Pictorial State Maps



This map was produced as a supplement to Reg Manning’s 1938 book, Cartoon Guide of Arizona. Reg Manning, a well-known syndicated cartoonist from Phoenix, eventually became known as “The Cactus Cartoonist,” because when signing his cartoons, he often included a small smiling cactus alongside his name. Manning enjoyed a long and respected career, winning the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning for his cartoon, “Hats,” a commentary on the Korean War.

Although this map does not include Manning’s cactus signature, it has no shortage of cacti; much of the map’s imagery depicts the flora and fauna of the state, as well as natural features, historic landmarks and events. The map, made to look like it was drawn on birch bark, also includes images of traditional Hopi, Navajo, and Apache crafts and practices. In addition to historical facts and anecdotes, Manning included messages that urged his readers not to be tempted by the state’s beautiful highways to speed on through, but rather warned that they would “miss too much that you should see if you drive too fast!”

43. Reg Manning, Cartoon Map of Arizona from Reg Manning’s Cartoon Guide of Arizona, 1938
Osher Map Library Collection

State Map

More About Arizona

Statehood: 1912
Fun Fact: The Grand Canyon in Arizona is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island.


Ruth Taylor, the author of this map of Oregon, became known for her colorful pictorial maps, which she called “cartographs,” over her long career as a cartoonist. This map is from the atlas, Our USA: A Gay Geography, which features 56 of Ruth’s maps set in the United States and its territories. Frank Taylor, Ruth’s brother, wrote the text that accompanies each map. The maps in the atlas are vibrantly colored and filled with images of landmarks, landscapes, and people, many of which are active and emotive.

While this atlas was well-received at the time of its publication in the mid-1930s, twenty-first century audiences cannot help but notice the problematic racist stereotypes and colonialist imagery present throughout the maps in this atlas, particularly in the maps of the deep south and southwest. Although Taylor’s map of Oregon is one of the least offensive maps in the atlas, modern viewers will note that the people included on the map are overwhelmingly white and involved in some form of economic or recreational activity, while the three Native Americans featured are depicted more as passive scenery, each marking the location of a reservation. As scholar Dori Griffin explains, Taylor’s maps “reveal not only the aesthetic and conceptual preferences of their maker but also the cultural biases of their middle-class, white American audience.”

44. Ruth Taylor, Oregon from Our USA: A Gay Geography, 1935
Gibb Collection

State Map

More About Oregon

Statehood: 1859
Fun Fact: Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.


Charles William Smith (1893-1987), a native of Virginia, was a painter, printmaker and art professor best known for his linoleum block and woodcut prints. He also published a series of illustrated books in the 1920s and 1930s that depicted episodes and prominent places in Virginia’s history.

In Smith’s pictorial map of Virginia, he chose to emphasize the state’s historical attributes rather than its geographical features. The map depicts Virginia’s early history—from early British contact in 1607 by Christopher Newport and John Smith—up through the Civil War. Included around the border of the map are illustrations of 34 historic homes, churches, buildings, and monuments, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Raleigh Tavern at Williamsburg, as well as presidential birthplaces. The map inset shows Old Richmond and the present day capital.

While Virginia was the scene of many important battles of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, the map does not feature any of these battlefields. Rather, the map serves as a subtle testament to the mythology of the “Lost Cause,” which emerged in the Reconstruction era following the war. If you look carefully throughout the map, the heavily colonial historical narrative is interspersed with elements of the Confederacy, including General Lee’s birthplace, the site where he was buried, as well as building sketches of the Confederate Museum in Richmond, and the last “White House of the Confederacy,” in Danville. These subtle nods to Virginia’s Confederate past were, no doubt, intentional inclusions, especially during the era of Jim Crow and segregation. The map is highly decorative, in pastel tones, with a beaming sun shining down on Virginia. Smith’s design highlights only selective historical episodes, depicted in a positive light, while ignoring some of the more challenging aspects of Virginia’s history. Even pictorial maps can be political.

