingersoll, A Week in New York (1891); idem, Rand, McNally & Co.’s Handy Guide to New York City (1901); a very similar guide was published for Chicago in 1893 witn no author listed. C. A. Higgins, To California and Back (Chicago: Passenger Department, Santa Fe Route [Southern Pacific], 1893); and a similar work with the same title and notes by Charles Keeler (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1904); Keeler himself wrote San Francisco and Thereabouts (San Francisco: A. M. Robertson, 1902–6) for the California Promotion Committee. Higgins was assistant passenger agent for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and played a role in developing tourism in the Southwest as well as in California.

(10) . Ingersoll, A Week in New York, introd.; Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1978).

(11) . Dona Brown, Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995); William Stowe, Going Abroad: European Travel in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); Stuart Blumin, introduction to New York by Gas-Light and Other Urban. Sketches by George F. Foster (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 225–27.

(12) . William Taylor, “The Launching of a Commercial Culture: New York City, 1860–1930,” in Power, Culture, and Place: Essays on New York City, ed. John Hull Mollenkopf (New York: Russell Sage, 1988), 107–27; and James Gilbert, Perfect Cities: Chicago’s Utopias of 1893 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), chap. 4, both analyze turn-of-the-century guidebooks.

(13) . Christopher Wilson, “The Rhetoric of Consumption: Mass-Market Magazines and the Demise of the Gentle Reader, 1880–1920,” in The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880–1980, ed. Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears (New York: Pantheon, 1983), 39–64. Julian Street’s Abroad at Home was sponsored by the Century Co.; Julian Ralph’s Harper’s Chicago and the World’s Fair (New York: Harper & Bros., 1893) stated its backing in the title; and his Our Great West: A Study of the Present (p.255) Conditions and Future Possibilities of the New Commonwealths and Capitals of the United States (New York: Harper & Bros., 1893) was based on the same journey; cf. Caroline Kirkland, “Illinois in Spring-time: With a Look at Chicago,” Atlantic Monthly 2 (1858): 475–88.

(14) . Hungerford, The Personality of American Cities, i.

(15) . Street, Abroad at Home, 6–7, italics and punctuation in the original; Warren Susman, “The City in American Culture,” in his Culture as History, 237–51.

(16) . Street, Abroad at Home, 3–4, 19. He also refused to use statistics, a staple of guidebooks and guided tours.

(17) . Street’s reference to whimsical leisure was deceptive, as the journey gave him material for several articles and a book. On tourism and its critics, see James Buzard, The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to Culture, 1800–1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), introd., chap. 1.

(18) . Merchants’ Association Review [San Francisco], 6:71 (July 1902): 12; see also William H. Wilson, The City Beautiful Movement (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 47–48.

(19) . Newton Dent, “The Romance of Chicago: The Record of a Dominant Spirit of Hustle; the Growth of the Western Metropolis—Its Tremendous Impetus and Its Contribution to the Making of America,” Munsey’s Magazine 37:1 (April 1907): 20; Todd, The Chamber of Commerce Handbook for San Francisco, 29.

(20) . See, for example, Carl Smith, Urban Disorder and The Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

(21) . Amy Kaplan, The Social Construction of American Realism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), especially her analysis of William Dean Howells’s A Hazard of New Fortunes; Rebecca Zurier,Robert W. Snyder and Virginia M. Mecklenburg, Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York (New York: National Museum of American Art and W. W. Norton, 1995).

(22) . J. B. Jackson, “The Stranger’s Path,” in Landscapes: Selected Writings of John Brinckerh off Jackson, ed. Ervin H. Zube (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970), 92–106.

