Historical Posters From Potter and Potter Show the Golden Age of Travel

Ready to take a trip with us? The Potter and Potter Auction company has gathered a remarkable collection of vividly illustrated travel posters that date back to the heyday of exploration, each echoing the nostalgia of the era they represent.

This era, often referred to as the Golden Age of Travel, which roughly spanned from the 1920s to the 1960s, is famously known for its remarkable growth in transportation technology, global exploration, and artistic inspiration.

Let's take a visual journey through this Golden Age. Want to use Potter and Potter's posters in your own storytelling or news reporting? You can license hundreds of images from their collection for a variety of creative uses.

Colorado Historical Travel Poster

“United Air Lines Colorado” travel poster depicting a jet passing above a fly fisherman reeling in his catch, illustrated by Joseph Binder for United Airlines, 1957.

The first poster on our journey is titled “United Air Lines Colorado”. This travel poster is a vibrant snapshot of a unique juxtaposition of activities that define Colorado. Against the serene backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, an airliner roars overhead, piercing the calm skies.

Below, a fly fisherman is captured in a still moment of triumph as he reels in his catch. The poster embodies a crucial turning point in history where human progress and nature interact, reflecting the promise of exciting, speedy travel without losing touch with the allure of the natural world.

Vintage Poster of the Lincoln Memorial

“Washington DC” travel poster depicting light streaming over the Lincoln Memorial's Abraham Lincoln statue, illustrated by Joseph Binder for United Air Lines, 1955.

Next, we travel to the nation’s capital with a “Washington DC” travel poster. The poster perfectly captures the aura of reverence and awe as light dramatically streams over the Lincoln Memorial's Abraham Lincoln statue.

This evocative scene beautifully depicts the timelessness of this iconic city, its illustrious history, and the enduring significance of President Lincoln's contribution to the United States.

See all of Potter and Potter's historic posts and license them for your own project here.

Union Pacific Travel Poster

“California” poster depicting a train speeding toward a state silhouette with a photo montage of redwoods, beaches, mountains, Mission Revival architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Disneyland, designed for Union Pacific Railroad, 1945.

Our journey proceeds westward with the “California” poster, designed for Union Pacific Railroad. At first glance, the poster showcases a train at full throttle, heading towards a stylized silhouette of the state, filled with a captivating photo montage.

The montage includes images of towering redwoods, sun-kissed beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges, Spanish Mission Revival architecture, the marvel of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the magical realm of Disneyland.

It’s a rich tableau of the diverse experiences the Golden State offers, all accessible through the transformative power of rail travel.

Pan Am Australia Poster

“Fly Pan Am to Australia” photo poster featuring an aerial view of competitors and spectators participating in a surf life saving carnival on Sydney's Avalon Beach, designed for Pan Am, 1965.

Finally, we venture overseas with the “Fly Pan Am to Australia” photo poster. The scene encapsulates the thrill of international travel and adventure, featuring an aerial view of a surf carnival on Sydney's Avalon Beach.

Filled with vibrant colors, this poster captures the vivacious energy and camaraderie of competitors and spectators alike. In the days when Pan Am ruled the skies, the poster enticed potential travelers with the allure of distant lands and exotic experiences.


Each of these historical posters provides a fascinating glimpse into the past, a time when the world became more accessible and the concept of global citizenship began to take shape. They are artifacts of a bygone era, and yet their messages still resonate today, reminding us of the innate human desire to explore, experience, and connect with the world around us.

As we navigate through this historical visual journey, let's appreciate how far we've come and how these vivid works of art shaped the landscape of travel as we know it today.

The best part is that you can use these vintage posters in your own visual storytelling. Click here to see hundreds of Potter and Potters' posters on Getty Images.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a professional news, travel and food photographer, and CEO of the historical photo agency Gado Images. Smith's work routinely appears in publications including Time Magazine, People Magazine and Food + Wine, and Gado Images' historical photos appear in thousands of publications worldwide. The New York Times called Smith a "veteran programmer".

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