Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps

University of Chicago Press
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Instructive, amusing, colorful—pictorial maps have been used and admired since the first medieval cartographer put pen to paper depicting mountains and trees across countries, people and objects around margins, and sea monsters in oceans. More recent generations of pictorial map artists have continued that traditional mixture of whimsy and fact, combining cartographic elements with text and images and featuring bold and arresting designs, bright and cheerful colors, and lively detail. In the United States, the art form flourished from the 1920s through the 1970s, when thousands of innovative maps were mass-produced for use as advertisements and decorative objects—the golden age of American pictorial maps.

Picturing America is the first book to showcase this vivid and popular genre of maps. Geographer Stephen J. Hornsby gathers together 158 delightful pictorial jewels, most drawn from the extensive collections of the Library of Congress. In his informative introduction, Hornsby outlines the development of the cartographic form, identifies several representative artists, describes the process of creating a pictorial map, and considers the significance of the form in the history of Western cartography. Organized into six thematic sections, Picturing America covers a vast swath of the pictorial map tradition during its golden age, ranging from “Maps to Amuse” to “Maps for War.” Hornsby has unearthed the most fascinating and visually striking maps the United States has to offer: Disney cartoon maps, college campus maps, kooky state tourism ads, World War II promotional posters, and many more. This remarkable, charming volume’s glorious full-color pictorial maps will be irresistible to any map lover or armchair traveler.
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About the author

Stephen J. Hornsby is director of the Canadian-American Center and professor of geography and Canadian studies at the University of Maine. He is author and coeditor of several books, including the prize-winning Historical Atlas of Maine.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Mar 23, 2017
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780226386188
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / General
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
Technology & Engineering / Cartography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Brassiere Hills, Alaska. Mollys Nipple, Utah. Outhouse Draw, Nevada. In the early twentieth century, it was common for towns and geographical features to have salacious, bawdy, and even derogatory names. In the age before political correctness, mapmakers readily accepted any local preference for place names, prizing accurate representation over standards of decorum. Thus, summits such as Squaw Tit—which towered above valleys in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California—found their way into the cartographic annals. Later, when sanctions prohibited local use of racially, ethnically, and scatalogically offensive toponyms, town names like Jap Valley, California, were erased from the national and cultural map forever.

From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow probes this little-known chapter in American cartographic history by considering the intersecting efforts to computerize mapmaking, standardize geographic names, and respond to public concern over ethnically offensive appellations. Interweaving cartographic history with tales of politics and power, celebrated geographer Mark Monmonier locates his story within the past and present struggles of mapmakers to create an orderly process for naming that avoids confusion, preserves history, and serves different political aims. Anchored by a diverse selection of naming controversies—in the United States, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, and Antarctica; on the ocean floor and the surface of the moon; and in other parts of our solar system—From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow richly reveals the map’s role as a mediated portrait of the cultural landscape. And unlike other books that consider place names, this is the first to reflect on both the real cartographic and political imbroglios they engender.

From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow is Mark Monmonier at his finest: a learned analysis of a timely and controversial subject rendered accessible—and even entertaining—to the general reader.
Earlier this year, President Obama declared one of his top priorities to be “making sure that people are able to get enough to eat.” The United States spends about five billion dollars on food aid and related programs each year, but still, both domestically and internationally, millions of people are hungry. In 2006, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations counted 850 million hungry people worldwide, but as food prices soared, an additional 100 million or more who were vulnerable succumbed to food insecurity.

If hunger were simply a matter of food production, no one would go without. There is more than enough food produced annually to provide every living person with a healthy diet, yet so many suffer from food shortages, unsafe water, and malnutrition every year. That’s because hunger is a complex political, economic, and ecological phenomenon. The interplay of these forces produces a geography of hunger that Thomas J. Bassett and Alex Winter-Nelson illuminate in this empowering book. The Atlas of World Hunger uses a conceptual framework informed by geography and agricultural economics to present a hunger index that combines food availability, household access, and nutritional outcomes into a single tool—one that delivers a fuller understanding of the scope of global hunger, its underlying mechanisms, and the ways in which the goals for ending hunger can be achieved. The first depiction of the geography of hunger worldwide, the Atlas will be an important resource for teachers, students, and anyone else interested in understanding the geography and causes of hunger. This knowledge, the authors argue, is a critical first step toward eliminating unnecessary suffering in a world of plenty.

Since that ancient day when the first human drew a line connecting Point A to Point B, maps have been understood as one of the most essential tools of communication. Despite differences in language, appearance, or culture, maps are universal touchstones in human civilization.

Over the centuries, maps have served many varied purposes; far from mere guides for reaching a destination, they are unique artistic forms, aides in planning commercial routes, literary devices for illuminating a story. Accuracy—or inaccuracy—of maps has been the make-or-break factor in countless military battles throughout history. They have graced the walls of homes, bringing prestige and elegance to their owners. They track the mountains, oceans, and stars of our existence. Maps help us make sense of our worlds both real and imaginary—they bring order to the seeming chaos of our surroundings.

With The Curious Map Book, Ashley Baynton-Williams gathers an amazing, chronologically ordered variety of cartographic gems, mainly from the vast collection of the British Library. He has unearthed a wide array of the whimsical and fantastic, from maps of board games to political ones, maps of the Holy Land to maps of the human soul. In his illuminating introduction, Baynton-Williams also identifies and expounds upon key themes of map production, peculiar styles, and the commerce and collection of unique maps. This incredible volume offers a wealth of gorgeous illustrations for anyone who is cartographically curious.
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