(23) . Frank Morton Todd, How to See San Francisco by Trolley and Cable (San Francisco: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Publicity Committee, 1912), 4; see also New York City Illustrated /Visitor’s Guide and Tourist’s Directory of Leading Hotels…, 3d ed. (New York: New York Journal System of Information Bureaus, 1902), 3; Merchants’ Association of New York, Pocket Guide to New York (New York: Merchants’ Association, 1906), 166; A Visitor’s Guide to the City of New York, Prepared by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on the occasion of the Return of Admiral Dewey…(New York: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1899), 5; Ethel Shackelford, “The New Method of Seeing New York,” Boston Evening Transcript, December 23, 1903, n.p.; Chicago’s Checkerboard Guide, World’s Fair Edition…Compiled Especially for the Visitor of a Few Days or Weeks, compliments of Phelps, Dodge & Palmer Co., Manufacturers (Chicago: A. H. Pokorny & Co., 1893), preface; Chicago Association of (p.256) Commerce, A Guide to the City of Chicago (Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce, 1909), 68, 86; The Rand, McNally Souvenir Guide to Chicago: A Compendium of Reliable Information for Shoppers and Sightseers Desiring to Visit the Stores and Manufacturing Districts, and the Points of Special Interest…(Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1912; published under the auspices of the Publicity Committee of the Chicago Association of Commerce), 59; C. A. Higgins, with Charles Keeler, To California and Back: A Book of Practical Information for Travelers to the Pacific (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1904), 204.

(24) . Joseph West Moore, Picturesque Washington, Pen and Pencil Sketches of Its Scenery, History, Traditions, Public and Social Tife…(Providence: J. A. and R. A. Reid, 1884), 296; see also J. M. Wing & Co., Seven Days in Chicago (Chicago: J. M. Wing & Co., 1878), 17.

(25) . The Tourist’s Hand-Book of New York…, title page and introd.; Hutchins Hapgood, Types from the City Streets (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1910), 114, 117; see also The Heart of Chicago I At a Glance. Free Guide…A Handy Companion for Visitors, 16th ed. (n.p., n.d., probably 1893): 1; Chicago Association of Commerce, A Guide to the City of Chicago, 3; Rand, McNally & Co.’s Bird’s-Eye Views and Guide to Chicago…(Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1898), introd.; Gustav Kobbe, New York and Its Environs; with maps and illustrations (New York: Harper & Bros., 1891), preface.

(26) . New York City Illustrated /Visitor’s Guide and Tourist’s Directory, 5; “Information/What to See in Washington,” Ask Mr. Foster brochure (1906), box 1, Washington, D.C., Warshaw Collection, AC/NMAH; see also Rand, McNally & Co.’s Handy Guide to Chicago and World’s Columbian Exposition. Illustrated. What to See and How to See It (Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1893), 83; Sweetser and Ford, How to Know New York, 4. Other guides noted that their itineraries required the tourist to spend no more than a few minutes at each “sight.”

(27) . Hapgood, Types, 120; Amy Dru Stanley, “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers: Compulsion and Contract in Postbellum America,” Journal of American History 78:2 (March 1992): 1267. When capitalized, “Bohemian” also named the people now called Czech; the broader meaning seems to have developed from the association of the southern German habit of gemutlichkeit with anyone who combined beer drinking with more or less serious conversation about art and music.

(28) . The term “cultural capital” is from Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), 12, 53–54; Richard Ohmann, Selling Culture: Magazines, Markets, and Class at the Turn of the Century (New York: Verso, 1996), examines the cultural formation of an American “professional-managerial” class at the turn of the century.

(29) . Helen Boyden diary, vol. 2, July 10 and July 30, 1894, CHS; Hapgood, Types, 120.

(30) . Anne Farrar Hyde, An American Vision: Ear Western Landscape and National Culture, 1820–1920 (New York: New York University Press, 1990); Marguerite Shaffer, See America Eirst: Tourism and National Identity, 1905–1930 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001).

(p.257) (31) . William Leach, “Transformations in a Culture of Consumption: Women and Department Stores, 1890–1925,” Journal of American History 71: 2 (September 1984): 319–42; Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991), chap. 4; Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

(32) . John Disturnell, comp., New York as It Was and as It Is; Giving an Account of the City from Its Settlement to the Present Time; Forming a Complete Guide to the Metropolis of the Nation, Including the City of Brooklyn and the Surrounding Cities and Villages; Together with a Classified Business Directory. With Maps and Illustrations (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1876), 53. By Disturnell’s own account in the preface, he had been publishing both New York City and state directories, almanacs, and guides to scenic tours since 1833; an∼ other Disturnell continued in the business: DisturnelVs Strangers’ Guide to San Francisco and Vicinity (San Francisco: W. C. Disturnell, 1883). David Clapp recorded on his first visit to New York: “There was nothing very striking in the appearance of New York, as it first presented itself [from the water],” diary, 1831, Downs Collection, WL, 39.

