Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pictorial Maps Now on Flickr

In the summer of 2009 the State Library presented the exhibit, Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps highlighting original, decorative maps created and published in the 1930s and 1940s by Ernest Dudley Chase, a graphic artist from Winchester, Mass. Select images from this exhibit are now available on the library’s Flickr website.

Born in Lowell, Ernest Dudley Chase (1878-1966) worked for Rust Craft Publishers, which printed greeting cards at its plant in Dedham. Chase was the acknowledged expert in the greeting card business in the United States with publication of his book The Romance of Greeting Cards (1926), the first complete history of the greeting card industry. Chase’s maps were an extension of his work as a graphic artist for Rust Craft and also reflected an international trend toward pictorial mapmaking. These decorative maps, which experienced a resurgence in public popularity after 1913, are a genre in which the cartography is animated with illustrations of buildings, people, and animals. Often including historical references, the maps also frequently depicted airplanes and other modes of transportation. Borrowing from typical Renaissance cartography, Chase and other pictorial mapmakers used embellishments like compass roses, ornate cartouches, and decorative borders.

Chase’s maps revel in a colorful, idiosyncratic, and whimsical view of the world. The exhibit of his original cartographic creations showcased maps of Boston, Massachusetts, New England, the United States, and the world.

Due to copyright restrictions, only vignettes from select maps are included in this set. Please visit the Special Collections department to view any of the twenty nine Chase maps in the library's collection.

- The Marketing Committee

Above image adapted from: Historic Massachusetts: a travel map to help you feel at home in the Bay State, 1964.