As Wonderful as the Country It Serves

Most of these blotters are from the Minnesota History Center where they are carefully filed by date in the Great Northern Advertising and Publicity Department‘s files. Those files go back as far as 1924, which also happened to be when the “new” Oriental Limited was introduced. Some of these 1924 blotters give information about the features of that new train.

Click any image to download a PDF of the blotters. Each PDF is about 0.4 to 0.5 MB in size.

When GN introduced the train, it held a contest to select a slogan for the train. “As wonderful as the country it serves” was one of the contest winner, and this slogan is used in much of the train’s advertising. The above blotter is actually owned by Colorado collector Dale Hastin, but I found the identical blotter in the History Center files so I can be certain it is from 1924. I used Dale’s blotter in this case because the scan is somewhat more accurate than the camera that the History Center required me to use. Note that this particular blotter was specifically for GN’s agent in Helena, Montana.

This blotter notes that the new train offers a valet plus “a women’s lounge and shower bath, a men’s smoking and club room and shower bath, a ladies’ maid, manicure, hair-dresser and masseuse, a barber shop, and many other innovations which make this the finest train to the Pacific Northwest and ‘as wonderful as the country it serves.'”

This blotter brags that the new train offers “a skilled white barber of long experience.” The casual racism of that age is so foreign today that we have to wonder why it was fine to have blacks cook and serve food and make up beds for the night, yet white people preferred to have other whites cut their hair.

This orange blotter is apparently supposed to be reminiscent of fall colors. It notes that the new train goes “past farms and orchards and over the glorious Rockies and Cascades in all the glory of autumn,” suggesting that the blotter was issued in September or so of 1924.

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