(33) . Ingersoll, A Week in New York (1891), 189–90; on imagery of New York City, see Angela Blake, “Beyond Darkness and Daylight: Constructing New York’s Public Image, 1890–1930” (Ph.D. dissertation, American University, 1999).

(34) . William Taylor, “New York and the Origin of the Skyline: The Commercial City and the Visual Text,” in his In Pursuit of Gotham: Culture and Commerce in New York (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 23–33; Peter Bacon Hales, Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization, 1839–1915 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984); the Underwood & Underwood stereograph collection and the postcard collection at the AC/NMAH offer a representative sample of popular urban imagery.

(35) . “New York Illustrated,” 1914, brochure in the Warshaw Collection, AC/NMAH, New York, box 4, cover and centerfold illustration.

(36) . Keith D. Revell, “Regulating the Landscape: Real Estate Values, City Planning, and the 1916 Zoning Ordinance,” and Gail Fenske and Deryck Holds-worth, “Corporate Identity and the New York Office Building, 1895–1915,” in The Landscape of Modernity: Essays on New York City, 1900–1940, ed. David Ward and Olivier Zunz (New York: Russell Sage, 1992), 19–45, 12.9–59; Mona Domosh, “The Symbolism of the Skyscraper: Case Studies of New York’s First Tall Buildings,” Journal of Urban History 14:3 (May 1988): 321–45; Blue-stone, Constructing Chicago, chap. 4.

(37) . Taylor, “The Launching of a Commercial Culture,” in Mollenkopf, ed., Power, Culture, and Place, 107–33; Gilbert, Perfect Cities, 55–73.

(38) . Visitors’ Guide to the Centennial Exposition and Philadelphia (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1876), inside front cover. Keyed maps began to appear in the early twentieth century; handbooks and national-circulation guides such as Appleton’s included city plans from the 1850s, but these were not specially designed for tourists. The Guide to the Centennial Exposition, Presented by J. A. Ephraim & Son, Importers of Diamonds and Watches (p.258) (Philadelphia: J. Henry Smythe, 1876), flanked its description of the fairgrounds with historical sketches and a tour of Philadelphia’s historical sights.

(39) . C. B. Norton, World’s Fairs from London 1851 to Chicago 1893 (Chicago: Milton Weston Co. for the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1890), 42; Robert Rydell, “The Literature of Expositions,” in The Books of the Fairs: Materials about World Fairs, 1834–1916, in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (Chicago: American Library Association, 1992), 4.

(40) . Visitors’ Guide, 10; Emory R. Johnson, American Railway Transportation, rev. ed. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1906), 24.

(41) . Charles C. Moore, “San Francisco Knows How! An Answer to the World’s Question: Can This Exposition Be Different?” Sunset: The Pacific Monthly 28:1 (January 1912): 5.

(42) . Peter Bacon Hales, “Photography and the World’s Columbian Exposition: A Case Study,” Journal of Urban History 15:3 (May 1989): 247–73; Russell Lewis, “Everything Under One Roof: World’s Fairs and Department Stores in Paris and Chicago,” Chicago History 12:3 (Fall 1983): 28–47.

(43) . Michele Bogart, Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City, 1890–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997); Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American. Culture (New York: Vintage, 1991).

(44) . J. M. Wing wrote in 1878 that in order to see Chicago “we shall be obliged to patronize the public hacks more or less in our daily excursions,” Seven Days in Chicago (Chicago: J. M. Wing & Co., 1878), 17. Walking was the chief mode of transit in most mid-nineteenth-century works, just as it was for city residents.