45. Charles William Smith, A Historical Map of Virginia, 1930
Smith Collection

State Map

More About Virginia

Statehood: 1788
Fun Fact: An annual pony swim is held in Virginia.


Following the success of the Columbian Exposition in 1893, Chicago hosted its second world’s fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition, from 1933 to 1934. One of the many buildings on the fairgrounds, the Hall of States, represented approximately 23 states in 1933 and 14 states in 1934. As the program of A Century of Progress explains, the state exhibits “observed a common theme– the portrayal of their undeveloped natural resources and their historical, recreational, and scenic features.”

This map was featured on the cover of Ohio’s pamphlet accompanying their exhibit. Keeping with the theme of the states’ expositions, the map features many of Ohio’s natural resources and history. As the map itself says, instead of a “wordy booklet or other literature,” the Ohio Commission offered copies of this map to visitors to keep as a “remembrance memento” of their visit to Ohio’s exhibit and a reminder to visit.

46. Ohio Commision to A Century of Progress International Exposition, Being a Cartograph of Ohio, 1934
Osher Map Library Collection

State Map

More About Ohio

Statehood: 1803
Fun Fact: Seven past presidents were from Ohio.


Produced in 1935 by the Aetna Casualty & Surety Company to celebrate Connecticut’s “Tercentenary,” this map depicts contemporary roads and highways alongside 33 illustrations of historical events and landmarks, each described in detail in the key along the right and left margins. Many of the historical events and landmarks featured on the map are in some way related to the Revolutionary War, while others depict significant locations and events in preceding colonial wars. The fraught relationship between the Native American tribes of Connecticut and European colonists is largely ignored in the illustrations on this map, with the exception of one nod towards the atrocities committed by the colonists. To this end, the paragraph about the Great Swamp Fight, numbered “11” on the map, explains how one hundred and eighty Pequots were enslaved by Captain John Mason at the end of the Pequot War. The reverse side of the folding map features historical sketches, descriptions and photographs of landmarks, and an invitation from Governor Wilbur Cross to “Be in Connecticut in 1935.”

John Held, Jr., a well-known illustrator and cartoonist, designed the commemorative map. Although Held never graduated high school or had formal art training, he experienced success as an illustrator starting at a young age. At age nine, he sold his first drawing to a local newspaper, and by age 15, he had sold a cartoon to Life magazine. His distinctive, stylized cartoons, like the ones featured on the map, went on to be published in many other prominent magazines, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar. During World War I, Held served as an artist and cartographer for the U.S. Naval Intelligence in Central America. Despite his wild success in the 1920s, Held suffered a mental breakdown after losing the majority of his assets during the Great Depression. His career had still not entirely recovered by the time this map was made.

47. John Held, Map of Connecticut, 1935
Morin Collection

State Map

More About Connecticut

Statehood: 1788
Fun Fact: Connecticut is home to the nation’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication.


The pictorial map, Maine: Its Recreation and History, was made by M. C. Linscott and issued by the Maine State Highway Commission in 1935. Linscott often included artistic renderings of people and places to add depth and meaning to the maps he created, as we can see in this colorful map summarizing life in the Pine Tree State.

Linscott thoughtfully decorated the state with wildlife, town buildings, historic sites, and even mermaids! Look closely, and you might find a building you recognize from your hometown. To the right, the map is signed by Louis Brann, the governor of Maine at the time, along with the statement: “Life begins at the gateway of Maine.” This map was aimed at increasing the number of tourists who motored to Maine in the summer months, highlighting the natural resources and historic attractions that would entice visitors. Just as the map is framed by recreational activities, historic homes, and famous Maine residents, so has Maine life been shaped by the connections we make with one another and nature.

M. C. Linscott’s legacy is continued by his grandson, who now owns Linscott Maps. Today, the company makes custom maps that include artistic and historic details similar to those on this endearing 1935 map of Maine.

48. M.C. Linscott, Maine: It’s Recreation and History, 1935
Osher Collection

State Map

More About Maine

Statehood: 1820
Fun Fact: The inventers of the Stanley Steamer, a steam-powered automobile invented in 1897, were born in Kingfield, Maine.