Books & Maps

Old Books: America The Beautiful, 1970


Arches National Monument, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah

Yellowstone National Park

Akaka Falls, Hawaii

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Grand Teton National Park

Yosemite National Park

It seems fitting to post a book about the the United States today since it’s the 4th of July. I’m an occasional collector of old travel and photo books, usually found at thrift stores and used book stores. The older, the better it seems; pages in such books are filled with rich colors and film characteristics that are often sought after by digital photographers today. No matter the age, for the right person these types of books elicit a sense of nostalgia and wonder no matter how many times we’ve seen photos of the same locations, or even if we’ve actually visited these places. For me, I like thinking that some of these photos might be the first ones a young child may have seen of a certain place when the book was new, stoking their curiosity and desire to see new parts of the country with their families.

I picked up this book – America The Beautiful, published by Readers Digest in 1970 – a few years ago for just a couple dollars. I’m a a big fan of book design and textures, so the real treat is taking off a dust jacket to reveal a book that’s still in great quality, with impressed or embossed typography and graphics. This book covers the seven major regions of the US, and most of the photos come with extensive descriptions of them.

I’ve looked through this book many times, but only today did I notice the text on the opening page:

This, as citizens, we all inherit.
This is ours, to love and live upon,
and use wisely down all the generations of the future.

The text isn’t attributed to anyone in the book, but with a little research I found that it was written by poet Nancy Newhall to accompany Ansel Adams’ 1960 photo essay “This is the American Earth.” These are wise words that still hold true more than 50 years later.

1 Comment

  1. Really cool!

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