(45) . Clay McShane, Down the Asphalt Path: The Automobile and the American City (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), chaps. 15; Charles W. Cheape, Moving the Masses: Urban Public Transit in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, 1880–1912 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), 1–17.

(46) . [Wilbur Dick Nesbit], Chicago without a Guide Book (Chicago: Chicago Commercial Association, n.d., probably 1910s), 3; Anna E. D. Douglas, journal of a trip from Boston to Daytona in 1892–93, Downs Collection, WL, 11–12, 15–16. See also Ingersoll, Rand, McNally & Co.’s Handy Guide to New York City, chap. 2; Washington Sight-Seeing and Shopping Guide (Washington, D.C.: Whitman Osgood, 1904), 6; W. J. Elliott, ed., Washington: C. T. Hunter’s Official Guide Book (Washington, D.C., 1909), 13; A Hand-Book to the Nation’s Capital. Published Gratuitously by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Washington Bureau, 3d ed. (1897), 7, 39–41; Doxey, Doxey’s Guide to San Francisco, 23–24; San Francisco and Its Environs (San Francisco: California Promotion Committee, 1903), 11, 45–50; Sweetser and Ford, How to Know New York City, 19; New York City Illustrated/Visitor’s Guide and Tourist’s Directory of Leading Hotels, 61–62; Keeler, San Francisco and Thereabout, 36–41; The Guide Magazine for New York (November 1902): 81–83.

(47) . Perry Duis, “Whose City? Public and Private Places in (p.259) Nineteenth-Century Chicago,” pt. 1, Chicago History 12:1 (Spring 1983): 21; on the development of the panorama, see Shelley Rice, Parisian Views (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997), 127–29.

(48) . William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 63. The novel was completed in 1889.

(49) . Keeler, San Francisco and Thereabout, 36, 37–38, 40. Keeler only noted the people in the streets after he got off the cars.

(50) . [George Ade], “The Conductor Has His Woes,” in Stories of the Streets and of the Town (Chicago: Chicago Record, 1894), 1:19; see also the “Things Talked Of” column, Harper’s Weekly 37: 1909 (July 22, 1893): 687.

(51) . Ade, “The Conductor Has His Woes,” 19–20; Gilbert, Perfect Cities, chap. 3, analyzes Ade’s works; Taylor, “The Launching of a Commercial Culture,” discusses O. Henry’s short stories.

(52) . “Hold Fast!” lyrics by William Jerome, music by Jean Schwartz (New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Von Tilzer, 1901), folder A, box 29, Series 1.8, de Vincent Sheet Music Collection, AC/NMAH.

(53) . “I Lost Her in the Subway,” lyrics by Al. Bryan, music by S. R. Henry (New York: Jos. A. Stern, 1907), folder A, box 29, Series 1.8, de Vincent Sheet Music Collection, AC /NMAH.

(54) . See, for example, A Guide to the City of Chicago (Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce, 1909), 68–84; Todd, How to See San Francisco by Trolley and Cable; Rand, McNally’s Handy Guide to New York (1891) and Handy Guide to Chicago (1893).

(55) . Visitors’ Guide, 10; Official Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago: Columbian Guide Co., 1893), 55 letter from Robert D’Erlach to H. D. H. Connick, Director of Works, April 12, 1915, on behalf of the exposition guides, folder “Guide Service,” carton 93, Panama-Pacific International Exposition papers, BL.

(56) . Frank Morton Todd, San Francisco (San Francisco: Chamber of Commerce, 1915), 3.

(57) . “Seeing Washington Observation Cars,” brochure in box 1, Street Cars and Subways, Warshaw Collection, AC/NMAH; “The Sight-Seeing Automobile Coach of Washington,” n.d., brochure, Washington, D.C., box 2, Warshaw Col lection, AC/NMAH; see also “Royal Blue Line Motor Tours” (1916), broadside in box 1, Transportation, Warshaw Collection, AC/NMAH; the Royal Blue Line (or Baltimore & Ohio Railroad) ran these tours in Washington, New York, and Boston; A Guide to the City of Chicago (Chicago: Chicago Association of Com merce, 1909), 86–87; San Francisco and Its Environs (San Francisco: Califor nia Promotion Committee, 1903): 50; Helen Throop Purdy, San Francisco as It Was; as It Is; and How to See It (San Francisco: Paul Elder, 1912), 59–60; “Road of a Thousand Wonders” (San Francisco: Southern Pacific Railroad, n.d., probably 1909–10), 7: “Suppose you begin with the obvious—take a sightsee ing car.”

