Wouldn’t it be great to stay at the Hotel History, where all the accommodations are replicas of typical rooms spanning a century of hotels (and no magnetic key cards)?
“I’d like an early 1930s room please.”
“Sorry, we only have turn-of-the -century and fifties-era rooms available. But you can smoke all you want.”
In each of these historic recreations would be the vintage stationery from an old hotel. Remember when hotels offered letterheads and envelopes (not just bedside notepads)? Hotel History will probably never happen. Guests prefer all the modern comforts. And to include them in a 20s or 40s era film noir room would be like putting a V8 in a Model T Ford.
So, forget Hotel History, but don’t discard hotels as history. The traveler and transient in America play a large role in the legacy of American lifestyle. And one way to capture this history is through letters and letterheads. Researcher (and hoarder) par excellence, Jeff Roth, recently loaned me a collection of letterheads sent from his uncle, a traveling salesman, to his wife during the late 50s and early 60s. On their own, each is a curio but together they are a testament to how hotels and motels branded and advertised themselves. They provide a look at the graphic design styles and fashions and, through type, the image each hotel or motel sought to project.