The Garden of Allah: 1934 Edition

In 1934, Rock Island published a second edition of The Garden of Allah. The first half of the booklet was exactly like the 1930 edition, but the second half incorporated the four leaflets that were printed separately as supplements to the 1930 version. These leaflets covered the El Paso-Carlsbad Caverns, Arizona guest ranches, the Apache Trail, and Southern California. This increased the size of the booklet from 20 to 36 pages.

Click image to download a 15.2-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

A close scrutiny reveals some overlap between several of the paintings in the booklet. Apparently, Babcock’s original paintings were roughly 9-inches high by 10-inches wide or some multiple of that, and the booklet’s designers used details equal to about two-thirds of each painting for each page.

Click image to download a 6.5-MB PDF of this 6-page booklet.

Out of curiosity, I combined all of the matching pages and put them together in this 6-page booklet showing the entire paintings. For continuity, I moved the text around so it is sequential even if the text on a particular page doesn’t necessarily relate to that page. You can download the result by clicking on the above image.

The term “Garden of Allah” was popular in the 1910s through the 1930s, being applied to hotels, restaurants, movies, and a painting by Maxfield Parrish. It would not be used commercially today for fear of alienating those on the left who might call it cultural appropriation and those on the right who might call it anti-Christian. But, despite the name, this booklet uses Native American and Latino rather than Islamic iconography, and the term appears to be used here as elsewhere at the time as a generic reference to paradise.


The Garden of Allah: 1934 Edition — 1 Comment

  1. It’s certainly a beautiful booklet compared to most other railroad tour guides. It seems Babcock really had a thing for palm trees with unrealistically long skirts since they seem to feature in almost all his paintings. The term “Garden of Allah” was sort of generic term for any place kind of subtropical and mysterious when I was a kid in the 50’s. I don’t think I ever connected it with the Muslim Allah until I was much older. There were a lot of terms used then that would never be used today. “Darkest Africa” is one, used to conjure up visions of a deep, unexplored jungle back then. It’s kind of like the use of “gay” to describe San Francisco had a much different meaning then than what it has today. Times change, and it’s problematic to look at history through the lense of today.


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