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Travel: literature and guidebooks

Finding guidebooks

To find guidebooks, it is easiest to search by corporate author, e.g. do an author search for "Karl Baedeker Firm". You can also find guidebooks by doing a subject search for the country and "guidebooks", e.g. "south africa guidebooks"
A union list of the holdings of the Newberry Library in Chicago and the holdings of collector (and Newberry trustee) Roger Baskes.

Contemporary guidebooks

For contemporary guidebooks (Frommer, Fodor, Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Let's Go, Insight, Moon etc.), search by place and publisher. Note that we do not buy these comprehensively, and that many are in Marquand and do not circulate. We now have a complete set of current Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, shelved near the Dixon room. Also, try the Princeton Public Library or a bookstore.

The travel book: guide to the travel guides. Jon O. Heise. New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1981. RECAP Z6011 .H4 [we do not have the 2nd edition, 1993]


Baedeker began publishing guidebooks in German in 1832, and the firm continues today. Guides were also published in French and in English.

For a list of all the guides, see:

Baedeker's guidebooks: a checklist of English-language editions, 1861-1939. Gretton, John R.  Dereham [England]: Dereham Books, 1994.

Baedeker’s Reisehandbücher, 1832-1990: Bibliographie 1832-1944: Verzeichnis 1948-1990: Verlagsgeschichte mit Abbildungen und zusätzlichen Übersichten. Alex W. Hinrichsen. RECAP Z6011 .H48 1991
Very useful web site, aimed at collectors. Checklists that replicate much of Hinrichsen's bibliography, and also an online version of the introduction.

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Author=Karl Baedeker (Firm)

Note that Lexis-Nexis University Publications of America sells Baedeker guides in microfiche collections by country or as a complete set. Princeton does not hold this microform set. There is also a guide to the set, Baedeker's handbook(s) for travellers: a bibliography of English editions published prior to World War II. Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975. Princeton does not have this guide, but it is widely available. 

There are other German-language guidebook series, most notably Meyers Reisebucher, on which see: Wegweiser durch Meyers Reisebücher, 1862-1936 : Bibliographie. Werner Hauenstein ; mit Abbildungen, Tabellen, Register und einer Einführung von Alex W. Hinrichsen. Stadtoldendorf : U. Hinrichsen, 1993. RECAP: Marquand Lib. use only: Z6011 .H36 1993s

Murray's handbooks for travellers

Murray's handbooks for travellers were published from 1836 to 1901 (when the series was sold to another publisher). For a good short description of this guidebook series, see the entry "Murray Handbooks" in Literature of travel and exploration: an encyclopedia.

For a comprehensive list, see:

A bibliography of Murray’s handbooks for travellers and biographies of authors, editors, revisers and principal contributors. W. B. C. Lister; with an introduction by John R. Gretton. Dereham [England]: Dereham Books, 1993. Annex A, Forrestal (TEMP): Z6011 .L577 1993

Provides a brief biographical information about the authors and editors of each guide. The introduction by J.R. Gretton is also quite helpful.

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Author=John Murray (Firm). In addition, we have microfiche of the entire set:

Murray's handbooks for travellers
Printed guide: (FilmB) G150.M87

Blue Guides

The English-language Blue Guides were written for many decades by the brothers James & Findley Muirhead, who had previously worked for Baedeker. Their first independent guide is the guide to London published in 1918. The guides are still being published. These guides emphasize art and architecture.

For a complete list, see

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Title=Blue Guide

Guides Joanne/Hachette/Guides Bleus

The premier French-language guidebook series began in 1853 and is still publishing. The early guides were written by Adolphe Joanne and covered the various regions of France; there were also guides organized as itineraries along railway lines. The Guides Joanne were rebranded as the Guides Bleus in 1919, after an agreement between Muirhead (which had acquired the Murray guides) and Hachette.

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Title=Guides Bleus or Author=Joanne, Adolphe Laurant

For a complete list of the pre-1919 guides, see:

Les guides-Joanne: genèse des Guides-bleus: itinéraire bibliographique, historique et descriptif de la collection de guides de voyage, 1840-1920. Hélène Morlier; ouvrage illustré de vignettes, cartes et plans mis au net par Christophe Bailly. Paris: Sentiers débattus; Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe: IMEC, 2007. Firestone Library (F) G156 .M675 2007

There is a brief English-language summary at the back of the book.


Michelin guides were originally distributed free by the tire company to drivers. The red guides describe restaurants and hotels, and introduced the now-famous system of rating restaurants with stars; the green guides describe "points of interest." 

There is also a series of guides to French cities published immediately after World War I.

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Author=Pneu Michelin (Firm)

Le Guide vert Michelin: l’invention du tourisme culturel populaire. Marc Francon. Paris : Economica, c2001. Firestone G156.5.H47 F725 2001

Touring Club Italiano

Il Touring club italiano. Stefano Pivato. Bologna : Il mulino, c2006. Firestone G155.I8 P56 2006

To see what Princeton University Library holds, search the Main Catalog for Author=Touring club italiano

Cook's Tours

Search for Author=Thomas Cook Ltd. to find guides published by Thomas Cook, which organized tours for middle-class travellers within the UK and to the Continent, India, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and the Near East, starting in the mid-19th century.

See also:

The history of tourism: Thomas Cook and the origins of leisure travel. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press : Thomas Cook Archives, 1998. Firestone G155.A1 H58 1998 (a 4-volume compilation)

Thomas Cook: 150 years of popular tourism. Piers Brendon. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991. Firestone G155.G7 B73


Appletons is the premier series of guidebooks to America, and published in America, in the 19th century. There is no convenient way to find them systematically in the Main Catalog. Titles include:

General guide to United States & Canada
Handbook of American Travel
Railway & steam navigation guide
Companion handbook to US & British provinces
General guide: western & southern states
General guide: New England, middle states
Appletons’ guide-book to Alaska and the northwest coast
Appleton’s southern and western travellers’ guide
Appletons’ guide to Mexico: including a chapter on Guatemala: and an English-Mexican vocabulary

WPA Guides

The WPA guides: mapping America. Christine Bold. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c1999. Firestone E175.4 .B65 1999

The American Guide Series

To find these guides in the Main Catalog, do a keyword search for "federal writers project guides"

For a complete list of the guides, see, or American Guide Series: Works by the Federal Writers Project. Marc S. Selvaggio. Berkeley, Calif.: Schoyer's Antiquarian Books, 1990 [Princeton does not have a copy].

Greatest hits

1936, on the continent; the entertaining travel annual. Eugene Fodor. London: W. Aldor, 1936.

An official guide to eastern Asia; transcontinental connections between Europe and Asia. Prepared by the Imperial Japanese Government Railways. Tokyo, Japan, 1913-17.
v. 1. Manchuria & Chōsen.--v. 2. Southwestern Japan.--v. 3. Northeastern Japan.--v. 4. China.--v.5. East Indies.
Firestone Library (F) DS504 .I474 1913

Across Asia on the cheap: a complete guide to making the overland trip. Tony Wheeler. [Paddington, N.S.W.]: Lonely Planet, 1973.

The G.I.'s guide to travelling in Europe. Arthur Frommer. [Oberammergau, Ger. : Arthur B. Frommer, 1955.]

Europe on 5 dollars a day; a guide to inexpensive travel. Arthur Frommer. [New York, Trade Distributors: Greenberg, 1957.]