Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland [brochure]

June 05, 2012 Posted by: Jessica Gerdes, Librarian
Cover of NPRR bochure, Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland, 1885Cover of NPRR brochure, Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland, 1885

The Northern Pacific Railroad (NPRR) was competing with the other railroads for tourism and they needed a hook to bring in more customers. In 1883, they began service to Yellowstone. The next year, NPRR started an annual publication devoted to enticing people to the park. It began with two issues entitled "Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland."

Compared with the other park being widely advertised at the time Yellowstone could not be called beautiful (Yosemite and its abundant waterfalls had that market cornered). It was therefore promoted as a land of curiosities.

Yellowstone was known as "Wonderland" even before it became a national park, the first apparent publication of this name being in a series of articles by C. C. Clawson in 1871. This name was quickly picked up by many others, including E. J. Stanley ("Rambles in Wonderland") and Olin Wheeler (1883-1896 series, "Wonderland.")

NPRR grabbed onto the idea and expanded it. This brochure (the second issue, 1885) purports to be a letter written by the now grownup Alice (the opening sentence is "When Mr. Carroll wrote that funny book about one of my childish dreams…) who is traveling on the Northern Pacific, from Chicago. Alice describes to her friend, Edith, all of sights and stops along the railroad, including historical tidbits as well as painting a beautiful picture of the scenery. The author even throws in a plug for one of their other books, "Wonderland of the World," saying that even that book had not truly prepared the party for what they were about to see. The letter covers 14 sections of the brochure which starts out at about 22 x 10 cm. and then unfolds to 63 x 47 cm. The back side of the brochure is a map of the park.

Sources: America's history in the making (; All aboard - the role of railroads in protecting, promoting, and selling Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks ( ); Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland (1886); Whittlesey, Lee H. Yellowstone Place Names (2006); Discovering Lewis and Clark: Rails to Wonderland (

 Complete NPRR brochure, Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland, 1885

Complete NPRR brochure, Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland, 1885

library, brochures, NPRR, railroad

4 Comments Comments icon

  1. August 12, 2015 at 03:48

    First Name, At this point I do not know of anyone making full reproductions of "Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland." The Yellowstone Association ( does have some items with just the picture we have at the top of this post. Please email us at yell[underscore]research[underscore]library at if you have anymore questions. Jessi

  2. August 10, 2015 at 07:06

    Is it possible to get reproductions of the brochure?

  3. May 29, 2015 at 11:55

    Hi Pauline, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to value items so I can't give you a monetary value for this brochure. I can tell you that, for us at Yellowstone, the glimpse at the inventive advertising history used to lure passengers to our favorite park by a means of travel that is no longer viable is priceless. Jessi

  4. May 28, 2015 at 08:09

    What is this brochure worth?

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Last updated: November 30, 2015

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