(58) . James D. Law, Here and There in Two Hemispheres (Lancaster, Penn.: Home Publishing Co., 1903), 449; see also Ethel Shackelford, “The New Method of Seeing New York,” Boston Evening Transcript (December 23, 1903), n.p.

(59) . “Seeing Washington Observation Cars,” 2. Public institutions had not (p.260) disappeared entirely; many guidebooks had long sections following their list or schedule of sights that included the public schools and universities, hospitals, banks, churches, and other institutions. However, these buildings were no longer the focus of the work and most were no longer “sights.”

(60) . King’s Handbook of New York City: An Outline History and Description of the American Metropolis…(Boston: Moses King, 1893), 66; see also Joel Cook, An Eastern Tour at Home (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1889).

(61) . Todd, How to See San Francisco by Trolley and Cable, 6–7. Todd wrote several publicity pieces for the Chamber and was also the official historian of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. This kind of line-of-sight touring produced a more discontinuous experience in hilly San Francisco than it might in flatter cities. The development of the skyline in Chicago and New York in this era also encouraged the identification of sometimes widely dispersed landmarks, rather than specific neighborhoods, as characteristic of a city.

(62) . Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, chaps. 6, 6, 8 and tables A-7, A-8, A-9; Leach, “Transformations in a Culture of Consumption”; Susan Porter Benson, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890–1940 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986).

(63) . Sweetser and Ford, How to Know New York, 89; see also Official Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition, 177. Bluestone, Constructing Chicago, chap. 4; Fenske and Holdsworth, “Corporate Identity.”

(64) . Hungerford, Personality of American Cities, 30–34; Street, Abroad at Home, chap. 12; see also Angel Kwollek-Folland, Engendering Business: Men and Women in the Corporate Office, 1870–1930 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

(65) . John Sears, Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), chap. 8; Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 113–15; John R. Stilgoe, Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (London: Chatto and Windus, 1973), 120–25. For an example of the industrial aesthetic, see A Guide to the City of Chicago (1909), 125–26.

(66) . Ralph, Harper’s Chicago, chap. 7; Street, Abroad at Home, chap. 12; A Guide to the City of Chicago (1909), 88–91; Upton Sinclair, The jungle (New York: Signet, 1960; orig. 1906). The protagonist’s initial admiration of the packinghouses, 36–46, was typical.

(67) . Irving Lewis Allen, The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 83, dates the word from the 1890s; Street, Abroad at Home, 4; Nesbit, Chicago without a Guide Book, 1–2; Francis Leupp, Walks about Washington (Boston: Little, Brown, 1915), 284; James Barnes, “Fifth Avenue,” Metropolitan Magazine 33:5 (August 1910): 644; Shackelford, “The New Method of Seeing New York,” n.p.; W. L. Jacobs, “Seeing New York,” Harper’s Weekly 55:2866 (November 25, 1911): 14–15; C. Clyde Squiers, “And They Wrote Home That the Scenery Was Unforgettable,” Harper’s Weekly 56:2898 (July 6, 1912): 22.

(68) . George Ade, Stories of the Streets and of the Town, 3d ser. (1895), (p.261) 176–78, 177; see also Shackelford, “The New Method of Seeing New York,” n.p.; “Your City,” Chamber of Commerce Journal (San Francisco) 119 (July 1912): 2.

(69) . F. W. Dohrman, president of the Merchants’ Association, in “Testimonial to Claus Spreckels,” Merchants’ Association Review (San Francisco), 5: 50 (October 1900): 1; Tourist’s Educator 2:12 (December 1907): 4.