These original posters are wonderful examples that illustrate the beginnings of the modern zest for travel and adventure. With advances in technology, taking a journey no longer meant being dirty, uncomfortable (or worse, in pain) and wasting a huge amount of time.  One could travel in comfort, safety and style - even if you couldn’t afford First Class. Advertising promised ease (especially when partnered with another service!) and the chance to visit exotic locales.  Who wouldn’t buy into the chance to be part of the “glittering throng” and travel in such modern fashion?

  1. Poster advertising Chemins de fer de l’Etat (State Railways) and the French Line. It was designed by Albert Sebille. The date is usually given as the 1920s; occasionally it will be seen as circa 1930. If the ship to the right is the S.S. Normandie, then the date has to be between 1935 and 1937; the date of the Normandie’s maiden voyage and the nationalization of the rail lines in France.
  2. Poster advertising German Railroads, designed by Otto Schneider and produced by Reichsbahnzentrale in Berlin, 1937.
  3. Poster advertising travel aboard the Ile de France, a ship of the French Line, designed by Leo Fontan, 1930. The Ile de France was the first major ocean liner built after World War I and the first liner to be decorated entirely in the Art Deco style. Her maiden voyage was in June 1927. She survived World War II - being pressed into service primarily as a troop transport ship - returning to a luxury travel liner after the war ended. Shortly before being scrapped in 1959, she played a role in the rescue operations when the Andrea Doria and Stockholm collided in 1956, transporting approximately 750 of the Andrea Doria’s passenger and crew to safety.
  4. Poster advertising the German airline, Deutsche Lufthansa, designed by Gayle Ullman, 1933. Image of a stagecoach with a female passenger - wearing bonnet and petticoats - leaning out the window. She and the driver both appear to be watching the modern plane fly overhead. Plane has been identified as a Junker, a JU 52/3M, It was introduced in 1932 and seated 17, becoming the “workhorse” for Lufthansa in the 1930s.  Note the Nazi swastika on the tail of the plane.
  5. Poster advertising air mail service, designed by Honig, circa 1935.  Image shows a plane flying over a globe with lines drawn across the continents to show the path and stopovers of the service. The only markings on the plane are on the tail where a Nazi swastika is just barely visible. English translation of the caption: Europe [to] South America in 2 days, twice weekly airmail service. Deutsche Lufthansa, Air France [and] Syndicato Condor Ltd.
  6. Poster advertising travel on the Chemin de fer du Nord (Railway of the North) and the French Line, showing a cathedral in a (presumably) French town square. Artist and date are unknown.
  7. Poster advertising the French Line’s Plymouth-to-New York direct route.  May date to around 1935 as that seems to be S.S. Normandie in the image. That ship had her maiden voyage with the French Line in May 1935.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.