Burton Holmes

Burton Holmes
Associated Press


Burton Holmes
Film: South side of the 6600 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Director | Producer | Writer
Born Elias Burton Holmes on Jan. 8, 1870 in Chicago, Ill.
Died July 22, 1958 in Hollywood, CA

Burton Holmes will always be remembered as American's leading globe-trotter-lecturer.

For 60 years, Burton, who created the travelogue, traveled the world and specialized in showing what the average tourist wanted to see. He found his audiences liked picturesque subjects. And he always insisted he was not an explorer.

Born in Chicago, he got his hands on his first camera at the age of 13 and took it with him three years later on a trip to Europe with his grandmother. He found it so fascinating that he quit school to travel and photograph.

In 1892, he made a five-month trip to Japan. Upon his return, he made public showings of the slides he made in Japan as a way to raise money for his family.

He eventually formed Burton Holmes Lectures, Inc., and was booked into New York. There, he introduced the first travel motion pictures — 25-second scenes with titles such as "Neapolitans Eating Spaghetti."

In Japan, he found artists who could tint his slides with lifelike colors. The term "travelogue" was coined when he made his first London appearance in 1904.

Holmes traveled the world in every way imaginable. He once summed up his love of the hobby that became his career: "To travel is to possess the world. The traveler possesses the world more completely than those who own vast properties. Owners become the slaves of what they own."

He married a fellow photographer, Margaret Oliver, who often accompanied him on his trips.

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