003 : Travel Guide Publishers

Some of the main Publishers of Travel Guides.

Karl Baedeker

Karl Baedeker published his first travel guide in Koblenz, Germany in 1832. The first guides were in German and French, followed in 1861 by the English editions that soon put Baedeker in competition with Murray of London. The Baedeker house relocated to Leipzig in 1872. Its travel guides were to become famous for their thoroughness and accuracy: "Kings and governements may err but never Mr. Baedeker". Besides covering Europe, the series included titles on the Mediterranean, Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine & Syria, Russia, India, the U.S. and Canada.

A.Nilson (website), BDKR.com.
A.W.Hinrichsen (1988), Baedeker-Katalog - Verzeichnis aller Baedeker-Reiseführer von 1832-1987, Verlag Ursula Hinrichsen.
Collective (1998), Baedeker - Ein Name wird zur Weltmarke, Verlag Karl Baedeker.

Bibliographisches Institut

The Bibliographisches Institut was founded by Joseph Meyer in Gotha, Germany in 1826, moved to Hildburghausen in 1828, and then to Leipzig in 1874. After many successful publications such as Meyers Lexikon (encyclopedia) and Meyers Universum (pictures in steel engraving), the company started to publish German language travel guides in 1862. Besides the European titles one finds editions on the Mediterranean, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine & Syria, the World as well as an air travel guide.

W.Hauenstein (1993), Wegweiser durch Meyers Reisebücher 1862-1936, Verlag Ursula Hinrichsen.


From the 1850s Louis Hachette expanded his educational publishing company (established in Paris in 1826) by purchasing the travel guide activities of Ernest Bourdin and Louis Maison. From 1855 he put Adolphe Joanne in charge of editing a growing list of Hachette travel titles, the Guides Joanne. Following WWI the series was renamed to Guides Bleus, and - with ever expanding coverage - continues to be published to this day. Other Hachette travel guide activities included the Guides Diamant and the Guides Madrolle (covering Asia). The titles are mostly in French language.

Collective (1991), L'art du voyage - 150e anniversaire des Guides Bleus, Hachette.
H.Morlier (2007), Les Guides-Joanne, Genèse des Guides-Bleus, Les Sentiers débattus.

Japanese Government Railways

Following extensive research the Imperial Japanese Government Railways published the remarkable five-volume Official Guide to Eastern Asia covering Manchuria and Chosen (1913), South West Japan (1914), North East Japan (1914), China (1915) and the East Indies (1917). In 1933 volumes 2 and 3 were combined into an updated Official Guide to Japan, followed by an edition titled Japan, The Official Guide published by the Japan Tourist Bureau in 1941 and post-WWII.

K.Nakagawa (1998), Prewar Tourism Promotion by Japanese Government Railways, Japanese Railways & Transport Review, march 1998 22-27.

John Murray

From 1836, while Baedeker was still busy finetuning a few regional German editions, John Murray launched an ambitious series of foreign travel guides covering many areas of Europe, the Near East and ultimately India, Japan and New Zeeland. After 1849 he started introducing the guides describing London and the English counties. For a while the English Murray guide was the reference among travel guides. But from the 1870's, this position was gradually eroded by the more practical Baedeker guides. In 1901, John Murray IV exited the market and sold off most of the copyrights and remaining stock to Edward Stanford.

W.B.C.Lister (1993), A Bibliography of Murrays Handbooks for Travellers, Dereham Books.