For someone who is familiar with the study of cartography, one might be able to deduce that not much appreciation is given to pictorial maps. These became a part of the print culture starting the middle of the 20th century because of the clever presentation and colorful aspect. The aim of pictorial maps can either be to educate, advertise or amuse the audience.
Recently, the Library of Congress published a new book in partnership with the University of Chicago Press. The book was authored by Stephen J. Hornsby and it is entitled Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps. The book is a celebration of the collection of vibrant maps and how they developed and eventually became popular starting from the 1920s until the 1970s.
It has been a while since cartographers decided to make use of illustrations when creating their maps. They use it to draw mountains and cities. They utilize it to create fictional sea monsters to be found on the map. All of these can be seen in works that were done back in the medieval times. Hornsby, in his book, showed how artists from the 20th century continue to adapt this practice which is already considered a tradition. The trick is further improved because of the developments in print technology as well as the changes in trends when it comes to advertising. The improvement also stems from the different popular culture and graphic design of the modern day.
The book contains over 150 maps and majority of these maps are drawn from the Geography and Maps Division of the Library of Congress. There are six chapters that are all related to the concept. Once particular chapter is called Maps to Amuse and it covers satirical works such as the 1953 map entitled Ä New Yorker’s Idea of the United States of America”. Another chapter is called Maps To Instruct and contains map such as one from 1932 entitled “A Pictorial Chart of American Literature.
This book showcases how mapmakers all over the world have evolved and how many other forms of map category has flourished such as illustrated maps which is a product of the digital age.