Travel Guide of Negro Hotels and Guest Houses

Afro Travel Bureau, Travel Guide of NEGRO HOTELS and GUEST HOUSES. Baltimore: Afro-American Newspapers, 1942.
Broadsheet folded to a 8 ½”h x 4” brochure, 17”h x 17”w when opened.

A remarkable brochure intended to stimulate African-American tourism, at a time when the emerging black middle class still faced widespread segregation throughout the United States.

The recto features a pictorial title panel, dozens of ads for hotels and entertainment venues up and down the East Coast, and lists of Y.M.C.A’s and Y.W.C.A’s as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. One panel exhorts readers to travel, arguing that in wartime it is their patriotic to get some R&R:

“You can do your job better after recreation. This year more people have already taken on extra work and greater responsibility. Every American faces tasks ahead that will call for greater effort. The better prepared we are with good health and fresh minds the better work we will be able to do. So this year it is wise to take a holiday.”

The verso features a pictorial map of the United States east of the Mississippi, flanked left and right by lists of hundreds of establishments welcoming African-American visitors.

The brochure was published by the Afro Travel Bureau, a division of the Afro-American newspaper chain. Founded in 1892, the group is the oldest family-owned publication of its type and still issues weekly editions in Baltimore and Washington, DC. An ad in the May 9, 1942 Baltimore Afro American suggests that this is the in fact the “Second Annual Travel Map,” though I have found no reference to a 1941 edition.

The brochure is scarce. OCLC locates examples at eight institutions, and Rare Book Hub identifies only four examples at auction, all since 2012: one brought in at Swann in 2012 (est. $1500-2500), and three at PBA Galleries in 2015—from a group of remainders?–fetching $1800, $1020 and $240. The present example was located “in the wild” by a book scout and made its way to me through the trade. By way of comparison, in the same year Swann Galleries sold a 1941 edition of the Negro Motorist Green Book for $22,500.

OCLC 56899462. Rumsey 9719.


Minor wear and soiling along folds, else excellent.