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Picturing America : The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps

Walmart # 566178453

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Pictorial maps are artistic renderings rather than scientific representations of places that combine cartographic elements with texts and images and feature bold and arresting graphic design, bright and cheerful colors, and lively detail: think Saul Steinberg s famous New Yorker cover, View of the World from 9th Avenue. In the United States, the period of the 1920s through about 1970 represented a golden age for the form, with thousands of innovative pictorial maps mass-produced for use as advertisements or decorative consumer objects. This book is the first to consider pictorial maps as a distinct genre. Following an introduction by historian and collector Stephen Hornsby, it features 158 pictorial maps organized into six thematic sections, ranging from Maps to Amuse to Maps for War, all of them in full and glorious color. The book is published in association with the Library of Congress, which has extensive holdings in pictorial maps."
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.


University of Chicago Press
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Stephen J. Hornsby
Publication Date
March, 2017
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
11.00 x 8.50 x 1.10 Inches

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This is an attractive ...

This is an attractive selection of pictorial maps, mostly from the interwar period, with a few stragglers finding their way in from the fifties and sixties. Generally produced as advertising or public relations curios by tourist bureaus and corporations, the genre is an interesting straddling of art, design, and cartography. Ultimately, though, the book is frustrating because the often-minute captions and drawings are too small to be legible, even in a large-format coffee table book. On rare occasions, the maps are reproduced across two pages, but even then not everything is legible. Admittedly, this problem is probably insoluble within the constraints of having a book of manageable size, but it's unfortunate that the maps cannot be fully appreciated here.

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Electrode, Comp-389266862, DC-prod-cdc02, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-16d97eb3-d4b-16e5ead97d91f9, Generated: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 08:14:25 GMT